Monticello Couple Welcome Baby with Help of Fertility Specialist

By Katrina Dupins

Married in 2008, Laci and Rickie Bratton knew they wanted to be parents. After two years of trying and no pregnancy, they decided to see a fertility specialist.

“We saw four different doctors over the course of the next six years,” Laci Bratton aid. “We were stuck in a rut. There was no pregnancy, no diagnosis. We were an unexplained infertility.”

It was a long and challenging journey, Bratton said. Month after month, the pregnancy test results were negative. For a while, it was a struggle the couple kept to themselves.

“So many women suffer in silence. I did that for years and I hated the way it made me as a person,” Bratton said. “I would get jealous of other women’s pregnancies. That’s not who I am.”

She opened up to a few close friends and sent updates about her progress through a private social media group.

“I selected people I knew and trusted very well. We got lots of prayers and encouragement. That was helpful,” Bratton said.

She also received feedback from others who had their own struggle with infertility. One in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, according to the National Survey of Family Growth conducted by a division of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rickie Bratton talks to his son in the nursery.

Rickie Bratton talks to his son in the nursery.

“Women who battle infertility get used to hearing the word ‘no,’” Bratton said. “My mom’s a beautician and we know of lots of older ladies who never had children of their own. Back then there weren’t any options to help with that. We’re very thankful that modern medicine has given us a chance to become parents.”

The Brattons took a break from treatments for a while and considered adoption. In 2016, they decided to try to get pregnant with the help of a different doctor. Laci Bratton looked online and found Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., a nationally known fertility expert who sees patients in the UAMS Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology Clinic. She made an appointment in December and began treatment.

Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D.

Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D.

“We immediately felt comfortable with Dr. Richard-Davis,” Bratton aid. “She has been through infertility treatments herself. That gives her an insight into her patients’ emotional state when seeking fertility treatments. Not being able to have a baby was a loss of a dream for me. I felt like she understood that.”

Rickie Bratton liked the way Richard-Davis included him in the process. He never missed an appointment

“Even though Laci is the patient, Dr. Richard-Davis took us both in her care,” Rickie Bratton said. “It was helpful to me to know what was going on so I could help my wife through the process. It can be very emotional to people struggling with infertility. It helped to know what the doctor is talking about so I could encourage and reassure my Laci she wasn’t failing.”

Richard-Davis offered in vitro fertilization when other methods of assisted reproductive techniques were unsuccessful.

Laci Bratton holds her infant son, Cole.

Laci Bratton holds her infant son, Cole.

Bratton prepared herself for hearing another “no” as she waited to find out if the IVF would work. One evening in May, she received a call from the clinic as she and her husband were eating dinner.

“The nurse practitioner told me she had my results. Then she said, ‘Hang on a second.’”

The second felt much longer. Bratton remembers desperately wanting her to hurry and tell her whatever the result was.

“You’re pregnant.”

“I’ll never forget that phone call,” Bratton said. “We cried a lot. To wait 10 years to have a baby and then to finally hear news like this is overwhelming.”

The lapse in time was Lutrell putting Bratton on speakerphone. The whole clinic had wanted to hear her reaction. Richard-Davis and her staff had become like family to Bratton.

“When we go to Little Rock, I want to stop by and see them just to say hello,” she said. “You become close. They knew my story and the challenges we had gone through. They care about me as a human and not just a patient.”

Cole has a head full of dark hair and blue eyes. He seems mesmerized by the cool blue mountains painted on the walls of his nursery. When he is older, Cole will be able to read the reminders placed around the room that he is an answered prayer for his parents.