Still in the Fight

Losing a baby & getting your heart broken will cripple you in unimaginable ways. I consider myself a pretty strong person but this past year broke me. Every day since has been a struggle. I wake up in tears more often than I’d like to admit. I look back at pictures of the girl I was before I got pregnant – hot body, healthy, and happy. I was so damn happy – it’s like you can feel it through the pictures. I had everything I always dreamed of – then it was all gone in the blink of an eye. Since then, I’ve become a shadow of that blissfully happy, carefree girl.

A few weeks ago I was inspired by some female wrestlers, specifically the two who recently had babies. That inspiration hasn’t really led to much of a consistent routine though. I’ve done several at-home workouts, a few outdoor walks, and a gym workout. I keep telling myself to get my shit together. I keep trying to force myself to workout, to not just become healthier but to provide myself with a much-needed distraction and stress-release. Except sometimes that stresses me out even more. I just don’t have the motivation anymore. That hot body I once worked so hard for…it failed me. As a result, I lost everything that I cared about. I’ve been trying to just go through the motions, piece together my broken heart one jagged edge at a time – but it’s almost like I’m stabbing myself more every step of the way. That sounds super dramatic but that’s how it feels. I feel stuck. I want to get my life back…but sometimes I don’t even know what that means anymore. My priorities have completely shifted & so have my interests…and my life.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a call from my gyno with the results of my hormonal blood panel. It seems that my weight loss put my PCOS at-bay. My other hormones all seem to be in check and I was told that by the look of both my sonogram and blood work, my egg count was still relatively high. I’ve had three doctors (this one included) all tell me that based on how I conceived a baby on birth control, with two conditions that cause infertility, I should have no trouble once I actually do try. There is (unfortunately) no way to determine if I will be able to hold the baby or not – as I do not have anything currently indicating otherwise. However, this is all bittersweet. That blood work is a snapshot in time…right now. So right now – my periods are regular, body is in check, PCOS seems to have disappeared…if I were able to try, I’d probably get pregnant. No guarantees, of course, but it seems more likely now than ever before. Except I’m not with the baby’s father anymore…nor am I with anyone else. There is no way to “try” for a baby right now and it concerns me that when the time does come…however long that may take…maybe I won’t be able to anymore.

The doctor asked if I was still exercising as much and I said no – not since I got pregnant. She told me to begin that again and do what I was doing before…if it happened once, it could happen again. She also suggested starting either a multi-vitamin or prenatal along with vitamin d. It was a conversation with a shred of hope (and some defeat) that’s put things into perspective.

Last summer >> Now

I don’t have the same motivation or goals that I used to…and that will likely not change. I don’t really give a damn about having some shredded, hot body. That hot body from last summer was working out and eating healthy almost everyday.  That hot body may have failed me when I lost the baby…but that hot body also got pregnant, which is something I always thought would be impossible for me. While I may not give a shit about having that hot body anymore…I can spin the negative and turn it into something productive. Maybe if I can get my shit together and consistently workout again…when the time comes, it can happen again – and maybe now, with the doctor’s help, it will stay put. My current at-home workouts could be much better than they are…but I’m trying. Sometimes it’s just 10 or 15 minutes, and I can barely hold a 20 second plank anymore (hell, my core is total shit since that surgery) – but it’s much better than doing nothing at all. It’s been an uphill battle – I workout for 2-3 days and usually that’s that…but I’m using every last ounce of fight left in me to push forward.

My goals right now are pretty simple. I just want to be able to fit comfortably in my clothes again. I’d like to build my core strength back up. That’s important for everyday living but it will be especially beneficial when (and if) I get pregnant/have a baby. Ultimately though, I just want to be healthy. My body has enough obstacles – it doesn’t need my being overweight and/or unhealthy as another. It’s been 2 days – and so far so good. I plan on continuing with early morning workouts, so as to give myself no extra excuses (IE: being exhausted after a long day of working two jobs). Here’s hoping it sticks this time.

xo

Gina

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My Own Evolution

For as long as I can remember, celebrities have always served as some sort of “fitspiration” in my life. Having struggled with weight my entire life, I looked at certain celebrities as who/what I wanted to look/be like. As I grew in my fitness journey, I realized it was more unhealthy to have this than it was motivation. At the time, my confidence wasn’t great so when I would see these celebrities (ie: Jessica Simpson) I would think I needed to look like them to be considered pretty or hot. I got over that with time and when I lost all of my weight, I also gained confidence that I never really had…in looks & in myself. That’s faded over the last year.

