It’s here. We’ve reached the end! Training is complete and race day is on Saturday.
Today I did my last training run and a thought hit me from an article I scanned the other day. The world is split into “runners and non-runners”. That comment made me laugh out loud.
Can the cloth really be cut into two?
Those of us on the fertility journey I believe would say YES.
Sometimes it feels like the world is split into those who “have children” and those who “don’t have children.”
Depending on which side you are on, you can view the world differently. For anyone struggling with fertility you have heard it a hundred times:
”So, when are you going to have kids?”
“What are you waiting on?”
For me, when people learned I was running this race, I keep getting:
“So, what time are you going to finish the race?” or
“How long is a half marathon?” (It’s actually 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometres)
This week I found myself talking negatively about the race. Weird!
This race that means so much to me and has been on my bucket list of life accomplishments for some time now, was suddenly not being represented in the true light of my heart’s desire. It saddened me today as I reflected on this. You see, by brushing off people’s expectations of how well I would do in this race or flippantly groan about the training and the 4 am wake up runs and how I was “so over this!” it was as though I was wiping an old smelly wash cloth over all the miles and hours it has taken to get to this distance and diminishing the goal.
In fact, what I was really doing, was trying to protect this dream of mine.
How many of you have done that too?
When you are trying to get pregnant, month after month, and the questions start coming at you, it’s sometimes easier to just say:
“Oh, we are not ready yet for children” or maybe
“Kids?? Are you crazy! My life is too busy!”
But really deep down inside, in that vulnerable soft spot, what we whisper is… ”
“Yes, that’s right, that’s what I want and I am downright scared that I might not achieve it.”
I contemplated this as dawn was breaking and looked up and saw the sun, stars and moon in the sky all at the same time and made the decision to change my responses today. The combination of darkness and light at the same time is exactly where those of us on the fertility journey are daily. We mix our hope and dreams with the fear that it may not happen. When we are presented with the news that we need help to get pregnant and that IVF may be the only answer to achieving our dream of having a family one of the hardest decisions is to actually pursue treatment and take that first step forward.
That’s the thing about fear though, sometimes it can cripple us instead of driving us forward. Today in my world, fear was not winning. Today I stopped and remembered that a few weeks ago I dedicated this run to my patients and I changed my perspective.
There at the end of the road knowing I had just completed 14 weeks of training, I realized that running has taught me to push beyond my limits both physically and mentally. Every morning as I laced my shoes and hit that black asphalt I had to tell myself “You can do this”. Pain was part of the process. In the thousands of steps it has taken to get to this point, it is the possibility as much as anything that has kept me going.
Will I reach my goal? I won’t know that until Saturday but the support I have received from so many of you has made this journey one to remember for a lifetime. As much as my running team mates have been there for me it has been my patients and my non-running friends who have also in the past few weeks encouraged me to keep pushing to the end. So perhaps the world isn’t split into two after all, perhaps there is a thread that connects us all. We are in this race together … we’ve got this!
I’ll see you at the finish line!
– Rachel De GaleLearn More
If you are trying to get pregnant, here are a few questions you should ask your doctor on your next visit.
1. Could lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, or stress be affecting my fertility?
2. Could my job or my partner’s job be contributing to our problems?
3. Are there any non-medical approaches, such as relaxation or meditation techniques, that could improve my chances of becoming pregnant?
4. Is it important to proceed with an infertility evaluation now, or should we wait a while longer?
5. What specific tests would you recommend to diagnose our infertility, and what do they cost?
The BFC team made a recent trip to Baltimore to attend the American Society of Reproductive Medicine annual general meeting.
At our clinic we are passionate about staying on top of our medical field.
These events also give us the opportunity, as the years have gone by, to confirm that what we do, not only works, but that we also stand out as a best practice clinic. On a professional level it is a fantastic opportunity!
It is wonderful to see new trends and see the data presented in so many various fields in this line of medicine.
