All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

Life Interrupted

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As we get further and further into this pregnancy, I wonder if this is the last time I’ll be pregnant.  I know I’ve talked a lot about this – about trying for a third because of our 5 frozen embryos – but as we get closer to bringing this baby home, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll want to try for a third, or if we’ll count our blessings and be done.

Before infertility, I was very active.  WE were very active.  B and I met via extreme fitness.  I’d decided, in a drunken haze on New Year’s Eve 2005 (going into 2006), that I would sign up with a friend to do a 10 week kickboxing and strength building course.  I went 6 days a week – many times I did two classes a day – for 10 weeks straight.  I ate it up.  I lost tons of weight.  I lost heaps of body fat.  I was FIT.  I was strong.  I was, for the first time in my adult life, lean.

B taught the kickboxing classes I was taking – it was something he enjoyed and it was a side-job/recreation for him outside of his normal existence as a project manager.  We never dated, or even thought of dating, while I was a student, but the night of my 10-week graduation, we got to talking and we dated ever since.  We “met” (rather – got to chatting) on a Saturday night, March 25th, and then hung out again on the 30th of that month – and then only spent 4 nights apart from that moment forward.  It was a whirlwind romance – all started because of fitness.

Truly.

B was an avid runner – I mean – a CRAZY runner and running was something I had no interest in.  Until I watched him and his buddies run the Living History Farms race the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2006.  I decided that I would maybe enjoy trying a little running.  I did it for the camaraderie of it, but I was quickly hooked.  I ran all the time – at least 4-5 times a week in all weather conditions.  I decided to start running races with “the guys” and that quickly became an obsession.  Hell, I even started a running club that was quite successful for 2 years.

It was fun!

We decided to try something new so took up mountain biking.  This was something that B was much more natural at than I was, but I still enjoyed it a great deal.  I took some serious spills (as did B) but that never got me down – I just got right back up and tried something harder.  Trying something “harder” was in me back then – working harder and pushing my body to its limits is what I did.  It’s what we did.  It’s what we did together.

We then found a new thing to do – something even harder.  We started “Adventure Racing” and we were good at it!  Well – sort of.  This was something we could do together and it was really difficult – I mean – the hardest thing either of us has done.  We did our first 8+ hour race as a co-ed team with a friend of ours – and we won!  I’d never won anything physically challenging in my life – but we won that race.  I was hooked and so was B, so we found another AR to do in my hometown area.  We came in third in that one – and that specific race was, to this day, the hardest thing we’ve ever done.  It was 108 degrees, with a heat index of 115.  People were dropping out of the race left and right due to heat exhaustion.  For some reason, B and I kept on going.  We canoed 11 miles on the open Missouri river against a 25 mph head wind, next to huge barges and cargo boats.  We trekked downtown Omaha and rural areas with nothing but a compass and UTM coordinates.  We biked, and biked, and biked God-only-knows-how-many-miles until we were finally done.  It was a 12 hour race and it took us more than that to finish – but we came in third.  We fought hard for that third place finish.  At one point, neither of us could even get ourselves to start walking from a dead-stop – it was just impossible in the heat and with little fuel in our bodies.  We each went through 9 liters of water that day, and that was not enough.  At the finish line, I collapsed and cried.

Hardest thing I’ve ever done – but the funnest day of my life up to that point (and up to the point of Matthew’s birth).

And then… as I was planning our fall schedule of Adventure Racing?

Then Infertility happened.

And my life was interrupted.

Our lives, even though B would have preferred otherwise, were interrupted.

We were diagnosed in September 2009, just a couple of weeks after placing third in the Omaha AR.  Just a few weeks after doing the hardest, and “funnest,” thing either of us had ever done, we were catapulted into a new phase of our lives that would challenge us in so many other ways.  A phase that would challenge in us in ways that, to this day, I wish we hadn’t been challenged.

B also started his “new job” at the same time we were being diagnosed, so it was just a shit-storm of changes, none of which we were really prepared for.  I tried to keep going to kickboxing, etc., but after being asked on three different occasions why we weren’t pregnant yet (after more than a year of trying on our own), and one time being told that my “eggs are screaming, you need to get B to get you pregnant,” – I quit going.  I just could not take it.  I certainly could not take watching women come and go from class who were newly pregnant, or coming to class to lose the “baby weight.”

No thank you.

I kept running but treatments got in the way of that.  You’re not supposed to exercise much if your ovaries are the size of grapefruits, and without a regular pattern of fitness, I just got out of shape.

And I was depressed.  Depression, infertility, and lack of physical activity will ruin your physical fitness in no time.  And it did.

