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the dKol la femme project: embryo adoption

meet Kerri & Chris.

November 22, 2017

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You may recognize Kerri as she's a familiar face here a la femme.

I woke up to a message from her the other day (see below) and my mind is on overdrive. In perfect holiday fashion, I'm excited to set up an "I believe" session. I can't help but selfishly LOVE that Kerri thought of me to document her journey through embryo adoption into motherhood. 

You can read for yourself her blog that she began and will be updating along the way about her personal story through IVF and now embryo adoption.

Stay tuned because this is going to be an epic visual story of how perseverance, patience, pain, letting go and surrendering to the unknown, takes you through a journey of a lifetime. 

This past Friday, at their doctor's appointment they got the green light to begin preparation for the transfer on this Wednesday (Dec 13)! I got to stop over and document this phase. As you can can imagine, throughout this process it's easy to get wrapped up in the "what ifs" and worrying about the "next hurdle", but they remind one another often, to laugh and love through it all (as you can see in this photograph). We promise to share the first week's story soon!

Keep that fighting spirit! Much love to you all. xo-d


part two

December 13, 2017

Wow. Patience is a word I've never taken well, and all I am is a bystander in this story. Every step of the way for Kerri and Chris in this journey is the equivalent of jumping hurdles and searching deep within to balance it out with patience. A positive state of mind during this is imperative and I truly believe that.

They began the protocol for their embryo transfer on November 24th.

They had to wait to get the offical green light to begin progesterone injections on December 8th. This appointment confirmed the transfer date.

I was invited over to document what is entailed in the daily rituals of being an IVF patient.


part three

December 13, 2017

THE transfer day-December 13th. TODAY PEOPLE!

I arrived at 10:45am for their 11:30am transfer.

(Side story-Kerri's friend, Kristen, contacted me last night to let me know that through her Thirty One business, she did a Go Fund Me fundraiser and raised money for Kerri and Chris secretly. Kerri thought she was just receiving the bag that she donated to the "Infertility Awareness Support" that Kristen dropped off ahead of time. However, instead, the money she raised was for Kerri and Chris as infertility services are typically not covered by insurance, and if so, it's very minimal, so any type of support is greatly appreaciated. This type of support and friendship has no value and plays a significant role in helping couples get through all of these complicated phases on their journey to parenthood.)

 

They got called in to get confirmation on how the thawing of embryo number one went and to find out if it was successful to proceed. For obvious reasons, I'm sitting in the waiting room. Alone.

Thankful for free wifi!

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12:45pm Luckily, Chris came out to give me an update!!! Successful thaw!

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At 1:30pm the nurse finds me and lets me know I can go back to recovery.

Successful day! They are overjoyed. Chris was beyond giddy about "being pregnant" and plans on wearing his "hat" all day. They were discharged with instructions, no sex (despite the wifi password suggesting otherwise) and no at home pregnancy tests. They return for the offical pregnancy test on December 27th.

Sigh. We wait some more.

Oh, I learned a new word:PUPO, used in a sentence: THEY'RE PUPO.

Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. 

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Just a side note..I'm the kid that unwrapped Christmas gifts people!!!! I'm buying them a pregnancy test!!!!!

xo-d

Kerri's Blog can be found here.


part four

December 27, 2017

Received a text earlier from Kerri. They got the test results back that they didn't want, their transfer was not successful.

I was so hopeful for them. It's sad. Feels unfair. But as with every step of this journey, there are tons of hurdles. And Kerri said it best today, "we are devastated, but will be strong again soon".

Their story goes on. I believe in the timing of it all.

To be continued.

Hugs-d

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part five: take two

April 11, 2018

Some time has passed by since my last update on Kerri & Chris's embryo adoption journey, for a number of reasons, but mainly because in my heart I felt that their story needed some space.

For those of you that are new to this series, occasionally I find special humans that deserve documentation of their unique stories and give back my photography to them as a gift. I truly believe (aka dKol Believes) that the world needs more love and support, uplifting and sharing of positivity. And let me tell you, Kerri and Christopher are two souls that are worthy of any and all positivity. (For more of those intimate details on the last few months, you can catch up over on Kerri's Blog here.)

Monday, April 23 people! They are currently in line for their IVF embryo transfer and if all goes as planned, April 23 we get to join them on their conception day. So consider this a reminder to follow along, subscribe to #dkolbelieves, send positive energy to Kerri and I promise to blog again with updates in the coming weeks.


part six:

May 19, 2018

There have been several changes to the original plan for Kerri and Chris's second embryo transfer date. The most important lesson/reason that I've walked away with from the delay is this:

Be your own advocate. Trust your body. Listen to your intuition. And speak UP.

Kerri's transfer was canceled. Then rescheduled. Then canceled. And then rescheduled, and HAPPENED yesterday (May 18, 2018!

I'll leave the details to be blogged by Kerri, and I'll tell the story the best way that I know how.  (For more on Kerri's perspective, here is the link to Kerri's Blog here. Be patient with her updates, they're coming but she's resting and in the process of making a baby)

We arrived at 11:30am for a 12:00pm transfer. And as of 12:34pm they conceived! The transfer was a success! 

