Last month, I finally took the plunge and registered with Integrative Nutrition for their one year health coach training. It’s something I’ve been looking at since quitting my teaching job in Korea. About once a year, I call the school and inquire about any tuition specials they are running. Every year, I came up with a reason as to why it wasn’t a good time. Money, time, energy… Then, last month, I got the itch. I called and a very friendly lady explained the financing specials they were running. I got off the phone and nervously called my mom. After explaining to her that I’d get a big tuition break if I paid in full but that I wasn’t quite comfortable taking that much out of savings…’so…uh..maybe…if you are able…could I borrow part of it from you and dad…'(the uncomfortable stumbling of a grown woman asking to borrow a chunk of money from her parents), she said she’d talk to my dad and call me back.
Later that evening, they called me back. “Sure! How much do you need?” What? My parents are the best. I was filled with warm, fuzzy gratitude. Not just because it was going to save me a lot of money, but because I knew immediately that they believed in me and supported this new venture. With the support of my parents and Josh, I signed up and binged on the two weeks worth of lectures and assignments since I was a little behind. I feel like a part of me became “unstuck”. I’m so excited to watch the next year unfold and to begin building a career in health coaching!
Sometimes, when one area of life opens up, others begin to follow. Another adventure Josh and I have been discussing for years, but like so many things, always had a reason to not follow through with it, is traveling to Peru to trek to Machu Picchu. Pregnancy, money, time off of work, to take a toddler or not…these were all perceived obstacles. And then, we did it. I talked to the grandparents about loving on Leif while we traveled, I talked to my midwife and Jannine about what it would look like if I was to get pregnant before our trip (they both agreed I’m healthy enough and bad-ass enough to do it), we found reasonably priced flights, and a trekking guide on a less traveled path for half the price as the Inca trail. And then… we bought plane tickets to Peru. Because life is really not long enough to worry about the “what ifs” too much.
So, those things, among so many others, are new and good. Really good. Let me tell you about something that doesn’t feel so good. Josh and I have been trying for another baby for a while now. It took me a long time to get my cycle back after having Leif (19 months). At first, it was pretty regular but I was recovering from surgery so we needed to wait a few months to start trying. As my hip healed, I increased my mileage and also started doing more strength training. My period became less regular and then disappeared all together over the summer as I got pretty lean and muscly. If I wasn’t trying to make a baby, this would be welcomed. I self diagnosed and started adding more healthy fats to my diet–more nuts, seeds, and avo. I also added an extra serving of protein in the form of Vega smoothies. I reduced mileage and strength training and BOOM! Auntie Flow showed up. However, my estrogen and progesterone are still quite low and I do not know if I am ovulating or when my next period will be. I was running a lot when I got pregnant with Leif and it took exactly one heat of the moment “oops–we didn’t use a contraceptive” to make that kid. So, this is a little frustrating/disheartening/shame provoking. Shame? I have been reflecting a lot on why shame would show its ugly face in this. Its interesting, I feel like I do (almost) everything right when it comes to health. Like so many of my friends who struggle with fertility issues, I have pretty optimal health. Most of my friends who had babies around the same time as me, are either pregnant or have already had another. Comparison is a bitch. I know that nursing Leif this long has played a role in my fertility. I also know that many women get pregnant while they are still nursing–trust me, they’ve told me. Anytime I have mentioned my fertility struggles in a public space and linked them to nursing, I’ve received messages like, “Well I got pregnant nursing! You can too!” And then I fight back tears because although they mean well, it is not helpful. It plays into my shame–“There must be something wrong with me…or maybe God doesn’t want me to have another baby…” Fertility issues are heavy with emotion.
I’m working with my midwife and Jannine (my doctor) to prepare my body to make a baby. I’ve increased fat intake even more, holding my mileage right around 40/week as opposed to the 65/week I was doing this summer and I significantly reduced weight training. I’m also taking chaste tree berry supplements to regulate my cycle and Xiao Yao San (Chinese herbs) to help with circulation and mood. Why mood? I don’t feel depressed at all…but… after talking it over with both my midwife and Jannine, we all feel that I might benefit from trying a couple of rounds of the fertility drug, clomid. The hope is that it will help my body ovulate. This is bit of a shock, even to me, since I hardly ever take ibuprofen. One of the side effects of clomid is mood swings…and when you’re trying to make a baby, its important to not be a raging witch. Its very counter productive, if you know what I mean.
I feel so grateful for both my mid-wife and Jannine. She is the same mid-wife that stood by me during my 24 hour labor and let me keep pushing when many would have sent me to the OR. She trusted me and that helped me to trust her. I trust her now just as I did then. I was nervous to bring it up with Jannine, a naturopath, worried she wouldn’t support it. But that’s not the kind of person she is. We went for a woodsy walk with the dogs and talked about the benefits and draw backs as well as the things I could do to help balance out the side effects (herbs, acupuncture, any activity that keep me from becoming a raging witch). I am nearly in tears just writing this (maybe I’m about to start my period…). Not sad tears because I want so badly to give Leif a sibling(s), but tears of thankfulness for the incredible women in my life. Thankful that none of my medical providers n push me one way or the other but let me make choices about my body and stand by me in those choices. I know not all women are as lucky.
I know that I am so fortunate to have Leif. He was truly meant to be. I know women struggle with fertility for years and years, often with no baby on the other end. I also know that I’m not done and that I want to have a couple more, preferably in my early-mid 30’s. So…here’s to really great new things in my life and also to the things that lay ahead!