Heartbroken. Scared. Overwhelmed. Alone. These are some of the words that Rachel Seastrunk uses to describe her three-year-long battle with infertility. “Nothing compares to the absolute devastation that you experience when you find out that you have a fertility problem,” says Rachel. “My husband and I are high-school sweethearts and had been married for several years before we decided to grow our family,” she adds. “Even though we share a remarkable bond, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a personal failure each month when I found out that I wasn’t pregnant,” she explains.
After extensive research, Rachel’s husband, Chad, suggested that the couple undergo fertility treatments at Duke. “From the moment I walked in and was greeted by the staff at the front desk, I could tell that they understood my situation and my fragile emotional state,” says Rachel. “They were extremely professional and gave you all the hard facts that you needed to know, but at the same time they were incredibly compassionate, patient and understanding,” she adds.
The physicians at Duke Fertility devised a personalized treatment plan for the Seastrunks that began with a basic fertility evaluation. Next, the couple moved on to a series of intrauterine insemination treatments. Finally, the couple decided to try in vitro fertilization (IVF). Soon after beginning IVF, the couple discovered that they were expecting. “The first time that we heard our baby’s heartbeat we were so happy that for a moment we were completely speechless,” says Rachel.
In November of 2015, the couple welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world and named him Braxton. Imagine their joy and surprise when, 12 weeks later while at a routine check-up, Rachel discovered that she was pregnant with their second son, Brody. Remarkably, the two boys shared a due date of November 11, and were born 364 days apart.
Blessed. Awe-inspiring. Amazing. Beyond compare. These are some of the words Rachel uses to describe her new role as a mother. When she was at her lowest point, the team at Duke Fertility changed Rachel’s story and gave her the gift of a new vocabulary.
“There are so many women out there who struggle with infertility,” says Rachel. “I hope that my story will encourage another woman to pull herself up out of her despair and seek out a consultation. You are not alone. There is hope. Little miracles happen at Duke every day.”