Over the last 6 weeks I’ve gone on a journey… one I didn’t know I was going to embark on. At the beginning of the year I reached a point and was ready to do something to become strong again. I signed up for a 6 week challenge at the local Barre Studio. It was a competition which I bought into just for the accountability. Other than some hikes and walking routinely I haven’t worked out since we started IVF 3 years ago. Last Winter I had signed up for Barre and broke my toe 2 weeks into it and I had to quit…. which led me into deeper despair about ever finding strength again. But, here I was a whole year later ready, at my breaking point and ready to finally DO something for myself.
What I didn’t expect through the last 6 weeks was all the emotions… the tears, the breakthroughs were taking my by surprise. Never before had I experienced such deep emotions while working out. I attempted to make 5-6 classes a week and every day I showed up I felt my soul strengthen along with my body. In the walls of the small studio, I began finding my strength again, but the tears would well up unexpectedly as I held a pose longer than I thought I could or when the burning sensation of “embracing the shake” would happen. Why was I getting so emotional? I began soul searching and working through the emotions, which culminated last night when I did my measurements for the finale of the 6 week challenge.
6.5 inches in 6 weeks brought me to tears in front of new friends. There in the studio I couldn’t hold back the wave of emotions….the tears welling up inside came forth. It wasn’t just that I was proud of myself for inches lost, it was I felt a piece of me was alive again, that I found a part of myself I had lost that I never believed I’d get back.
After 6 years of infertility we were BLESSED with our miracle twins, Brooklyn and Eliana. But let me tell you, it wasn’t easy on my body going through: 4 failed IUI’s, IVF, failed first transfer, Ovarian Hyperstimulation horrible twin pregnancy with lots of complications (kidney stones, emergency surgery,Pre-eclampsia, Emergency C-Section, Postpartum eclampsia, and Diastasis Recti.)
Over the years my body was stabbed and prodded with more needles than I can count and put up with invasive equipment, I felt more like a science project than a human being at times.
Don’t get me wrong, I would do it all over in a heartbeat and I was incredibly thankful for the gift of a miraculous pregnancy. I did feel strong carrying twins, but I felt at the end of it all, tired, weak and lost. Because I had to go through SO much to get these sweet babies… so many shots, blood sweat and tears to bring them into this world healthy, that by the time their first year rolled around I was exhausted.
I will never forget the moment I arrived home with the twins.
I hopped out of the shower for the first time since giving birth and glanced at myself in the mirror and began to cry. Who was I looking at and where was I? I was unrecognizable. A lot of it had to do with the incredible swelling I had endured because of post eclampsia, the muscle atrophy from 9 months incubating twins on a couch, but also the sagging skin of twins stretching my short torso was finally visible. Was I proud of my body for carrying these precious twins, you bet! But it didn’t mean that a part of myself was given away in the process. Like all moms feel, you sacrifice yourself to bring life into the world… and its the most precious honor to do so.
As moms, we throw ourselves whole-heartedly into keeping tiny humans alive, and managing a household that we place ourselves on the back burner trying not to drown from sleep deprivation that we’re too tired to think about how to take care of us. Then throw in any physical complications (like for me c-section and diastasis recti) which seemed so overwhelming, it can feel like we’re sinking before we even start.
Starting is the whole battle. The tears last night weren’t over the inches, it was over the strength and accomplishment of finding myself again. Finding my strength. I stuck to a commitment, to carve an hour for myself 5-6x a week to work on healing my core, strengthening my body, and giving my brain mental space to breathe again. And in the silence of the studio I told myself repeatedly I was strong, I could do it, and in those hours I put in those 4 walls, I found a deeper perseverance, a physical strength, and healing.
The last 6 weeks became a releasing of the pain and beating my body had taken through all the years of infertility…. I was letting go of the trauma of my infertility past and finding my strength as a new woman, mom and wife.
My Twins // Brooklyn + Eliana
To answer a few of your questions:
What is Barre:
Barre is a combination of Ballet positions with yoga and Pilates influence. Barre focuses on isometric exercise.
Why Barre was the best option for Me:
Why I let so much time pass before finally beginning to work out was fear! I have Diastisis Recti (a separation of the abdominal muscles) and I knew certain moves could make my condition worse, plus my muscles were so weak that everything intimidated me. I looked at a few options, yet I was scared. I didn’t want to ruin my body further and I didn’t want to feel more weak that I already did.
Barre was the best decision because it is isolated movements that forced me to think about which muscles to engage. For the last few years, since I lost my core strength I learned to use all the wrong muscles. Barre had the pace for me to make the modifications I needed while still working on strengthening my muscles.
The teachers were so great about helping out and giving me modifications when I couldn’t do certain moves. I always felt I could do something when at times I physically couldn’t.
I have never shared any of my IVF video’s publicly. At the time it was a very raw and private journey and I couldn’t emotionally handle the pressure of sharing. But, in hindsight, I am VERY proud of my IVF journey and want to encourage other woman if they are in their journey of infertility that is a beautiful, messy, and crazy ride!
Here is short clip of one of my first IVF injection nights in September 2014.