Last year, when I lost my baby, I lost all motivation to workout. I’ve touched on this in a few posts but I’ll sum it up here too. I was in the best shape of my entire life yet my body failed me anyway. I haven’t worked out much at all since and my diet is hit or miss. Yesterday, I woke up feeling different.

On Sunday night, WWE Evolution took place. It was the first ever all-women’s PPV, which was a monumental moment. The show featured women from both the past & present. Opening the show was my idol in high school, Lita. I wanted to be like her so bad. She was gorgeous but not in a typical girl way – she was also this tough, bad ass chick that didn’t take anyone’s shit. I dyed my hair blood red like her, wore chokers & UFO pants like her, I even learned to moonsault (her signature move…which I would never attempt now) to be like her. She was, and still is, one of my all-time favorite wrestlers. I watched her come out and just stared in awe. She is 43 and looks amazing. She still has this no-bullshit attitude about her too.

Lita, then & now

I kept watching the show and saw two women, named Maryse & Maria, who both had babies around the time that I would have had mine earlier this year. Both women look amazing and got themselves back into shape to be in the ring so quickly. Maria was very open in documenting her struggle with postpartum depression and her loss of motivation on her social media. I instantly connected with that and as I saw her get in the ring, it really hit me. As I watched these women and all of the others, I realized how they all have overcome many things and still managed to keep themselves motivated enough to be on that big of a stage. So what’s my problem?

Not all heroes wear capes.

My priorities are much different since getting pregnant and losing my baby. I don’t really care how “shredded” I look. I don’t know that I ever will again, to be honest. But watching that show, I got to thinking – if I continue down this path of not working out or only eating well sporadically, I won’t be healthy. If I’m ever given the chance to try for a baby, I need to be healthy for that. I shouldn’t give my body any other obstacles – there’s enough as it is. Another point in my head – I worked really hard to lose weight and I don’t want to throw it all away or go back to the weight I used to be. When I first started, it was about being happy in my own skin…and being healthy. I think I’m going back to day one with that mindset. No pressure to lift super heavy. No pressure on working out EVERY day. Just doing what I can, when I can…and being consistent.

I work better with some sort of a plan so this is the loose plan that I’ve come up with: some sort of cardio 3-4x per week, banded & bodyweight exercises at-home 2-3x per week, weights 1-2x per week. The idea is to get myself moving at least 4-5 days. Obviously the days may vary and with my hectic work schedule, I may have to make exceptions. However, I will be happy if I can do some sort of workout 4x per week – whether that’s bands/body weight exercises at-home, cardio in or out of the gym, or actual weights. Just as long as I’m consistent, which has been my biggest issue since losing the baby. I think I’m going to use that as motivation, instead of letting it bring me down. If my baby was here, I’d teach her how to be strong – so there’s no reason she can’t look down on me and learn that same lesson. I want to her to see a strong mommy – not the person that I’ve been. Seeing these women in the ring made me realize that. It was called Evolution, as it was just that for women in wrestling, but I’m using that as my own evolution. That is, my evolution back to being healthy…and back to being me.

xo,

Gina

Keep the Faith

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I will start by saying – I don’t consider myself a religious person. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic school from pre-k through college…but that’s about it. I haven’t been to church much as an adult – don’t feel that I need to be in a specific place if I want to pray. However, after losing my baby last October…let’s just say God hasn’t been on my good side.  That seems to be normal and a theme amongst other angel moms. Well one day, upon scouring Pinterest, I came across a prayer card for Saint Catherine of Sweden. She is the patron saint of those who have suffered a miscarriage. I know of many saints but I never knew of this one. Seemed rather fitting that as I question my own faith, this would appear – almost like a sign. I’ve decided to share this because regardless of which God you pray to or what your convictions & faith may be, this is a beautiful prayer to hold close:

Dear Saint Catherine, patron of those who have suffered a miscarriage, you know the dangers that await unborn infants. Please intercede for me that I may receive healing from the loss I have suffered. My soul has been deprived of peace and I have forgotten what true happiness is. As I mourn the loss of my child, I place myself in the hands of God and ask for strength to accept His will in all things, for consolation in my grief, and for peace in my sorrow. Glorious Saint Catherine, hear my prayers and ask that God, in good time, grant me a healthy baby who will become a true child of God. Amen.

Despite my waning faith, I pray for my little angel & all of the other angel babies in the clouds. I pray that they are all safe, perhaps in the arms of other loved ones who have passed on, as they wait to be reunited with us again one day.  Most of all, I pray for me…and I pray for you. I pray that we all find the peace & happiness we so desperately need one day soon.

xo

Gina

Day One…Again

This past year has broken me in ways that are indescribable. I consider myself to be pretty strong but this was more than I knew how to handle. I’ve tried repeatedly to go back into the gym and on some sort of routine but I failed every time. Shoulder pains…endo pains…my fucked up head…it all stopped me. But here we are – a year + week post-baby loss. It’s time to kick my own ass back into gear.

