Larry and I were married for almost two years when we started to try and get pregnant. We were unsuccessful for the first couple of months and thought it was because of my polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is an imbalance of female sex hormones. PCOS leads to irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, trouble getting pregnant, infertility and other health changes. Having PCOS made it harder for us to conceive because I wasn’t ovulating every month.
Since I work for Ministry Health Care I heard about the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ natural planning method they offer. In March of 2011, my husband and I attended one of the free introductory sessions for Creighton Model. Annette Firkus, RN, CFCP, a fertility care nurse for Ministry Medical Group in Plover, was hosting the session and explained how the Creighton Model helps women with regulation, charting and getting to know one’s body. Larry and I had talked about doing natural family planning through our church, so once we attended the Creighton Model session we knew it was a good idea to continue. Another bonus was that we got reimbursed for our fertility care appointments because I am an employee of Ministry.
Even though the first couple of months were tough, Annette and Kimberly Couri, DO, ABFP, FCMC, met with us and were very encouraging. Annette taught us the Creighton Model process and the importance of charting. I was put on supplements to increase my cervical mucus and also started taking progesterone since my body wasn’t producing that hormone, which is important in the egg fertilizing process because it helps prepare the uterus to receive the egg. By charting the days that I had light or heavy cervical mucus, it was easy for my husband and me to know when I was most fertile. There are only four days in the month when a woman is the most fertile, so charting helped us figure out which days to try and conceive.
Dr. Couri was very encouraging and a great listener. I think she wanted us to get pregnant as much as we did! In July of 2011 we had an ultrasound to check on my ovaries and found out that I had a cyst. Dr. Couri thought the cyst could be one of the reasons we were not getting pregnant and wanted me to get it removed. I needed to take a pregnancy test as a precaution before I could have the surgery and that was when I found out I was pregnant! Larry and I were excited and surprised that it happened so quickly. We had stopped trying to conceive for a few weeks and couldn’t believe that everything worked and we were going to have a baby. Dr. Couri took care of us the whole pregnancy by doing screenings for miscarriage and premature birth as well as weekly blood tests to check my hormone levels to ensure a safe pregnancy. There was so much extra care given that I could never fully express the gratitude I have for the fertility care team.
Our baby’s due date was April 4, 2012, and I went over so they induced me on April 12. I had a caesarian section and our beautiful baby girl was born, 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19 inches long on Friday, April 13. We named her Mariel Martha. Mariel means “wished for child” and she was most certainly wished for and we couldn’t be happier.