Katie Cacchiani is Illume Fertility's Senior Marketing Manager (and even more importantly, Nora's mom). Having experienced years of fertility challenges and IVF, Katie knows firsthand what it's like to go through infertility. She brings this empathy and knowledge to her work every day, and uses her skills to help other fertility patients feel empowered and supported on their own journey.
This is Part 3 of Katie's Story, a series where one fertility patient takes you through her entire IVF journey in real-time, from start to finish. To catch up, read Part 1 and Part 2or follow along here.
I’m officially in the second trimester - now15 weeks pregnant. Since my last blog update, I "graduated" from Illume Fertility, and have had a few big appointments at my OB/GYN. Read on to hear how I felt about leaving my Care Team at the fertility clinic, what appointments I've had since then, and how baby and I are doing in our second trimester.
My husband and I went for my final scan at Illume Fertility when I was a little over 9 weeks pregnant. It was surreal to have my final ultrasound.
It took me years to make it to graduation day with my first pregnancy – it was hard for me to believe that it didn’t take me another three IVF cycles to graduate this time. I was truly preparing for a similar journey with Baby #2.
Dr. Hurwitz confirmed that everything looked good on ultrasound. We got to see everything in 3D – and at 9 weeks, it already looked like a human on the screen!
Photos: Graduation Day with Kat & Dr. Hurwitz (L); celebrating with my husband & Dr. Hurwitz (R)
How I Felt Leaving My Fertility Clinic
As we concluded the appointment, and I walked out of the exam room, tears flooded my eyes. I wasn’t expecting to get emotional, especially since I am an employee here and am lucky enough to see the amazing staff whenever I am in the office, but there is something so special about being a patient who makes it to "graduation day."
One of the nurses, Kat, who has been a part of my rollercoaster of a journey since day one and has seen me at my absolute worst and best - was there that day, which made me even more emotional. The tears really started flowing when we hugged and reminisced about my journey as a patient.
To think about how scared, overwhelmed, and broken I was that first day I had my first consultation with Dr. Hurwitz back in 2018 compared to now, where I feel not quite ready to become a “former patient,” shows just how much this journey has changed me, and how Illume Fertility's doctors, nurses and staff have truly become family.
You're pregnant - what happens now?
My First OB Appointment
At 10 weeks, I had my first appointment with my OBGYN. I had a packet of paperwork from Illume Fertility to hand off to my doctor that had all the details of my frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle, and all my appointments up to that point.
I reviewed it all with her, and luckily she’s known me for over a decade, and she’s who recommended me to Illume in the first place. I always feel “safe” with her, and she understands the anxiety that comes with pregnancy after loss, fertility treatments and the transition from fertility clinic to OB.
I asked for reassurance that my body can carry this baby without the help of progesterone in oil injections and five tabs of Estrace (estrogen) a day. She explained that at this point, the placenta has taken over the role that PIO and Estrace had, and my body is capable to carry on this pregnancy without additional hormone medication.
Pro Tip: It's normal to feel extra anxious when you get pregnant after fertility struggles and/or pregnancy loss. Navigating all of the emotions that pregnancy after infertility can bring up isn't always easy. For extra reassurance from fellow fertility warriors who understand, join Illume Fertility's Pregnancy After Infertility support group.
Will I get gestational diabetes?
One other thing that was on my mind was the thought of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes again. It came as a shock last time when I had no family history or pre-existing conditions, and needed to be monitored closely in my third trimester, watch my diet and continuously track my blood sugar with a glucose monitoring system (a FreeStyle Libre).
This time, I have been more mindful about my diet this pregnancy - anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE sugar, and pregnancy cravings only promote that “addiction.” I still enjoy sugar - candy especially, but I’ve learned to ration the amount I consume, and be more cautious of what I eat.
My OB informed me that I could take the glucose test early, still in my first trimester. I’d still need to do it again later in pregnancy, but since I was diagnosed with GD last time, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to test early - especially to ease my worries.
Luckily, I passed the test! It’s a relief for now, but I’m not in the clear yet, as I’ll need to take the test again around 22-24 weeks. However, these results just gave me reassurance that I am on the right track, and my diet change has made a difference.
What's the connection between diabetes and fertility?
NIPT Test & NT Scan
Though we had our embryos PGT-A tested before freezing, it was still recommended that we do NIPT testing as well, as there are some differences between these tests, and are done at different points in pregnancy. It was a simple blood test, and personally, I am all for any and all tests available and recommended to me, as I find peace of mind in knowing personal data and more information.
The NT scan (nuchal translucency scan) checks for indications of chromosomal abnormalities, and is done between weeks 10-13 of pregnancy. This scan was done the same day we met with a genetic counselor to review our family health history, and helps determine if there are any other genetic risks we should be aware of.
Needless to say, this appointment is stressful, and made me anxious, even though we did these same appointments with our last pregnancy.
Gender reveal with big sister Nora (L); 15-weeks pregnant with Baby #2 (R)
Second Trimester Updates
I’ve got a growing baby bump. I no longer fit into my regular clothes, and the belly is making this pregnancy feel more real.
We announced our baby’s gender! It’s a boy! Though we knew the gender from the PGT-A screening, we waited to do a social media announcement until we hit the second trimester.
I’m still exhausted - that could be partially due to having a toddler running around this time, but no complaints! Every day I am grateful to be where I am, and so looking forward to welcoming this little guy later this summer. I know my daughter Nora will love being a big sister and mommy’s helper, and this baby boy will complete our family.
Why I Chose to Share My Story
Through sharing my journey to Baby #2, I have met so many fellow Illume Fertility patients who have shared their story with me too, and I am reminded that I am not alone in my path to family building. Reproductive medicine and technology have made it possible for everyone to have the chance to become a parent.
I will forever be an advocate for those struggling with infertility and I remain an open book in sharing my story. I want my story to be a symbol and sign of hope to those who feel discouraged or fearful that pregnancy and parenthood isn’t in the cards for them.
I know what it feels like to be there, but I also know that there are options, possibilities, and medical and holistic support to help make your baby dreams come true.
Want to spread hope?
More IVF & Infertility Resources
Want to read more success stories from Illume Fertility patients or explore additional resources to help you navigate your journey? We've got you covered!