Started from the bottom…now we’re here: May 2017 >> September 2017 >> Now

Last summer, I was in the best shape of my life & shooting workout videos for YouTube while being the happiest I’ve ever been. Then I got pregnant…something I didn’t think was possible. I stopped working out, in an attempt to try to prevent what ultimately happened anyway. Once I lost the baby I lost my motivation. I’ll be honest…I still haven’t found it. I don’t want to be 200+ lbs ever again but I also hate the workouts that my body is physically able to do. My bum shoulder still limits me in frustrating ways. Nonetheless, it’s time. No more excuses, no more bullshit. I may not be able to do my bootcamp/heavy lifting that I like…but I’ll have to experiment until I find new things that I enjoy.

The hardest part will be keeping myself motivated. I barely sleep and my diet could be much better. Today is a good day to start – not because it’s Monday but because it’s a hard day. I got little to no sleep last night – woke up a million times crying and definitely didn’t want to get out of bed….forced myself to get dressed and come to work. It’s that kinda day. Maybe you have these days too – maybe you’re having one today. Well this is my motivation for you…and for me.

I promised myself and I promised my baby that I was gonna get my life back and turn my pain into something positive. So here we go. Today is day one – again. 🙏🏻

-Gina

New Beginnings

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Thank you all for taking this journey with me. I started this blog about 4 1/2 years ago with the goal of offering support and providing hope that regardless of your struggles – it IS possible. To date, I’ve lost and kept off approximately 80 lbs; from squeezing into a size 14/16 to fitting comfortably in a size 4. I suffer from PCOS, IBS, and Endometriosis. I also struggle a lot with body dysmorphia. However, through it all, I was able to get it done and I decided to become a certified nutritionist & personal trainer a few years ago so I could help others in their own journey.

The purpose of this blog was always to share my experience – from the triumphs to the struggles and everything in between. With that, I’ve decided to change the direction of this blog, so as to be true to me. I’ve been MIA on here and pretty distant on social media over the last few months as I’ve contemplated what I wanted to do. You see, last October I suffered a miscarriage. It’s been the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to go through and it’s completely changed me & shifted my priorities. Despite the lack of support and all of the negativity around me, I’ve decided to be more open and share my experiences, so as to help others who may also be having a rough time. Other blogs & support groups on FB have really helped me this year, so I would love to pay it forward in any way that I possibly can to spread the word on an otherwise taboo subject & help other angel moms to see they aren’t alone.

The new blog will launch on my angelversary, October 1. We will still Fight to be Fit, because fitness is just as much (if not more so) mental than it is physical.  Sometimes things happen that completely rock your world – and change life as you knew it. That’s where I’m at now; I hope you will all continue to follow along through my experience with grief & how it’s changed me, as I embark on my journey back to life. I will also share some letters and quotes, as a way to honor my angel baby.  Regardless of how hard it is for me, I promise to keep it real – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Everyone has their own story & journey…but we are all in this together ❤

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

*In loving memory of my angel, Baby R – 10/1/2017*

Going Through the Motions

Here we are, nearly at my birthday and nearly at the end of another shred. Unlike the last three years, I’m definitely not in the same shape that I usually am at this point. This shred has not gone according to plan at all. I’ve followed my diet plan but I’ve barely worked out. I’ve used the excuse of time and being tired and being injured…which ARE all true…but the truth is I’m just not motivated.

As detailed in my last blog, these past 7 months have been the hardest of my entire life. It’s honestly felt like a bad dream that I can’t wake up from. As time has gone on, I’ve felt stronger overall but I still hit rough patches. Some days are just harder than others. Mother’s Day just passed and I didn’t expect to have as hard of a day as I did. It was crippling. Some days I wake up in a good mood, ready to face the day and move forward in a positive way; others are the exact opposite.  I stumbled upon another woman’s blog, in which she described precisely how I feel in regards to exercise. I’ve been in pretty good shape since losing weight, albeit slightly injured. I have worked out as much as I could and have followed a pretty good diet. This past summer, that all changed. I stopped working out once I realized what was going on with my body, in an attempt to try to prevent what ultimately happened anyway. I never started again. I filmed 1 or 2 more workout videos but that was it. I haven’t been consistent at all since everything happened – and the truth is, I don’t even care. My body failed me, despite being in good shape. So part of me feels like there’s no point.  I never thought about it in that way before…but it all makes so much sense.

