CBS News National Correspondent Nikki Battiste is adding another little one to her family!
The journalist is pregnant, expecting her second baby, a daughter, with husband Dean Simpson. While Battiste, 43, couldn't be happier about baby No. 2, she tells PEOPLE it wasn't an easy road to get to where she is, opening up about her difficult journey with in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Battiste — who sheds light on those struggling with infertility, including her own experience, in a new three-part series on CBS called Facing Fertility — says she felt "dispair" most of the time throughout her IVF journey.
After naturally conceiving son Beau, now 2, when she was 39 and later getting pregnant again and having a miscarriage at 41, Battiste says it was at that point that her OB-GYN recommended IVF.
"All I really knew about IVF is that you inject some shots and you get a baby, that's the way it's advertised," she shares. "When I saw [fertility doctor] Dr. Foreman, he told me I had diminished ovarian reserves. On that day, he said to me, 'It's going to be really difficult for you to have a baby at your age with diminished ovarian reserves, but there's a little bit of hope.' I was in complete shock because I just thought it would happen."
After two failed rounds of IVF, Battiste says she was "losing hope" and was in a "pretty dark spot."
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"It was the third round where we did get the one viable embryo and that was the best moment to hear that news. Then we did a fourth round because it would be nice to have a second embryo if the first didn't transfer. And then should we want a third child, we would've had to have done it then because I would definitely not have luck in a year or two."
"Overall, the IVF process is physically difficult, but I think the emotional and mental journey far exceeds any physical discomfort that comes with it," she continues. "When I look back, I'm like, 'God, I was in such a bad place.' I didn't even realize how sad and fearful I was."
Battiste did four back-to-back rounds of IVF, eventually ending up with four embryos of which only one was viable as they did predictive testing.
"We transferred that viable embryo in on November 1st, and then there was about a 60% chance it would stick and be successful. And so we found out 10 days later, November 10th, that I was pregnant," she says. "It was extremely emotional and such a relief. And in a lot of ways, a miracle because I was just about to turn 43 and I had been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve."
"I am elated, and I'm still in complete shock that I'm pregnant because of the difficulty of our journey and I feel like until our baby is in our arms, I won't believe it," she adds. "But my husband and I are thrilled. We are grateful. We feel extraordinarily lucky that we will have two children. And our son is very excited to have a baby sister."
After going through the IVF experience herself, Battiste wanted to share her story publicly so that "any woman, man, couple, going through IVF could find comfort in hearing my story, or any couple considering IVF or going through any infertility or fertility hurdle would find comfort, because there is this silent suffering in the infertility world."
"I think the topic of women's health and reproductive health, in general, is something we need to just be more open and transparent about," she says, noting she was "angry" herself that "no one ever educated me" on the topic.
As many as 1 in 8 couples struggle to conceive — but are often hesitant to share stories of blood draws, ultrasounds, hormone shots or egg donation.
“So many people struggle in silence with infertility and never talk about it,” says @NikkiBattiste, who shares her own journey. pic.twitter.com/ogcNdSomt2
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) March 20, 2023
Facing Fertility airs as a three-part series on CBS. One day will feature a candid conversation about menopause with Gayle King and Drew Barrymore, another part will highlight the realities of IVF and a third part will look at the increasing popularity of egg freezing.
Adds Battiste, "I want to educate people on these three topics and also give a voice to everyone who's going through any part of infertility or menopause and hopefully create a more comfortable platform for people to talk about it."