When I was 9 years old, I was diagnosed with leukemia. After many rounds of chemotherapy, I received a successful bone marrow transplant from my brother and have been cancer free since. At age 14, I did not start a period yet. My endocrinologist diagnosed me with premature ovarian failure, secondary to chemotherapy, and prescribed me synthetic birth control as a hormone replacement therapy. The first few months of starting birth control were awful. I had painful cramping, very heavy flow, and bleeding for more than two weeks at a time. When I went back to the doctor a few months later, she prescribed me a different birth control pill- the one I remained on for the next 13 years. During these 13 years, I had yearly check-ups with my endocrinologist that only consisted of “Are you happy with the pill you’re on? Okay good, we’ll see you in another year.” I returned to my appointments every year and stayed on the pill because I was told this was my only option for supplying my body with the hormones it needed.
During my 20’s, my doctor began telling me that my chances of conceiving a child on my own were very minimal due to my diagnosis of premature ovarian failure and the likelihood that “you probably don’t have any eggs.” There were multiple appointments where I was told that IVF was my only option and that I should consider using one of my sisters as an egg donor. I left these appointments feeling very uncomfortable and unsettled. But again, I returned to my appointments every year because I was told this was my only option.
When I met my husband during our college years, we only had brief conversations about my possible infertility. After our engagement, we stopped putting this hard topic on the back burner and began having deeper conversations about my ovarian failure diagnosis and what that meant for our dreams of having a family of our own someday. We decided that IVF was something we didn’t personally feel like pursuing. After a few weeks of searching other options for a women’s health care physician, we learned about Natural Procreative Technology and the Creighton Model System. Being a cradle Catholic, I had always heard about Natural Family Planning, but had misconceptions about the various ways it can be used. We learned so much from our sessions with Kristin!
In December 2017, I stopped taking my birth control pill and began charting using the Creighton Model System. In February 2018, I had my first appointment with a NaPro physician who found that there was no record of any blood work being done to confirm my original diagnosis of premature ovarian failure and my current blood work and ultrasound imaging did not suggest that I was in true ovarian failure. Although this news brought my husband and I much happiness and hope, we were also incredibly frustrated that I was misdiagnosed. I was told for 13 years to take a birth control pill that I did not need and could have potentially harmed my fertility.
I continued charting for the next several months and used the Creighton Model to monitor my fertility until marriage. My NaPro physician kept close monitoring of my hormones with blood work precisely timed during certain days of my cycle. Through charting, the doctor was able to learn about my cycle and suspected low progesterone and estrogen that was confirmed with blood tests. After my husband and I were married in July 2018, we began using the Creighton Model to achieve pregnancy. I was prescribed a hormone injection for my low progesterone and estrogen- and after just two months of marriage, we successfully conceived a child! We are expecting baby to arrive in June 2019!
My NaPro physician continues to closely monitor my progesterone levels and has prescribed progesterone injections to support the pregnancy and reduce my risk of a miscarriage. The individualized care and attention has been a huge blessing.
Most days, we still cannot believe it’s true. For 13 years I was told that I would never conceive a child and IVF was suggested as my only option. My husband and I are still at a loss for words when we try and process our story and are working on ways to advocate for others in similar situations. We 100% believe that we would not be pregnant today if it weren’t for the Creighton Model System and NaPro Technology. We are so very grateful to Kristin for being our guiding light, sharing her knowledge of the Creighton Model System, and answering all of our questions. She is a true advocate for women’s reproductive health!
Author: Kallie & Caleb Kimm