Top 10 Reasons Why I Became a Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner


When my CrMS Practitioner was temporarily out of commission due to health issues, the thought of going through the training myself became more and more appealing. With all the problems I was having with my chart, I needed help and I thought maybe I could meet someone through the Education Program who could figure out what was going on with me. But when I finally presented the idea to Gary, I figured I wouldn’t have the time or the money to go through with it. He responded with a very optimistic outlook (as he always does). “Babe, if you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it. You can help a lot of people.” And Gary backed me 150% of the way. From going with me to both EPs up in Three Rivers to watching the kids while I met with clients and worked on my assignments, he was an incredible support. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him, especially because I was still teaching full-time at St. Jerome. My husband continues to be my greatest supporter to this day, and I’m SO glad he talked me into signing up for the program.

Gary and Therese at the St. Anthony Retreat Center, Three Rivers


Apparently I wasn’t the only woman having problems with my fertility cycle. I heard that there were others who couldn’t get pregnant, having recurrent miscarriages, or weren’t getting their periods regularly. Gary was right – I COULD help a lot of people this way. And by the grace of God, I have had the privilege of teaching women how to observe and chart so they could identify problems and truly monitor what was going on with their cycles. There have also been many opportunities to listen to their struggles, to the challenges they face in their marriages and families, to pray for them and offer support in their individual situations. I am constantly left awestruck at the different ways I am able to give back to God the gifts He has so generously blessed me with.


The women I was trained with I know as my “sister-practitioners”, and rightly so. Linda, Jennifer, Camille, and Marcy are an incredible group of women who played an integral role in my EP experiences, sharing their stories and encouraging me through their prayers. Our “momma-educators”, Margaret Howard and Dr. Lynn Keenan, prepared us with the knowledge and counsel we would need to fight for authentic reproductive health…for the dignity of women…for love and life. Margaret is known as the “itinerant Educator”, traveling all over the world to train Practitioners and Medical Consultants in the Creighton Model. Her story is amazing and definitely worth reading…

Profile of a Creighton Pioneer: Margaret Howard, CFCE

Education Director Margaret Howard, CFCE

My own practitioner and supervisor here in SoCal, Pat Poindexter, has also been a mother-figure to me, not only looking out for me during my internship but also for my family and personal well-being. Because of the common mission and purpose that binds us all together, every new intern is welcomed into the “family” with open arms and given support throughout their training program as well. If one of us needs something, there’s always another Practitioner willing to help because we know this work is too important to leave each other to go at it alone. Candice, Ann Marie, Peggy, Wendy, and Sarah – who all came into the program after I did – have become a wonderful presence in my life…even on Facebook!

Practitioner Refresher 2012 – Dr. Lynn Keenan, Ann Marie Paden, Wendy Arseneau, Peggy Stofila, Pat Poindexter, Dr. Candice Golez, Margaret Howard, Marianne Dyogi, Jenni Shaeffer


There is wisdom in God’s laws, and He imparts this wisdom upon His Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the Magisterium – the teaching authority of the Catholic Church led by the Pope – that prayerfully discerns various situations that may arise with societal changes and technological advances. With such aggressive promotion of the Pill upon its distribution in the 1960s, a clear and immediate response came from the Church through Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. This document thoroughly explained God’s plan for the vocation of marriage and the gift of the marital act that allows husband and wife to participate in the transmission of human life. It described in detail the prophetic consequences that would wreak havoc on a society that would adopt artificial contraception as the norm for family planning – painting a very vivid picture of the world we live in today. The entire document is worth reading, for a greater understanding of why NFP has been advocated and birth control rejected. (full text)


Ever since I began teaching CrMS at St. Peter Chanel, the priests have been my biggest source of referrals. It is a requirement for the engaged couples who want to get married at the parish because they need to know that there are services readily available to them – a method of planning their families that is not only natural and safe, but morally acceptable and aligned with Church teaching as well. I have also had clients come to me as their penance after receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and these have been most inspiring because they are committed to changing their ways out of obedience to God and His good and holy will for their lives. Fr. Ed always greets me with enthusiasm and says, “I’ve got to be your #1 promoter! I’m sending as many couples as I can to you!” Fr. Larry reminds me how important and valued this work is, and I am so thankful for everything they are doing to provide a place for CrMS services at SPC.


I would like to introduce you to Jack & Katrina Crow and Mark Anthony & Abby de Jesus. These are just two of the many incredible client couples I have worked with as a Creighton Model Practitioner who have not only strengthened my faith through the witness of their experiences, but have also become wonderful friends on this journey of life. Katrina has since joined the team and is currently one of our Practitioner Interns, and Jack also helps her do Introductory Sessions and informational talks about NFP awareness. Mark Anthony is the author of, a heartwarming blog that shares the lessons learned as a Creighton Model husband who has lovingly supported Abby through her diagnosis and medical treatment. For her upcoming birthday, Abby has requested a donation to the Pope Paul VI Institute (CrMS/NaPro headquarters) in lieu of gifts – a humble gesture that totally made my heart smile. My clients always inspire me through their dedication to Christ and His Church who I can and should be as wife and mother, leading me to a greater conviction and sense of purpose.

Jack & Katrina Crow and Abby & Mark Anthony de Jesus


When I was a brand new intern, Pat had shown me pictures in her binder of babies born to her clients who had difficulty conceiving. One by one, she told me their stories of hope and perseverance and spoke of the joy each mother felt when she finally gave birth to the child so desperately longed for. I wanted an album like that! Not that I could take full credit for the lives of these children, by any means – however, it would serve as a reminder of how good God is to those who are faithful. The experience of infertility is a painful one, as my clients have shared with me; and for a husband and wife to be blessed with a child after such waiting is a beautiful sight to see. So I present to you one of our Creighton babies, Ari Joseph Corral…

His beautiful mother, AJ, was one of my classmates in my LMU CAST program back in 2006. At the time, she told me that she and her husband were trying to have a baby for 6 years and nothing was happening. We reconnected in 2010 after I had begun my CrMS Practitioner Education Program, and I asked her if she might be interested in learning the Creighton Model. She said after 9 years she had accepted her infertility with peace but was open to meeting with me. I taught her, she charted and met with one of our Medical Consultants, used a fertile period while her husband was home for 2 weeks from Afghanistan, and in August 2011 little Ari was born!

AJ, Ari, and Armando Corral


The following excerpt is straight from the website (because I couldn’t have said it better myself):

This is the first women’s health science to network family planning with reproductive health monitoring and maintenance. It is a fertility-care based medical approach rather than a fertility-control approach to family planning and gynecological health.

NaProTECHNOLOGY uses the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System biomarkers to monitor easily and objectively the occurrence of various hormonal events during the menstrual cycle. NaProtracking provides valid information that can be interpreted by a woman and by physicians who are specifically trained in this system.

Unlike common suppressive or destructive approaches, NaProTECHNOLOGY works cooperatively with the procreative and gynecologic systems. When these systems function abnormally, NaProTECHNOLOGY identifies the problems and cooperates with the menstrual and fertility cycles that correct the condition, maintain the human ecology, and sustain the procreative potential.

Women now have an opportunity to know and understand the causes of the symptoms from which they suffer.

THIS is preventative women’s health! If a woman wants to know whether she is healthy enough to conceive and maintain a pregnancy, she needs to chart. If she wants to understand why she has painful periods or cramping in the middle of her cycle, she can find answers with NaProTECHNOLOGY. If there are ANY menstrual irregularities, the birth control pill does NOT regulate anything. Women deserve answers and the kind of medical care that gets to the root of the problems, rather than the standard “band aid” protocol they often receive that does much more harm than good. Creighton Model and NaProTECHNOLOGY gives us the knowledge we need about our bodies and the leverage to advocate for quality reproductive health care.


I graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach in 2000 with a B.S. in Health Science: Community Health. After working for 3 years in the public health sector, I realized that I preferred to work directly with people as opposed to sitting behind a computer doing research. God answered my prayers and led me out of community health into elementary school teaching, and I have always enjoyed my career as a Catholic school teacher. A part of me felt guilty about not pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health, like I had wanted to years ago, but I found my niche and was having a blast despite the fact that I never before imagined I’d choose to surround myself with a classroom of junior high kids all day, every day. When the prospect of becoming a FertilityCare Practitioner arose, it dawned on me that I could as last use my health education background and training. I still work full-time with the school, and I meet clients in the evenings and on weekends – so it definitely is a lot at the moment. But I’m always amazed by how God gives me the energy for the client appointments after a full day of teaching. For that, I am so grateful!


It is by no means a requirement to be Catholic to use the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. It can be taught in a completely secular setting without any mention of faith and Church teaching. This is important for people to know because ALL women – regardless of faith or religious affiliation – can benefit from learning how to identify biomarkers through charting their cycles.

