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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Let's Get Personal--WhyI'm Running With Every Mother Counts

WARNING: THIS IS A VERY LONG POST!!! :) 

"The idea that not every woman and not every baby have the same opportunity to come into the world, or to bring life into the world in the way they'd like to experience it, has never settled with me.  This is a time where we really need to come together and use the momentum to push the opportunity forward to reach our goal...to ensure that all women & babies have the opportunity to reach their full health potential. "

I've had my blog for ALMOST a year now (holy cow!).  It's scary and intimidating to share personal information about yourself.  My blog and Instagram account are 95% running related because it's important to me to keep my personal life somewhat private. However, as my blog is progressing and my desire to keep growing it and inspiring people,  I think it's important to share some of my personal life with my readers. I've related to so many people by reading their blogs and about their life outside of running/how it effects their running and I wanted to be able to do the same for all of you.

Back in November when I applied to run the NYC half, I knew regardless if I got selected in the lottery or not, I really wanted to run with a charity.  I've raised money once for a run I was doing and it was tough.  I hate begging asking for money even though I know it's going towards such a great cause.  The last time I raised money, I swore I would never do it again because it was stressful and difficult.  That was until I ran the race and the accomplishment I felt was so overwhelming, I swore I would do it again!  Doing something for somebody else or for a cause greater than yourself and not expecting or wanting anything in return is so humbling and gratifying. Enter my charity of choice:

I found out about Every Mother Counts through Oiselle.  The more I read and learned about the amazing organization, the more I wanted to be apart of it somehow. Did you know that 289,000 women die every year as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth? That's 1 woman, every two minutes. 98% of these deaths are preventable. For each death, an average of 4 orphans are left behind.  The statistics are heartbreaking! You can see the work they're doing HERE  and more about the program HERE .

First off, this organization is really important for my heart.  I can't imagine going through life not having my mother.  She is my rock and my life would not be the same without her in it.  I can't think about going through life and not having my grandmother.  I've been so lucky to have so many memories and amazing adventures growing up with that women and she is just amazing! There is an endless list of women who have made me a better  person; my aunts, friends, family, the list is simply too long to name everyone. This goes for every single woman and man out there.  Maybe you've already had to go through life without a mother/grandmother/sister/ friend.  Maybe it has nothing to with pregnancy or child birth, but the absence of them in our lives can leave a void and a black hole no matter what the cause.  Can you imagine going through life without your mother/grandmother/wife/sister/ friend/ etc.  due to complications during pregnancy and child birth?  Without the proper care and knowledge, things could've been so different!

 To get even more personal, My husband and I were excited to start trying for a family of our own after I ran the Chicago marathon in October of 2015. We knew it might take a little time due to the fact that when I started training harder and the intensity was much higher, my cycle was thrown off and was coming every other month. My doctor said it was completely normal for long distance/endurance athletes and after time it would probably even itself out.  My Sister in Law is due at the end of this month and my best friend is due in April, so the time to join this organization seemed perfect.  I got into the NYC half lottery for the 3rd year in a row and joined TEAM EMC about a week later.

Back track to about a week before finding out I had gotten into the half.  A week after Thanksgiving we found out we were expecting! It was hard to really nail down when we conceived, but I knew it was very very early on in the pregnancy.  After having terrible nausea for an entire week, I took a few tests (all positive!) and called my Dr. that day to get a blood test.  This confirmed everything and I made an appointment for blood work and all that jazz.  We were SO EXCITED! We couldn't believe how quickly it happened! When I went in for my first appointment to follow up on my blood work, they were a little concerned with how low my progesterone was and for some high grade lesions on my cervix.  As my pregnancy progressed to my 2nd trimester, I'd have to start seeing an oncologist to make sure the lesions didn't progress to anything worse, like cervical cancer.  To monitor my levels, I went in Mondays for blood work the next 2 weeks.  When it fell to a 5, they decided to put me on a supplement.  The doctors and nurses were so wonderful and always had so much information to give.

