Kenya Moore had heard about the difficulties surrounding in vitro fertilization: the painful shots, the raging hormones and, of course, the disappointment of it potentially not working.
But for the 47-year-old Real Housewives of Atlanta star, she was lucky. “I don’t have a horror story,” Moore tells PEOPLE, weeks after announcing that she and husband Marc Daly are expecting their first child together.
“It’s weird because you hear other people’s troubles with the injections and the hormones. And for me, it was a pretty simple process,” she adds.
Moore — who is due before the end of the year — opened up to PEOPLE about her entire IVF experience, from self-administering her hormone shots to finding out she was, indeed, pregnant.
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PEOPLE: What was the IVF process like for you?
Kenya Moore: You take the hormones to stimulate your ovaries, you go in for the procedure — obviously you’re being monitored every day to where they need to see how many [ovarian follicles] you have, how big they’re getting, when to extract. And then, obviously, the process when they grow to make sure they’re growing at a certain rate and reach a certain size.
After that, they’re ready to be implanted. You don’t go under any anesthesia for the process and it doesn’t hurt. You have to rest, which is always a great thing. To be quite honest, the thing that hurt the most was them sticking me with the IV when they had to extract the eggs because my veins are so tiny. But that’s the only thing that was uncomfortable. The rest of it wasn’t painful.
PEOPLE: What about the hormones? Did those affect you?
Kenya: I don’t think so, but I guess you would have to ask people around me. I think I was okay. I think I felt a little emotional but I wasn’t going zero to 100 or anything like that. It just wasn’t as bad as I heard other people go through. The injections were fine, I got through that by myself, it was fine. I didn’t feel crazy, I didn’t feel like I was losing control or anything like that.
PEOPLE: How did you handle the shots?
Kenya: I thought I would be the worst person for the injections. Honestly, the first time I did it, I had to do it by myself. I imagined myself going to the clinic every day, having a nurse do it for me. Or hiring a nurse to come to my home to do it.
I tried it the first time, and I’m unusually afraid of needles. I can’t look when my blood is drawn and I hyperventilate when I see a needle. I hate it. But these needles, they’re very small. And it didn’t hurt. And the first time I did it, it was okay. It wasn’t any big deal. I just felt blessed because I was stronger than I thought I would be.
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PEOPLE: How did you find out you were pregnant?
Kenya: [With IVF] they specifically tell you a start date to go and take a blood test because the ones you take over the counter, the pee-on-the-stick kind, don’t always show the hormone level if it’s not strong enough … so it may give you a negative when it’s actually positive. So they rely on a blood test to show you how much of it you have in your system and how it’s progressing.
I was nervous because I hate to have my blood drawn. And then the technician who was drawing my blood said, “Did you cheat?” And I said, “What do you mean?” And she said, “Most people go and they’ll take the test over the counter.” And I said, “No because it’s not as accurate as the blood test and I just don’t want any false alarms or to be let down when I really wasn’t supposed to be and it’s only a few hours away, so why not wait and get the proper results?”
As soon as I take the [blood] test and I’m driving home, I’m like, “I should just go and get a test from the supermarket.” So I rode to the supermarket and literally took the test in the supermarket bathroom because I could not wait. It was just overwhelming. I could not wait. And it was positive. And then I got the call from the doctor later that day confirming that I was indeed pregnant and had a positive test and what my HCG levels were. She said it was all really good news. I was like, “Oh my God, I don’t know what to say!”
PEOPLE: How are you feeling in this pregnancy so far?
Kenya: I’m tired, obviously. I don’t have the stamina that I had before, so I’m taking it a little easy — not working out and going on long walks with the dogs and things like that. But it’s nothing … I don’t feel that bad. I don’t feel hyper-emotional. I have a little bit of sensitivity to smells that make me nauseous, and had a slight loss of appetite. But I’ve been okay!
PEOPLE: Are you going to find out the baby’s sex or wait for a surprise?
Kenya: We’re going to try to not find out. We want to be surprised and we want to make it as natural as we can at this point. We just want a healthy baby. And it doesn’t matter to either of us — boy, girl, we don’t really care.