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.