I know something you don’t know…

As a child, if I heard the saying “I know something you don’t know”, I would often take it as a horrible taunt as if the other person had a valuable secret and was holding it over my head without ever sharing it. In the world of FertilityCare, the connotation is different. Very different.

In the 7 years since I began this work, I noticed that many of our referrals have come from the clients themselves as they generously pass their knowledge on to other women who are in need of authentic reproductive healthcare. The relative…the friend…the coworker…the woman at church. The heart that longs for a child, a natural means to space her pregnancies, or an understanding of the craziness that she faces with irregular cycles. Upon learning the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, a common statement is made by our clients: “Every woman should be taught this. My life would have been so different if I knew this a long time ago!”

They’re right.

Every woman should be taught to appreciate her fertility. Why this information isn’t widespread is still beyond me, but we absolutely have to get it out there. Sometimes the conversations can be difficult. Approaching the people around us about such a sensitive topic can be quite harrowing; however, the opportunity often presents itself by those who need it the most.

In the sorrow of a woman who lost her child to miscarriage. In the anguish of the one who has spent far longer than she would have liked trying to conceive. In the complaints about PMS or the negative side effects of her current birth control.

And there’s also the newly engaged woman who is preparing for marriage (I don’t know what I would have done if our priest never required us to learn this!).

It amazes me to see how quickly trends arise, especially in recent months. We see it all over social media – leggings that feel like butter, skincare that makes us look like we’re aging backwards, glamorous lipstick of every shade that lasts no matter what you eat. Women want only the best for their bodies, and of course, they deserve it! So what are we doing to take care of ourselves in regards to everything that makes us unique as women in the first place?

Let’s talk about the beauty and power of our fertility, and spread the good news that most people don’t know. You just might be changing another woman’s life for the better.

On so many levels.

To find out more about the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, click HERE. If you’d like to recommend a FREE Introductory Session to someone you know, click HERE!


“It’s okay, Mommy. It’s okay.”

(originally published on May 22, 2014 at ashelovesministries.com)

Gary and I are going to speak at a retreat this weekend for couples struggling with infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth. I personally have never had any problems getting pregnant; my issue has been staying pregnant.

We lost our very first baby. And our fourth…our fifth…and our eighth.

I wrote this entry on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 – the day after our little boy’s body left mine. He lived for about 5 1/2 weeks and I loved him with my whole heart. He was the baby who first made me a mother…

There is no pain greater than losing a child. It doesn’t matter how young or old the child was, or whether you ever got to see him or hold her. He was still your baby. She was still your child.

I knew there was life growing inside of me even before the test read “Pregnant”. And somehow I knew when that same life had gone, leaving me with an immense feeling of sadness I had never known before. I tried to stay hopeful, but I knew. We wouldn’t get to meet our baby in July. Our reunion would have to wait until the Eternal Someday.

Last night, the worst had passed. However, the events of the day unfolded before I even opened my eyes. It began with a dream – we were holding a baby boy, who looked much like my nephew Jacob…but after sometime I realized it was our baby boy, and I felt so complete with Gary and my son. We were together – so happy and peaceful, enjoying each other’s company just as any other family would.

Then I awoke to the symptoms I had been hearing of…facing the fear I dreaded the most…trying to prepare myself for something I felt would inevitably come. Gary and I had talked about it. We even gave the disclaimer when we shared the good news that there would be risk. But as much as you try to prepare, you really can’t. It still hurt. It still broke my heart, and it broke his, too.

At least we got a picture. Our doctor was able to find the baby in the ultrasound this time, but he warned us that I was probably already in the beginning stages of a miscarriage. He gave us a copy of the scan as a memento of our baby, and he said that we would look back at this time five years from now and be grateful for the support we gave each other through such a difficult circumstance.

We struggled with the painful emotions of loss throughout the day, trying to come to grips with the reality of it all. I cried. Gary cried. Our family had been crying tears for us, knowing what it felt like to also lose little ones. It came to the point where I didn’t think my heart could feel any emptier. I couldn’t help but be sad, even if I tried to be strong. Nothing anyone could say or do would bring the baby back to life, and it felt like this feeling would never go away. My insides were screaming so loudly but all I could do was cry, until I heard his voice.

“It’s okay, Mommy. It’s okay. Don’t worry, Mommy. Everything will be all right.”