Now, if I’m being logical I know my being in good shape didn’t have any impact on what transpired…but that’s genuinely how I feel. I feel that my body just totally failed me. The pain that I have endured physically hasn’t helped. I was referred to a specialist who believes that I have endometriosis, and has put me on a treatment plan to try & prolong surgery. Considering how much pain I’m in everyday, that surgery will likely happen sooner than later. It can be downright debilitating at times. Could I be doing more when I DO feel well? Absolutely…but I’m not. That’s where the mental breakdown comes in. I checked out. I’m making no excuse about it – I just totally tapped out. I have stuck to my diet plan and since beginning a new (second) job, have been walking every single day, that weather permits…but that’s where it ends. I’ve done a couple of at-home workouts here & there but nothing consistently. As a result, I don’t look the way I wanted to look. Quite frankly, I look nothing like I’ve looked at the start of the last few summers…and I can’t say I care all that much.

I’d like to guarantee some miraculous comeback story….but that just isn’t realistic. Instead, I will guarantee that I will continue to try my very best to get through every day – one day at a time. Some days will be better than others…and I’m gonna just run with that. On my less painful days, maybe I’ll force myself to do bigger workouts. On the days that I feel crappy mentally or physically, maybe I’ll stick with some cardio and try to walk the sadness out. Those are my new goals and I think they’re much more attainable as we head into summertime. My biggest goal is that I can stop going through the motions of life and that one day my rehearsed smile, will be real and that I will actually love life again.

 

 

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Angel of Mine

Nearly 7 months have passed and it still doesn’t feel real. Today, April 29, would’ve been your birthday. Instead of being in a hospital holding you in my arms, I sit here with tears in my eyes and a heaviness in my heart. I’ll never get to know who you would’ve turned out to be. I never got to see a sonogram picture or hear a heartbeat. I had many vivid dreams that you were a girl and while I never got actual proof of that, I know you would’ve been the most adorable baby anyone had ever seen. I hoped that you’d have your daddy’s blue eyes & light hair to go with the same outgoing, fun personality that we both have. I may not have had confirmation of your gender but I had a beautiful name in mind, should you have been the little girl in my dreams. You weren’t around long, but you changed your mommy & daddy’s life, as they knew it, forever. I may not know much for sure…but I do know that you were loved more than you can imagine.

Today marks the end of National Infertility Week. I am 1 in 4. This is by far the hardest blog I’ve ever written. I’ve made the attempt to type everything out & share this story several times over the last few months but I just couldn’t bring myself to write finish it. However, I know how isolating this feels and if sharing my story can help even one person out there to know they aren’t alone…it’s worth the pain it takes to write. After all, with experience comes knowledge & knowledge should shared.

I don’t cry as much these days but I still feel a sadness & emptiness inside. It’s a heaviness that’s hard to describe. I don’t have as many “bad” days and that may be due, in part, to the face that I’ve also come to realize that God may have, in fact, “known better.” As the weeks and months went by, I continued to feel physical pain in my lower abdomen which got progressively worse. After seeking help from two different doctors and having numerous tests, they found a polyp in my uterus which had to be removed via hysteroscopy. While there isn’t any way to know for sure, my doctor believes this could have led to my loss. I try to take comfort in knowing that my little one could’ve been harmed had it not happened. I also know that had it not happened I wouldn’t have investigated…and gotten answers to my on-going health issues.

Let’s back up. Throughout high school, I suffered tremendously every month. I had pain so bad that I would be doubled over in the nurse’s office, often leading to my going home. After high school, I had an episode of pain so bad that the college I was at in upstate NY thought I had appendicitis and rushed me to the ER. It wasn’t appendicitis and I was sent home. A few days later I went to a gynecologist who found cysts and after several tests, diagnosed me with PCOS. I was put on birth control and my symptoms were pretty much under control thereafter.

This past summer, despite birth control and all logic…I got pregnant. I was really scared. Not about having the baby…but about carrying it. I suffered a miscarriage in my early 20s, while on the birth control patch (why was that a thing?!) and combined with my age and PCOS…I knew it was a recipe for a repeat. Still, I did what I could to take care of myself. The pee-stick tests were all coming back negative (aside from one that had a very slight pink line) and a very early sonogram didn’t show anything. Why didn’t I go for a blood test? I don’t know. I thought a sonogram would be better…just in case I wasn’t actually pregnant. I was wrong. I had severe morning sickness and an adversion to coffee (of all things). I was also starting to get a little pooch and my boobs…well, they came back to life in the most painful way. I should’ve had the blood test to get the confirmation and extra care that I probably needed. I won’t lie – that has weighed heaviest on me. I genuinely thought that I was doing the right thing but maybe had we had the full confirmation, I could’ve been under a doctor’s care sooner & prevented what happened. I know that’s ridiculous and that ultimately these things can’t be prevented. Still, when you go through this type of loss you have feelings of guilt & genuinely blame yourself. It takes a long time to come to grips that there was really nothing you could’ve done.  Hell I still have days where I wonder if I could’ve done something different. That helpless feeling doesn’t make the situation any easier – it actually makes it worse. No one talks about that…but it’s real.

