Katie Lee Talks Infertility And why, “It just takes one.”

By Ruthie Friedlander

Darling as ever, chef and author, Katie is becoming a mama after many rounds of IVF. Guided by the belief that it “just takes one,” this mother-to-be shares the ups and downs of getting pregnant and the power of new beginnings. Plus, how she’s embracing (and loving) her changing body, managing anxiety during self-isolation, and her words of encouragement to other women going through similar struggles.

Current state of mind?

Physically I’m great. I feel fit and healthy, plus the most comfortable I’ve ever been in my own skin — I’m fully embracing my changing body, which is incredibly refreshing. I love watching my stomach grow and I’m genuinely enjoying pregnancy.

Mentally, however, I’ve had anxiety about this virus. I feel safe when I’m home and in our neighborhood, but I’m not comfortable going out anywhere, even to the grocery store. I worry about the future and what it will be like to give birth, and I’m sad my mom can’t be here with me. That said, while it’s not exactly how I imagined it, I’m not complaining either. It wasn’t easy for me to get pregnant, and I’m grateful to finally have our baby on the way!

Your fertility journey?

We tried to get pregnant the good old fashioned way, and when that didn’t work I went crazy with all the “dos + don’ts,” including acupuncture and not exercising. After exhausting every natural avenue, the doctor suggested we explore IVF; it’s been an emotional roller coaster.

Initially, I was hung up on the numbers but understood overtime that all you need is one good egg. Typically, you start with a high quantity of follicles, and over the two-week waiting period, you watch the numbers dwindle which is discouraging and feels like a never-ending waiting game. The first time we went from a lot of follicles to zero and I was crushed. Overtime I found the process became more manageable with each round as I tempered my expectations.

Throughout my treatments, I had an incredibly supportive girlfriend who’d successfully gone through IVF right before me. She was my cheerleader and kept reminding me that the numbers and quantity don’t matter because “it just takes one.” In the end that’s what we got, our one good one. Therefore, to those that are also going through it, please remember this too, it’s what got me through.

It just takes one.

Pregnant while quarantined?

We’re taking life one day at a time and instead of worrying about the future, I’m focusing on what I can control in the present to keep us safe and my anxiety to a minimum — this means staying home, avoiding the stores, doing curbside pickup or delivery, and vigilantly wiping everything down. I’m not interested in socializing and putting my baby’s health at risk.

We went to our apartment in the city the other day to check on things, and it felt like a past life. I wonder when we will ever be back there and feel comfortable again? Right now, we’re planning to stay in the Hamptons for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, we have a fantastic little house out here and are making the most of our time together. We’re learning to make sushi, and we bought a blow-up pool for the backyard!

Working from home?

Usually, we’d both be working separately and would never have been able to spend my pregnancy together, which is a positive of quarantine. We’ve been filming The Kitchen (my food network show), from home. At the start of social distancing (when we all thought life would resume after a few weeks), we planned to shoot one episode at home but it became our highest-rated show ever! Given the circumstances and the success of the show, we’re planning to shoot the entire summer season (13 episodes in total), from home, plus my digital show What Would Katie Eat, too.

Lucky for me, my husband is a TV producer and knows how to do most everything when it comes to filming, lighting, and sound; we make an excellent team!

I’m curious to see how this impacts the future of media. Most likely it will become a blend of the two formats, home and studio. Viewers like the authenticity of seeing us cook in our own kitchens. I have a small kitchen and have received a ton of DMs from people saying they can relate. I tell my community all the time, you don’t need a lot to make a great meal, a few pots, a couple of tools, and being organized.

What are you cooking these days?

I’ve been cooking more than ever in my life, which I didn’t think was possible! Cooking is both my profession and my hobby, but between breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and recipe testing for the show, life is an endless cycle of washing veggies and dishes.

Any cravings?

I went through a major mayonnaise phase, and while I’ve always liked mayonnaise, this was next level. I had to have it on everything, literally. I’ve also been into citrus, iceberg lettuce for the crunch, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Are you working out?

I exercise almost every day, and while it’s not always easy to motivate, the fact is, you never regret working out, but you do when you don’t. We live in a quiet neighborhood, so I take the dog for a 45-minute walk every day, and I do the prenatal workouts from obé fitness.

What is your birth plan?

I’ve been with the same OBGYN for 15 years, and she’s out here on Long Island, which is such a comfort to have her nearby. Whenever I’m freaking out, I text her, and she comes through with calming advice.

As for my birth plan, I’ve been so involved in my pregnancy that I haven’t thought much about the actual “plan.” Hopefully, I can have a vaginal birth, but if I need a C-section, that is fine too, so long as she’s safe and healthy.