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Our IVF Journey So Far

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 hope you’re doing well. I want to start this off by saying thank you so much for all of your messages, DMs and of course… prayers. We feel it all and we appreciate you all. While we can’t reply to everything at this time, we just want you to know that we see your love and it makes us feel hopeful and not so alone on this journey.

Fertility struggles are oftentimes a taboo topic, especially among couples.

I’ve heard from so many women over the last few weeks saying they never shared their struggles or fertility journeys, not even with their friends or families because there’s so much shame around ‘infertility‘. And I know all too well how it feels— I’ve felt everything from unworthy, not ‘woman enough‘, broken… you name it. As someone in the ‘fitness’ industry too, I’ve felt shame having such a difficult time growing our family. But, this journey has also shown me that we’re not alone… and there is so much beauty in hope, humanity and healing. I really don’t think I would have the courage to step into a fertility clinic, to ask for help, or to share our experience so openly without all of your support. So thank you…

Over the last year and a half, I’ve been fortunate enough to feel supported, but of course there have been days where I felt really isolated, but that’s my own doing where I retreat and hide in my own sadness. A lot of times we don’t want to share our heartache, because we don’t want to burden anyone with our loss or for anyone to look at us like we’re broken. The ‘sad eyes‘ and ‘I’m so sorry‘ becomes overwhelming over time.

When I shared our journey on Instagram- (VIDEO HERE), I received a lot of questions about our journey. I don’t mind answering at all, because I hope it helps women (and men) know that they’re not alone and that this is totally normal.

1 in 4 pregnancies are lost, 1 in eight couples have difficulty conceiving, and 33% of us have had or know someone going through fertility treatments.

Here are the common questions we’re receiving. Again, questions don’t bother us at all. We are totally comfortable talking about this because we know it’s important to be open.

  • Before reading, this is a trigger warning for experiences of loss and miscarriage.

Why did you wait to start a family?

We all have our unique circumstances. Brian and I met when we were 19 and 20… so while we could have started a family young, we chose to prioritize other things. Did we think we had all the time in the world? …Yes… Do we regret it? Of course not… we built a beautiful community, changed lives for the better, and we ended up going away on that one random weekend to Whistler and we got pregnant with our daughter Isabelle. Looking back, I realize more and more how much of a blessing she is. I’m so happy we waited for her… it was always her.

How many losses have you had?

We lost 2 angel babies in 2020. One at 3 months and the other at almost 11 weeks. We also got pregnant this spring, but it was a chemical pregnancy— technically less than a month. When an embryo doesn’t implant, it’s most likely abnormal. That’s when we decided to move forward with our doctor’s recommendations.

“Did you miscarry at home or have a D&C?”

Our first loss was shocking… I don’t think I’ve ever been in shock before, but this was devastating. After our appointment when doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat, I came home and waited to miscarry. I walked around for a week… still avoiding sushi, wine, and all the things you can’t have while pregnant. I remember almost thinking I could save the pregnancy or reverse what happened. I was in a very dark and pretty morbid space.

I was also sleepless, but when I would get some sleep, I would wake up and re-live our loss. So after a week, I called our doctor and scheduled our D&C *after checking for the heartbeat one last time*. I was still convinced I could do something. Looking back, this was all a response to my shock and denial.

Our second loss was just as sad, but not as shocking. I was almost expecting to hear bad news at every appointment. We lost his heartbeat after he was growing very slow. After confirming with two check-ups, we scheduled a D&C. I didn’t want to re-live the darkest time of my life… and I’m sure Brian didn’t either.

For anyone reading this wondering what a D&C is like, it’s oddly peaceful. It’s quiet, but the subtle sounds of hospital beeps and machines around you remind you of all the patients around you on their own journey. Both times were in the surgery center, not on the labor and delivery floor, so everyone around me was going through something different.

The nurses and doctors take great care of you too. I chose to go under, but you can also stay awake at some clinics.

Here’s the first one vs the second one. Because of COVID, Brian couldn’t be there the second time, but we did a lot of FaceTime.