The reality of pregnancy was sinking in and I was getting really excited about this little one. Despite being so sick that I could barely eat or function normally, I knew it would be worth it in the end. Little did I know that the end..and my worst fear…would come just 8/9 weeks later. Early October came…and so did the bleeding. At first, it wasn’t a lot of blood so I didn’t think too much of it but within hours I was all but hemorrhaging. Knowing how the hospitals around me are..I waited it out a little. I figured if the bleeding slowed down, I’d be okay. The blood was extremely heavy, soaking through pad after pad. Still, I waited a little while. It didn’t totally slow down but within a few hours, it slowed enough to where I didn’t think that I needed to go. What I knew for sure was that it wasn’t a regular period by any means – especially when I saw the grayish mass. I knew what was happening. I was losing my baby.

A sonogram and blood test a couple of weeks later confirmed it. The weeks and months that followed were some of the hardest that I’ve ever had to go through. I put on my game face and went to work every single day but the minute I’d get in my car…I’d be inconsolable. Thankfully, I had a great support system/partner by my side through it all. I truly don’t know how I would have made it without him. The whole situation was hard on both of us, for very different reasons. The holidays, which came about a month later, were especially hard on me but once New Years came I made up my mind to not bring this sadness into 2018 and to give the guy…and myself…a break from it all.

Throughout this whole ordeal, I was experiencing dull to moderate pain in my lower abdomen. I didn’t think much of it, figuring this is what happens after a miscarriage sometimes. However, as the months went by, the pain got worse. I sought out a new doctor who, after 2 sonograms, told me I needed a hysteroscopy to remove a polyp in my uterus. Once removed, they would biopsy this polyp for cancer. That word completely shook me. We went ahead with the procedure and I was a nervous wreck. First I lose a baby…now a cancer scare. A couple of weeks later, I had another sonogram and follow up for my results. Thankfully, it wasn’t cancer. However, the pain persisted and while I do have cysts (common from my PCOS), they shouldn’t cause this much grief. My doctor sent me to another gynecologist who specializes in pain management, specifically that of pelvic pain & endometriosis. After a very thorough consultation and examination, she determined that I most likely have endometriosis. She even told me that my “appendix pain,” something that I’ve suffered with since the age of 18, was one of the most common and classic symptoms of a person with endo. She put me on a hormone treatment, which is essentially birth control but with progestin instead of estrogen. She also put me on a regimen of Aleve to manage my pain better. It’s her hope to prolong the surgery, or laparoscopy, as long as we can.

As far as the loss goes, I have been getting better everyday but now that the actual due date is here, I’m a mess all over again. Truth is, this shook me more than anything ever has. With every passing day and sharp pain that I feel, I worry that I may not be able to have babies at all. The doctors all feel otherwise, stating that getting pregnant is the hardest part and clearly I didn’t have that issue. However, I’m more concerned for my ability to carry the baby to term. There’s no way to even determine that…and it kills me. We’ve come so far in so many ways with medicine but we’re so behind in others. Women can suffer numerous losses and not have an explanation why…just because everything “looks good” or “shouldn’t be a problem.” It’s horrible.

Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy is by far the hardest thing a woman has to face. What people don’t realize is that you form a bond with that baby immediately. Your body starts to change. You start making these plans and daydreaming about what your baby will look like & grow up to be. Then, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. Sometimes it feels like a bad dream that I can’t wake up from.

To anyone reading this, please know that you aren’t alone. Your feelings are valid – you aren’t crazy. Despite what you may think or feel…this really isn’t your fault. Most people, including your partner, can’t understand how this feels and while they may try to be supportive, it doesn’t make it better. Above all please remember, you don’t have to “get over it” until you are ready. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! The healing process differs for everyone and its no ones right to dictate how long that should take. Allow yourself time to be sad but don’t stop living. I have gone through the motions for months, living my life the way I always have. I know that one day things will feel normal again – and I look forward to that day for me…& for you.

Stay strong ❤

-Gina

*In loving memory of my angel baby, ‘Baby R’, and all of the other angel babies watching over us in Heaven*