His little soul spoke to mine because God knew that it was his voice I needed to hear at my deepest point of despair. The sobbing calmed as Gary and my niece Leilani held me close, and I told them that the baby was talking to me.

It was then that we named him “Little Gary”.


Our baby helped me through the emotional and spiritual pain so that I would be able to endure the physical pain that would soon follow just an hour later. For an hour and a half, I waited and prayed through the whole ordeal under the care of my family and the specialized coaching of my sister Emeline. Everything she said would happen did. I don’t know what I would have done without them all.

After it was all over, Gary and I sat with each other on the hallway floor and thanked God that it was done. As hard as it was, the whole day couldn’t have gone more smoothly, considering. And we attribute it to the mercy and love of God poured upon us through the prayers of our family and friends who have lifted us up every day since they found out about the pregnancy.

I realized last weekend as I sat at the funeral Mass of my cousin’s friend Audrey, her husband Damian, and their two little girls Elise and Gianna (who Audrey was carrying in her womb), that life on earth is so temporary. There’s nothing about it that we can completely control. In the homily, the priest said that sometimes you find a rose that buds but never blooms, as so it is also in the garden of souls. We never understand why a life doesn’t get to run its full course but we can only trust in the grace that God has given for that life to live at all.

I had long looked for roses as signs throughout my faith journey, and it comforted me to hear Father use St. Therese’s expression of the “garden of souls”. It was on that Saturday that my heart was enlightened to know…

Our baby – Little Gary – is our rose.


And what of the other three? Garrison, Mercy, and Christiana… I have nothing tangible to hold on to and remember them by, except for the distinct signals from my body and the deep knowing in my heart that they were here with me…alive. And then suddenly they were gone.

Our oldest daughter Meleana (now 6) is very aware of her siblings in Heaven. She talks about them, draws pictures of them, and understands that we will see them later on when God calls us home.


I recently told her about the new sister she has who also waits for her and prays for us every day, just as the others do. So there is yet another little Dyogi soul – the one I couldn’t deny when I sat teary-eyed watching Heaven is for Real as Colton Burpo hugged his sister who had no name.


A million questions run through the heads of family members, friends, and strangers alike about the size of our family. “Aren’t you done yet?! How can you handle them all? Are they all yours? Four?!?!”

If they really want to know, I smile and answer: “I don’t know. By the grace of God. Yes, they’re all mine. And actually…I have eight.”

Some people just don’t understand what it took to bring into the world the children that they see…

Seeking the Greater Good

It’s a great privilege to journey with my clients through some of the most difficult seasons of their lives: huge transitions, infertility, pregnancy loss, family stress, marital conflict, etc. Many of them don’t have a supportive group of friends who understand what they’re going through, and these challenges are so personal that they don’t often share their struggles with others. Much of it comes out in the sacred space of our offices and I find myself encountering the whisper of God in our midst as we search for the greater good and deeper beauty that He is bringing forth in these circumstances. 

Marriage is not always easy…parenting is not always easy…using NFP is always not easy…life is definitely not always easy. But grace ALWAYS abounds. When we discover the virtues that bear fruit through perseverance, it makes the hard times so worth it. And the witness we give to our communities of the commitment to our spouses, our children, and to God is absolutely priceless. Some people may not care for it, but others depend on the example of our faithfulness. They are looking for a reason to hold on to hope for themselves as they battle with their own darkness and desolation. 

When I look across the desk into the eyes of my clients and acknowledge their frustration and pain because in many cases I’ve been where they are, I pray that I can also continue to live the advice that I give them and remember every day the lessons that I’ve learned walking my own rocky path. One of the greatest joys I experience as a Creighton practitioner is not only watching the growth of these families, but also the spiritual and emotional growth of these beautiful souls. Seeing them move courageously through their doubts and fears and sitting with them as they make resolutions to follow the Lord’s good and perfect will for their lives…I have much to be grateful for in the work He has given me to do. 

All for His glory…all for His kingdom. Amen.


Fuel to the Fire

Tonight I sat in front of a woman who was angry. She was deeply grieving the loss of her daughter who she carried only five months in the womb as well as the second child she lost in an early first trimester miscarriage, and she couldn’t understand why no one told her what she heard at this Introductory Session.

Unfortunately, her story wasn’t the first or only one I’ve come across in my work as a FertilityCare practitioner. And I’m sure it isn’t going to be the last.

