Before Victoria and her husband, Aaron, embarked on their path to parenthood, they were two individuals navigating the dating world during the pandemic. They met on an app where an instant connection sparked between them. Despite the challenges of entering a new relationship during unprecedented times, they had a bond anchored by shared dreams, values, and a deep desire to start a family. After moving in together, getting engaged, and marrying, they were eager to begin trying for a baby. However, they soon discovered that their path to parenthood was going to be a bumpy road.

Following months of trying to conceive on their own, Victoria’s intuition told her something wasn’t right. Having struggled with an irregular cycle since she was young, Victoria didn’t want to waste any time. She reached out to her OB/GYN for answers but felt like she needed support from a doctor specializing in fertility to increase her chances of getting pregnant.

Finding Dr. Channing Burks Chatmon and Fertility Centers of Illinois

In a leap of faith, Victoria Googled “fertility centers” in Chicago where she came across the Fertility Centers of Illinois website and booked an appointment with Dr. Channing Burks Chatmon. Before starting treatment, Victoria and Aaron completed fertility testing, which showed that Victoria had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and there was a possible male factor contributing to their struggles conceiving.  

Dr. Burks Chatmon recommended intrauterine insemination (IUI), a process that seemed straightforward but was fraught with emotional ups and downs. Victoria and Aaron faced setbacks during their first two IUI attempts, including a cycle with no follicles and another with too many.

As she endured the disappointment of two failed attempts, it seemed as if everyone around her was starting families of their own with ease. Victoria explained the sadness she felt at the time, saying, “All of my friends were about to have their babies. I had family members about to have babies. And I was like, what if that’s never us?”

Changing Medication Protocols and a Third IUI

Leading up to their third attempt, the option to pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF) was on the table. However, Dr. Burks knew that Victoria and her husband were apprehensive about jumping into IVF, so they changed the medication protocol hoping to get the desired response from the next IUI.

“We tried Letrozole initially and it did not work, and she knew I was not ready to take the step towards IVF just yet,” Victoria explained. “Dr. Burks was willing to try Letrozole and Clomid combined, which seemed like something I hadn’t heard of being done based on my research and patient stories I read. To me, that showed that she was willing to try and use all the tools possible to get something to work for us. We always knew IVF was still available to us, but we were thankful that she was willing to give other medicated cycles a shot.”

Victoria and her husband had one follicle leading up to the procedure. They were fraught with uncertainty, but delighted to find out two weeks later that Victoria was pregnant! Victoria and Aaron’s perseverance paid off when, after nearly half a year of treatment, they were preparing for their biggest journey yet – parenthood. Victoria and her husband were ecstatic, and Dr. Burks shared in their happiness and enthusiasm. Victoria shared, “Dr. Burks called me personally the day we found we were pregnant, which was a really personal gesture and shows that she really cares about her individual patients.”

A Bundle of Joy After Fertility Struggles

They welcomed their little miracle, Chloe, on March 26th, 2024. Holding their baby for the first time, after all the anticipation and heartache, was a surreal moment for Victoria.

She reflected on how the culmination of dreams, fears, struggles, and joy brought them to where they are now, saying, “Every time I look at her, I am so grateful that this journey brought her to me, and I know the hardest days of our fertility journey were absolutely worth it.”

The initial days of motherhood were intensely rewarding as she watched her daughter take in the world around her, growing and changing with each passing day. She emphasized the importance of cherishing every moment, saying, “They grow so fast! Each day she takes in more. You can tell she’s grasping more information and just taking in all her surroundings. It’s just really cool to watch all of that.”

Finding Strength in Adversity

Throughout her fertility journey, Victoria found strength she never knew she had. It was a challenging period as she and her husband grappled with the fear of never being able to have a child of their own. Victoria reflected on the anguish they experienced not knowing what was to come, saying, “It was one of the most difficult journeys that I’ve ever been on emotionally in my life, just from wanting a kid so bad. My husband and I had to have difficult conversations. We were thinking, what if we never have one? Do we want to look at adopting? Do we want to pursue IVF if the IUI doesn’t work? It’s just all those questions constantly going through your mind.”

Victoria’s support system was her rock during this time. She found solace in her husband’s unwavering partnership and the effort they put in as a couple to communicate their wants and needs. They also got a puppy during treatment, which brought a different kind of joy to their household and was a welcome distraction.

For those embarking on their own fertility journeys, Victoria shares words of encouragement, saying, “You are not alone in all your feelings, take time to feel them but never give up hope that your baby is on the way to you. I believe that if you are going through these treatments to become a parent, you are truly one of the strongest people out there and you are going to make the best parents.”

As Victoria and Aaron look to the future, they reflect on their journey with gratitude towards the team at FCI, particularly Dr. Burks.  “Everyone at FCI has been great. We might not have to come back, but if we do, I’m looking forward to working with everyone again and hopefully having baby number two at some point. We’re thankful for everything Dr. Burks and FCI has done for us and we’re excited.”

Their story is not just about fertility treatment, but of hope, strength in the face of uncertainty, and the immeasurable joy of parenthood. It serves as an inspiration to all those navigating their paths toward creating a family, reminding us of the beauty that awaits on the other side of adversity.