The news was obviously very exciting, but it was still so early on, I didn't really want to tell anyone yet.  My husband was so excited and couldn't wait.  He said this was such a happy occasion that we should share and that if something would happen, we would tell our friends anyways! We told a few family members and close friends.  Things were looking better once I started taking the supplement too!

My running was effected almost immediately!  My breath was shorter and I was just exhausted. My normal routine of strength training 3-4 times a week was diminished to once a week, but my running intensity and distance remained about the same.  It was difficult, but running was pretty much the only time I felt okay.

The Monday before Christmas, I went in for a dating ultrasound and everything looked pretty good.  I was just over 6 weeks, but too early to tell anything date wise yet.  We saw the sac and when we got a call the next day with blood-work results, they assured me everything was looking great based on my ultrasound and blood work.  I was feeling so relieved! On Christmas day we told the rest of Tyler's family and the rest of my family.  Everyone was ecstatic and over the moon! So were we! The 1st trimester is so nerve-wracking, but with each day and week that passes, you start feeling less and less nervous.

The day after Christmas, I woke up with some terrible pain and cramping.  I knew it was somewhat normal, but as the pain increased, I knew something was wrong.  I called my Dr. and she told me it could be side-effects from the supplement I was taking and that I could stop taking it until I came in Monday for my appointment.  The day was awful.  I was in so much pain and I knew exactly what was happening.  My sweet husband tried to be positive and look on the bright side, but I knew something wasn't right.  Sunday I woke up and was actually feeling okay.  I had 15 miles to run and met some of my running buddies on the bike path.  I had told a few of my close running friends since I run with them so much and wanted them to know what was up in case anything happened.  5 miles in I was feeling pretty good and then the pain started.  We were on a part of the path where there was no other choice really but to run back home.  By mile 10 the pain was so excruciating, I had to stop.  I tried running again, but after a half mile, I told everyone to go ahead and finish.  I was done.  I finished the last half a mile, pretty much in tears from the pain and then just stopped.  I can handle pain pretty well, but this was overwhelming.  I could barely walk. I made it back home and just crawled under a blanket and cried.  For the rest of the day.

Waiting to go to the Dr  the next day was agonizing.  When it was finally time Monday afternoon, they confirmed what I already knew.  There was nothing on the ultrasound and I had miscarried.  No one knows why and it so so common, especially during the 1st trimester.  Even though we had only known for about a month, it was still very sad.  The hardest part though was telling everyone.  It would've been easier to deal with between just my husband and I, but I felt like I was letting down my husband and our families.  I felt sad & betrayed by my body and when I told my husband this, he told me he felt the opposite.  That he felt grateful my body is strong and that it knew something wasn't right. And he was so right.  I asked him if he thought this was something I should share and he said it was up to me, but that it might be good for others to know it happens and it's normal and okay.  It's okay to be sad and everyone deals with grieving in their own way. It's still sad, but I have been dealing with it the best way I know how. By running.  We are excited to try again as soon as we can.

Being a part of Team EMC was even more meaningful to me after this happened.  I knew what was going on with my body and knew no matter what, my doctors knew the best decision for me and my body.  Without proper knowledge and care, the maternal death rate will continue to rise.  The United States, one of the wealthiest countries, is now one of 8 countries where the number of women dying as a result or pregnancy and child birth complications is up.  I read this article back in early December and it's eye opening!

If you're interested in finding out more about Every Mother Counts, you can visit their webpage HERE.

For every women saved & for every mom healthy, there's a lasting ripple effect on countless families and communities. Please visit my fundraising page HERE!

No donation is too little and I'm so grateful for any amount you're able to give.  If you're not able to donate, that is totally understandable, but please read about this amazing organization and learn more about the cause!  If you have any questions regarding anything in this post, please do not hesitate to comment or contact me directly at erinewrightson@gmail.com! I love connecting with my readers!

Thanks for following my journey! 
Happy Running!
xoxo