Every woman deserves to know and understand how her body works. Our menstrual cycle and the beautifully orchestrated events that make it happen every month are incredibly amazing, to say the least. When we learn about its intricacies, we greatly appreciate our femininity and the miracle that each child truly is.

I’ve found, however, that many women who inquire about Creighton Model are looking for answers as to why their bodies are not functioning the way they are supposed to. Irregular cycles, abnormal bleeding, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis are conditions that must be thoroughly evaluated and effectively treated. Miscarriages and infertility are circumstances that should never be blown off, minimized, or dismissed. The broken spirits crying for help in our offices are but a fraction of the countless women out there who cannot understand what in the world is going on with them.

More often than not, their doctors don’t understand either.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The growing movement of CrMS and NaProTECHNOLOGY has picked up speed in recent years, thanks to Catholic media exposure and the internet. Testimonies are shared, infertility groups are spreading the word, and women are getting more savvy when it comes to their own personal healthcare. But there is still so much more work to be done.

I ask The Lord for more laborers in the fields. It’s difficult to launch an extensive marketing campaign when the task force is so few in numbers compared to the general population. There is a noble effort underway to at least solidify the culture of natural family planning in the Church and call women to join the ranks in all available NFP methods. A few souls are being stirred to action as they consider how they can contribute to promotion and active teaching.

I do feel a personal responsibility to the medical avenue through CrMS, especially after being reminded for a moment of the painful yearning for motherhood. None of my four children would be here were it not for the help I received from our NaPro medical consultants, and I’ve realized through my clients that the gift of my vocation is nothing to take for granted.

So what now?

We continue to serve at the front lines. We pray for strength and courage to testify to the fruit of this work. We pay careful attention to the marching orders telling us which steps to take next. 

And we pray…because God is faithful. Amen.

Creighton Baby: Ari Joseph Corral

by A.J. Corral

Over the years I have had a lot to be thankful for: meeting my husband, receiving and celebrating my sacraments, my family, friends, and dogs, my mom being healed from cancer, working with many wonderful children, my education, my health, and my home, but here was one thing missing that I desired so dearly, and that was to have a child that I could raise to know, love and serve God.

For nine years of our marriage my husband and I hoped to be blessed with a child. There were times that it was extremely painful. When people would ask questions about why we didn’t have children or when we were going to, I would always say that God hadn’t given us with one yet and it would be in His time.  Mother’s Day would be particularly difficult for me as I would wonder if there was some reason God hadn’t found me worthy to be a mother. At other times people would urge us to take action and seek medical assistance. It was tempting, as I wondered if God was waiting for me to do something more. We did see one specialist who told us we would never have a child naturally.  I had a hard time accepting this as I knew my husband and I were healthy and that if God willed it, it would only take one tiny sperm and egg to make this miracle happen. As I continued to get older each year doubt crept in. It was in these weak times I had to lean especially hard on my faith. Because nothing is impossible for God, I knew that if He wanted us to have a child we would and I had to trust that in the end He knew what was best for us.

During these times I found comfort in the scripture stories of Leah, Rachel, and Sarah, the intercession of the Saints, and in the many, many prayers of family, friends, students and parishioners. So many acts of kindness contributed to this miracle. Friends brought me sand from Chimayo, prayer booklets from Our Lady of La Leche, traditional food & drinks from a variety of places, wrote my name on intention lists at various shrines, and brought the Infant Jesus of Prague to my home on three separate occasions.

During 2010 my husband was deployed to Iraq after just having been deployed for a year to Kosovo. I was feeling frustrated and helpless that our chances of trying for a child were fading away. I happened to sign up for Facebook at my husband’s urging so we could communicate easier and the first person to pop up was Marianne, whom I had attended graduate school with, but had not talked to in quite some time. She was my first friend and not long after contacted me about the Creighton Method. I was unsure about staring it since my husband would be away for so long, but she convinced me that we could use the time he was away to analyze my cycle and pinpoint any issues my body was experiencing. We started and my husband came home for his two week RnR based on my charting.

After nine years of longing and trying, I had finally come to a sense of peace that my life could be full working with children as a teacher and mentor. The day before he was to leave to go back to Iraq my husband and I discussed how we would make our lives full in other ways and just leave it in God’s hands if he wanted us to have a child.  The very next day after this conversation I found out I was pregnant.

