12. Not Your Grandma’s Rhythm Method: A Conversation With Marquette Method Instructor Louise Boychuk, BScN RN

Did you that there are non-hormonal, peer-reviewed, evidence-based, ways to prevent (and achieve) pregnancy that are all about helping women know their bodies better, can also help to achieve pregnancy, and recognized by the CDC? In episode 12, I’m talking with Louise Boychuk, a registered nurse and instructor of the Marquette method of natural family planning.  You can listen online here, or on any of your favorite podcast platforms.

Louisephoto

This is NOT your grandmother’s rhythm method of old. This is a peer-reviewed, evidence-based, non-hormonal approach to avoiding (AND achieving) pregnancy. Natural Family Planning (NFP), also known as Fertility Based Awareness Methods (FABMs) in the scientific community, uses signs from a woman’s body to determine when she is fertile (and, also importantly, when she is most likely very not fertile). Methods can use a variety of different biological markers, from cervical mucous, to hormone levels in urine that can be tested at home, to body temperature, and more.

This is easily one of my favorite topics, most notably because I used to be ardently opposed to what I thought the Church taught on sex and marriage. As you’ll hear in the episode, up until my early 20s, I thought the church was kah-ray-zee when it came to its teaching on sexual ethics and not using contraception. I figured that anyone not contraception was probably either pregnant or immediately post-partum. My (wrong) understanding was that the Church just wanted women to be, as the old adage goes, “barefoot and pregnant”, forever and ever.

(FYI-To all of those who are currently in that scenario, I see you, I hear you, I get you, and I hope you’ll hang in there with me through this post and this episode.)

Enter a good friend, a lot of reading, holy priests, wonderful speakers, and a two-year stint as a Catholic missionary. I was led on a journey that started as me acting like an angry toddler as I realized I was very wrong, leading to joy at discovering the truth of how insanely awesome God’s design for sex and marriage is.

Here’s the TL;DR version of the Church’s teaching on sex and marriage: Sex is meant to be both unitive and procreative. Unitive meaning that it brings a man and woman closer together emotionally, physically, all the things. Procreative in that it’s open to life, so no barriers, either physical or chemical. Abstaining from sex during fertile times to avoid pregnancy for just reasons is still in line with the church’s teaching because there is no use of something to purposefully block fertility. Also in line with church teaching are situations where the couple physically could not get pregnant because of a myriad of other reasons, such as menopause or a hysterectomy. It is the intention that there is a total giving of oneself, saying “I accept all of you, even your fertility.” As Louise says in our episode, “Marquette method does not equal opposed to life, it just equals good science.” These teachings aren’t in place because the Church thinks sex is bad, it’s because the Church knows sex is so good, and sacred, and important- it needs to be treated as such!

Yes, using NFP to avoid pregnancy requires abstinence, the number of days depending on the individual woman and method, which can be difficult. Also, some women experience difficult-to-interpret fertility signs (which is one of the reasons I love Marquette- it’s very objective), and of course, there is always the chance of a surprise pregnancy. But! It also draws you so much closer to your spouse, and encourages challenging conversation, as you prayerfully discern each month. “Do we have a good reason to avoid pregnancy? Where are you at? Oh, you’ve been feeling anxious? You’re worried about our finances? I had no idea. Can we talk about that more?” And so on.

So how does this have to do with medicine? Well, in my search to learn more about NFP, I also found myself infuriated with the medical community and how it had so horribly abandoned women when it came to educating them on their bodies. After all, how many of us have been told to just, “Take the pill!” when we went in to talk to our doctors about an irregular period, horrible cramps, acne, anxiety, a broken toe, a slight cough, or a weird-looking mole? The pill has become some sort of magical cure-all, and I have had enough. Ladies, it is time we stand up and say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” when it comes to being told our little “lady problems” can all go away, all we have to do is load up our bodies with hormones.

Although many providers aren’t aware of the evidence (cue my eye roll when I read through my discharge paper work after having my baby and under the ‘Birth Control’ section, my OBGYN wrote ‘rhythm method’), the good news is that there is peer-reviewed evidence-based journal articles. As you’ll hear in the podcast, the information is slowly disseminating, and even the CDC updated their public information regarding FABMs to more accurately provide pregnancy prevention statistics. It’s our job as practitioners to get the news out there.

I hope you love this episode. I get all riled up when I talk NFP.

We chat about:

  • The science behind NFP (specifically the Marquette Method)
  • The effectiveness of various NFP methods at avoiding pregnancy
  • How NFP fits in with Church teaching
  • Joys and challenges of being an NFP instructor
  • How to become a Marquette instructor (you have to be a healthcare professional, which is perfect for the listeners of this podcast!)

We reference (a lot):

NFP Methods

  1. Louise’s website! There, you can learn more about the Marquette method, and get connected with Louise if you’d like to be taught!
  2. The FACTs (Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to teach the Science) webpage describes in great detail the different methods of fertility awareness based methods
  3. Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler, is a good book to understand more of how a woman’s body works and is an introduction to a fertility based method.
  4. This quiz is a great place to start when deciding what method if NFP is right for you.

