By Jody Kerzman
The Cleveland family—Scott, Lindsay, and four-year-old Mariam—is anxious to welcome a baby boy into their family in January.
“We had been hoping to get pregnant for a year and a half but hadn’t,” says Lindsay. “I had been trying to track my cycle but it was difficult and I thought it was my fault that we couldn’t get pregnant.”
Then the couple discovered the Creighton Model FertilityCare System™ (CrMS) and started meeting with a local FertilityCare Practitioner. The CrMS relies upon the standardized observation and charting of biological markers, which tell the couple when they are naturally fertile and infertile and discover abnormalities in a woman’s reproductive health. Four and a half months after starting the CrMS, Lindsay was pregnant.
“After years of confusion about my cycle, I now feel empowered by the understanding I’ve gained through the Creighton model. When we weren’t conceiving, I thought there was something wrong with me,” recalls Lindsay. “I was working on a dissertation and that was stressful. Then I felt stress about being stressed. I worried the stress was hindering conception. I have an unusual cycle and it seemed unintelligible. Our practitioner showed me charts of other people’s cycles and there were charts of cycles that looked like mine. I realized I’m not this weird abnormal case. That was empowering.”
Stories like the Cleveland’s are what keep Jana Heen going. She’s been teaching the Creighton Model in the Bismarck diocese since 2004. For the past 10 years, Jana was one of only four trained FertilityCare Practitioners in the Bismarck area. Now, there are nine, including one in Minot.
“That’s exciting because for the first time we feel we can get the word out to the general public and be able to handle the number of people who may want to learn the method. I want more women and couples to know about this. Up until now, we’ve been teaching engaged couples in the church and married couples who have come to us for various reasons. I don’t want it to be something that gets hidden in a church,” says Jana. “Teaching and empowering women to know more about their bodies is very exciting and it’s for all women and married couples. I’ve sat across the table from young women just starting to learn about their cycles, couples struggling with infertility, to women suffering with health issues or infertility to women who are nearing menopause and trying to figure out that stage. They all want to know how to manage these stages and stay true to themselves. They are attracted to a natural approach their fertility and they desire to understand their bodies.”
That understanding is exactly what led Adrianna Bohrer to CrMS.
“I was 18 years old when my health issues started,” Adrianna recalls. “I was a senior in high school and the doctors were talking about putting me on medications I’d have to take my whole life.”
Adrianna tried medications and made changes to her diet. Both helped at first, but Adrianna’s health continued to get worse. After six years of struggles, her health was so bad she had to drop out of college.
“I only had two classes left to graduate, but my health was such a mess that I just couldn’t do it. I had learned to manage the pain, but I was also having anxiety and panic attacks. I knew something had to change.”
Adrianna’s research led her to the Creighton Model.
“I wanted to know what’s going on. If all these biomarkers can tell me what’s going on with my body, then that’s perfect,” she says.
By this time, Adrianna was engaged to be married. She started the model, charted her cycles, and sent her information to the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. Doctors there did a diagnostic surgery, and told Adrianna she had endometrial polyps, PCOS (Polysystic Ovarian Syndrome), endometriosis, and her ovaries were three times their normal size. Six weeks later, she had surgery to remove the endometriosis, polyps, and cysts. Within six weeks, she says her life changed.
“It gave me my life back,” says Adrianna. “I had put my life on hold—not only had I dropped out of college, I had also postponed my
wedding because of my health. It gave me the ability to look to the future and make plans and feel like myself again. And then to see the actual charts change was great. It was cool to have that concrete evidence that things are working so much better.”
Adrianna’s health is the best it’s been in years; and she and her husband are expecting a baby in May. She says for the first time, she feels healthy, and empowered. She credits the Creighton Model.
“When I first started using the Creighton model, it wasn’t about starting a family. It was about getting my health and my life back,” she says. “But the communication that it brought to our marriage strengthened it and really allowed us to let God work in our lives. Being in tune with your body and understanding what’s going on is huge. We never thought we’d have a baby this soon, but we were talking and praying about it every month. We weren’t necessarily trying but we were open to it and I believe God was working in our lives.”