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Our Fertility Journey & Pregnancy Update

I'm Katrina!

I’m a lover of all things beach, beauty, and branding. I’m also a mom, wife, fitness founder at Tone It Up, and I love helping women ignite their creative brilliance! 

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Hi beautiful,

I want to start this post off with a big thank you… your messages, notes of encouragement, prayers, and text messages have meant the world on this journey. As many of you know, Brian and I experienced some painful losses over the past couple of years. I’ve heard from so many of you that have been on a similar journey and my heart is with you.

It’s taken me a while to post our update because I just wanted to be sure. Pregnancy after loss has felt really different than when we had our first daughter, Isabelle. Instead of big surprises and celebrations, we’ve just been holding on between each appointment and heartbeat. I also find myself thinking ‘if she comes‘ instead of ‘when she comes‘. Between the anxiety of the unknown, fears that surface from the past, and just not wanting to get my hopes up, it’s been a tough mental journey. That being said though… we are beyond thrilled that we’ve made it to week 22 and we are expecting our baby girl to arrive May 28th.

This pregnancy was possible because of IVF and we’re so grateful for our doctors, nurses, friends, family, and all of you for your support along the way.

Things I didn’t realize about fertility

  • 1 in 7 of your friends will experience infertility (and will need your support)
  • 1 in 4 pregnancies lead to miscarriage (we just don’t talk about it enough)
  • Secondary infertility accounts for 50% of infertility (which was really surprising)
  • Nearly 87% of women going through infertility have anxiety and another 41% reported feeling depressed
  • Globally, over 48 million couples are experiencing infertility
  • Infertility is one of the leading causes of divorce
  • 85% of fertility treatments are paid out of pocket (which I’ll be sharing more on this in the future. I really feel it should/needs to be more accessible)

After my egg retrieval, they were able to freeze some healthy embryos. If this wasn’t the case, we would have of course sought out other options. We also did every test available to ensure we had quality embryos before our transfer. One of our losses was due to trisomy 16, which is a chromosomal abnormality, so it was important for us to do the testing.

Here’s the day before my retrieval (I felt like a mother hen holding all my eggs).

PREPARATION

To prepare for our embryo transfer, I did have to have a surgery called Hysteroscopy. It’s where your doctor/surgeon goes in and clears out any fibroids, polyps, and any other malformations that could prevent your transfer from being successful. It’s especially helpful for women who have had multiple miscarriages or trouble with implantation.

After the surgery, I was put on estrogen to help with my lining and wow… I was a hormonal mess. I spoke with my doctor and I was able to take some time ‘off’ to balance my hormones, heal, relax a little, and prepare for our transfer date. Your transfer date revolves around your cycle and whenever it came time to check if I was physically ready, I was overcome with so much fear that I backed out. I felt like I needed more time to mentally prepare, so that’s what I did. We spent time together as a family, went to Arizona to relax, and I did a lot of journalling and mental work to prepare for any and all outcomes.

EMBRYO TRANSFER DAY

A lot of you asked me how to prepare for this day. I think the biggest thing for me was feeling peaceful and surrendering. I had to have faith that I was in good hands. It definitely helped to take a couple of months off between the retrieval, surgery, and all the hormones to reset my mind and body beforehand. If you have the opportunity to do that… I would. Take some time to reconnect as a couple- maybe book a little bed and breakfast weekend together or go on some dates. We didn’t realize how much we needed it and we’re so glad we did.

The days before the transfer, I tried to avoid any added stress- the news, social media, TV, work, etc. Of course, life is life and things happen, but it does help to be as stress-free as we can possibly be. Does it help the transfer ‘work‘ to be less stressed? Probably not (there’s a lot more to it that’s out of our control)… but it does help with the anxiety and nerves. One pet peeve a lot of women have that are going through infertility is when someone tells them, “Just relax… my friend relaxed and finally got pregnant“. 1. It’s putting the blame on the woman for causing the infertility or miscarriage. 2. No one ever knows someone’s situation and really, there’s so much more to fertility than taking deep breaths.

