Melissa’s Journey With NFP and Infertility

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This is a guest post by Melissa of Faith in All Times in the Women Speak on NFP series. In this series you will hear from women using various methods of NFP, some to avoid pregnancy, some trying to conceive, and their experiences.

Disclaimer: This series is not meant to be a substitute for any method of training in NFP! If you are interested in one of the methods introduced in this series, please contact a certified instructor for information about training in that method of NFP. 

Long before I met my husband I knew I would have difficulties getting pregnant. At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with the auto immune and fertility disorder endometriosis. Once we were married we were both hopeful that children would come more easily than we had expected, but very soon into our marriage we found ourselves on the road of infertility.

I began charting with NFP (specifically the sympto-thermal method) soon after we were engaged. My charts were the first sign something wasn’t right in the fertility department.  My symptoms never really lined up; if my temperature said I was fertile my cervix or mucus said I wasn’t.

After months of confusing charts we decided it was time see a doctor. She suspected my endometriosis was preventing pregnancy and suggested I have a laparoscopic surgery to help treat it. I had the surgery in April 2009 and we were hopeful that we would soon get pregnant. Instead, my health continued to decline. In January 2010, I saw another doctor who officially declared us infertile. She gave us the names of four IVF and IUI specialist in the city and suggested we contact them right away. I felt as though I’d been hit by a bus. Not only was I infertile but the only “help” she could offer us were treatments we were morally against.

Though I knew IVF and IUI could result in a child, I also knew they would do little to nothing to treat my health, so I began searching for alternatives. My sister had once mentioned Napro Technology and Creighton Model to me so I decided to look into it again. I found a Creighton doctor and teacher nearby. We began charting with Creighton right away and within weeks it was clear that was something off with my cycles. Once we met with the Creighton doctor he was able to pinpoint my hormonal imbalances and adjust my diet and supplements. He was also able to tell me the surgery I’d had in 2009 had been preformed incorrectly and I would most likely need another. All of that information from a chart that monitored my mucus!

Though we knew I would need another surgery we wanted to take baby steps to see if anything else could help before having a third surgery. We made simple diet changes, adjusted my supplements, and added progesterone to the tail end of my cycles. Within weeks I felt the best I had in years. Eight months later my symptoms started to worsen and the doctor suggested it was time to have the surgery. In November 2010 I had my third laparoscopic surgery and they confirmed my previous one had been preformed incorrectly. Without going into detail, they discovered that pregnancy had been impossible because my endometriosis was preventing ovulation. My body had been so damaged by the disease the doctors thought it would take at least six months to heal. We were told to enjoy being married and relax. They had hope we would one day get pregnant, but advised us that it would take awhile.

Two months after the surgery we became pregnant with our firstborn. Shortly after his birth, friends who were struggling with infertility began asking how we got pregnant without the use of IVF or IUI. The questions reminded me of a desire that had been placed on my heart when we were first struggling with infertility; the desire for a Catholic infertility community.

Though infertility is a dark and lonely road no matter who you are, I found it to be even more difficult because I wasn’t the mainstream infertile woman. I strongly disagreed with IVF and IUI and had to search for doctors who would respect and honor my decisions not to use those methods. I often had to explain to family and friends why would never consider those treatments. Feeling more and more alone, I longed for a sense of community and support from like minded women who were dealing with similar struggles.

Once other women began seeking me out for guidance I desired that type of community all the more. I felt a strong call on my heart from God to help create and foster a place for Catholic women to go to discuss their struggles with infertility as well as lift each other up and spread the Church’s teachings on morally sound reproductive technologies. After a few years of brainstorming my husband and I decided a website would be the best place to start. Once we found other women who were willing to share their stories, Faith In All Times was born.

Melissa graduated from Franciscan University in 2008. While she was there, she met her husband Joshua. They were married a short sixteen months later. Melissa spends her time raising their handsome son, photographing the world around them, and running her new website Faith in All Times, a ministry created for Catholic women struggling with infertility.
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Comments

  1. says

    I am so glad you mentioned infertility in this NFP series. It isn’t something that gets talked about a lot and hardly anyone talks about infertility from a Catholic perspective. I’m so happy to read a success story from someone who overcame infertility without resorting to IUI or IVF!

  2. says

    This was such a great post; I have never heard of someone who refuses to go with IVF and I’ve always wondered what I would do if I were in that situation (I’m uncomfortable with the idea but don’t really have a firm grasp on my opinion). Also, the comment about diet changes and supplements was encouraging as well. I’ve heard (and found myself) that people who go that route have to have an extreme amount of patience and I am full of admiration when I hear of someone trying.

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing your story Melissa! I wish more people were aware of the alternatives to IVF. I have shared your website with a friend of mine who has struggled through miscarriages for over four years now. I think a support site for people struggling with infertility is a great idea.

    Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing your story! My friend and her husband are currently struggling with getting pregnant and she is using Clomid. Now that I am pregnant, I find it a bit hard to feel completely happy around her because I think of her struggles. I want to keep your website for a reference to her and anyone else that may be struggling so that they know there are other options than IVF and IUI and that there are others out there that they can talk to with some of the same difficulties.

  5. LPatter says

    Such a great & important testimony! Best of luck with parenting & the new ministry! Keep evangelizing the culture!

  6. says

    Wow – such an interesting story! And your little boy is so extremely cute! I’m very interested to learn more about your site – thanks.

  7. says

    It’s so refreshing to read about others who are going through the same journey! My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for about 5 years now and are continuing to work with NFP and Napro trained doctors who are wonderful. It’s awesome to know so much about my body and find out what’s causing the problems. Women need to know that there are more options than IVF – options that actually get to the root of the issue and work to resolve it. I hope and pray that we are blessed with a little one soon! God bless+

  8. Dawn says

    While this article shines light on a happy ending, there isn’t a happy ending for everyone and some people cannot just “overcome infertility”. I will not have children unless I try ivf because my endometriosis is so extensive that it could not be removed during surgery and it will only continue to worsen. I’ve tried every health thing and supplement there is to try and had to come to realize that this is a horrible disease that I really don’t have any control over no matter what I do. Changes can help my quality of life, but there is nothing I can do to prevent more tissue and adhesions from forming. I’m happy that your story has a happy ending, but perhaps you could remember those who have no other option to have children unless they use medical treatments. Unless you are really in that situation and have been told that without medical intervention you will not have a child, it is not fair for people to pass judgement. I never imagined that we would be facing this but I’m trusting that God will give us a happy ending, whether it be with a growing family or content as two. Everyone’s situation is unique. I pray for those who are in similar situations.

    • says

      Dawn, I apologize if my post offended you. I know there is not a happy ending for everyone and we count our blessings each day because we were blessed with the gift of our son. Faith In All Times is meant to be a place for Catholic women to share their current and past struggles with infertility. I know many who were not able to overcome infertility and I grieve for them deeply. I mentioned in my post that IVF and IUI were not options for us because of our Catholic faith. The Church has very specific teachings on those technologies. You can read more about those teachings at these links http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19870222_respect-for-human-life_en.html
      http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

      I am sorry if it came off as though I was passing judgement on those who consider or use IVF and IUI. It is not my place to judge and I hold no judgement on those who seeks those treatments. However I don’t agree with those practices because of my faith and I feel it is my duty as a Catholic to spread the truth.

      God Bless,
      Melissa

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