IVF Heartbreak…and Portugal

Hi friends. Yesterday, Simon and I got news that our first IVF cycle was unsuccessful. Needless to say, we are heartbroken. We had been so optimistic throughout the two week wait and were truly devastated when we got the call. The silver lining is that we have two frozen embryos from the first cycle, so our next attempt will be a frozen embryo transfer (no injections this time around). I’m trying to keep my chin up, but as you can imagine, it’s hard. At Simon’s encouragement, I booked a quick trip to Lisbon to distract myself from the bad news (#traveltherapy). I fly out tomorrow morning and am really looking forward to a bit of sunshine. Please let me know if you have any suggestions as to what I must see/do in Lisbon. I’ve never been to Portugal, but have heard wonderful things (feel free to follow along on instagram). Thank you again for all of your encouragement throughout our fertility struggles. Your kind comments and emails have given me such hope.

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36 comments on “IVF Heartbreak…and Portugal

  1. N

    I am so sorry! It’s so hard to deal with these types of disappointment, so I hope your trip is restful and full of beauty.

  2. April

    I’m so sorry. It’s such an emotional journey and it can be so hard on your tender heart. Wishing you healing and hope. xo

  3. Jen

    You have to visit Sintra. The Pena Palace, the Quinta Regular, and the town. Magnificent. It’s an easy day trip out of downtown Lisbon, or if you are staying in Cascais, it’s even closer. Lived there for two years, have been back for a year. If you are in Cascais, there are some amazing restaurants, Pateo do Patisco is great for real Portuguese done with a modern flair. Have a wonderful trip, and good luck all your adventures.

  4. Karlie

    We went to Lisbon late last year, and it was wonderful. A few suggestions…
    Food/drinks at Palacio Chiado
    Dinner at SeaMe
    A trip up to Pena Palace and lunch in Sintra
    Beach trip out to Cascais
    Lunch at Timeout Market
    Souvenirs at A Vida Portuguesa

  5. Kealan

    Gosh, I am so sorry. I’ve been following your journey and rooting for you and am really saddened by this news. There is nothing to say except that it SUCKS and is not fair. I’ve been through a similar situation and I know there’s little that can be said that actually helps, but don’t lose hope. Use this time to unabashedly spoil yourself – drink lots of yummy Portuguese wine (it’s the best!) and eat EVERYTHING. Get lost in art. Get lost in the narrow Lisbon streets. Get lost in your husband. You’ll both pull through this together. Good luck. xo.

  6. Sarah

    So sorry to hear the news. But you should have high hopes for a frozen transfer. Our first two fresh transfers didn’t work, the last frozen transfer resulted in our baby boy, due in April. Let yourself mourn this loss, but look forward to different circumstances. It just might be the one. Thinking of you!

  7. Katherine

    So sorry to hear, Katie. I’ve been crossing my fingers…and am so hopeful that good news is around the corner for you! xx

    Have a relaxing and indulgent Lisbon trip!! I’ve heard wonderful things about the city.

  8. Andrea Nash

    Katie dear, first here is a hug. I am a much older woman, but I have such empathy for your struggle. You may already read Erin Gates’ Elements Of Style blog; but her infertility/IVF journey and her readers’ comments may have meaning for you. It is wonderful that so many people truly care about others. We are all sending you sunshine. Andrea

  9. Maria

    Hi Katie, really sorry to read the news but confident that the outcome will soon be a positive one (I still have my fingers crossed for you) and also happy you’re coming to my hometown :)

    I sent you an instagram private message with some suggestions. Enjoy!

  10. Whitney

    So sorry Katie! I went through a two year infertility journey and now have a 2 year old. I’m trying to get pregnant again and it’s proven difficult again — 2 miscarriages back to back so I feel in the same boat. I’m so glad you booked a trip to Lisbon. I just got back from Maui and it helped a ton to get away. Best wishes healing and moving forward. I know it’s really hard.

  11. MK

    Thinking of you … I can’t imagine what you’re feeling! Know that your readers are pulling for you.

    Enjoy Portugal; I’ve heard nothing but good things.

  12. Jamie

    Oh Katie, I’m so sorry. I’m sure it’s more difficult than most of us can even imagine. Sending you good wishes that you get to meet your little bundle of joy soon. Sending you a hug and I hope that you have an amazing time in Lisbon.

    (You should really write a book on all of your travels!)

  13. Bekah

    Oh Kate! I’m so sorry to read this. This is Bekah, a fellow DaVincian from our Franklin days. I check in here every so often to admire and be inspired by the life you’ve built. This though. You (and Simon) are growing a new kind of strength. Sending you love and light. May Portugal bring solace. Baci, bella. xooooo

  14. Cecile

    Really sorry to read this bad news Katie. But please, remain confident about the success of your next try. It can take time before it’ll be successful. My sister in law had to endure this trial 4 times. The 5th one was the good one and she has such an adorable little girl now!
    Enjoy your trip in Lisbon. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. It’s a warm and beautiful city and Portuguese are really nice and welcoming people!

