Our IVF Journey

Our IVF Journey: a wreath of flowers, syringes, and blue bunny toy surrounding our precious baby pictured on ultrasound

*Trigger warning: this post may be traumatic for those experiencing infertility and miscarriage. I'm sharing my experience with IVF honestly and in some detail. I hope it helps those facing a similar journey.

Just about 7 months ago S. and I started our first IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle. An ultrasound on January 6th kicked off our stimulation cycle, and after 15 days of shots and more shots the clinic retrieved 9 eggs. We waited on pens and needles over the next week to see what would happen.

5 eggs were mature, 4 eggs fertilized, and 3 eggs reached the blastocyst stage. Next a two week wait commenced for our PGT-A test results to return, only to find out that just 1 of those blastocysts had the correct number of chromosomes.

The emotional rollercoaster

This journey has been one of soaring hope, nail bitting trepidation, immeasurable stress, and brief moments of utter elation. It has been a marathon with walls to climb, hurdles to vault, and treacherous rivers to swim. Every time we reached a milestone and experienced a taste of success we were faced with another hurdle and another. I desperately clung to hope and gratitude, but it wasn't easy!

The drugs for stimulation were not as bad as I had feared. They definitely made me feel off and fatigued. Surprisingly, I didn't mind the injections into my stomach as much as expected. S. was a real pro, mixing medicines and handling the needles with finesse. Really what gets to you is the emotional battle and the what ifs.

It’s like straddling the fulcrum of a seesaw with one leg on each side. In one seat is anxiety and in the other hope. It’s impossible to find balance — one emotion is always ascending and the other whooshing down. You just become more adept at riding the wave and anticipating the thud that jars your head and rattles your teeth.

After finding out we only had one viable embryo, we knew we had to do everything we could to make that 1 chance successful.

We have 1...

We have 1...

We have 1...was on constant refrain in my head in the weeks following our test results. Sometimes the refrain was a benediction whispered in gratitude and hope and sometimes it was a lamentation growled in anger. It felt like the pressure increased exponentially because everything hung on this 1 possibility!

Before we started the stimulation cycle, we decided to only do it once. If you've looked into IVF, then you know just how expensive it is. We just couldn't justify spending any more, and we left the door open to adoption if it didn't work.

Why did we pursue IVF?

If you are new around here, you may be wondering how we ended up pursuing IVF. My infertility is all owed to a nasty disease that too little is known about called endometriosis. My first surgery in 2019 (read about it here) to treat the disease took one of my ovaries and one of my fallopian tubes. Then a traumatic ectopic pregnancy and necessary surgery to deal with that took my last fallopian tube the following year. So physically, there was no way for the egg and sperm to meet in my body. That left us with no other option for a biological child but IVF.

I'm so lucky that I knew why we were unable to get pregnant and that we weren't trying and trying with no results and no clear answers. The frustration of unexplained infertility must be so maddening.

With endometriosis on the scene not only was fertilization complicated, but the condition of my uterus was potentially problematic, so the doctor recommended 3 months of hormone suppression treatment with Lupron. I also had some polyps that needed an outpatient surgery to remove. So March, April, and May passed by in a blur of more shots, more pills, and crazy emotions.

The Lupron injections were exponentially harder to deal with and made me feel like a raging bull on a good day. Then there were the hot flashes, bloating, and fatigue. It was really a nightmare, and I feel for all of you struggling with endometriosis and infertility who have to take this drug.

The transfer

Finally...FINALLY...what felt like years later we got ready for our embryo transfer in June! The day felt fortuitous because it marked our 10 year wedding anniversary. I spent the 3 weeks leading up to the transfer exercising, doing yoga, meditating twice a day, and eating extremely healthy. I cut out all alcohol, refined carbs, and added sugar. Yes, I did the pineapple thing and the avocado thing!

I felt so prepared and ready the day of the transfer. I choose to do a 45 minute acupuncture session before and after the procedure, and it gave me the most immense sense of calm and borderline euphoria I had felt in months. The transfer went smoothly, and just two days later I swear I felt the implantation.

Those 9 days of waiting to take a pregnancy test were trying, but also magical. I felt pregnant, and I treasured each moment. Now the progesterone shots on the other hand were not magical. Instead they gave me knots the size of a plum and got to be increasingly painful.

Our IVF Journey: a wreath of flowers, syringes, and blue bunny toy surrounding our precious baby pictured on ultrasound

Yes, we are expecting!

But every shot was worth it! We are so happy to announce that our one little possibility took root. I am almost 10 weeks pregnant! All the tests and ultrasounds look really good, and our little bean has a very robust heart beat. God is good!

I am so thankful to all of you who supported our IVF journey. The friends who called to check on me and this online community that prayed and sent well wishes! Our parents were great and provided so much support and comfort. S. was amazing, trying to lower my stress and keep us moving forward.

We are both so excited about this next chapter of our lives, and we are looking forward to welcoming baby in March 2024!

If you are thinking about IVF or starting your journey soon, I'm sharing the strategies that helped me make it through in this post. Please reach out if you have questions about our journey or if you need a sympathetic ear. You can email me penderandpeony@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram.


  1. Emily Holderfield on August 5, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    So many wishes for wonderful things to come! Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you both. Enjoy the journey. 💕

    • Katherine on August 8, 2023 at 11:52 am

      Thanks so much Emily! We definitely are!

  2. Connie Bishop on August 6, 2023 at 6:53 am

    So happy to read your good news and yes, prayers answered!

    • Katherine on August 8, 2023 at 11:53 am

      Thanks Connie! Yes, indeed!

  3. Sara Thomas on August 6, 2023 at 11:34 am

    Congratulations on your big news! So happy for you!!!

    • Katherine on August 8, 2023 at 11:53 am

      Thanks Sara! We are really looking forward to being parents!

  4. Sasha on August 8, 2023 at 6:14 pm

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing you experience <3<3.

    • Katherine on August 17, 2023 at 11:13 am

      Thank you Sasha!

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