They're PUPO!!!!!! (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise)

The two week wait for the offical blood work results may seem like an eternity, but great things take time, so we'll be patient.

As always, subscribe to #dkolbelieves, and continue to send positive energy to Kerri and Chris. 

xo-d

An extra special thank you to Dr. Levine of Hudson Valley Fertility and his staff for allowing me to cover this story with the most intimate coverage. 


part seven:

August 29, 2018

IT'S A BOY!!! They're 17 weeks pregnant!! And we just booked their maternity shoot!!!

Keep those vibes coming universe!!!!!


part eight:

January 24, 2019

Brian Luke Morgan | 1.24.19. | 7lbs 5oz | 19.5” | 12:20am

Brian Luke, the amount of love and anticipation leading up to your birth has been an overwhelmingly amazing adventure. Now that your birthday has finally come, may you continue to show us how the rest of dream making works.

The Morgan’s birth story told by Kerri:

Our birth story is of course beautiful to me, but it literally was a very moving event that was filled with love. I told Chris in the recovery room, all I remember feeling was love from all around. The nurses, anesthesiologist, Dr Perkes (our amazing OB), Danielle and of course Chris had so much love in their hearts and talked to me the whole time about my son. It was more than I could have ever hoped for. 

We arrived on Tuesday 1/22 evening around 5pm. We’re immediately brought to a delivery room, hooked up to machines and began talking about the induction process. Dr Perkes called the room to comfort me and reassure me that he shared all my information with the on-call Dr and that she would take care of me until he arrived in the morning. We decided to start with a drug called Cytotec that would help soften my cervix and shortly after a foley balloon catheter would be inserted into my uterus to force dilation to 4 cm. Honestly, in all that we have been through this was one of the most painful things I have yet to experience. So much that Chris almost passed out from watching me in so much pain. I kept this catheter in for over 12 hours, between that and the meds it was forcing me to contract ever 2-3 minutes all while trying to sleep to prepare for actual labor. I finally called for some pain meds in the middle of the night to try and sleep. They ended up making me a little silly, I laughed uncontrollably for about 10 minutes before passing out for an hour. 

At 8am, the nurse came in and said “let’s get ready for a baby”. I was filled with hope and excitement, as well as fear but she reassured me that everything was going to work out. She forced me out of bed to brush my teeth, and began repositioning my hospital bed into a position to help force the baby down. We tried so many positions through out the day. Dr Perkes finally removed the catheter and checked to see how dilated I was, only 2 cm... so we began more medicine that would make the contractions more frequent and more intense. 6 hours later...still at 2cm and my little love still wouldn’t drop. This happened a few more times and I began to feel defeated with exhaustion. Chris kept me comfortable, massaging my legs, telling me over and over how proud he was of me and the room remained filled with love and positivity no matter how I was feeling. 

Dr Perkes began talking to me about other options and said we would decide around 11pm what we wanted to do. At the last check, I was still 2cm and contracting every 2-3 minutes for nothing to be progressing. Chris and I decided the best decision for us and our son was to move forward with c-section, we were both terrified of a major surgery, but we trusted Dr Perkes with everything that we have and knew he was the one meant to bring our son to the world, we told him our decision and reassured us that it was the right one. A few minutes later we were dressing for surgery and walking down the halls to the OR. 

I entered with the nurses while Chris watched from the window. Dr Perkes held my hand while it took over 6 tries to get the epidural correct. Another painful and mentally exhausting moment. Once I was finally able to lay down, I felt sick to my stomach. Chris was immediately there talking me through it and rubbing my head while the anesthesiologist gave me a few shots of medicine to make the nausea subside. 

Dr Perkes continued to talk to me through the procedure and tell me how well I was doing. And then the words, “here comes your son” were said, followed by the most amazing cry you have ever heard. It felt like forever before I could finally see him up in the air, he was finally here. The nurses continued to talk out loud so I can hear them while cleaning him up, Chris went to Brian while another nurse stayed to comfort me. Chris yelled out how perfect he was. 

Then the most amazing part was my son instantly knew me, when they brought him close to my face, he stopped crying and began kissing and sucking me all over my face. I cried in happiness while Chris held him on my chest. Like I said, a room filled with love. 

In recovery, Dr Perkes came and was emotional over the whole event, he later told me it was the proudest delivery he ever had. 

Brian Luke, you were always meant to complete our family. You have filled us with love and joy from the moment we you were implanted inside me, we are so blessed to be able to love you and share your life with you. 

Danielle Kolachik we love you so much for being such a huge part of our story. 💙

Hospital Birth at Vassar Brothers Hospital, Poughkeepsie, NY under the care of OB/GYN Dr. Daniel Perkes of CareMount Medical


The dkol la femme project is a platform created to give a voice to you and your unique struggles by telling your story through art. la femme is where vulnerability meets liberation. What is confidence and empowerment to you? What is VULNERABILITY, and how does it affect you? You, as in the generalized you, the one that isn’t gender specific, or defined by your struggle or labeled by medication. OR maybe you are and want to advocate so your story is heard (insert dKol la femme). At la femme you are allowed to free yourself of the need for perfection. Here you will evoke your self-confidence and take pause so you can reflect on your soul.

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