The Creighton Model System (CrMS) relies upon standardized observation and charting of biological markers that are essential to a woman’s health and fertility. These “biomarkers” tell the couple when they are naturally fertile and infertile, allowing the couple to use the system either to achieve or to avoid pregnancy. These biomarkers also telegraph abnormalities in a woman’s health. The CrMS allows a woman to unravel the mysteries of the menstrual cycle. (from www.creightonmodel.com)
I started using CrMS seven years ago as part of our marriage preparation process upon the recommendation of our priest, Fr. Ed Broom, OMV at St. Peter Chanel. My gynecologist had prescribed the birth control pill to me some 8 years before then to control endometriosis and to prevent the return of ovarian cysts after a surgery in 1997 to remove a cyst on my right ovary that grew to the size of a grapefruit (yikes!). I knew nothing about how the Pill worked. She said it was safe. I wasn’t using it for birth control purposes. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital again…so I took it.
See, you can’t stay on the Pill while you are learning a natural method and observing the signs of your body because the artificial hormones essentially SHUT DOWN the reproductive system for the entire time you are taking them. So I stopped because I had to. What of the endometriosis and the cysts? As far as I could feel, they didn’t come back but I also had a doctor who practiced some degree of NaProTechnology that cooperatively worked with CrMS to take care of any medical issues I had.
You’re waiting for my reasons, I know. So here they are…
1) LITTLE GARY
This is our first child. He was also our first “Creighton baby” because we timed his conception, hoping to deliver him during the summer so I wouldn’t have to take off work during the school year. He left us at 6 weeks old in the womb, and we were incredibly heartbroken. I had been working with a pro-life ob/gyn who was referred to me by my CrMS practitioner, and he was wonderful in spiritually and emotionally supporting us through the miscarriage. Not once did he say, “Well, you’re young. You can always try again.” He took his own personal rosary out of his pocket and prayed with us, giving us the rosary after we finished. We could see that not only was our doctor committed to his faith, he was committed to his patients as well.
2) MELEANA GRACE
A few months after losing Little Gary, we chose to try for another child. Using CrMS we were able to identify the fertile window and were able to conceive successfully. But since I already had a past miscarriage, my doctor continued pregnancy maintenance with Prometrium, a prescription medication that is chemically bioidentical to the progesterone naturally found in a woman’s body. This is standard protocol in NaProTechnology, and I am so grateful for it because there are many women who lose pregnancies in the first trimester, possibly due to low progesterone levels. God blessed us with Meleana Grace who was born on October 14, 2007.
3) THERESE HOPE
We planned on waiting until Meleana was 2 years old before having another baby, but Gary and I decided together that we would be open to the possibility. Creighton Model had worked well for us in postponing pregnancy months before, and this time it served its purpose for achieving our third pregnancy. Again I was placed on Prometrium for the first two trimesters, and I carried Therese to term with a smooth and quick delivery on March 13, 2009.
4) KALI DAMIEN
Our little boy, Kali Damien was born on Holy Thursday, April 21, 2011. We’re incredibly blessed to have him because after Therese I had 8 months of unusual postpartum bleeding. It was disheartening and terrifying at the same time. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and none of my doctors could figure out the problem, much less the solution. With the expertise of my Education Director and faculty Medical Consultant, I was put on Prometrium once again to jump start my cycles. What a relief it was to see a chart with some regularity! We wanted to continue growing our family, but my progesterone levels were still so low that I had two very early miscarriages. After a few months of consistent progesterone support, Kali was conceived and I continued to have my levels monitored throughout the pregnancy. Most ob/gyns advise against progesterone use after the 1st trimester, but our CrMS Medical Consultants want to make sure that the numbers stay up and will prescribe it through the 2nd trimester.
5) I’M A SCIENCE GEEK
I was completely fascinated by the Creighton Model Intro Session when my practitioner showed me slides of the ovulation cycle, cervical mucus, and the biomarkers that were unique to NaProTechnology. I’d never learned about the intricacies and complex processes of a woman’s body this way – and I was a science major. Over 30 years of research has gone into developing this system and refining it for women all over the world to learn. Now, I understand that not everyone is as captivated by this stuff but I’ve always been the kind of person to look for answers and explanations for EVERYTHING. I thought this was absolutely awesome.
