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IVF | Intense & Vulnerable Feelings

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Kate's Take


By: Kate Cayanni   | January 5, 2023

This article was originally published in May 2019.

Monday is a big day. On Monday I will sit in a waiting room, holding my husband’s hand. When called into the room, the doctor will explain to us whether or not our two remaining embryos “thawed nicely.” Presuming that they do, they’ll take a catheter and send the two little embryos into my uterus, and we’ll watch that happen on a monitor. 14 days later, I’ll learn from a blood test whether or not it worked. If it did, I can say that I literally saw the moment of conception. That’s pretty cool, right? It’s important to look for the positives in this process, because overall…it can be heart wrenching.

After we got married, we waited a few months before “trying.” I went to my doctor and she said, “Great, if nothing happens in six months, come see me.” Six months went by and nothing happened, but we actually stuck with it almost a year before finally going back. Every month, as my period neared, I’d keep my fingers crossed that this month it wouldn’t come. Month after month, the disappointment grew as it came back. When you are trying to become pregnant, and not pregnant yet, suddenly everyone around you is pregnant. They are shopping in the aisles at the grocery store, they are acquaintances on Facebook, and they are your friends. Hope turns to envy. I can remember a friend, in her delight said, “It’s crazy how it happened and we weren’t even really trying yet!” and after smiling through congratulations and hugs I had to immediately excuse myself to the restroom to compose myself. Fighting back tears of self-pity and seething jealousy, then feeling terrible for having such thoughts when I should be so happy for said dear friend.

Tears ran down my cheeks through the entire appointment, as my doctor somehow looked straight ahead and told us we would not conceive on our own. Her composure amazed me. Somehow, the next few months were okay. Once we knew there was a process to go through…steps to follow. The shots were not as bad as I had imagined they would be. Which is good, because there were a lot of them. My husband was amazing. We were teammates. In our case, the common goal made us closer. I kept most other people at a distance. I didn’t dare tell anyone what we were going through. Not out of any shame, but because if I had, and it didn’t succeed, then I’d have to say the words out loud to them and it would tear my heart in two. We ended the cycle with 4 embryos. Three days later, we transferred one and after the 14 day wait, learned we were pregnant with our daughter.

We visited our doctor again last fall, to talk about number 2. It felt familiar in the offices. I looked around the waiting room and I recognized myself in the other faces in the room. In an attempt to normalize the whole situation, the office had placed a stack of index cards and a pen on a side table. A little binder book filled with cards that others had written reads like a therapeutic album. “I didn’t expect to be here.” “Thank you for sharing your story.” “I am hopeful and afraid to be hopeful,” and the one that stood out the most to me, “I am realizing there are more women like me than I thought.” It sent a ripple of goosebumps over my skin, because if I have learned anything from this, it is to not ask questions about other people’s life plans. I don’t assume that because a couple has been married for some amount of time that children will follow. I know that harmless questions, and benign comments that assume, can truly hurt without any intention.

After a month of following the medication calendar, we transferred our second embryo, and began the 14 day wait. I was confident in the leading weeks. I’ve been here before. It went smoothly, but after the wait, the test confirmed we were not pregnant. The disappointment welled up as a familiar ache in my throat. I chastised myself for being so confident. And despite our previous success, I felt myself slide back into doubt and worry. I wondered what it was I did wrong. Now we have 2 embryos left, and our doctor suggested we transfer them both at the same time, citing that our chances of becoming pregnant increase, and if they aren’t viable, then we’ll know sooner. Oh, the pressure on those 2 little embryos. So we’re going for it. Cautiously, we have moved forward, hoping one of these is our second child. Hoping is the thing we can do. Monday is a big day.

2023 Update:

It all worked out.  We welcomed our son in October of 2019.  He was born ‘the night the lights came on’ again after a four-day PG&E mandated power outage. I re-read these words and I still tear up.  But time is a healing thing.  What I once held close to my chest and kept secret, I now feel really grateful for.  Now, we know multiple couples that also went through IVF and it stings to know how many parents go through this experience feeling so alone.  Becoming parents is a crazy, beautiful, messy, sticky, maddening thing, no matter how the baby was made.  We’d all be a little better for sharing these experiences and supporting each other more.

Kate Cayanni is a mother to two toddlers, a lover of baking at home and handwritten letters.  She is the founder of Good Smart Funny, where she helps small business owners develop a plan to hire their team and engage them.  You can reach Kate by email –  follow her @goodsmartfunny or learn more at
More from this issue:

Dawn of the Big Girl Bed Read >>

Feelings First Read >>

Gardening: What Fertilizer to Use? Read >> 

IVF | Intense & Vulnerable Feelings Read >> 

Learn to Quit Read >> 

Life Changes: Food and Noises Read >> 

The Spirituality of Raising Kids Read >> 

What Happens to Your Brain Before Your First
Orangetheory Class Read >> 

Wisdom & Wiggles Read >>