My name is Kara. I never thought I’d be a wife or a mother. Perhaps that is not uncommon in young mothers. My life is so far from what I envisioned back then, but it is so much better. I am married with six kids. We live on a small farm in Oklahoma, where I homeschool our children.
In 2005, I became a mother at the age of 18. When the doctor placed my daughter into my arms, it was only the second time I had ever held an infant. I felt the incredible weight of my responsibility and looked to those around me for guidance. Although the birth of my daughter was unplanned and the circumstances less than ideal, she was perfect. Surrounded by the love and support of family and friends, I poured myself into being the best mother I could be.
In the Fall of 2006, I began dating my now husband. We were engaged the following Spring. With the upcoming wedding, I made an appointment with my OB-GYN and requested hormonal birth control. I believed this was the normal, responsible thing to do.
I hated how it made me feel! I had tremendous anxiety. I was constantly dizzy and would briefly lose vision if I moved too quickly. I lay in bed one night and felt my heart racing, so I checked my pulse, 180 bpm! I called my doctor’s office the next morning and was told this was not at all related to HBC as these were not side effects associated with HBC.
I was incredibly discouraged and went to my husband (then fiance) who suggested I stop using HBC immediately. I did, and the side effects quickly subsided. As a cradle Catholic, he had heard that the Catholic Church had some method to avoid pregnancy, so we took a Natural Family Planning (NFP) class and we were married in 2007.
We were trying to avoid pregnancy for a short while, but when we switched to trying to conceive I expected it would happen quickly; it didn't. I poured over my charts analyzing every temp, reading multiple books. I learned more and more about my cycle, and finally, we were pregnant.
My husband adopted my daughter in 2008, and our son was born in 2009. Our second son was born in 2010, and I was done having kids. Then circumstances changed and so did my heart. I thought, Eh… I could do another.
Not long after, I knew I must be pregnant. I expected to see a positive result on the test, but five tests came back negative. I called my doctor and requested a blood test. I drove 236 miles round trip to my doctor’s office and waited until the next day to get the results. They were positive. Sadly, this pregnancy ended in an early loss.
In 2013, our fourth was born, a sweet little girl who couldn’t wait for the doctor to arrive at the hospital. She fit perfectly into our family. This time I was definitely done. No more kids….Then, Eh… I could do another.
In 2015, another daughter joined our family. But this time I was really done. I gave away all the baby clothes because we were sure. Eh...I could do another.
In 2016, I knew I must be pregnant again. I took a test, negative…another...negative, and another... still negative. I went to my doctor. I explained that I really, really thought I was pregnant, due to my longer than normal luteal phase, but I was concerned because of my previous experience. I took another test at her office and the nurse told me it was negative. I was walking out to my car when the nurse ran outside to catch me. She told me that because I had been so insistent that I was pregnant, the doctor had gotten out a magnifying glass, and it was incredibly faint, but the line was there. I was indeed pregnant.
Unfortunately, this pregnancy ended in another early loss, but we decided to try again. We were immediately pregnant. This time the test came back clearly and unmistakably positive. At 12 weeks I was barely able to hide it and was about to pull the maternity clothes from the attic. However, when I went to my doctor, there was no heartbeat. I had a missed miscarriage.
After many prayers, several cycles and a whole lot of soul searching, we decided to try once more...positive. Because I had fought so hard to get all my pregnancies/miscarriages documented, my doctor took my concerns more seriously. She monitored my HCG levels and the pregnancy progressed. My youngest son was born in 2017. He had some struggles at first, but he is now a healthy, rambunctious 3 year old.
After years of charting I began to search for an alternative way to track temps and found Tempdrop. I was so excited! Tempdrop has enabled me to continue to use STM through times that would have been most difficult with a traditional basal thermometer (like through the postpartum period, not to mention life with babies and kids). After almost 3 years of Tempdrop use, I believe in Tempdrop and NFP/FAM even more than ever!
I have grown a lot since I first became a mother, and the truth is NFP played a significant role in this. NFP isn’t just a way I learned to avoid and achieve pregnancy. It has taught me so much more. It has given me concrete evidence of my sound intuition. In those cases when I knew I was pregnant, NFP gave me the courage to advocate for myself in difficult circumstances. This confidence grew and was essential when I needed to advocate for my youngest in the NICU.
I don’t want to scare anyone away from NFP/FAM. It is safe and effective. Our large family is a conscious choice we have made each time we "changed our minds," and the ease and immediacy with which we were able to do this is a part of the beauty of NFP/FAM.
I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be working for Tempdrop, an amazing company, in a field I am passionate about. As for more children, now I am done... no really! I gave away all the baby clothes... again.