Giving Up. So often it has a negative connotation. But for my 2017, giving up took me to amazing places that helped me get to the best place I could imagine. A different sort of Year in Review.
2016 ended with hope and wishes and a literal shot in the dark: I rung in 2017 with my first shot of my first cycle of IVF. I was tipsy, Alex was a little drunk, and we took a deep breath as I put that first needle into my stomach.
With that shot, I gave up. I gave up any semblance of control I had on my body: how it looked, how it felt. I gave up my future to faith in my body, faith in my doctors, and faith in knowing that my future would be one with a family, whether it be a child biologically mine or one that we welcomed into our family.
January was about learning the process of IVF:
- IVF Protocol Part 1
- IVF Protocol Part 2
- Infertility Treatment: IUI and IVF Risks and Side Effects
- Dealing with Infertility: Mental Health Update
- Ups and Downs in the Middle Miles of the IVF Marathon
- Surviving Infertilty: Trust Self Advocacy, Breath
I gave up running and yoga in favor of walking and the occasional strength training session.
The end of January and the beginning of February gave us our first negative beta test. I returned to running, and I gave up my emotions to the world during that first run back. February and March brought us the second round of egg retrieval, and this time around, I had to give up on the hope that the second transfer would work on my own.
I also gave up the focus on the IVF process and instead focused on the result, which made the second negative all that much harder. But it also meant that I understood better how to help other speak with those going through infertility.
- Giving Myself Grace (Dealing with Infertility and ADHD)
- What NOT to say to Someone Undergoing Infertility Treatments
- What to Say to Someone Going through Infertility Treatments
By the time that April rolled around, Alex and I gave up on the idea that personal training would be able to supply us with enough income to pad our futures on a single income. After applying to a bunch of jobs that didn’t show up anything, I decided to go back to waiting tables. My mom came up for a girl’s weekend during my birthday, and seeing her helped me work through a lot of my feelings, as well as give her time with Ridley.
April saw me start a new, much more rigorous hormonal regimen and lead in for my next embryo transfer (which would be a frozen transfer), and I gave up and gave in to my need for running as a way to work through my anxiety. After an anxiety peak, I gave up what I cared about what other people thought and gave in to a running week just for me as I hit my peak mileage ever and ran every day for a month.
May was the month of truly giving up. I ran down to my Frozen Embryo Transfer, and that marked the beginning of giving up running for 7 weeks. I headed to Tahoe with Spyder, and during that time, I gave up much of my anxiety revolving around the coming beta test.
We almost gave up on the possibility of a positive beta test when we got the news that my beta test was positive: I was pregnant. That brought new anxiety, but it also helped me realize that no matter what happened, Alex and I would be ok.
The end of May brought perhaps the greatest moment of giving up of all: when we heard that I had a subchorionic hematoma, not only did we give up our trip to NOLA, but I gave up something else: any mental block I had remaining of what I would do for this kid. Hearing that heartbeat, knowing that Yoshi was still there, I made the (easy) decision that I would do whatever was necessary. If that meant bed rest, I would do it. But I was ready to do anything I had to in order to become a mom. Luckily, bedrest wasn’t necessary, and we went to Milwaukee for the day later that week and just enjoyed ourselves.
I went back to work as Alex enjoyed a little bit of time on his own before his aunt visited us for a few days, and by the end of June, I had gone to my first official OB appointment and been cleared to run. Which I did, but gingerly.
July was a month of growing, literally and figuratively. I put on weight quickly, but I didn’t really show to those who didn’t know me. I gave up on feelings of body insecurity, thanks in large part to my return to running, which helped me feel strong, and my job at the restaurant, which helped me feel productive.
Oh, and I announced to the world that I was pregnant! That was an exercise in giving up as well–I needed to give up the fear that this would all go sideways on me. I also had to give up and admit that I had a sense of survivors gilt by being pregnant when so many of my friends and infertility warriors still were not.
During August, I gave up my walls and started to tell my story:
- Subchorionic Hemorrhage (My Pregnancy Scare)
- Overcoming Limits
- Pregnancyy Funnies: My “Morning Sickness”
- Pregnancy Cravings and Food Aversions
And I also ran a few races!
And traveled to San Francisco (with the Empower Race Weekend) and then to Aspen (where my feet went CRAZY)
September was a month of giving up guilt and giving myself permission to be pregnant, to love being pregnant, and to ask for help when I needed it. It was also a month of work work work for both Alex and myself. And the start of giving up my personal information to the world when my purse got stolen!
During October, I had to give up running, first because I suspected something was wrong, and then when it was confirmed that I had a femoral neck stress fracture. I was VERY lucky that my mom was already coming to visit the weekend that I found out, but it was still a rough transition: I had to give up my job, my mobility and independence, and my ability to even walk my dog, all at once.
I also gave up the ability to breathe through my nose that weekend.
October also brought me my new project with Landon Lacey Jewelry! It has been a blessing to connect with Landon as a businesswoman (I need projects) but also to have her as a friend. I couldn’t be more thankful that she reached out to me.
I did have a very important revelation as I worked to give up the need for external approval to consider myself beautiful even though I did regress as I compared my pregnant body to others’ pregnant bodies.
And then I gave up the idea that I would be returning to marathons any time soon. And I was ok with it.
Alex’s parents came at the beginning of November to help us with cleaning, walking the dog, and more, and I gave up being so “strong” and trying to be quite so independent and admittedly, very stubborn, when it came to taking care of business.
The end of November brought a welcome reprieve from the crutches (but not totally) as well as an incredible weekend in Palmetto Bluff with our families as we celebrated Thanksgiving (and I got to see Brian!). We also got some maternity pictures taken, which I just realized I’ve still not really shared with you!
December. December was a month of realization. Realizing that Yoshi could really start to come at any moment. Realizing that only certain pants could fit me. Realizing that 12 months previous, I hadn’t even started preparing for IVF. Realizing how far Alex and I had come as a couple, a family, and as people. This became increasingly clear as we prepped for our baby shower and saw how much we were loved, that Yoshi was loved, and how incredible the people in our lives are. (including one of my oldest friends, who came for the shower!). Oh, yes, and I almost broke myself. AGAIN. lol.
Life is about giving and taking, acceptance and defiance. Knowing when to be stubborn, and when to back down. Being who you are but realizing you are NOT perfect. Confidence, and humility. Taking care, but giving yourself grace.
Sometimes, giving up and accepting that we are not in control can be positive.
This year was an exercise in giving up. Which is just as well, because once Yoshi comes, my life will never be “mine” again.
I know that this was the longest ever YIR post, but I wanted to really take a snapshot of my mentality as I go into motherhood. Thank you all for being a part of my life, my story, and sending me love! Please know that the love is so mutual.