Now that you've read my Birth Control Story, I figure I should give you some insight into how I became a part of the Creighton Model FertilityCare System.
Once DH and I were engaged, I stopped taking the pill because I no longer needed it for birth control (since suddenly, I was celibate... well, better late than never...) A few months later, much to my chagrin, my acne came back with a vengeance. My wedding was to be in August, and this was now January. I was NOT going to have acne at my wedding, NO WAY! But since my insurance was no longer covering my prescription for birth control pills (naturally my first choice of remedy for acne, because, wasn't it the magic pill that solved everything, after all??), I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I turned to my sister. Who didn't want her prescription renewed since she didn't like the side effects of the pill (why did this not bother me?), and instead sent me her meds.
So, merrily I popped along, watching my skin almost instantly clear up. PHEW! Crisis averted! And it wouldn't be too long until I would stop taking them for good, I told myself, because I wanted to have kids right away. Only 7 months to go.
In April, DH and I enrolled in our Pre-Cana classes, and were told that part of the requirements was to attend an Introductory Session for the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. So, we traveled to New York, where the secretary from my hometown parish gave a presentation to us and a few other couples on a powerpoint presentation.
I can remember that Intro Session like it was yesterday. I won't say my eyes were completely opened, because they weren't. Yet. But it was quite literally a very comprehensive presentation of information that NO ONE HAD EVER GIVEN TO ME BEFORE. I mean, here I was 24 years old, and just now finding out that all that gooey clear stuff I would often see on my underwear and when I wiped from the time I went through puberty was not only NORMAL, it was a GOOD thing! And don't get me started on the slide about the effects the pill has on your reproductive system, in particular the endometrial lining. I was flabbergasted.
After the Intro, we were given a chance to decide if we wanted to sign up for charting. I had already decided after the first slide that YES this was what I wanted to do. I always knew I wanted to have kids early, and now there was a way I could actually make sure it happened as soon as I wanted it to!!! (See, I told you my eyes weren't completely opened yet.) When I told the Practitioner that I wanted to sign up, she asked me a few health history questions and ascertained that I was currently taking the pill, for my acne. She said in order to chart accurately, I would need to stop taking the pill first. Yikes. What?? My happy pills? My beautiful-skin pills?? My "just in case" pills?? Ummmm... even after hearing about the effects the pill was having on my body, I was resistant. I told her, "Well, we're getting married in 4 months, so maybe I'll just start charting then."
Oh, how silly and misinformed I was.
But my Practitioner, bless her soul, emailed me to suggest some alternatives for my skin. I didn't really look into them, and put it on the backburner... but deep down I was starting to feel like I had to give up my happy pills...
Later that same month, my sister (the same one who gave me the pills because SHE didn't like the side effects) bought me an early bridal shower gift - a Consultation and Treatment with an Ayurvedic Dr in NYC. It was for my acne!! OK, I reasoned, I will give this a try, and now I'll be able to come off the pill AND start charting.
And so I began charting, April 2006.
The Ayurvedic Dr helped to get my skin back to clear and beautiful in time for my wedding, praise God. My charting was going well, and I was of the impression I was the most fertile woman in the world because of all the baby stickers on my chart. I had clear stretchy lubricative mucus almost EVERY DAY! It was awesome! Woo hoo, baby-makin', here I come!
And while the charting was beginning to work its magic on me, I have now come to understand that the magic of the Truth takes a longer time to grow once planted in your heart, whereas the black magic of lies is instantaneous.
Case in point: Our honeymoon. If you go back to my charts from 2006, you will notice a big gap between August 18th (the day before our wedding) and September 20th (the start of my next cycle), because I reasoned, why chart on our honeymoon?? I wanted to ACHIEVE pregnancy, and we would be having lots of, well, you know, so why bother?? Right?
Except that while my chart was in the States and we were in Italy, I began to spot. And continued spotting... and now I had no record of this crazy spotting.
The next cycle when I resumed charting, I still had crazy spotting after my period, but then the stretchy mucus appeared and I had it all the time. So the spotting didn't worry me too much since I was having all of these "fertile" signs.