My biggest advice is to try to take care of your heart and your partner (who may also be feeling anxious and out of control since it’s truly out of their hands and body). I’ll talk more on how to navigate this difficult time with your partner, but I’ll just add that this is their journey too. In a lot of cases, it’s half of them genetically too. Either way, it’s still their baby they’re creating with you. Even if it’s not happening physically in their body, they experienced loss and they may be trying to be strong for both of you. It’s best to release judgment on how each other processes trauma and loss. Easier said than done, but it helps to keep that in mind. I feel like I should interview Brian on the podcast about this, because a lot of the time he just felt bad for my body and everything it was going through- the tough pregnancies, D&Cs, hormones, shots, surgeries, bruising, bloating, headaches, nausea… the list goes on and on. It can be a lot on your partner to see you like that too and feel so helpless.

On another note, don’t forget to prepare your house for when you get home. I had to go on bed rest and steer clear from any activity (even going up and down stairs), so I prepared our space for a couple of days in bed. Prepare food and snacks ahead of time. Load up your bedside with water, chargers, books, and anything you need day-to-day.

If you have kids or pets at home, don’t be afraid to ask for some help. It’s an important time for you to rest and be still.

THE TRANSFER

I had NO idea I would be awake! I didn’t google anything ahead of time (I didn’t want to freak myself out), so it was a huge surprise when they said Brian could come in with me. We sat and watched our little embryo transfer into my uterus… such a crazy experience for us both. Maybe not the baby-making story we had learned about in school or envisioned for our journey, but in a completely different and surprisingly cool way.

After the transfer, they wheeled me out to my car and we were able to go straight home. Brian really stepped up and took care of me, Bella, and our little ‘floating’ embryo. Then we just waited. It takes a few days for possible implantation. We were very lucky that our embryo implanted. 9 days after our transfer… I felt the same way I had felt before with pregnancies. I was supposed to wait for our blood test, but I took a test at home (which I don’t recommend). I saw a second little faint line, and Bella, not knowing what she was holding, handed Brian the positive test.

A couple days later, we had our follow-up appointment where they did a blood test to be sure I was pregnant.

Then it was just a waiting game. We had to continue our progesterone shots for another few months. Plus I was on triple estradiol. * SOS * Any side effect that is written about these two hormones… I got it. I felt nauseous, run-down, bloated, headaches… and I wanted to crawl into a dark cave for months. That was me for 14+ weeks. Worth it? 10000%! But shoutout to everyone that goes through this. Sure I felt sick (maybe just like a little hungover) with other pregnancies, but this was next level. Some days, I couldn’t even have the blinds open because the light was too much for my pounding head. A lot of you asked what I ate when I felt sick… I just had toast, cereal, smoothies and yogurts on repeat. Anything you can keep down, eat it. I also had sparkling water with lemon which helped with the nausea. As soon as I hit 14 weeks, I couldn’t believe I actually wanted to eat vegetables, fish, eggs or even dressings which totally turned me off for the months before.

BABY CHECK UPS

Luckily, I was able to have weekly appointments at my IVF clinic- I go to Reproductive Partners– they’re amazing!. I ‘graduated’ at 10 weeks to my OB, but continued to go back to the clinic to monitor my hormones… and when I had random freak-outs and just wanted to pop by for an ultrasound. Yup, that happened * palm to forehead *. They were so good to me though and were happy to help ease any anxiety I was experiencing.

Here are a couple of shots of baby girl 🙂

And now… here we are at 22 weeks. I have minimal ‘bump pics’—  That’s another thing I noticed after loss. I’ve taken a lot fewer pics than I did in the past. I want to get better though. 🙂 It’s starting to feel more real with each week that passes.

Thank you again for being on this journey with us. It really has meant the world to both me and Brian. When we were going through our losses, all the IG live workouts gave us something to look forward. I can never express how much you all truly helped us during that difficult time.

If you haven’t seen some of my other IVF posts, you can check them out HERE.

Sending all my love,

- Katrina

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If we’ve never met before, I’m so happy you’re here and that we’re connecting. I’m the creator of LiveBeautifully.com, a personal place of inspiration includes Home life, Work life, Mom life, and beyond and I’m the co-founder of Tone It Up, a fitness community for women where I’ve been featured in Forbes and business insider for building a fitness empire and on the Today Show for my work in Body kindness and postnatal self-love. 

I’m a mom, a passionate female founder, and a creative brand builder *that just so happens to love squats.

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