How long was your recovery after miscarriage?

Depends on what recovering you’re referring to. The physical part is of course frustrating and devastating all at once. It’s hard having a baby bump post-miscarriage. My bump was just a few months… I can not even begin to imagine the later term loss I’ve seen so many women go through. I know ‘hurt is hurt‘… but I still cannot imagine the loss others have experienced. I’m so sorry so many have to experience this heartbreak.

Here’s a pic one month post-miscarriage.

The mental recovery is hard, so it’s important to honor your angel and hold onto hope and love. I will definitely open up more on this since it’s the most important part. Take care of you, your thoughts, heart, family, body and health, and never give up hope— this is not the end of your story.

Brian and I have tried our best to remain connected through all of this… and we check in on each other. We probably could have done a better job with date nights or taking work off and getting away together, so if you’re in the thick of it now, book a weekend together, a date night, or try to connect at home through small gestures of love. Our husbands/partners are also going through it too. Sometimes they feel like they need to be the strong ones… but they’re of course confused and hurting too.

*By the way… thank you everyone for writing Brian as well. I know he needs it too*

How have you healed from multiple miscarriages?” (I received this a lot)

Healing isn’t always what we think it looks like… ex. strength, perseverance, and resilience. Sometimes it’s surrender, asking for help, crying to your girlfriends, therapy, long walks, taking mental breaks, or praying on your knees in the shower where no one can hear your cries. It can look like whatever you need for coping and moving forward with one foot in front of the other.

I will share much more on our healing. I shared this yesterday that it’s hard to heal when everything still feels broken or unresolved… but we’re choosing hope and love. We hold each others hands… and as I’m typing this Brian just came up and gave me a hug. I really think the small gestures have been the most important part of our healing- on both sides. Stay in tune with each other. Write each other notes. Check in… and give each other permission to be mad/frustrated/angry/alone/needy.

What made you decide on IVF?

Due to abnormalities, we want to make sure to do proper testing on embryos. Our second pregnancy was late 2019, and while that feels like a long time ago (wow, the months of waiting and cycles are long), I’ve heard from so many couples that go through struggles for a lot longer. My heart is with you.

As soon as our doctor said we’d be good candidates for IVF, we decided to move forward because we didn’t want to go through another year and a half of loss and surgeries. This also allows us to potentially have embryos frozen for the future (a lot like freezing your eggs).

Is IVF expensive?

Some companies/insurance cover fertility treatments, but most don’t. I know of two great organizations that women can apply for assistance if their insurance doesn’t cover the treatment. Check out giftofparenthood.org and footstepsforfertility.org

Did IVF hurt?

A little, but icing helps. Of course it’s uncomfortable and takes time and sacrifice, but it’s obviously worth it, so if you’re about to embark on this journey, I promise you’ve got this. Make sure you do it together as a team. I have girlfriends who have also frozen their eggs and they had girlfriends come over to help with shots. You don’t have to do this alone… don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Brian and I were literally just saying this… we would do the egg retrieval many times over if we had to. The shots, doctor visits, and recovery isn’t necessarily the hard part… it’s the mental part. It’s just the long journey to get here— the love, the loss, the surrender and the sacrifice. That’s why it’s important for couples to talk about this openly. You’re not alone… and we can do really hard things, together.

Advice for other women going through fertility struggles

You are a beautiful woman… you are whole and worthy of building and growing a family. Family and growth may look a little different than we expected, but staying open, hopeful, and peaceful is important. It’s okay to ask for help. Your heart deserves to feel whole and loved.

I could go on and on… but just know that you are so beautiful as you are.

My heart is with you all.

With love,

- Katrina

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  1. Ana says:

    Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your lives with us and helping women who are going through the same thing not feel so alone in their own journey. I am praying for everything to work out for your beautiful family, Katrina. Sending you much love and light! ✨

  2. Amanda tannehill says:

    I have followed you since the beginning and absolutely adore you. I love that you are sharing this experience, as difficult as it may be, because so many people go through it. I am praying for you and your family and wishing you all the best things!