NFP Effectiveness

  1. Check out Louise’s webpage at for peer-reviewed journal articles regarding Marquette effectiveness during regular cycles, breastfeeding, and perimenopause.
  2. This is the article Dr. Jo Stanford co-published that led the CDC to change their statement to stating that FABMs have a 2-24% pregnancy rate (Marquette is the 2%!)

For Healthcare Professionals:

  1. The FACTS group provides continuing education, resources, and even has opportunities for medical students including a clinical rotation.
  2. Interested in teaching the Marquette method of NFP? Here is a link to the Marquette webpage.

For learning more about Catholic teaching on sexual ethics:

  1. The Good News of Sex and Marriage, by Christopher West, is a GREAT place to start, and presents all the questions you’ve wanted to ask but were maybe too embarrassed to in an easy q&a format.
  2. Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love, by Edward Sri , is also an excellent place to start, a fast read, and provides insights from St. John Paul the Great’s Love and Responsibility (also a good read!).
  3. Life-Giving Love: Embracing God’s Beautiful Design for Marriage, by Kimberly Hahn, is a good second-step. Kimberly Hahn was a protestant who converted to the Catholic faith, and she describes her personal encounter with Church’s teachings on sex not as being a rigid list of rules we must follow, but made to help us be who we were made to be.
  4. Holy Sex! by Gregory Popcack, doesn’t dance around taboo topics, and answers the tough questions. It’s a great book for newlyweds!

For when NFP isn’t easy/for community:

  1. Off the Charts is an incredible, first-of-its-kind NFP community from Jenny Uebbing. You may know her from her popular blog Mama Needs Coffee (check out her sometimes hilarious, always inspiring blog entries here, or her writing featured in many publications. The online forum provides exclusive content from NFP instructors (if you loved this interview, Louise is also featured here!), access to the ‘Ask the Priest’ and ‘Ask the Instructor’ resources, teaching, and most of all- community (because NFP is not all sunshine and daisies!). The past few months have been amazing as members are continuing to flourish in their marriages and NFP even in the most stressful season ever! Check it out, as registration for July 2020 is opening up!
  2. The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, by Simcha Fisher, is a look at NFP with the rose-colored glasses off. For those who are struggling with NFP, it’s an honest look at the what being ‘open-to-life’ can look like, while at the same time being rooted in hope and confidence that despite the difficulties, NFP is still 100% better than any alternative.
  3. Women Speak For Themselves is an organization that empowers women with talking points and resources regarding the ways women are disadvantaged, especially in the realm of contraception and abortion.

 

Louise also mentioned this book, and we discussed the Catholic Christian Outreach.

**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employers. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**

You guys rock!

Catie

11. The Role of a Registered Dietician, and Experience in a Senior Care Facility, with Ann Kruse, RD

The first episode of Season 2 is with Ann Kruse, RD. You can listen online here, or on you favorite podcast listening platform (iTunes, Spotify, etc).
It has been a while since I’ve posted an episode! During the hiatus, I gave birth to a little girlie, Lucy, in December. She is seriously such a delight and is babbling and smiling away. Episodes will be released as I record them, not scheduled monthly like before, as life has changed a bit (in a really great way)! Stay updated on here for new episodes, or follow along on Instagram @practicingcatholicmedicine.
In this episode I talk with my friend Ann Kruse, a registered dietitian working in a long-term senior care facility. This episode was recorded last summer, long before “social distancing” was a buzzword and when we could meet up with friends any time we wanted. Enjoy a podcast NOT about COVID!
We discuss:
  • The wide scope of practice for a registered dietician
  • Ann’s experience working in a long-term senior care facility
  • The relationship between food and faith
We reference:
  • A Love-Letter Life By Jeremy and Audrey Roloff
  • One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulweiler
  • Ann’s website, A Dietician’s ANNalysis, where she talks about all things dietetics and nutrition
  • This article, which talks about emotionally healthy ways to process emotions during this pandemic
Stay healthy and God bless!
-Catie
**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employers. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**

10. Pediatric Oncology Nursing and Consecrated Virginity, with Andrea Polito

 Episode 10 is officially here! I chat with Andrea Polito, a registered nurse in pediatric oncology AND a consecrated virgin. This episode also marks the end of Season 1! Practicing Catholic Medicine will be taking a short break as I gather more interviews and continue to make the podcast even better! I will let you all know when the next season starts.

Before I met Andrea, I had no idea what it meant to be a lay consecrated virgin. She explains the rich history of the vocation and her call to it. This episode is perfect for anyone in those “discerning” stages- whether it’s discerning a job, a vocation, or a big move. I especially loved Andrea’s advice on looking for Christ, and remember that He moves in the ordinary, seemingly mundane parts of life! You can read an article written about Andrea’s vocation here.

