Finding Hope in a Hopeless Situation

This month is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. I’ve participated in two walks – one on October 6th in PA with a support group called Unite and another this past weekend with another group called Go Pink & Blue which is based out of Brooklyn. Each of these walks were special in their own ways but the one in Brooklyn was extra special. It took place on the Brooklyn bridge as the sun was setting and ended with a candle ceremony, in which we all spoke our baby’s names out loud and honored them in the most beautiful way.

Heart of candles for all of our angel babies

10.1.2017 – the day my life was forever changed

With both of these walks, I looked around and saw so much support. Families, friends, boyfriends/husbands…and there I was, all alone. For the walk in PA, I had my good friend by my side but for the Brooklyn walk I did it alone. Sure I had other angel moms there, who were very sweet and kind to me & whom I’ve exchanged information with to keep in touch. I also finally met a fellow angel mom, whom I’ve been so grateful to meet through my Facebook support groups and who has become a good friend. I met up with her in time for the candle ceremony – which was perfectly timed because I would’ve been a complete emotional mess otherwise. It’s hard to look around and see so much support and know that you don’t have any of that.

Now here’s where I open up and get really vulnerable. That’s hard for me to do – I don’t want anyone’s pity but I said I would share all of my story – including the struggles..and maybe one of you can relate…so here we go.

I’ve struggled a lot since April (the due date) but this past weekend was extra difficult – and it’s trickled into today. Doing this walk alone on Saturday…seeing the baby’s father early Sunday morning (which didn’t end well)…and now having to get through another day where I honor my angel baby alone today (it’s World Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day) – it’s more than I know how to handle. I’ve struggled with things my whole life but this broke me. And every time I see the baby’s father, my heart breaks even more. Not just because everything fell apart with him (that would be hard enough) but because I look at him and see all that I lost. Sometimes I just stare at him – thinking of that little girl in my dreams who looked just like him – and it destroys me. I will always wonder if the baby would’ve really looked like him – if it was really to be that little girl. I look at him and I get instant flashes of how different our lives would be with an almost 6-month old baby. I think of how different things would be with him – how he wouldn’t have turned so cold & distant but rather softened up and become less selfish. I think of how (if it really was that little girl) his whole world would be upside down…and how different he would be towards me (and all women). But that’s all I can do – think & wonder.

A little over a year ago, I had everything I wanted – my dream guy…my dream of being a mother…complete happiness – things I never thought were possible. Then within the blink of an eye…it was all gone. It’s like some sick joke God wanted to play on me. I went from the happiest that I’ve ever been to the most miserable. I’m left to have daily interaction with a guy who wants nothing to do with me, largely because of our baby. Losing the baby caused me to all but hate my body for what happened – and having him be so distant/cold and be seemingly disgusted (which is my interpretation) by me, only feeds more into my insecurity. I’m left to wonder about SO many things it makes my head hurt. I barely sleep. I go from eating nothing one day to eating everything the next. I never want to workout or do anything really. I cry ALL the time. I’ve gotten to this awful place mentally where I don’t even want to get out of bed most days – because what’s the point. I’ve been going through the motions of a life I don’t want to live. All I ever wanted was to be a mom – that got ripped from me and rather than try to have another baby….I lost the guy too. I’m left with nothing but what if’s – and it tortures me every single day. No one really understands – I’m told to move on with my life, be strong for my baby, etc… but none of that is possible. I feel really hopeless and wonder what the point really is. I’m 35 – which is already bad news in baby years. I now know that I have two conditions which cause infertility (I’ve known about PCOS for years but after I lost the baby, I was diagnosed with Endo too). And, if those weren’t enough, now I’m all alone. I can’t just keep trying and hope to not only get pregnant…but that a baby stays put the next time…I don’t even know if there will be a next time. Every day that passes I get older and feel more hopeless.

Last week in my blog, I said it would be day one again – that I was going to focus on me and get my pre-baby/grief body back. That motivation literally lasted for 2 days. I try to be strong – to use my pain as something positive and help others. I have always struggled with sharing things like this, as I don’t like attention or pity. Writing has always proven to be good therapy and I know other angel moms can relate – so I’m sharing for us all. I’m sharing so you know that you’re not alone. Maybe you struggle to get out of bed everyday or find it hard to be a functional member of society.  You’re not alone – because I do too. I’ve gone through the motions of everyday life ever since this happened last year – hoping that one day I’ll actually love living my life again. That day hasn’t come – and the longer this goes on the more hopeless and sad I feel. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking – me too. And that’s why I’m being open and sharing this – for you and for me. When we lost our babies we all got initiated into this club that we never asked to be part of – but we’re in it together. My wish is to somehow find hope in this hopeless situation…I wish that for me and for you ❤

xox

Gina

 

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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

A Letter to My Angel On Your 1st Angelversary

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To my baby,

One year ago, on this very day, heaven gained an angel. I never believed much in angels and the like before, but I sure do now. You’d be five months old now and I know you’d be the cutest baby anyone had ever seen. You may not have been with me for long but you made a impact that will last a lifetime.

