Feature Friday: Kayla Kohl, Doula
Meet Kayla Kohl! Kayla is a doula who shares with us her journey with infertility and embryo adoption.
On her instagram account @thekohlchronicles, Kayla takes us through the struggles of trying to conceive and the sacrifices she has made to bring her beautiful daughter Norah into this world. After enduring countless medications, shots, and doctors appointments, and then, once pregnant, suffering from HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum), Kayla fought everyday to make her dream of being a parent a reality. We love her raw and fun take on sharing the realities of motherhood and know you will too!
Your journey to motherhood was not an easy one. What helped motivate you to keep going when experiencing infertility?
We knew we wanted to be parents, and every time we got to love on my former students or our friends’ kids it brought back the joy and strengthened our desire to become parents. I knew I was made to be a mother, and I couldn’t accept a life where I wasn’t parenting. The infertility community is full of support as well, I didn’t know anyone in real life who was facing our same struggles, being able to connect virtually with other people who got what I was going through was so encouraging.
Ultimately you pursued embryo adoption. Can you talk a little bit about the process of embryo adoption and what made you choose to pursue it?
We originally were homestudy approved for domestic infant adoption. After being chosen to be a part of an adoption plan where the mother became empowered to parent, we began exploring other alternatives to parenthood. We learned about embryo adoption/donation, and in the process of learning more Norah’s genetic family found us and as our friendship with them developed, we all knew this was our path. With embryo donation/adoption you go through the frozen embryo transfer (FET) process, so you’re still doing IVF and all of the medications and appointments that go with it. I think we ended up doing over 250 injections with our IVF medications to get and stay pregnant with Norah.
What is something you wish others would know about infertility?
That infertility is not something you can work hard enough to change. You can’t just “make better choices” and get pregnant. It’s not like training for a marathon, there are a lot of factors besides your body when it comes to conceiving. Hard work won’t change your outcome, and that’s something hard to accept. Infertility really is uncontrollable.
What did you learn about yourself while going through such a challenging pregnancy?
I learned that I am resilient and I can’t be in control. If I had had the power to end my Hyperemesis gravidarum I would have, but I couldn’t. There were days I was on bed rest and I felt like a failure for not contributing to my family at all, but my husband kept reminding me I was growing our baby, and if that’s all I did that day it was enough. I learned to show up every day, do what I could, and let everything else go.
What advice do you have for others who are considering their next steps when it comes to choosing embryo adoption to conceive?
I would urge them to learn more about adoption ethics, and listen to adult donor conceived children and adoptees to learn how to navigate parenthood and support your children. Having an open relationship with our donors was what we all desired, and I think that you need to be really clear on what you want your family dynamic to look like before expanding your family.
What has been your biggest challenge in trying to conceive, pregnancy, and now parenthood? What has been your biggest victory?
The biggest challenges have been control. I couldn’t control my infertility, debilitating pregnancy, or our daughter’s health. I’m learning that life is uncontrollable and if you can’t embrace it, you can at least build coping strategies for when it gets hard. My biggest victory was bringing our daughter home from the NICU and being able to nurse her. Breastfeeding did not come naturally, it was a lot of work but I am really proud of my body. I wasn’t able to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy, but I was able to breastfeed and I’m really thankful for that. Everyday I get to be Norah’s mom is the best day.