Once pregnant, I wanted to start running again but it just seemed wrong to introduce something “new” into my life when I felt simply lucky to be pregnant.  I didn’t want to put anything at risk.  Once Matthew was here, I again wanted to start running but my big, nursing breasts made that really intimidating.  I went for a few runs this past spring but never got into a groove.

And now I’m pregnant again.

I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a fact.  Starting running now, in the dead of winter while pregnant, is the furthest thing from responsible.

But I ache for it.

I ache for it so much that I am trying to sign B up for any and all races he’ll let me sign him up for – road races, adventure races, you-name-it.  I want to live vicariously through him if I can’t do this myself.

Which gets me to the point of this post.

I am happiest when I’m healthy.  I am happiest when I’m fit.  WE are happiest, individually and as a couple, when we feel good about ourselves.  I miss my old self.  I miss my old energy levels.  I miss the fun that B and I had as a couple, all of it related in some way to fitness.  I miss my uninterrupted life.

I know that having a baby would have changed my life regardless, but had we not struggled with infertility, I would have stayed fit up until pregnancy and I would have kept running through the pregnancy.  I know this.  I know this for a fact because I was still running, biking, hiking, and AR-ing as we tried in that first year to get pregnant.  Yes, parenthood changes many things, but it does not need to change that – and it wouldn’t have for us had we not been dealt the hand of infertility.

It is what it is, and I’m grateful for the overall journey and the end result, of course, but I miss my old self.  I want to meet her again, and I want to meet her soon.

I have plans to get back into shape rather quickly after having this next baby.  I will not let my nursing breasts stand in my way again.  I will suffer through it and adjust.  It is that important to me to find myself again.  B is signing up for an AR camp this spring and hopefully an AR for the summer, and my goal is to be back on his team in the summer of 2014.  That will require lots of work on my end, but I’m ready for it.

My life will not be interrupted much longer by infertility.  Even if we do try for a third child, I know that I won’t be stimming again so I can be physically fit up until transfer day, which makes me so happy to realize!

I can’t wait to get back to my fit self, and I can’t wait to introduce physical fitness to our children (childREN!)!

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Author: Courtney

Hi, there, I’m Courtney. I never planned to stay home with my kids, but I got sucked into motherhood when my first baby came into our lives after years of infertility and multiple rounds of IVF. His brother followed closely behind, something we didn’t plan on after having such a rough road with achieving parenthood the first time around. My boys are IVF cycle twins, conceived on the same day but born two years and one day apart (they were both transferred on the same day in October, but with two years between them). My boys are the best of friends and my husband is a terrific husband, father, and most importantly… friend. He fully supported my desire to stay home (“I just wanted it to be your idea and not mine, I totally want you to stay home and raise our kids!”) and encourages me in everything I do. I am a lover of projects, spreadsheets, fitness, healthy cooking and eating, crafts, selling my stuff on FB (HA!), and the outdoors. If I’m active, I’m pretty darn happy!

36 thoughts on “Life Interrupted

  1. Wow. This is an awesome post Court. I totally get you (though Char and I have never been as crazy into fitness like you guys, I was definitely a lot more fit before the IF hit, and I really respect you for wanting to make that an important part of your life again. I really want to get a good bike so we can get into biking with Stella, and rafting and climbing and skiing…. there is SO much you can do to be active as a family. I can’t wait to read about your return to physical prowess!!

  2. Fun to go back and hear how you and B met. I had no idea it was through a kickboxing class. What studs you both were! I’m sure you can get back to that place you are aching for in no time after this baby. I think a good portion of it is motivation and it sounds like you’ve got it. My problem is I’ve never had the motivation. After cheerleading in high school I’m embarrassed to say I do little to no physical activity. I’m not sure how that will change down the road, but I know it will need to eventually. Loved looking at the pictures of you guys!

    • I have always wondered how you always look so great, and now I know it’s because you’re one of those awesomely lucky ones who just… LOOKS GREAT ALL THE TIME! Good for you – and I mean that!

      I can totally – TOTALLY – see you as a cheerleader. I bet you were cute as could be 🙂 You should post a photo some time!

      • Ha, I should! I’ll see if I can find a few pics at my dad’s house during lunch today and do a “Look Back” post. I have SO MANY cheerleading pics! I did it for about 10 years. Best shape of my life. Now? I get winded walking up the steps. 😦

  3. WOW! I was a bit more fit before we started down the treatment route the second time. I miss being more active. This past summer with the 100+degree days didn’t work so well with being outside. I’m really hoping to get out more come summer. But there is that teeny tiny chance I’ll be pregnant. I do know once we’re done with the whole baby making part of our lives, I want to get into really good shape. I want to be there for my kids. I don’t want to be a lump on a log.