The morning of October 1, 2017 started out like every other had over those 9 weeks but something was different this day. Call it mother’s intuition or just knowing my body…but I knew something was wrong. You see, I felt your presence almost immediately but that morning…I didn’t. I kept telling your daddy something wasn’t right – I thought that I may be losing you. He did his best to reassure me and calm me down as we went about our morning. I was very sick that morning, more so than usual, and I had more pain than usual too. Despite us being busy, your daddy took good care of me making sure that I had plenty of water and trying to help me as much as he could. The discomfort got worse with time and he offered to bring me to the hospital but I wouldn’t go. I didn’t want to be there for the inevitable. Sure enough, that afternoon you were gone. I went numb. I feel guilty sometimes – maybe I should’ve went to the hospital that day…or maybe I should’ve had the blood test instead of a sonogram so early on. Maybe I would’ve had better care and maybe I could’ve saved you. I know that’s silly – that nothing can be done to prevent this sort of thing. Still, my heart breaks everyday that you’re not here in my arms.

I got the confirmation on the day that I would’ve seen your little body & heard your heartbeat for the first time. Instead of seeing all of those wonderful things, I got the confirmation that I was pregnant…and that I lost you. It broke me in ways I can’t begin to describe. I always will wonder what you would’ve been, if you would’ve been the little girl in my dreams that looked just like your daddy. Every time I see your daddy, I think of you and picture you guys decked out in matching wrestling shirts, just the way it was in my dream. I imagine how different life would be – and how amazing it would be to watch you grow. We would’ve taught you all about wrestling and sports, while giving you plenty of princess tiaras and barbies. I would’ve made sure you learned about life…but not the hard way like we both had to. You truly would’ve had everything that your daddy and I never did…and so much more.

I’ve spent most of this year questioning everything but the one thing I never have to question is the love that I have for you. You changed mommy & daddy from the minute we knew first about you – and we won’t ever be the same. I hope you are safe in your great grandma and grandpa’s arms, playing with little Coco. I hope you see how much mommy misses you and please know that daddy does too – he just doesn’t know how to show it. I’ll try to be stronger for you with each passing day, so you don’t have to see me cry so much. Please keep sending me little signs and watch over us both. I promise to keep your memory alive for as long as I live ❤️

Love always,

Your mommy

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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2018 Summer Shred!

It’s finally spring weather!! That means one thing – it’s Summer Shred time! I’ve done this shred for the past 4 years and every year I learn and improve for the next. Last year, I really got it right so I’m going to mimic what I did and tweak the workouts to be more functional, in accordance to what my body can actually do.

In 2014, I embarked on a 4-week shred and Mission: Hot Body challenge. I mimicked the very strict & regimented diet and workouts of bikini competitors. Super clean eating , 2-a-day workouts…you name it, I did it. It was crazy hard…but I got it done. After 4 weeks of extremely hard work, I had abs and was the leanest & most cut I’ve ever been. The problem was that as soon as the challenge ended, it was my birthday and with it came ice cream cake & plenty of drinks throughout the weekend. To top that off, just one month later I ended up seriously injuring my shoulder…which I have since had surgery to correct. Within two months, all of that hard work seemed to be for nothing. The next two years, I did slimdowns but couldn’t get it quite right. I still worked out and I continued to eat fairly well, but my body would only look how I wanted it to for a short time. Last year, that changed. Now, a certified nutritionist, I have combined my life experience and added a lot more knowledge to the bank. Last year, I did a 6-week shred that was strict…but didn’t totally eliminate things. I limited dairy and sugar. I upped my protein and kept my carbs early in the day. I lost about 10% body fat and about 10-15 lbs in that time span. My workouts were done with a fellow trainer (who is my magical ART guy as well), so while they were intense they were monitored. I killed it and looked great for my birthday…and throughout the summer.

However, the end of summer & end of year didn’t go well for me. Life events and health issues transpired causing a lot less workouts and a lot less motivation.

So here we go again. 4 weeks until my birthday…so a 4-week shred shall begin. I’m going to follow the same plan as last year for my diet (shopping list is below). My workouts will vary based on how I feel health-wise and injury-wise. There will likely be a lot more cardio along with some lower impact resistance training worked into the mix. I’ll post everyday for the first week, as I did last year, to give anyone following along a good gauge on what I’m doing.

