So here goes part 2 of my background story...
During my later high school years I discovered the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and natural family planning and I fell deeper in love with Christ and His Church. I grew up in a family that did not value these teachings, so when I came across them it was a bit foreign to me. As I started to read the Catechism and documents like Humanae Vitae I saw what I had been missing, true love. A love that challenges me to love beyond myself and not hold back anything from my spouse, even my fertility or lack there of. These teachings challenged me to go beyond myself and my pride(which I have a lot of) and rely on God and His grace to follow them.
My husband on the other hand knew about NFP since he was a kid. My father-in-law can talk a person's ear off about NFP and will often jump right into talking about ecological breastfeeding upon first meeting people. Actually, ecological breastfeeding was one of the first conversations I had with my future father-in-law when my husband and I were just friends.
So as my husband and I were going through our marriage prep. we knew that we wanted Natural Family Planning to be part of our marriage and family apostolate. We took sympto-thermal classes months before our wedding date and got the hang of it pretty quickly. So this was our plan: to get married, use NFP to postpone pregnancy for a year to figure out my wonky cycles, make sure nothing serious was wrong and save up money. After that year was up whether or not we had answers to our medical concerns we would start trying to conceive, after our first baby we would teach sympto-thermal, home-school our 10 children and live happily ever after. Not a bad plan, right?
Well the first year of that plan happened, the rest did not. After about 6 months I knew something was wrong and my abdominal pain was getting worse with each cycle. After an ultrasound and a blood test my Dr. told me everything was fine, despite the immense pain I was in on Cycle day 1 and 2. They "ruled out" PCOS. They also said I just needed to relax and after a year I would be referred to a fertility specialist, which we all know what that means, A.R.T. Frustrated with our Drs. we decided to try and change our diet to see if we could remedy the mysterious problem naturally. I researched and read a book called Fertility Cycles and Nutrition. So we changed our eating habits and were eating very healthy home cooked food, I was even making our own bread. That didn't help it actually might have made things worse.
Finally after trying to figure this out on our own for almost two years we found a ray of hope when a couple came to teach NFP at our parish. We wanted to check it out so that we could get started w/ teaching NFP as well. They looked at our chart and they highly recommended that I start charting the Creighton Method and see a NaProTechnology Dr. ASAP. "Creighton what?! NaPro, nano, what?!" I was confused and had never heard of any of this before.
So I politely took the names of the two Drs. nearest to us and was not sure I was going to call. "Maybe there wasn't anything really wrong with me? Maybe it's all in my head and the other Drs. are right that I am fine? Maybe I need a shrink instead? Maybe it's just not God's timing and maybe I am being punished for something wrong that I did? Maybe I am allowing my desire to have children to take over too much?" These were the thoughts going through my head which echo the thoughts of many of my infertile/subfertile sisters.
These thoughts were rapidly cast aside when I got my next cycle and almost passed out from the pain. I remember that pain so vividly, it felt like someone was trying to rip out my left ovary. Sorry for the graphic details but it really felt like I was going to die at times. All I could do was pray that God would get me through it, if it be His will. God taught me so much during those times of pain. I started to use that time to pray to end abortion. I knew that I was not the only one suffering, those children and those families that are wounded because of abortion needed prayers too. I would also pray for my husband and our future children. I am not saying this so that you think I am a holy roller who knows how to deal with suffering so well, it is just part of my journey.
After yet another painful cycle and no positive pregnancy test I decided to call the NaPro Drs. I actually did not call the other Dr. because there was no need to. When I called the first Dr. and the receptionist said "Mystical Rose OB/GYN, how can I help you?" I almost dropped the phone. Mystical Rose may sound like a hippy new age kind of name but it is actually one of the names for the Blessed Mother in the Litany. It so happens to be my FAVORITE name for the Blessed Mother! So I knew that this was the Dr. I needed to go to. I called and made an appointment and we were off a couple of weeks later.