    You are crazy to do all that stuff, but if it makes you happy, you need to do it! I think you have a good plan. And nursing breasts be damned, you’ll get yourself back! You’re just determined enough to do this. I can’t wait to watch how things go!

    • Being healthy for my kids is a big part of it. We always said that our kids would see us being fit from day 1 and we just haven’t stuck to that. It’s time to set that example!

      This past summer ruined my return to running. I started in the spring and then it got too hot to take Matthew with me. Damn it! Damn our stupid, unbearable summer heat!

  4. Glad to hear the story of how you and B met. You two are awesome! I love working out and fitness (definitely not to the same level as you two), I miss being able to push myself as hard as I use to with all of the fertility treatments. Even when I do get pregnant, I’ll be too afraid to workout too much. Do what makes you happy! 🙂

    • Being afraid to mess things up has kept me from doing what I want to do, and I know that, but I can’t change it.

      We are NOT awesome – we just really get a kick out of pushing ourselves 😉

  5. Aw, man.. yet another thing that infertility rips away from us. I definitely have not been doing any exercise for the past few months, probably even a year, and now that I’m going into IVF I fear any change in that routine will “upset the balance”. Walking is obviously a good idea, and pretty safe, but I totally get what you mean — it’s not the same as the intense cardio of a 10K run or whatever. Maybe you could try a sort of run-walk-run thing? Or speed-walking? Or just swimming? Surely there are SOME sports that aren’t as high-impact. Of course, it’s also hard to kickstart yourself when you’re feeling depressed because you aren’t fit… vicious cycle!

    On an unrelated note: We have twin cats! Seriously, your kitty is IDENTICAL to mine! 🙂

    • I hope your twin cat doesn’t have diabetes like my twin cat. That would be too weird!

      You are right, and this comment made me think that it is time to start doing SOMETHING to take care of myself. Thank you for that!!!!

  6. A few thoughts. Can I send PC to hang out with you guys? Poor guy did 24 hours of adrenaline bike races before me and now he is just happy to ride around the yard if he can:[ Is there a happy medium while pregnant and/or nursing? I do know what you are saying about the energy level and just feeling good, it impacts everything. Won’t it be fun when you are all biking/hiking/running together one day? :]

  7. Wow. What an inspiring post. I’m so jealous that fitness is something you SHARE with your partner. Before I met mine I was crazy fit. I ran marathons. I cycled centuries. I rock climbed. I did yoga. I was in great shape. But my partner didn’t do ANYTHING and being with him I slowly stopped too. I still miss that part of myself. Very much.

    We actually just bought an elliptical and it should be delivered next week. I am so fricking excited to have a mechanism for aerobic exercise in my house, I can wait. Getting my heart rate makes me happy. I get high off it. And I haven’t had it in so long. I’m so glad we’ll have a machine that I can use now and then continue to use safely while pregnant (if that ever happens again).

    I hope you find your fit self again when the time is right.

    • Good for you for buying the elliptical! I agree that getting one’s heart rate up makes them happy. I loved the high after getting my heart going – and I miss it! Enjoy your elliptical trainer! Have you checked out iTrain? They have awesome training MP3’s for the elliptical. I may even have a few in my old library to send you. Let me know if you’re interested.

  8. I can soooo relate to this and completely understand you wanting your fit life back. It is hard enough dealing with infertility and then you have to stop the things you love, feel uncomfortable with your body and are forced to remove a common interest you have with B. It’s just not fair.

  9. Wow!!! I am so impressed by how fit you and your hubby were and all the crazy fit things you took part in. That is awesome and something Anthony and I could never do. Way to go you two!!! 🙂 I can totally understand how you would miss all of that after getting so into it. I hope you are able to get back into it soon after #2 arrives and excited for you to begin introducing your kiddos into this lifestyle. They will be so thankful for it in the long run. Also, sorry infertility interrupted this in the first place. Stupid IF, always mucking things up 😦 Don’t worry, you’ll get back at it soon!!

    • Oh, you’d be surprised what you could do! I refused to run more than a mile after doing that first 10 weeks of kickboxing, and then I became a runner and was running half marathons. You can do anything you have the desire to do – I truly believe that!

  10. I actually am the fittest I’ve been since High School. Last year when Aiden was 3 months old, I went to boot camp class at my gym with a few other moms. I’ve stuck with it for a year now and I LOVE how much better I feel about myself since then. Not only did I shed the baby weight, but I have been able to maintain my 23 pound weight loss. It’s SO hard to do with one baby, and I can’t imagine with 2, but YOU are important too. Even if you can find time for 30 minutes 3 times a week, you will get back in shape again! It’s so hard to be everything to everyone all the time and still try to connect with your own identity. Don’t worry, you will find yourself/fitness again! 🙂 By the way, you look wonderful now and you will set a great example for your kids as they grow up! You are awesome!