In general, I eat pretty well…I’m just not super strict. For the next 4 weeks, I will be cutting out most sugar, alcohol, and limiting my caffeine & dairy intake. The food scale will also come back. Along with MFP, I found the food scale to be extremely helpful in keeping myself on track and accountable.

My ultimate goal with this shred, like every other, is to lose fat while gaining my lean muscle…and motivation…back. I’ve been pretty sick so I’m starting a little later than I planned but we begin TODAY (April 24) and go until May 23 (my birthday). You can continue the rest of that week if you choose, but since that’s my birthday…that’s when mine will end.

This is a list of the foods that I will be sticking to throughout the next 4 weeks, in case you want to reference it for food shopping:

  • Oats
  • Egg whites
  • Tuna
  • Brown Rice
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Chickpeas
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken
  • Ground Turkey
  • Veggies (kale, asparagus, string beans, zucchini, brussels, cauliflower, peppers, butternut squash)
  • Shrimp
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Cottage cheese
  • PB
  • Rice cakes
  • Frozen blueberries
  • RX Bars/Quest Bars
  • Unsweetened cashew milk/almond milk

**Not listed here are my kitchen staples (balsamic vinegar, spray/oil, hot sauce, mustard, spices, etc.) as well as my protein powder /BCAAs.**

I’m happy to help you with your own customized macros, meal plan & workout guide! Email me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com for more information. If you just want to follow along with me & be accountability buddies, that’s cool too! Shoot me a message so we can help each other out! Let’s get beach body ready & Fight to be Fit together!

-Gina

END the Silence

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March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. It is during this month where we raise awareness to an illness which affects millions of women worldwide.

1 in 10 women in the US are living with endometriosis and sadly, they are often suffering in silence. It is a disorder that is commonly misdiagnosed as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or simply ‘period pains.’ It can take an average of 10 years between symptom onset & proper diagnosis.

Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside instead. Endometriosis growths bleed in the same way the lining inside of your uterus does every month. This can cause swelling and pain because the tissue grows and bleeds in an area where it cannot easily get out of your body. The growths may also continue to expand and cause problems, such as: cysts, inflammation, problems in the intestines and bladder, or formation of scar tissue & adhesions which may not only cause pain, it may also make it difficult to become pregnant.

The pain that women with endometriosis suffer, which can often be severe and feel sharp or stabbing, occurs in the pelvis or belly and usually won’t go away with medication. Some women with mild cases have intense pain, while others with advanced cases may have little pain or even no pain at all. Other symptoms include excessive bleeding during and/or between periods, backache, leg pain, painful sex, painful bowel movements, and infertility.

While there is no known cause, there are several factors which place you at greater risk for developing this illness. These include:

  • Never giving birth
  • Starting your period at an early age or beginning menopause early
  • Short menstrual cycles
  • Having high levels of estrogen
  • Family history of endometriosis
  • Any medical condition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body
  • Uterine abnormalities

Unfortunately, there is no cure but there are several treatment options. The doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and take the one of the following steps to determine if, in fact, you do have endometriosis:

  • Pelvic exam
  • Imaging test, such as ultrasound or MRI
  • Hormonal birth control
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbs like cinnamon twig or licorice root, or supplements, including thiamine (vitamin B1), magnesium, or omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Lowering your estrogen level by exercising regularly, taking birth control, or avoiding large amounts of alcohol and caffeine
  • Laparoscopy

If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of endometriosis, contact your doctor immediately. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can be on the path to feeling better.

References:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656
https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis
https://www.endostrong.com/#end

Wrapping Up

As week 3 comes to a close in my winter detox, I’ve decided to stop. The purpose of this for me was to get back on track and I have. I reset my diet…and my mindset.

I knew this wasn’t going to be like most of my shreds, mostly because I couldn’t workout. I’ve gotten my diet back where I wanted it and in the process, I’ve also gotten my mind right once again.

This journey is full of ups and downs. Lately I’ve had a setback with my health, which has thrown my eating time table off a bit. I haven’t had much of an appetite due to the health issues and as a result, I’m forcing myself to eat foods I don’t want when I’m not hungry to eat. Combine that with my neck & shoulder setback, and it’s just not the right time for this. I plan on doing my usual shred before summertime (and my birthday) so stay tuned for that! Hopefully by then, I’m cleared for more exercises and can workout more regularly.

I feel that I got what I wanted and needed in just about 3 weeks on this detox…and that’s all I could hope for. I wish the same for all of you!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina