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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Klinkhammer, CFCP

First Follow-up Freakout

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, to the time of my first follow-up after attending the Creighton Model Introductory Session. This is when Introductory Sessions and Follow-up Sessions were conducted strictly in-person, in that wild time of life known as “pre-Covid”. My husband and I showed up at our FertilityCare Practitioner’s home with our two weeks’ worth of hard-charting effort. He was as annoyingly calm and confident as he always is while I had butterflies in my stomach that were trying their best to make me puke. Our lovely FCP opened the door and greeted us warmly and led us into her office. She politely asked to see our chart for a few moments while we settled in and completed our General Intake Form. We then exchanged paperwork with friendly smiles all around. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so bad, you were just nervous because you’ve never done this before, but clearly this lady has done this lots of times. She knows what she’s doing!”

She then explained the follow-up form before diving into it further, asking if we had read the User Manual or had any questions about the Introductory Session. Did I read the User Manual? I had, of course, read the User Manual from cover to cover because A.) I’m a nurse and I like reading that kind of stuff B.) we had just had a miscarriage and I was determined to figure this fertility stuff out scientifically and accurately and C.) I am a major nerd and people pleaser, so yeah, when you tell me to read something, I am going to do it! Did my husband read the User Manual? No. He said “I didn’t need to because Natalie wouldn’t stop talking about it for two weeks”. I gave him my most loving look- you know, the one where you are smiling nicely but if he looks closely he can see actually flames of fire in your eyes- and casually laughed it off explaining at least one of the reasons stated above.

The next questions were easy breezy too- basic medical history, current medications, and social history. (Maybe I was not quite so honest about wine intake, but hey, that part of this memory is fuzzy, so we’ll never know for sure.) She then began asking questions specific to observations, like was I checking for mucus before using the restroom, after the restroom, and all the other times, followed by reviewing the Picture Dictionary and some basic definition questions. Then it was finally time to review our chart, the moment I had been waiting for!

I laid my chart on her desk and we began to go over each day’s observations in detail, with my FCP asking the occasional question and explaining teaching points. She then casually pulled out her pack of stamps and red pen. I remember thinking, “That seems aggressive and unnecessary”, but oh friends, it was necessary. So. Very. Necessary. The next agonizing twenty minutes was spent reconstructing what I thought was our perfect chart. I mean, did I put white stamps with babies on just about every day? Maybe. Did I occasionally throw a green stamp with a baby on there just to switch it up. Perhaps. Was lubrication mysteriously present on completely dry days? It’s a possibility. Did I cram as many descriptions as could possibly fit in those little boxes, let alone the most fertile description? Who can say? My “perfect” chart was so far from perfect that at one point the ink ran out of her red pen and she had to grab another one. A second red pen. A back up pen. A brand new red pen because the one she had been using gave up all the red ink it had left to try to complete the impossible task of correcting my first chart and a fellow red pen was called upon to take up the place of its fallen comrade. (Luckily, the second red pen was able to carry on the mission and complete the numerous chart corrections it faced head-on. Way to go second red pen!)

After that humbling experience, the rest of the follow-up was pretty uneventful. Was I feeling discouraged, or thinking this method of charting was going to be impossible for us? To be honest, yes. But my FCP was kind and encouraging. She reminded us that this was our first follow-up, a review of something completely new we had been doing for only two weeks! She encouraged us to continue charting and meeting for follow-ups and we became confident in our charting and our ability to understand our fertility. I began to love everything about the Creighton Model to the point where I was able to say yes to an opportunity to become a FCP myself…an opportunity recommended to me by my own FCP who had worked with me since day one!

So if you are feeling nervous or unsure about the Creighton Model after an Introductory Session (or are not a major nerd like me and have no interest in reading the User Manual all in one sitting), I encourage you to make the decision to schedule a first follow-up. All of us FCP have been in your shoes at some point! And while most of us conduct follow-ups virtually, we still can tell when someone is starting to panic about their chart or all the mucus questions. We are here to help you learn the method. We are here to encourage you. We are here to help you be successful in using the method in the way God is calling you to. Reach out to one of our FertilityCare Practitioners today to get started!

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