That being said, most of our couples do come to us already seeking to follow God’s will for their lives and their marriages. Some have passed the childbearing years and simply want the information for their daughters and younger female relatives. It has been incredible to watch the different ways God speaks to those who come to us looking for alternatives to artificial birth control, sterilization, and IVF/IUI. Husbands and wives develop an increasingly stronger dynamic of communication, leading to prayerful discernment about many areas of their lives. Priorities shift and values become more important than temporary desires and ambitions. Catholics who want to educate themselves and others about natural family planning appreciate the tools they are given to explain how valuable Creighton Model is to a woman’s reproductive health. And engaged couples rise up to meet the challenges to remain chaste until marriage because they begin to understand the precious gift of the marital act reserved for their spouse alone.

Believe me, this work is not easy. It moves FAR BEYOND simply teaching the method. Much prayer (and fasting) goes into each one of my client cases. Many a follow-up session has involved counseling through the woman’s personal issues when we discuss how stress is affecting her cycles. But the Holy Spirit equips the called, and He has never failed me. I don’t ever feel that I have all the answers, so I have surrendered each woman…each couple…to the Lord. At the end of the evening I can only lift them up to Jesus in the Eucharist and present their needs to Him. And He is the One who works the miracles…


For more information about CrMS and NaProTechnology, please visit:

Top 10 Reasons Why I Use the Creighton Model FertilityCare System

The Creighton Model System (CrMS) relies upon standardized observation and charting of biological markers that are essential to a woman’s health and fertility. These “biomarkers” tell the couple when they are naturally fertile and infertile, allowing the couple to use the system either to achieve or to avoid pregnancy. These biomarkers also telegraph abnormalities in a woman’s health. The CrMS allows a woman to unravel the mysteries of the menstrual cycle. (from

I started using CrMS seven years ago as part of our marriage preparation process upon the recommendation of our priest, Fr. Ed Broom, OMV at St. Peter Chanel. My gynecologist had prescribed the birth control pill to me some 8 years before then to control endometriosis and to prevent the return of ovarian cysts after a surgery in 1997 to remove a cyst on my right ovary that grew to the size of a grapefruit (yikes!). I knew nothing about how the Pill worked. She said it was safe. I wasn’t using it for birth control purposes. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital again…so I took it.

See, you can’t stay on the Pill while you are learning a natural method and observing the signs of your body because the artificial hormones essentially SHUT DOWN the reproductive system for the entire time you are taking them. So I stopped because I had to. What of the endometriosis and the cysts? As far as I could feel, they didn’t come back but I also had a doctor who practiced some degree of NaProTechnology that cooperatively worked with CrMS to take care of any medical issues I had.

You’re waiting for my reasons, I know. So here they are…


This is our first child. He was also our first “Creighton baby” because we timed his conception, hoping to deliver him during the summer so I wouldn’t have to take off work during the school year. He left us at 6 weeks old in the womb, and we were incredibly heartbroken. I had been working with a pro-life ob/gyn who was referred to me by my CrMS practitioner, and he was wonderful in spiritually and emotionally supporting us through the miscarriage. Not once did he say, “Well, you’re young. You can always try again.” He took his own personal rosary out of his pocket and prayed with us, giving us the rosary after we finished. We could see that not only was our doctor committed to his faith, he was committed to his patients as well.


A few months after losing Little Gary, we chose to try for another child. Using CrMS we were able to identify the fertile window and were able to conceive successfully. But since I already had a past miscarriage, my doctor continued pregnancy maintenance with Prometrium, a prescription medication that is chemically bioidentical to the progesterone naturally found in a woman’s body. This is standard protocol in NaProTechnology, and I am so grateful for it because there are many women who lose pregnancies in the first trimester, possibly due to low progesterone levels. God blessed us with Meleana Grace who was born on October 14, 2007.


We planned on waiting until Meleana was 2 years old before having another baby, but Gary and I decided together that we would be open to the possibility. Creighton Model had worked well for us in postponing pregnancy months before, and this time it served its purpose for achieving our third pregnancy. Again I was placed on Prometrium for the first two trimesters, and I carried Therese to term with a smooth and quick delivery on March 13, 2009.


Our little boy, Kali Damien was born on Holy Thursday, April 21, 2011. We’re incredibly blessed to have him because after Therese I had 8 months of unusual postpartum bleeding. It was disheartening and terrifying at the same time. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and none of my doctors could figure out the problem, much less the solution. With the expertise of my Education Director and faculty Medical Consultant, I was put on Prometrium once again to jump start my cycles. What a relief it was to see a chart with some regularity! We wanted to continue growing our family, but my progesterone levels were still so low that I had two very early miscarriages. After a few months of consistent progesterone support, Kali was conceived and I continued to have my levels monitored throughout the pregnancy. Most ob/gyns advise against progesterone use after the 1st trimester, but our CrMS Medical Consultants want to make sure that the numbers stay up and will prescribe it through the 2nd trimester.