    • Thanks! I really want to look so much better though!

      Good on you for getting into shape post-baby. WOW! Maintaining it is the hard part and you’ve done great!

  11. You don’t know how much I get this post. It’s as if I could write it word for word. That’s very much why my title was life begins because IF interrupted it. We were talking about the dark years today…

    I’m loving being fit and exercising and swimming and loving life. I feel so much better and happier! You will to.

    Adventure racing sounds amaze balls!!

  12. I could have written this post! While we weren’t as crazy active as you guys (no adventure racing here!), we were both very active and physically fit when we met. I have either worked out or played sports my entire life until I reached infertility. And now I am so gross and overweight (in addition to being pregnant). I blame the drugs of infertility and the depression of it as well as the biggest part of my current state. My eating habits are shit as well and I have to clean them up too. Both the hubs and I have talked at length about how everything changes when we’re fit. Our general outlook on everything is way more positive, we both feel so much better about ourselves and that flows into our relationship and our sex life as well. And now, even more important than all of our personal reasons, we will (as of May) have 2 little ones watching our ever move and I want to be the best influence on them as I can so that leading a healthy active lifestyle is second nature to them and not something they have to “work” at. I’m also an older parent who wants to be here as long as I can for my kids. So we have made a pact with one another – as soon as this baby is out and I’m on the mend, we are reviving all of the things that we used to love to do both individually and together. And I have to tell you – I CANNOT WAIT!

    Good for you for getting back into it now – you’re an inspiration!

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  14. Phew! Damn, girl! I was never this crazy active, but IF DEFINITELY took a toll on fitness the first time around and again now. GAH. I was really lucky post partum to get back into running, more than I ever have been. And now I’m about to be on the IVF exercise ban and was on the IUI exercise ban. SUCKS.

    Love this post! Can’t wait to see what you and B get up to after baby gets here 🙂

  15. It is crazy to me that I came here to read this immediately after researching Cross Fit. I just. Crazy.

    Also, I love you for inadvertently introducing me to Paleo. I love you for other reasons, too, but a lot just for that 🙂

  16. Oh! And! I’m midway through family-building myself (going for 3 or 4 kids, so we’re either halfway or 2/3 of the way there) and I keep having to fight the urge to go “meh, why bother take care of myself now, I’m just going to get pregnant and ruin it anyways” NO! It’s so hard, though, isn’t it, balancing taking care of ourselves and making babies/taking care of babies. They shouldn’t be mutually exclusive but sometimes it feels like they definitely are. ❤

  17. We are more than our infertility, and that’s fun to read about too! I love hearing about how you guys met and learning about adventure racing (whoa!). I bet there are a lot of really fun physical activity things you’ll be able to do with your childREN someday too!

    • Also, I think you’ve just created another “thing”-worthy post. This should totally be a thing – to spend a post talking about something we are/were passionate about outside of IF!

  18. What a great “how we met” story! I used to work out every day too- I ran, lifted weights, played racquetball. My plan was when G started school to start up again- but then I got pregnant! I’m really hoping when the little one gets to be a few months old I can really start excercising again. Hope it works out for you too! BTW, got your holiday card yesterday- so cute- thank you!

  19. This. Is. Awesome.

    I know you’d mentioned to me at some point that you guys had met through fitness but I had no idea that you guys were such sweat junkies!! That really is so cool – both that you were so incredible fit and healthy AND that you were able to share it. Stan and I are not and probably have never been (or not in a long time) that fit, but I do understand where you are coming from regarding IF getting in the way. For Stan and I it was always tennis that was our shared love. When we lived in Florida we played probably 5-6 times a week in addition to taking classes twice a week. We loved it. We’d give each other nice rackets and tennis clothes for special occasions. Saturday morning long-matches were our weekly highlights. And I miss that so much. Part of it isn’t the result of IF, but rather the result of moving back to Spain (in Florida our condo had courts – here they are hard to come by, particularly without a car) but part of it is IF. Tennis is one of those sports that they recommend against when trying/pregnant because of the accelerations, possibility for falling, swift turns, etc. And once you get away from it, it seems impossibly hard to get back… but get back we shall. I already have a tennis school eyed for when Sofia is a bit older. I figure she can take a class while her dad and I hit the ball around. I’d love for it to be something that we learn to love as a family, just as Stan and I loved it as a couple.

    Anyway, after making this about me… I really am inspired by your dedication to fitness and to the decision that this next time you will not “allow” life to get in the way!

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