What happens when work starts to impact your personal goal? While there I needed to log a 14K, 10K (twice) and a 5K. Hmmm not easy.
On the first day I woke up at 5 a.m. and went to the gym. I got in a 10K on the treadmill all the while staring at myself in some mirror.
It was hard!!!
I don’t have the best sense of direction and I didn’t know the city, so taking to the streets wasn’t an option.
Pounding that black belt I felt the panic rise a bit.
Just the week before I was telling myself to trust the training but now the training was being derailed. I got off the treadmill and had a chat with myself. There was no way these runs were going to happen according to the plan. The plan had to be tweaked. It took me the whole elevator ride back up to my room to accept this, but something still wasn’t sitting right. I felt like if I came off the plan there would be a fracture.
My eyes then caught a promotional flyer on the desk in my room. An exhibition entitled The Big Hope Show was being held at the Museum of Visual Art.
That evening, when my lectures ended, I went to the Museum and there on the wall was this quote –
“Hope attracts chances…”
Wow!!!! That’s what I was missing – hope!
I was placing so much emphasis on the time of the race I had forgotten that little word. With hope you can look at your fertility journey and use it as a tool, as an inspiration and a net to catch you when things get tough and don’t go the way you expect.
While leaving the Museum I thought of the week ahead and promised myself that even when things don’t line up I will look around for the small things to inspire me on this journey, I will have hope. I will keep going.
Ironically, the morning after my museum visit, the team ran a 5k and I ran my fastest time ever for this distance!
Hope, Inspiration, Team… I think these three combined is a new formula for my training!
I want to encourage you every week to look around and find something that inspires you, that gives you hope. It may come in the least expected way but if you seek it, you will find it!
Rachel De GaleLearn More
“Why are you doing this?”
My friend asked me that question this morning when I told her that I totally bombed this weekend’s run.
That question has had me pondering all day to the point where I totally scrapped what I was going to type for this blog and gave some real thought to the questions.
EXACTLY why am I running 21 kilometers?!
About ten weeks ago when I decided sign up for a half marathon, I set a goal to complete the race in a specific time.
All my runs have been focused on time.
TIME – anyone who struggles with infertility knows this is one of the worst four letter words out there!
Time – I struggle with this. I struggle with the process of time.
In order to get faster, run longer, and accomplish my goals I have to plug in the time. I have to be dedicated to the process…and that isn’t always fun.
Just like IVF, sometimes you start at IUIs, proceed to IVF and for some the next advance is to egg/sperm donation or adoption.
In the fertility world “time” is a big word.
Timed intercourse, the timing of medical injections, time of ovulation, the big two week wait.
TIME, TIME TIME! Honestly some days this 4 letter word trumps all others!
But the thing about time is that it is necessary for progression and we can’t fight against it.
This weekend time was not my friend. This weekend the clock was my enemy. Instead of coming in where my training was indicating, I ran the slowest times I have EVER run – EVER!
It was at 18k that the rain, sweat and tears all started to mix together and there at the top of that hill I stopped. I stopped my watch, put my hands on my hips and slumped over. Then out of the blue I heard this voice from a homeless man at the side of the road – he squeezed his fingers together and looked me in the eye and said, “ Dig deeper, only a little further”.
I wiped my face and with a grimacing smile and with every fiber of my aching body I put one foot in front of the next and slowly…very slowly I started down the last three km.
My coach says you run the first part of the race with your head, the middle with your personality and the end with your heart. In digging deep like that old man said I had to find what inspired me, what was in my heart. As my body screamed at me to quit and my head not far behind, I remembered a patient who came in the clinic last week.
She has not given up on her dream and her hope of having a family.
She hasn’t quit.
When you are at rock bottom you figure out some truths and my truth was that it was my patients who were inspiring me. There I was with my heart wanting to go ahead and my body failing me – but since that question this morning I have thought of that patient and the following lessons from that run:
- The first step is having that goal/dream and holding on to it even when the storms of disappointment come crashing down. A dream cannot be achieved however without action. To get the best results, you need a plan, support and the right tools. And then you need to get up and act.