I was completely fascinated by the Creighton Model Intro Session when my practitioner showed me slides of the ovulation cycle, cervical mucus, and the biomarkers that were unique to NaProTechnology. I’d never learned about the intricacies and complex processes of a woman’s body this way – and I was a science major. Over 30 years of research has gone into developing this system and refining it for women all over the world to learn. Now, I understand that not everyone is as captivated by this stuff but I’ve always been the kind of person to look for answers and explanations for EVERYTHING. I thought this was absolutely awesome.


This new understanding of fertility was mind-blowing, and it has allowed me to appreciate the authenticity of CrMS’s approach to women’s reproductive health. I wasn’t at the mercy of a doctor who wanted to send me home with an IUD or use the birth control pill as a band-aid for any and all problems that I was having with my cycle. Since I began using CrMS, I have 7 years worth of charts that serve as a medical record and a visual aid when I am communicating with my doctors. When I needed to rule out uterine/endometrial cancer during all the bleeding I was having, I was able to show the doctor what was going on and we were able to determine whether or not the treatment he was giving me was working. He was willing to look for the possible causes much more quickly because of the information my chart provided.


Jason Evert wrote a beautiful article about why couples who use a natural method of family planning have such low divorces rates. The following points are made:

  • NFP depends on some of the same virtues as marriage itself: commitment, communication, consideration, and self-control
  • Since the spouses are not constantly sexually available to the other, it keeps them from taking the other for granted
  • In the words of one husband, “It’s wonderful because it almost creates the honeymoon over and over again.”
  • It allows you to love in many different ways
  • The exchange of the marital act is not as likely to be a means to bury problems but an opportunity to celebrate their love
  • They tend to have larger families [by choice], and divorce rates are highest where children are fewest
  • NFP couples also tend to take their faith, and therefore the sacrament of marriage, more seriously than the average contracepting couple
  • They are truly renewing their wedding promises each time they exchange the marital act

You can read the article in its entirety here:

Why Do NFP Using Couple Have Such Low Divorce Rates?


I grew up thinking that my menstrual cycle would function like clockwork. I was told to expect my period every 28 days or so. If I don’t get it, I’m probably pregnant. But there is a biological orchestra playing every day that I wasn’t even aware of until I started using CrMS. Little did I know how many changes my body actually goes through, with hormones constantly fluctuating between pregnancies…irregularities that I never expected…stress that I have to deal with – all affecting my fertility in so many different ways. I’ve been able to detect those changes and understand what is going on hormonally, based on what I observe on a day-to-day basis. Because my body is so unique – as is every woman’s – my CrMS Practitioner helped me navigate through my cycles with a program that is specifically tailor-made to my particular situation. It’s definitely not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of method. Creighton Model FertilityCare System is designed for a variety of reproductive categories, and coupled with NaProTechnology has served me well as a single woman, in my marriage to both achieve and avoid pregnancy, and also through the abnormalities that needed to be diagnosed and treated.


In a “green world”, I am so grateful that I have a system that is completely natural and free of artificial carcinogenic chemicals. It’s frightening to listen to the litany of possible side effects at the end of birth control commercials. I would rather choose periodic abstinence during fertile days than to flood my body with contraceptive pills that increase my risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and stroke. The rings, patches, implants, and shots are no different. None of them are good for a women’s health or for her fertility. Designed to interfere with the natural processes of fertility, these methods of artificial contraception prevent ovulation, attack the cervix, and deplete the uterine lining. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) disrupt the uterine environment and do not allow an embryo (a.k.a. BABY) to implant into the lining if conception should occur. The same happens in the case of a breakthrough ovulation with progestin-only or combination birth control pills that thin out the lining of the uterus. Birth control + Baby unable to implant = Early Abortion.

Additionally, since we are using CrMS, we are not planning on having surgeries that will damage our reproductive organs. Couples who choose sterilization may suffer from post-vasectomy complications and an increase incidence of kidney stones in men, and/or post-tubal ligation complications and an increase in pelvic infections in women. I could go on and on with these topics, but for the purposes of this entry I will leave you with this website:

Birth Control Explained


Research has shown the Creighton Model FertilityCare System to be 99.5% effective to avoid pregnancy. It is 98% effective to achieve pregnancy within 6 cycles of use in couples of normal fertility. With couples facing infertility, there is a 20-40% rate of effectiveness just using CrMS alone to identify days of fertility. The numbers skyrocket up to 80% with both CrMS and medical treatment. There are thousands of couples all over the world that will attest to the benefits of using Creighton Model with NaProTechnology. It does take time and patience to learn, but we are so grateful that we stuck to it. I truly feel that the fertility awareness and knowledge I have has given me leverage when dealing with my doctors, strengthened my marriage, and kept me healthier overall. I can’t thank Dr. Hilgers enough for devoting his life to this work, and for the countless CrMS Practitioners and Medical Consultants who make themselves available to educate, empower, and serve women like me.

