Monday, February 24, 2014

Discovering the Creighton Model

I emailed Liz, the nurse my friend recommended, on February 1, 2012.  She told me that there were information sessions held every two weeks and the next would be February 6.  Wonderful!  Sign me up!  Unfortunately, it was a night when my husband already had plans, so I asked my mom to go with me.  Not knowing what kind of information and material was going to be presented, I wanted to be sure I had a second set of eyes and ears learning with me. 

For those five days I felt such a mix of emotions.  Part of me was so anxious and excited to learn about this method of family planning.  Yet there was another part of me that was skeptical.  Was this just another quick fix?  And what if it couldn’t fix me at all?  Then what?  Wasn’t this my last resource in trying to cure my endometriosis?  And what about trying to conceive?  My mind was a mess of “what-ifs.”  All I could do was wait and see what was in store for me, before jumping to any harsh conclusions.

The evening arrived and we headed twenty minutes away to a church office building where the information session was to be held.  The atmosphere was intimate.  Along with me and my mother there was another couple and their baby.  That was all.  We were the only ones interested that evening in learning about how to take charge of our own fertility.  Together we sat while Liz presented the information on a Power Point.  She was extremely thorough, explaining the history and background of the Creighton Model, the remarkable work of Dr. Hilgers and other physicians at the Pope Paul VI Institute, how the Creighton Model System (CrMS) works, and its efficacy. 

I was impressed.  Who knew that our bodies were this amazing?!  If I had just known to look at my biomarkers I could notice a whole host of symptoms and read them, in order to understand what was happening within my body.  These biomarkers are shown in our cervical mucus.  By focusing on this cervical mucus and charting it every evening before bed, trends in our menstrual cycles become visible, allowing us to achieve or avoid pregnancy, or better understand issues we are having with other parts of our reproductive system. 

Aside from being impressed, I was completely embarrassed.  Was it possible that I knew this little about my own body?  Surely, I knew something, right?  Obviously, I knew that my body produced cervical mucus.  I had seen it before.  But did I know that its consistency changed?  I think I did.  And did I know that if I had been following it that I would know if my body produced enough progesterone?  Or estrogen?  Or if I was deficient in other areas?  Definitely not.  I knew I got a period.  I knew I hated it.  And I was also pretty convinced I had a parasitic triplet inside of me.  (Did I mention that before?  Oh, well since the pain had gotten so bad I was convinced that I had something living inside me.  I know that people have complained that perhaps they had a parasitic twin living inside of them.  Since I already have an actual twin, I determined that I had a parasitic triplet.  Her name is Carmen.)

Of course, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that I thought the whole idea was gross.  You want me to examine my cervical mucus?  And touch it?!  I was usually trying to wipe it away and pretend that it wasn’t there.  Now I was being told that if I wanted to understand my body at all that I was going to have to get to know it.  Again, faced with no other options I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to examine my cervical mucus.  And touch it.  And get to know it.  Because if I wanted to feel better ever again and if I ever wanted to be able to conceive a child I was going to try anything.  And touching cervical mucus, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t seem so bad. 

I learned the very basics of charting with the Creighton Model on February 6, 2012 and I made my very first entry on February 7.  For the next two weeks, until I had my first follow-up appointment with Liz, I would make mental notes every time I went to the bathroom.  At the end of the night I would chart exactly what I saw.  I was eager to hear what she thought after my first two weeks and was hoping that I was going to get the hang of it all soon.  Yet I found that I was really struggling.  It turns out that it is really hard to chart your mucus cycles when you bleed consistently for two weeks

What did my bleeding mean?  Liz would help me to uncover that and more mysteries of my endometriosis-ridden body.  Stay tuned for my first follow-up.

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