A New Path

Wow, it has been a LONG time since I have written. Almost a year post Rio and a lot has happened!

*Warning, not a running related post, lots of female-related information shared, proceed with caution 🙂 *

We moved back to Phoenix in October and couldn’t be happier.  It has been a crazy past four years of moving all over the country. Although I love running, I realized I am really bad at the resting one needs to do all day in between running at a high level. I needed something to exercise my brain and I really missed teaching! I was lucky to find a first grade position in the district I had previously worked in, was hired on the spot, and took over a classroom in November. I was a very busy bee this year and SO happy to be back in the classroom. It was so fulfilling and I absolutely loved my chatty class this year! I will be changing schools for the upcoming school year. After 7 years of teaching in first grade, I will be starting a new adventure in Kindergarten! I am super excited and as much as I love teaching firsties, I believe I will love teaching kinders even more. I am excited to be working with a great team of motivated teachers who love teaching as much as I do.

I believe I have 3 callings in my life, running, teaching, and to be a mother, which leads me to share my walk with infertility.

Throughout the past 8 years, we have never tried to ‘not’ get pregnant, with the exception of before and right after the Olympics.  We trusted in God’s plan for timing but obviously nothing had happened in those 8 years, a tad concerning. When we moved back to Phoenix, we went to a Fertility Clinic for help. I stopped training and ran light daily to maintain a small amount of fitness and for stress release. Having a baby is our goal for this year so Matt and I both agreed to no racing for a year after Rio. My weight was good, I had never, ever, missed a cycle. Both of us underwent fertility testing and were ‘picture perfect’ according to our Reproductive Endocrinologist. Unexplained infertility is our diagnosis.

We went through 2 medicated cycles and 4 medicated IUI cycles with no luck. During this time I experimented with not running at all, running 4 miles per day, and running 6-8 miles per day. Going through this unknown is so devastating and so stressful. Cycle after cycle it  seemed as though everyone around me and on social media was getting pregnant. It is hard to deal with the twinges of jealousy and feelings of failure, so I have tried to take a break from facebook, twitter, etc. As an athlete, it is extremely hard to see fellow athletes continue training hard both pregnant and not! I wish I could have been a gal that was able to get pregnant running 100 miles a week but unfortunately that was not the hand I was dealt. With the weight gain from not running and medication bloat (I haven’t jumped on a scale, I don’t really care to know and scare myself!) and with every medication, procedure, and ultrasound out of pocket, staying positive is hard but definitely crucial. I have for sure had my share of tears but I know it is important to keep looking forward and to stay positive for the next cycle.

Now to the present. After the 4 failed IUI’s, on the advice from our Doctor, we have made the leap to IVF. We began the IVF cycle mid-May with Birth Control Pills to suppress my ovaries. This allows my Doctor to gain full control of my hormones.  I also began fertility acupuncture at this time. My acupuncturist works with my Doctor so its nice to have a blend of Eastern and Western medicine techniques. Between the two, I have about 20 pills of medication and egg-boosting supplements that I take throughout the day. Since everything is out of pocket, we are doing everything we can on our part to help this first round of IVF be successful. I began stimulation medications on Friday. This process includes 2 shots per evening to stimulate follicle growth in my ovaries. One is quick and easy, the other is a slow burn. Ouch. I am on my 6th day of ‘stims’ right now. I feel bloated and tired. Exercise beyond light walking is forbidden during this time due to possible ovarian torsion. I go to my clinic every other day to get a blood draw and ultrasound to check how my follicles are progressing and to determine adding/taking away dosage.

As I continue through this process, I will continue to blog about my experience candidly. IVF/Infertility can make you feel so alone. I hope that by sharing my experience, others will talk about it as well, especially fellow athletes!

I did take one month off of treatment for a break in March. During this time I took up light cycling with my new bike -‘Pearl’ and hopped in the pool a few times a week for some low impact workouts. I have to admit, I definitely see a triathlon in my future to complement my running goals…. post baby of course!  🙂

Run Happy!