For more information about CrMS and NaProTechnology, please visit:

My next entry: Top 10 Reasons Why I Became a Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner

Jan. 23 Women’s Health Seminar

Mark your calendars for a very informative FertilityCare Seminar…
Come and explore how the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of love and life has led to a new science revolutionizing women’s health. During the seminar, we will review the beauty of women’s physiology, the harms of artificial birth control and the incredible health benefits of NaProTechnology. NaProTechnology can be used to aid couples with infertility and recurrent miscarriages as well as helppremenstrual symptoms such as migraines. It can also identify women at increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. An introductory session to the Creighton Model of FertilityCare will be given so women can start to chart their biomarkers after the seminar. Married couples and single women are encouraged to attend.

This seminar is sponsored by the Holy Family Young Adult Ministry (HFYA).

When: Saturday, January 23, 2010
Time: 11:30am – 2:00pm
Location: Holy Family Church, St. Joseph Center
18708 Clarkdale Avenue
Artesia, CA 90701

Light refreshments will be served.

Natural Family Planning (NFP)…

  • is based on sound scientific knowledge;
  • helps the couple understand their mutual fertility;
  • enables couples to achieve or avoid a pregnancy;
  • promotes the mutual love of the couple;
  • is morally acceptable;
  • does not require regularity of the menstrual cycles;
  • can be successfully applied during breastfeeding, premenopause and discontinued use of the birth control pill;
  • is invaluable for infertile couples, both for achieving pregnancy, and as a tool in the diagnosis and treatment of reproductive disorders;
  • is simple to learn.

Lynn Keenan, MD is an Associate Clinical Professor at the UCSF/Fresno Internal Medicine Residency Program. She is Board Certified in sleep and internal medicine and is a Certified FertilityCare Medical Consultant.

Marianne Soratorio Dyogi, MA is a FertilityCare Practitioner Intern who is trained to provide services in the Creighton Model System. She has been using the method for four years and has gained innumerable benefits for her own reproductive health and natural family planning.

To pre-register for the seminar or for more information regarding FertilityCare, please contact Marianne Dyogi at / (714) 803-4775 or visit the Creighton Model of FertilityCare website.  For all other inquiries, please contact Micah De Mesa at (562) 858-9543 or e-mail us at

It’s an exciting time…

We’ve been busy…with a lot of things.  I just finished my first month of the new school year and as happy I was to see my students again, we’ve had a lot to do!  Since it is the Year of the Priesthood, Cardinal Mahoney has asked each parish/school to have a Vocation plan for the year.  I’m the school representative on the Vocations Council, so you can imagine how the wheels have been spinning in my mind about all the things we can do to promote religious vocations!

Gary and I have been asked by the Catholic Newman Club at Cal State Long Beach to give our “Goodbye Dating…Hello Courtship” talk this coming Wednesday evening.  They have chosen to theme their meetings after the mysteries of the Holy Rosary and we fall into the night of the second Luminous Mystery, the Wedding at Cana.  We’re always happy to share our story and lessons we’ve learned, and I’m especially excited because we get to do this one together. =)

I’m also up early this morning to finish my FertilityCare Services Provider application, and I just wrote the essay to mail along with it.  The first phase of training is in November and I already have potential clients lined up!  I can’t wait because there is such a great need in the Church for more NFP (natural family planning) providers.

Here’s an excerpt of the essay:

The bottom line for me is this – I want to change the culture.  I want to be proactive in this revolution.  I would like to be part of the solution to the rising numbers of Catholics who are unknowingly participating in the culture of death through their use of artificial contraception.  I want to provide an opportunity for couples to nurture their marriages and enhance their communication about the gift of sexual intimacy that they share with one another.  I hope to connect women who are dealing with challenges with their own fertility to resources so that they can receive necessary and appropriate medical attention.  How wonderful it would be if there were FertilityCare Centers across the United States where couples can go to help and advise them along in natural family planning – as numerous, if not more than there are Planned Parenthood facilities!

Big dreams, I know…but all things are possible with God.  He wills our lives to be better than we can even plan for ourselves, and He wants us to be open to his blessings.  What greater blessing is there than the gift of LIFE?  Please pray that this movement will be covered by His providential hand.  St. Gianna, pray for us…