(Did I mention that my Practitioner had only given me two follow-ups since I was a long-distance client... and so, I didn't realize at the time that my variable return of Peak-type mucus was actually a sign of DECREASED fertility and possible anovulation.)
After three months of lots of, well, you know, on lots of baby sticker days, and no baby in my tummy, I was getting concerned. (Yes, 3 months. I was a VERY impatient infertile in the making. I think I've come leaps and bounds in that regard, don't you?) So, off to a Dr of NaPro Technology we went, not even realizing how LUCKY we were to have one in our own backyard, 20 minutes away. It was the same office I had called up after a google search following our Intro Session for Creighton.
"I'm getting married in August and wanted to see if I could come here for prenatal care and for the Dr to deliver my babies?"
"No, I'm sorry, the Dr is a General Practitioner, and doesn't deliver babies. We mostly do pre-pregnancy things at this office, for NaPro. Like, if there was some problem you were having with your cycles and fertility."
"Oh. Alright, thanks anyway."
When we went to the office for the first time (which, by the way, is the office in which I now sit typing this blog post after having finished up an evening ultrasound patient), I was under the impression we were there to get pregnant quicker :) Because, after all, I should be in my 2nd trimester already at this point!! But my charting was so messed up, that I was in fact a gynecological patient, not an "infertility" patient as I had assumed I was ;) So, the Dr tested me and treated me for the issues she saw glaring at her from my charting - irregular bleeding, short post-Peak phases, variable return of Peak-type mucus... and after about a month of these tests (and another ultrasound), I was told that I had likely not ovulated at all since I'd been charting, and I had PCOS. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) was then thoroughly explained to me by the Dr, and I was told of a few options I had to help me ovulate again - surprise, surprise, none of the options included the pill!
After 6 months of "fertility-focused intercourse" i.e. having lots of, you know, on supposedly fertile days, the Dr told me I should go home and discuss with my husband if we were ready to try something like Clomid. The words barely made it out of her mouth when I was shouting "Yes, we're ready!!" since I had already been googling the heck out of PCOS and knew I wanted Clomid to be my next Happy Pill :) And it was!
For a while, anyway. It helped me ovulate each and every time I took it... but after 9 months on Clomid and a few delayed ovulations, I began to wonder if I would always need to take medication in order to have normal cycles. The thought, which at one point in time hadn't even crossed my mind, was now haunting me. I saw how nice my charts started to look on Clomid... but it wasn't really MY BODY ovulating on its own. It was like I was tricking it, or something.
And the Creighton Model was beginning to sprout in my heart.
My cycles started to look so much better to me, that I went back and looked at my first charts and could see just how messed up my body had been after coming off the birth control pill. I had thought to myself at the Intro Session for Creighton that I wanted to become a Practitioner someday, but now I knew for sure this is what I wanted. I enrolled in the training session immediately.
In April of 2008, I had my very first surgery - a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy/D&C, selective hysterosalpingogram, and... an Ovarian Wedge Resection. After discussing with the surgeon all the details of this complex surgical procedure, I knew I wanted to do it. Not only were pregnancy rates high after the surgery (which, I won't lie, was at the time my number #1 goal), but it may actually help my body to learn how to ovulate again on its own.
Four days after the surgery, I ovulated on my own.
And I have ovulated each and every cycle since then, either on or before Cycle Day 14, even without medication.
Infertility has taught me so much about myself, and has helped me to grow as a person, but I consider our (my husband's and my) infertility to be a portion of the journey, lying under the bigger umbrella of Creighton Model FertilityCare. Now, every time I give an Intro Session to new clients, I really am struck by how true it is that this system "fosters an appreciation for fertility." That is EXACTLY what has happened for us. As a teen, I didn't appreciate the signs my body was giving me that something was wrong, and instead I just wanted to stop the inconveniences. As a young adult, I didn't care that the pill would help me "preserve my fertility" because I appreciated my fertility - rather, I just wanted to make sure I could "get pregnant when I wanted to." There was no God in my equation of how my life would pan out. Heck, there wasn't even a husband in my equation, it was solely about ME and MY desires to have children early.
I have experienced how beautifully life-giving the Creighton Model is, and it has brought me so far in my own morality, not to mention in my physical health.
If only I had been given this system when I was 19 years old.