Today, I have to sing praises to the Creighton Model Method of NFP! I am it's biggest fan right now. I have to admit, it didn't start out that way....not even close!
I was raised Roman Catholic and even though the Catholic Church recommends using natural means for family planning, I picked up on the fear and mistrust of NFP all around me, and carried that with me into my marriage. The fear got much, much worse after I went through a difficult pregnancy and delivery--No way did I plan on throwing myself to the wolves, using a system that would fail me again and again (as far as I had been taught), leaving me with child after child after child and pregnancy after terrible pregnancy just because my church told me I should. They just wanted me to have a huge litter of kids no matter what my body and mind should suffer, right? They, didn't understand or care what I was going through in my personal life, right? I couldn't have been more wrong and I have to tell you: I AM SHOCKED. Shocked and humbled and grateful that somehow, through the thick sludge of lies and rumors and misinformation, I stumbled upon the truth of the matter. NFP ACTUALLY WORKS (And that's coming from someone who's body has many "issues" in the fertility department!). One day, after listening to me rant about this matter for the umpteenth time, my husband (who, up until this point in time, had been pretty uninvolved in this aspect of our lives together) brought up an interesting point. "Do you actually KNOW how to use NFP?" he asked. "Well, no..not really. I have an idea, though," came my reply. "If you don't know anything about it and have never tried using it, then how do you know it doesn't work?" Hmmmm...good question. I tried explaining how everyone who dared to use NFP ultimately ends up with surprise pregnancies and a houseful of kids they can't afford. Isn't that the famous picture? (It never occurred to me that the people with lots of kids WANTED and even PLANNED to have that many!) Well, after hashing and rehashing the dangers of artificial birth control and the fact that we do most other things in our life the "natural way" (not to mention the "Catholic way" ;o), I agreed to LEARN about NFP. I announced to the practitioner right off the bat that we planned to begin using it at a time when we didn't mind being pregnant, so that when/if the system failed, we wouldn't be too devastated. I was so ignorant! And I really did have this idea in the back of my mind that this would be what finally got me to be pregnant, whether I was ready or not--a great big "Oops!" that would take the responsibility of decision-making off of my exhausted shoulders. I'd use NFP, get pregnant by accident (proving that the method didn't work and that the Church had it all wrong), and then I'd chalk it up as God's will and go on my merry way. What I didn't expect was for NFP to work like a charm. I didn't expect the method to be so scientific, so accurate, so effective. I didn't expect that it would bring my husband and I instantly closer (I had actually cracked up when the practitioner told me NFP was a bonding experience--I mean, what did bonding have to do with charting periods? I'm just not the type who buys into that sort of thing). I didn't expect for it to open up my eyes to so many things that were going on inside my body--things that had always been there without my knowledge--important things that every girl should know about and understand, Catholic or not....and things that were wrong that I might never have found without learning the Creighton Method. Most of all, I really, really (REALLY) didn't expect for it to help me get over my fear of being pregnant so that I am now one step closer to having another child. Which brings me to....
My NFP practitioner is an RN named Nancy McGrath (She is WONDERFUL!!). The entire time she has been teaching us, Nancy has been recommending me to go see an OB/Gyn (over an hour away from where I live!) who is also an NFP practitioner for the Creighton Method. Long story short(ish), I finally decided to make an appointment with Dr. Collins and went to see her yesterday. It was so amazing! Before examining me AT ALL, she could already see some problems, just by looking at the chart I have been keeping of my menstrual cycle for the past eight months. She told me she thought I probably had something called an ectropion on my cervix...then examined me and saw that I really did have one. She also sees a possible progesterone deficiency at a specific point in my cycle and is having me do blood tests for estrogen and progesterone on three specific days on my chart. She thinks that if we iron out a few little kinks, I might be able to have a better pregnancy this time around. Our theory is that there is a progesterone issue mixing with problems from my under active thyroid (both can cause pre-term labor among other problems). I will keep you updated on everything as I pave this winding road to pregnancy....and if this doesn't work out the "old-fashioned way" (and even possibly if it does!), we are already prepped for the adoption process . On the NFP front, I am being certified to teach it next year so my soapbox might get that much bigger--Ha ha ha! That's for another post entirely! :oD