Ari Joseph Corral

Ari Joseph Corral

I had a smooth pregnancy until Ari came six weeks early. During this time God continued to guide and protect us medically and financially, and made it possible for Armando to be present for his birth. He was born 3 lbs 9 ozs.  Today he is running & climbing and almost completely caught up with his age group. The Creighton Method was the final piece of the puzzle we had been searching for and I truly believe it was instrumental in our success to finally conceive a child. I thank God for putting the people in my life who were able to help us get here. If all the difficulty and heartache that led up to this moment allows me to stand here and witness to the awesome power of God, then I feel blessed to have had this miracle worked through me.

A.J. and Ari

A.J. and Ari

“Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of Mother’s Love.” – Maureen Hawkins

Livin’ La Vida Creighton

Since writing my Top 10 Reasons Why I Became a Creighton Model FertiltyCare Practitioner in November 2012, I have a few life updates for you all: 20140802-010119-3679593.jpg LESSONS: Each client appointment gives me an opportunity to reflect on my attitudes about my marriage, my children, and my faith. There have been many nights when I would come home apologetic after realizing that I hadn’t been as appreciative as I should be for the blessings I’ve been given. I’ve met couples on the brink of divorce…couples who struggle with infertility or repetitive miscarriages…women who face complex reproductive issues. And with each situation, I recall moments of my past when I felt insecure and fearful in the midst of painful circumstances as well. After almost five years of teaching CrMS, there have been multiple times when my clients would mirror back to me areas in my heart that needed healing and purifying. I cannot be more grateful for the older couples freely sharing parenting advice, clients who do marriage mentoring generously passing on amazing resources, and those who have fervently prayed for me and my family. Every person God has brought into my life through this work has become a part of me, and I would not be the same without the lessons each of them has shared with me. One of my favorite follow-up appointments happened some time ago when I met with our beloved Denise and Ben. They encouraged me to dive head first into strengthening the ever-so-important SPICE component at last May’s Practitioner Refresher Workshop because according to them, it is the #1 reason that they are still married. “Don’t doubt yourself, Marianne,” Ben said to me boldly. “You were made to do this!” And off to Three Rivers I went…

BABIES: As pregnancies were achieved among my clients, we also decided to be open to having Creighton Baby Dyogi #4. This is Jean Paul Pierre born on October 4, 2013 (the feast of St. Francis of Assisi)… 20140802-003909-2349211.jpg When we found out I was pregnant, Gary and I decided that it would be a good time for us to make the switch where he would go back to work and I would be home with the kids. As much as I wanted it since Meleana was born in 2007, I faced a tough transition. All of a sudden I had to take my three little ones to all my prenatal check-ups and frequent fetal stress tests while picking up where Gary left off with homeschooling and domestic duties. Not to mention that I was still working part-time as a CrMS practitioner. Crazy, I know…I think I cried more than the kids did…but by the grace of God we got through it! With tons of treasured memories and a spiritual storehouse of Holy Spirit fruit springing forth from constant self-denial and humility, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything on this planet.

GROWTH: It has been about two weeks since we made the decision that Stella Maris FCS would offer full-time FertilityCare Services in both English and Spanish. Last November 2013, two of my clients went to EPI in Three Rivers to be trained as practitioners! One of them, Arianna Banuelos, is bilingual and a parishioner at St. Peter Chanel. She has joined me at Stella Maris FCS as a practitioner intern and is in the process of finishing her program with our educator Margaret Howard. 20140802-003000-1800415.jpg Arianna is undoubtedly a walking CrMS billboard. We always laugh about how she referred several clients to Stella Maris FCS before she even met me! I truly enjoy working with Arianna because she is dedicated, hard-working, and a strong prayer warrior. We are excited to see what God has planned for our Center this coming year! There also have been major stirrings in the Diocese of Orange for NFP promotion, thanks to efforts spearheaded by Fr. Alphonsus Hermes, O. Praem. and Fr. Benedict Yang. We are working with our sister practitioners Sarah Rooney and Alyson del Hierro to serve couples alongside Dr. Mary Kotob, a recently trained CrMS Medical Consultant and head of the Catholic Medical Association OC Chapter. Please pray for this endeavor, as we do have our work cut out for us. There is much to do and an overwhelming number of women out there who need to have this valuable information about their bodies. We are asking The Lord to send laborers for the harvest, so if you are reading this and want to be part of this revolutionary movement in women’s health…send me a message and jump on board! Stay posted…there’s lots more to come!