6) IT’S A TRULY EMPOWERING SYSTEM FOR ALL WOMEN
This new understanding of fertility was mind-blowing, and it has allowed me to appreciate the authenticity of CrMS’s approach to women’s reproductive health. I wasn’t at the mercy of a doctor who wanted to send me home with an IUD or use the birth control pill as a band-aid for any and all problems that I was having with my cycle. Since I began using CrMS, I have 7 years worth of charts that serve as a medical record and a visual aid when I am communicating with my doctors. When I needed to rule out uterine/endometrial cancer during all the bleeding I was having, I was able to show the doctor what was going on and we were able to determine whether or not the treatment he was giving me was working. He was willing to look for the possible causes much more quickly because of the information my chart provided.
7) IT MAKES FOR A STRONGER MARRIAGE
Jason Evert wrote a beautiful article about why couples who use a natural method of family planning have such low divorces rates. The following points are made:
- NFP depends on some of the same virtues as marriage itself: commitment, communication, consideration, and self-control
- Since the spouses are not constantly sexually available to the other, it keeps them from taking the other for granted
- In the words of one husband, “It’s wonderful because it almost creates the honeymoon over and over again.”
- It allows you to love in many different ways
- The exchange of the marital act is not as likely to be a means to bury problems but an opportunity to celebrate their love
- They tend to have larger families [by choice], and divorce rates are highest where children are fewest
- NFP couples also tend to take their faith, and therefore the sacrament of marriage, more seriously than the average contracepting couple
- They are truly renewing their wedding promises each time they exchange the marital act
You can read the article in its entirety here:
8) IT’S COMPLETELY PERSONALIZED
I grew up thinking that my menstrual cycle would function like clockwork. I was told to expect my period every 28 days or so. If I don’t get it, I’m probably pregnant. But there is a biological orchestra playing every day that I wasn’t even aware of until I started using CrMS. Little did I know how many changes my body actually goes through, with hormones constantly fluctuating between pregnancies…irregularities that I never expected…stress that I have to deal with – all affecting my fertility in so many different ways. I’ve been able to detect those changes and understand what is going on hormonally, based on what I observe on a day-to-day basis. Because my body is so unique – as is every woman’s – my CrMS Practitioner helped me navigate through my cycles with a program that is specifically tailor-made to my particular situation. It’s definitely not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of method. Creighton Model FertilityCare System is designed for a variety of reproductive categories, and coupled with NaProTechnology has served me well as a single woman, in my marriage to both achieve and avoid pregnancy, and also through the abnormalities that needed to be diagnosed and treated.
9) IT’S SAFE!
In a “green world”, I am so grateful that I have a system that is completely natural and free of artificial carcinogenic chemicals. It’s frightening to listen to the litany of possible side effects at the end of birth control commercials. I would rather choose periodic abstinence during fertile days than to flood my body with contraceptive pills that increase my risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and stroke. The rings, patches, implants, and shots are no different. None of them are good for a women’s health or for her fertility. Designed to interfere with the natural processes of fertility, these methods of artificial contraception prevent ovulation, attack the cervix, and deplete the uterine lining. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) disrupt the uterine environment and do not allow an embryo (a.k.a. BABY) to implant into the lining if conception should occur. The same happens in the case of a breakthrough ovulation with progestin-only or combination birth control pills that thin out the lining of the uterus. Birth control + Baby unable to implant = Early Abortion.
Additionally, since we are using CrMS, we are not planning on having surgeries that will damage our reproductive organs. Couples who choose sterilization may suffer from post-vasectomy complications and an increase incidence of kidney stones in men, and/or post-tubal ligation complications and an increase in pelvic infections in women. I could go on and on with these topics, but for the purposes of this entry I will leave you with this website:
10) IT WORKS!
Research has shown the Creighton Model FertilityCare System to be 99.5% effective to avoid pregnancy. It is 98% effective to achieve pregnancy within 6 cycles of use in couples of normal fertility. With couples facing infertility, there is a 20-40% rate of effectiveness just using CrMS alone to identify days of fertility. The numbers skyrocket up to 80% with both CrMS and medical treatment. There are thousands of couples all over the world that will attest to the benefits of using Creighton Model with NaProTechnology. It does take time and patience to learn, but we are so grateful that we stuck to it. I truly feel that the fertility awareness and knowledge I have has given me leverage when dealing with my doctors, strengthened my marriage, and kept me healthier overall. I can’t thank Dr. Hilgers enough for devoting his life to this work, and for the countless CrMS Practitioners and Medical Consultants who make themselves available to educate, empower, and serve women like me.
For more information about CrMS and NaProTechnology, please visit:
My next entry: Top 10 Reasons Why I Became a Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner