ST. LOUIS – One year ago, a baby warmed hearts with his unique and memorable birthday. Clark Kelley was born on February 2, 2022, at 22:22 military time. His story aired exclusively on FOX 2 and went viral across the country.
“That day was insane,” said father, Chris Kelley. He shared that Clark’s due date was supposed to be twenty days later on February 22, but the doctor wanted to get ahead of an incoming snowstorm and have the baby early.
“I was just focused on comforting my wife, and we hear the doctor announce the time of birth as “22:22,” which is a military time; it was wild.” Clark added.
“The number two does play this weird factor in his life,” Clark’s mother, Courtney, explained. “You have to ask yourself, is there more to it? And were those all-little signs? Was it time? Well, it was our time.”
What many people may not know is Chris and Courtney struggled with getting pregnant for years. They later learned that all odds were against them because both of them had factors of infertility.
“You have friends getting pregnant left and right, and I even have friends getting pregnant on accident. I’m happy for them, but at the same time it’s like a dagger in your heart, because you’re trying so hard,” Courtney expressed.
The Kelleys chose to use in vitro fertilization (IVF). It’s when the egg is fertilized from the outside, and then put back in the uterus to go through the normal 9-month pregnancy. The Kelley’s went through three failed attempts before finally being successful on their last embryo.
“I can’t begin to tell you how getting that phone call that ultimately she was pregnant – it’s just an amazing experience,” Chris said.
Dr. Violet Klenov is the Kelleys’ reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at Kindbody in St. Louis. She said one out of six couples face infertility – but there are options for health care coverage. However, Klenov added, Missouri ranks very low in giving adequate infertility coverage.
“For the Kelleys, they persevered, and they stuck with the treatment in their last embryo, I was so incredibly happy. The first step is making an appointment. Don’t be afraid. This is all we do all day, every day. We got to reduce the stigma and make sure everybody knows how common infertility is.”
After Clark’s story went viral – the young family of three are using their new platform to tell other couples to not give up.
“I had people reaching out left and right, and then there’s people I don’t even know that said ‘I went through the same thing,’ which was really incredible,” Chris shared.
“It’s hard to be patient, it’s hard to have faith, and it’s hard to keep going,” Courtney revealed. “But, by doing it again and saying we can do this – it was our time.”