- It is okay to tap out: As I got to the top of that hill and wanted to quit ever so badly, I had to take that moment. The moment to STOP. To stop and regroup my thoughts; to remember my goal and to remind myself not to give up. It’s okay to acknowledge that we can’t take anymore and just need to take a break and breathe; this action of “tapping out” can actually be the one thing that helps you more than anything to keep going.
- You have to do some of this journey alone: On Saturday no one could run that distance but me and like many of you, this fertility journey is yours and yours alone but what I will tell you is that you don’t have to do it ALL alone. As we finished the run I felt like my soul was destroyed and I was beyond upset. There was a very small group of people I could trust with my emotions and be vulnerable in that place. All of these people encouraged me and reminded me that one bad run didn’t take away from the entire process. When you are on your fertility journey there will be good days and bad days but we have to be intentional with pushing forward. When you look inside and see who you are and what you are made of it is here that your faith and your personality will strengthen you and give you that fuel to press on.
- Trust the training: Perhaps this is one of the hardest lessons to learn as it goes back to the time factor. I am very close to the end of this regime but I felt like my training had let me down. It was now that my friends reminded me that this is the exact time when you want to give up that you don’t. DO NOT GIVE UP – they don’t call this a journey for nothing! Stick to your plan. Make sure you are in the hands of the best fertility specialists to guide you through.
- Lastly, join a community of support: On Sunday I watched the Chicago Marathon and listened to stories of participants who through struggle after struggle made their way to the end of that race, many of them running for close to five hours (an unfathomable time in my world to be on your legs!). Ten members of our running group participated in that race and as each of their bibs cross that finish line I screamed from my kitchen with elation of their accomplishment! I was so proud of their success, many of them first timers. Find someone or a group who can identify with your struggles and who can encourage you. You will find inspiration to keep going when you surround yourself with people who are on this journey just like you. These people will find a way into your heart and the times when you need to dig deep they will be the inspiration to keep going.
So to answer my friend’s question as to why I am doing this – I am now doing this race now not so much for a goal time but because I am inspired by our IVF community and our fertility patients. You inspire me and to you I dedicate this race!
Rachel de GaleLearn More
Our team of experts at the Life Wellness Centre are always saying that to ensure you have a positive outcome during your fertility treatment, you need to reduce your stress levels.
When you live in a continuous state of high stress, your reproductive organs don’t receive the energy and nutrients they need to function optimally, particularly as we mature.
Optimising your fertility and increasing your chances of having a healthy baby demands balance in all areas to restore your body’s innate functions. And reducing your stress levels is the first step to improving your fertility.
Here are some methods that we have found to be quite effective:
Talk it out – if you don’t have a trusted friend on board whom you can vent to, it may be worth seeing a counsellor. It will allow you to let it all out and perhaps give you a fresh perspective.
Massage – this is something you and your partner can do for each other. You don’t have to be a professional masseuse; just the touch of the hands is soothing, reassuring and a sensuous prelude to lovemaking. However, a trip to a day spa for professional deep tissue massage is well worth it, and some spas offer couples’ packages.
Time management – schedule your daily activities in a way that you have time to really unwind.
Tea time – eliminate caffeine to reduce anxiety, boost your natural fertility and decrease the chances of miscarriage. Treat yourself instead to a relaxing herbal tea such as chamomile, hibiscus, lemongrass or linden.
Music – while cleaning the house or cooking or just doing nothing, put on some music that heightens your mood, relaxes you and soothes you and your partner.
Yoga is also very effective for relieving stress! If you don’t belong to a fitness club, you can rent or buy instructional DVDs.
Meditation – carve out a quiet space in your day to silence mind chatter and do some deep breathing.
Try it and let us know how it worked for you.Learn More