Have you noticed its becoming a triathlon crazy world? I can’t go on Facebook anymore without seeing pics of friends training, posting near impossible run times, or posing in sleek suits made just for the occasion. There is even a book out exploring this new obsession, Women Who Tri by Alicia DiFabio, a heart inspired exploration of the trend and one woman’s foray into it. It’s a good read that almost, sort of, made me want to try the tri. But then I thought about it and, for myriad of reasons will not be spending my non-existent free time training for this impressive physical feat. In part because I’m lazy, in part because I’d rather play with my kids, but more importantly because I already took my body on its biggest adventure yet.
I journeyed into infertility and came out victorious, not once but twice!!! For me infertility, pregnancy, and child birth were my triathlon. Simply getting pregnant took years of diligent research and strict discipline. I followed various diet plans to improve my fertility. We had perfectly timed sex. I negotiated doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and medications. Once pregnant, I took meticulous care of my body and mind. I wanted the environment that baby was being created in to be as nurturing as possible. Since, I was in effect creating her, I only wanted good stuff for building blocks as well.
Somewhere along the way, I became obsessed with an unmedicated birth. By this, I mean no epidural and as few interventions as possible. We decided to learn Hypno-Birthing. It required weeks of learning and practicing the visualizations and meditations in a formal setting followed by daily in-home practice. Physically, I knew I had to train as well. My body would be put to the test. No matter what kind of birth you have, it is the biggest thing your body will probably ever do. I did yoga , Bodypump, and walked regularly. I was ready to go days without sleep and only ice chips to eat. (I did ultimately have an IV line with fluids pumping in to support baby’s heart rate during the delivery and keep me hydrated).
I went into labor a week early. We were giddy with excitement. I tried to push down the fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that my body would fail me (it had before). Fear something would happen to the baby. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle it all. We headed to the hospital, as ready as we would ever be. I imagine starting a triathlon is much the same way. I had a level of acceptance that we had done all that was possible to prepare, and it was now time to perform. My surges started slow and steady. They actually stayed about five minutes apart throughout the whole labor but as the hours passed, fatigue set in. At one point, I briefly considered an epidural but my Doula reminded me of how great I was doing. My husband did all he could to support me but at the end of the day it was really about me and baby making it to the finish line. Unlike a triathlon, no one can really tell you when that is. You need faith. Faith that your baby and body can do this. Faith that your providers can care for you, keep you and baby safe. Faith in your resilience. However, there is a finish line. Babies are born and when yours is, that first snuggle on your chest, that first cry, that first rush as you marvel in what you have made is grander than anyone announcing you are an Ironman. You are a mother.