Come Back Harder Than Me

Photography credit: Kate Webster

Jy Stewart. Determined. Unwavering. Fighter.

Working out and moving again was appealing because I had control. Getting back to the Olympic lifts was a blessing.
— Jy

We found out on June 1 2016 that I was pregnant. I was in the best shape of my life, weighing in at 159lbs and feeling stronger than I ever thought possible. My max lifts were a 68kg snatch and 84kg clean and jerk. I was given a due date of February 7th, 2017 which put me right around 4 weeks - early days.

That first week was wonderful, and I did not have to adjust anything in my training, other than change my perspective to a goal of maintaining and staying healthy, rather than gaining strength. At 5 weeks I started to experience pretty significant sciatic pain that didn’t allow me to squat or even get out of bed easily. By the second week of June I had to stop all lower body movements. Fast forward another 3-4 weeks, and I was in and out of Emergency with unexplained pain.  At 12 weeks, I had an  MRI performed as the pain was so bad the doctors thought it must of been my appendix. Every test they did showed the same thing: normal, normal, normal. My heart rate and the little one’s were fine.

By this point I had gone from training 1-2x per day to nothing for the past 7 weeks. At 12 weeks the pain was so bad that I was unable to do much more than slowly walk my dog to the corner of our block and back. At 16 weeks I woke up to the feeling that no expectant mother ever wants to feel that early: my water broke. Again we rushed to the Emergency room where they told me that there was very little amniotic fluid remaining and they sent me home and put me on bed rest, essentially what I had been doing for the 4 previous weeks.

After being home another week with a couple more visits to the ER we finally saw a specialist who said everything looked fine with our baby, but yes there was very little fluid remaining and sent us back home to wait and hope for the best. Then on Wednesday September 7th, 2016 at 18 weeks we saw another specialist who broke it to us that there was no way to produce more amniotic fluid and since my water broke at 16 weeks there would be no lung development at all. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to hear in my 27 years, especially after so much hoping and waiting. On September 8th we chose to terminate with a KCL injection into our little one’s heart, however given our options I am not sure there was really any other 'choice.' On Friday September 9th, 2016 I delivered at 18 weeks and 2 days.

Mentally the hard part hadn’t even started yet. Physically, having been on restricted activity or bed rest for the past 18 weeks I had put on over 35lbs. My joints hurt from not loading them for over 3 months and even walking still hurt my hip and lower back.

12 days later I touched my first barbell. It was weird, because I had spent so much time waiting and hoping, having no control over anything. Working out and moving again was so appealing because I had control. I was afraid of going to the gym though, afraid to see people who might say congratulations or ask how I was doing. Some days I got to the gym, looked at the doors, turned around and left. Most days though, I went inside. Getting back to the Olympic lifts was a blessing. Any time I approach a barbell for an Olympic lift, I have to turn off my brain or it will not happen. Training gave me the space I needed to stay sane over the next few weeks.

On October 12th, I hit my first full snatche since June. I started following a 5-6 day per week Olympic lifting program again. I had this urge to throw all my energy into something I was passionate about, and towards something I did not have to talk about. I gave myself another month and once I felt like I had a handle on training and could deal with something else that is when I spoke with Kat about MTMM. I was still sitting over 190lbs and although my strength was coming back, I needed to track my food again.

Not only was Kat completely understanding, but she also helped set up my nutrition to a level I could manage. I am slowly (very slowly) making my way back down to the weight I started at, maybe lower. I am eating more than I ever have, and although I have many days where everything just seems like its too much and unfair (as I’m sure it does for everyone) there is a light. My weight this morning is 178lbs. My comeback maxes are 71kg (3kg lifetime PR) and 84kg. My next hurdle is a fibroid removal on March 29th. This means I will have at least 6 weeks of no training where Kat and the MTMM team will be even more important as nutrition will be all I am able to use to maintain the body I have gotten myself back to. There is never a perfect time to start looking after your body, but MTMM is able to help you every step of the way. I just cannot thank you guys enough for all that you have given me.

-Jy #ComeBackHarderThanMe