    You have always been so inspiring to me and this is just another reason I still feel that way. You are a light for a lot of people and have really helped with my confidence over the years. Thank you, thank you for everything.

  3. Patricia says:

    This was so beautifully written. My heart aches for you and Brian, but your love and support of each other will move mountains! You’ve got this!

  4. Annie says:

    Thank you. 💕

  5. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and answering the most common questions. I wish you and Brain all the best!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and answering the most common questions. I wish you and Brian all the best!

  7. Leila says:

    Love you so much and know that it’s not easy to go through this or share all of these details!
    You are a bright light for many and I know your babies are coming to you soon!

  8. Melaina Johnson says:

    Thank you truly for sharing this journey, it means so much to so many women who are going through IVF or (like me) women who have experienced such an intense loss that can never be described. You are strong, and beautiful, and such a fighter. Wishing you and your family the best <3

  9. I am so incredibly sorry that you’re part of the miscarriage, infertility, and IVF club, but we do have some of the best supports in the world when we’re open about it. Thank you for using your platform to talk about this. Your reach will help so many women. Even though I’ve already gone through all of this and am now waiting for IVF 2, I feel every emotion you’re talking about as if it was yesterday. We are so resilient in the face of fear. There is not doubt about that 💛

  10. Laurie says:

    After a chemical miscarriage as well, we skipped 2020 and started IUI this year. All rounds have failed so we are just about to start the IVF journey. Four years of infertility will really wear you down, and this update from you came right after our discussion with our doctor about IVF today. Perfect timing. I wish you well and hope that your next six weeks leading up to your embryo is relaxing and peaceful.

  11. Karla says:

    These words are so full of hope. I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling for so long, but your rainbow baby will be with you soon! I don’t know of such a loss, so I can’t truly empathize, but I also can’t imagine those feelings. I just know that your love and openness will help so many. Sending you all the magical baby dust and love.

  12. Natalie says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’m in a different spot. My sister found out she needed to get hysterectomy the day before I found out I was pregnant. My pregnancy was a very sensitive topic and having my baby girl (3 months) is still a sensitive topic and Covid with no visits doesn’t help. Reading your story helps me find words of love and hope for her. I know she has a tough physical and most important mental journey ahead of her, but I hope I can use your vulnerability to understand hers.

  13. Jada says:

    I too had to go this route, but to GOD be the praise and the glory. We had two cycles and have three beautiful babies, a 4-yo daughter and 10-mo old girl/boy twins 🙂 As an African-American woman infertility seems even more taboo, but it is so common. I talk about it a lot as we have been truly blessed. We MUST make this less of a taboo and embrace the blessings we are given. Lots of love to you and all of the listeners going through this journey! ~ Jada

  14. Caitlin Heisler says:

    Thank you so much!!! Your bravery is inspiring. I myself have not gone through a loss, but I have many friends who have. I am grateful for your story, because it helps me better understand what it feels like and be a better support to those in my life who have suffered and struggled. Love and prayers to you, Brian and your embryos!

  15. Muriel M says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am going through the ivf process as well right now and I cannot tell you how much reading this warms my heart and makes me feel like I have someone to talk to. Well, I read what you’ve gone through and I feel like you’re a big sister telling me what to expect, that I’m not alone, that things will be ok and there is an ultimate plan and destiny for us all on our journey. I wish you all the best and baby dust for implantation and the rest of your ivf journey. What you put out into the world matters and touches so many in a positive way. Thank you <3

  16. Sandra says:

    Thank you Katrina for being so open about this difficult time and long journey you’re going through. I can honestly relate so much to this story as I’ve gone through a missed miscarriage in January and honestly it came as the biggest shock…
    Reading your post gave me hope and strength and allowed me to grieve a little longer and properly, as nowadays I rarely talk about this in front of others, as much as I’d like to open up sometimes.

    My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

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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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