  15. NDS

    I’m so so so sorry to hear about your sad news. Lisbon will be a wonderful place to recharge. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. Sintra is wonderful, with a variety of palaces, the likes of which I have never seen anywhere! Also make an effort to go to Queluz Palace. It is between Sintra and Lisbon and has the “Versailles of Portugal.” It is incredible! They are doing construction on the front side of the palace right now (or they were in November), but the entrance is through the scaffolding to the left of the main courtyard. Don’t miss it! We also loved TimeOut Market and Vida Portuguesa. We did a traditional Portuguese dinner at Sr. Fado where the owner and his wife perform traditional Portuguese music after dinner. It was a very intimate and unique experience.

    The Pasteis de Belem (egg tarts) are out of this world – especially if you go to their birthplace in the Belem area. The National Coach Museum is also fascinating, as is the Monastery of Jeronimos nearby. I used Rick Steves’ book for Lisbon, and it was great. Lisbon is a great city to wander! Have a fantastic time!

  16. Cathy M.

    I’m so sorry this first round didn’t work for you two. Keep your chin up and try not to get discouraged – we’re all wishing you the best!
    Have a lovely trip!

  17. Alex

    You will love Lisbon! Definitely A Vida Portuguesa for shopping treats. The Chiado 1 location is the most charming while the Intendente location is the largest. Both are worth a trip. There’s also a very lovely little bookstore near Chiado 1 that’s worth a pop into – it’s right around the corner.

    If you’d like a really authentic, low-key lunch in a very old-school Portuguese restaurant, visit Tascardoso. It’s right off Principe Real at Rua de O Século 242. For something a bit trendier and upscale, try A Cevicheria. Both are very near the Jardim Principe Real, which is a lovely garden well worth a walk through. There’s a small cafe in the park as well. Great for a coffee and a pastry.

  18. Kathryn

    I know the heartbreak you feel, and I am so sorry you are going through this. It is very stressful and hard to explain, but I feel your pain, and know that you will come out stronger on the other side, even if it takes awhile. You are brave to share this journey. Travel definitely helps! Immerse yourself in that new culture and enjoy! Retail therapy also helps- perfect travel combo.

  19. My Dog-Eared Pages

    So sorry to read of your news, Katie. But your time away will help you restore the faith that all will work out. Sinatra is a must – about 20 minutes north of Lisbon. A night at the Palacio de Seteais would be beautifully restoring! xo

  20. Janice

    I am sorry to hear the disappointing news, and I know exactly how you are feeling. If it is any small consolation for you, our first attempt at IVF was not succesful either, but #2 resulted in our amazing son. Enjoy Lisbon and take some time to calm your nerves, I know how fretful and addling this process can be.

  21. Amanda R.

    I am so sorry for this sad news, Katie. I am sending you and Simon positive thoughts for the next round.

    Also, do you have any tips for solo-traveling? I have never gone to a destination by myself. I have always traveled with someone or met someone at my destination. I hate to admit it but traveling solo gives me a little anxiety. Any tips you have for helping to make the most of a solo trip would be very encouraging!


  22. Hillary

    Oh Katie, I’ve been thinking of y’all over the past few weeks and am so sorry to hear this. We’ve been struggling to get pregnant too, and it’s just the pits. Sending light and love and #traveltherapy vibes your way!

  23. Kristin Galligan Hettinger

    Hi Katie,

    I am such a huge fan of you and inspired by your courage and strength. You are a true Matchbook Girl! ;-) Please don’t give up hope. Sometimes it takes a few tries. In the meantime, take comfort in knowing that all of us are rooting for you and your husband. Keep the Faith. And enjoy Portugal. You are a wonderful artist and creative genius!

    Sending hugs and love,

  24. Christiana Stevenson

    Hi Katie,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the news of your first IVF cycle. I’m an American in Copenhagen (have lived here for 3 years) and went through a few rounds of IVF here (at 2 different clinics). If you want to chat about fertility treatment (and just the culture of doctors and treatments in DK), please let me know as I’ve learned so much from my experience here and from other women who have gone through IVF in Denmark. :) Warmly,

  25. Rebecca

    I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. Sending you lots of hope and love!

    I’m also going to Portugal this year and have been in the past but only for work. I’ve only started doing research but Lisbon is beautiful! Looking forward to your recommendations too.

  26. Megan

    Katie, I’m dreadfully sorry to hear that you know this heartache too. I’m finally 32 weeks along with our boy after 5 retrievals, a fresh transfer and two frozen transfers. I say that not to say that you will go through as much (we had what our doctor called the triple whammy of male factor, uterine abnormality and diminished ovarian reserve, so I feel confident this next transfer is your ticket!), but to send you hope and all the baby dust for this next transfer. I’m crossing all of my fingers and toes that Lisbon brings you the respite you need to charge forth. The transfer that finally worked for me was a frozen one after two weeks of endless rose in Croatia. I have a really good feeling that your trip will bring you the same luck. Hugs, strength and all my wishes for the stickiest little embie!

  27. Sarah Jane

    Katie – I’m so sorry to hear that IVF did not work for you. Continue to have faith and keep trying. The reason I’m commenting is to say thank you for speaking out about this. Bloggers have opened up such amazing dialogues that impact women, and I hope you’ll continue to share your story.

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