At the beginning of this year, and in preparation for our medicated IUI in the spring, I decided to get my health fully back in check. I have always been mindful of keeping on top of my health over the years but by the end of last year I had fallen in to some bad habits. While I didn’t have to make a huge shift in my eating, I needed to get back in to a decent workout regimen. I also decided at that time to cut out all alcohol and sweets. I ended up dropping about 16 pounds in less than 2 months (while still indulging from time to time). I really just wanted to shed the extra weight and be the healthiest version of myself to make a hospitable living space for our little bean. I was working out 5-7 days a week plus practicing yoga 2-3 times as well.
Fast forward to March, we started our first medicated round of IUI. I was on two different hormone injections and suffered almost all of the side effects that came with them. What did this mean? My exhaustion levels made me feel like even if I slept all the hours in the world it would feel like I hadn’t slept at all. Somehow I managed to keep on top of 75% of my workout schedule and 100% of the healthy eating until we had our first procedure. After our first insemination our doctor suggested that I reduce my exercise down to walking and yoga (at most).
That was fine by me as I didn’t want to strain my body or do anything to harm our potential babe or its living quarters.
I went from working out all of the time to maybe going for a walk in the evenings and going to (unheated) yoga twice a week. After our first IUI failed, we immediately proceeded in to a second round and that meant that the injections started again. I was still in a zombie like daze but this time I found it hard to get back in to my regular workout routine. You see, I had not done anything outside of walking/yoga during my first two week wait so the thought of going back to high impact cardio or weights was daunting. I also developed the “I will just have to stop in two weeks anyways after our next IUI procedure so why bother” mentality which was also very unlike my normal positive self. The IUI failures continued, new rounds of injections started and working out became almost non-existent.
By the time this summer rolled around I had essentially put back on all of the weight I lost at the beginning of the year. I was miserable. Clothes were tight, nothing was flattering and most mornings I would cry as I got dressed. How did I let this happen? To add to it all, we then started IVF in July. I was on triple the dose of injections I was on for IUI, which not only increased my exhaustion levels but also my appetite. While I wasn’t necessarily eating poorly, I was eating constantly. I also suffered from a level of bloating that I didn’t even think was possible. Three days before my egg retrieval, I had fully resorted to maternity pants and maxi dresses as I looked about 4 months pregnant. My post-retrieval anxiety was quite high and after we lost our pregnancy at the end of July, it got worse.
I hated the body I was now living in and nothing could change my mind.
Until something did. Sure, I have gained a lot of weight but it wasn’t for lack of being healthy. I was doing the best I could balancing work/life and fertility treatments. Exercise (outside of my yoga practice) was rare and when it did happen, I barely had the energy to go full force. Instead, all of my energy was focused on creating a tiny human. So with that, I started the acceptance process. I went out and bought new clothes. Clothes that fit and made me feel much happier and comfortable in my own body. I have now realized that I am extremely proud of what my body is trying to achieve. As I lay on my yoga mat at the end of each practice with one hand on my heart and one on my stomach, I smile thinking about the strength my body has to keeping on going through this each and every month. I am slowly learning to love my body again for all of the things it is doing instead of the things it is not.