Hello! My name is Samantha. This is my full story about how I became a wife, mother, and eventually a FertilityCare Practitioner. It's a long read, and a lot of information!
I suppose I should start with the story of how my husband and I met. Back in 2009 I was attending the Cal State Fullerton Catholic Newman Club for young adults. My now husband, Andrew, said I walked in the room, and he thought to himself, "I have to ask my friend Jessica who that girl in the green sweater is!"
Later I told Andrew, when I first saw him, I thought he was handsome, but looked a little young (he is 1.5 years younger than I am). Then during one of our meetings, we did Stations of the Cross. During the Peace Be With You part, Andrew said instead of a handshake, I gave him a hug, which showed my warm personality. Awwwwww.
Shortly after, Andrew asked me on a date, which led to a second date, then third date, and then exactly 1 year from our first date, he asked me to marry him. We had a two-year engagement so we could save up for our wedding. Our wedding was 1-14-12. We had a medium sized "Mexican themed" wedding. Our colors were orange,his favorite color, and aquamarine, my favorite color.
On our honeymoon, we decided we were going to leave the possibility of having a baby in God's hands, but after that, we would try to avoid a pregnancy for the first year at least. At that time Andrew did not have a full time teaching job yet, and I had a job working in construction defect insurance, as a receptionist. We lived in a small 1 bedroom apartment, with very little space, so it made sense for us to avoid for a little while.
We both decided we wanted a natural way to postpone a pregnancy, so we learned a method of Natural Family Planning called the Sympto-Thermal method. This method involved taking your temperature at certain times of the day, and charting cervical mucus. It was a good method, and we did fairly well with this.
Later, when Andrew got a full-time teaching position, we decided to try and achieve a pregnancy.
We wanted to find a method that would help us achieve a pregnancy, but also needed help figuring out why we were having trouble achieving. We visited a reproductive endocrinologist, but we did not like his methods of testing for infertility. We thought, there has got to be a better way.
One day, I was talking to my friend, Julie, about my frustration with trying to achieve a pregnancy. She suggested I go see her sister, who was a doctor, specializing in women's health and fertility. I thought about it, and eventually decided to see her. I made the almost two hour drive down to Fallbrook to see Dr. Stigen. She listened to my struggles, and concerns. She then told me that she would like me to learn how to chart using the Creighton Model Fertility Care system. I would need to find a practitioner to teach me the method.
The very next weekend at church, there was a verbal announcement to attend a free introductory session for the Creighton Model Fertility Care system. Andrew and I both decided it was a sign, and went. I was blown away by the introductory session. In about 1.5 hours, I learned more than in all my health classes in school.
I wanted to learn this method.
So, we learned it. We found a wonderful instructor, and we learned to chart. After 3 months of charting, I brought my chart to Dr. Stigen. She looked at my chart and ordered some blood tests. I also started an ultrasound series to look at the size of my follicles and to see if I was ovulating every month. The results of the blood work were: elevated levels of estrogen, low progesterone, and signs of PCOS. Ultrasounds confirmed that my follicles were not big enough. Egg quality was not ideal. There was also a chance that I had endometriosis.
Based on her observations, she recommended surgery. In November of 2014, I had a laparoscopy. She found- stage 2/3 endometriosis, polyscystic ovaries, a polyp, which she removed, and two closed fallopian tubes. She burned off the endometriosis, and opened one tube. The other was crusted shut, too hard for her to open without damaging the delicate fibre at the end of the tube. Wow. It was helpful to know why I hadn't been able to achieve a pregnancy! Both my tubes were closed!
By that time, I had determined I wanted to be a FertilityCare Practitioner. I had learned so much about my body, and had gotten such good treatment, that I just had to let other women know about this method. They deserved to have answers and the help they needed. The church and my husband helped pay for my training and books. Every year the Practitioner program was held in Three Rivers, CA. I prayed to God that somehow he allow the training session to be held here in Orange County, so I wouldn't have to travel so far North. Wouldn't you know it, a few weeks later, it was announced that the training program would be held in Orange County, for the first time! God sure acted quickly with that one! I felt like he wanted me to go, and learn and teach this method. So I did. I spent a week attending Education Phase 1 and then another week attending Education Phase 2. Then the next year getting clients and gaining teaching experience.
I went back for another visit to Dr. Stigen. She recommended some supplements, and a lifestyle change that involved no plastics (no bpa exposure), phthalates, or parabens. At that time, I also went on a gluten free, low sugar diet. It was a difficult change, that took a while to implement. At that time we also found out Andrew had a varicosele, so convincing Andrew to do these things with me for his health too was difficult. It took time, and patience, and a lot of frustrated and overwhelming days because I wanted to do everything as soon as possible. Those days were difficult.
A little while later, we were living plastic free and had adapted a the gluten free/ low sugar lifestyle, pretty well. It was still hard, but manageable.
We also found out that Andrew's varicocele might have made it difficult for us to achieve a pregnancy. We found Dr. Gazzaniga to do a varicocelectomy (untangle the varicocele). After Andrew's surgery in 2015, we waited, and tried for a baby. Nothing.
I was laid off of work in spring 2016. It was a stressful event because work was so demanding, and I was trying to be Superwoman, handling everything. The company I was working at fired their president, and then started laying off workers in small groups. It was a stressful time.
I was so overwhelmed with struggling to have a baby, and being laid off, that I started to have anxiety. I was barely sleeping and eating. I finally ended up seeing a psychiatrist. She said I had anxiety and was suffering from depression. I spent the summer without a full time job. I had to learn to take better care of myself. I had to rely heavily on Andrew. I did a lot of trusting in God. I kept thinking, if I can get through this, God will have something great waiting for me on the other side. I just have to trust him. I taught Creighton in the evenings. It was the only thing that really grounded me. It was something I loved doing.
At that point, Andrew had helped me apply for a job. The position was for an admin assistant at a private university close by, working in the religious studies and philosophy departments. I interviewed, and got the job. Slowly, good things started to come back in my life. I remember saying a prayer at that time:
"God, I trust you. Whatever path you want for me, I trust you. Even if that path does not include children. You know the deepest longings of my heart. You know how long I've prayed for a baby. I am just going to trust you now. I will be happy in this moment. I want whatever you think is best for Andrew and I."
Winter 2016, we found a condo close by, and put an offer in. We got it! Wow... a new job and a condo.. in less than 6 months... that's awesome.
Then, in the middle of escrow, totally unexpected.... we found out we were pregnant.
After 4.5 years of trying... after all the heartache... it happened like everyone said, when we least expected it. Our son Andre was born 9-21-17.
We couldn't be happier. We have our little family, and our faith. The Creighton Model FertilityCare system and Naprotechnology were major tools in helping us conceive Andre. Teaching Creighton is my passion.
I would love to set up an appointment to help you learn the method as well!
Click here to setup an appointment.