Andrea is a nurse in pediatric oncology, a field with high-highs and low-lows. I especially wanted to share this episode in May because six years ago this month by cousin’s young daughter Kayleen passed away from childhood leukemia after a long, hard-fought battle. If you’re looking to support children and families with childhood cancer, I cannot recommend enough her legacy foundation, which you can read more about here. Another wonderful organization that I was blessed to volunteer with is Camp Wapiyapi, a summer camp in Colorado that is FREE for children with pediatric cancer AND their siblings!

Andrea and I chat about:

– Her passion for the field of child cancer care

– Resiliency in an emotionally straining field

– Her vocation as a consecrated virgin, including what it means to be a consecrated virgin and how she discerned this call (she was definitely not expecting it!)

We reference:

– The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene

– The Ball and the Cross, by GK Chesterton

Enjoy!

-Catie

**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employers. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**

9. Life as a New PA, with Hannah Wilson, PA-C

Episode 9 is with Hannah Wilson, a physician assistant (PA) working in outpatient general pediatrics. You can listen to the podcast online here, or on your favorite podcast streaming service (like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and more).

Hannah Wilson

This was actually the first interview I recorded for the podcast, way back in the summer of 2018. Hannah is a good friend of mine and fellow PA who is from my husband’s hometown. I saw Hannah grow as a PA, from just starting out to now being over a year in as a very competent provider. Our interview focuses primarily on life in the first year of work in healthcare, but I think it’s a great episode for everyone regardless of where they are at in their career.

We talk about:

  • How to overcome the doubt in your abilities as a provider in that first year, including how to draw strength and how to continue learning as much as possible to best serve patients
  • The role of PAs and the scope of their practice
  • How Hannah approaches the topic of birth control with patients
  • Advice for new grads applying for jobs, including what to look for in a practice

We reference:

  • He Leadeth Me, By Walter Ciszek
  • The Silence of St. Thomas, by Josef Pieper
  • A River Runs Through It, by Norman MaClean

Enjoy!

– Catie

**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employers. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**

8. Global Health and Emergency Medicine, with Dr. Claire Uebbing

This month’s episode is with Dr. Claire Uebbing, an attending physician working in Global Health medicine.

Dr. Claire Uebbing

Claire has an impressive CV. She received her medical training at Indiana University School of Medicine.  After graduation, she went on to complete an emergency medicine residency in Detroit, Michigan. Claire then furthered her training with a global health fellowship and a Master’s degree in public health at Colombia University, while at the same time serving as an attending physician in emergency medicine in New York. During her fellowship and the years that have followed, Claire has worked abroad in many countries, including Uganda, Mozambique, Cambodia, Panama, Kenya, and her current position is in Papa New Guinea. Claire brings a wealth of experience and the unique perspective of medicine worldwide.

We chat about:

⁃ What global medicine is (hint: it’s not a mission trip!)

⁃ What drew her into global health medicine as a full-time career

⁃ Her experiences as an emergency medicine resident in Detroit, and the ways socioeconomic status affect our patients

⁃ The worldwide church

⁃ Lessons from working abroad on the US healthcare system

We reference:

⁃ Project C.U.R.E

The Good Earth series by Pearl Buck

Enjoy!

-Catie

**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employers. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**

7. Intern Year in a Surgical Residency, with Dr. Matt DiLizia

Episode 7 is here, and it’s with Dr. Matt DiLizia, an intern surgical resident in Washington, DC. You can listen to the podcast online here, or on your favorite podcast streaming service (like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and more).

Dr. Matt DiLizia

I promised way back in the intro episode that this podcast wouldn’t be all female guests (although I’ve loved all the past guests, haven’t you??), and I’m so excited to share this conversation. We had a great, honest discussion that I think you’ll really enjoy!

We talked about:

  • What life as an intern resident is really like
  • How Matt chose which residency programs to apply for
  • How to navigate the ‘unknown’s in life and abandon ourselves to God’s will (even when that means moving across the country!)
  • And more!

We referenced:

 

Enjoy!

-Catie

**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employers. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**

6. Medical Missions, with Megan Mueller, RN, BSN, and former director of FOCUS Medical Missions

Today’s episode is with Megan Mueller, BSN, RN, and the first director of FOCUS’ (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) Medical Missions branch. You can listen on line here, or on your favorite podcast streaming service (like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, etc). 
Megan Mueller
Megan Mueller. PC: Juan Andres
In this episode, Megan and I dive deep into the world of medical missions and her experience as a participant and as a leader for numerous medical missions around the world. 
We chat about:
– How to find a good organization for medical missions (hint: finding one that has the resources for follow up care for those you serve)
– Concerns raised by others, such as “Do medical missions even matter?”, and “People going on medical missions are just looking to feel good about themselves and get pictures with cute kids.”
– How medical missions help you become a better provider where you currently serve, and how our call to serve in America is no different than serving on a mission abroad.
We reference:
He Leadeth Me, by Fr. Walter J. Ciszek
 
Enjoy!
 
Catie
* A reminder that the views expressed in this podcast are our own and do not reflect the views of our employers, and that this podcast is not meant to replace medical care. Please see your medical provider for any medical concerns. *

5. Student-athlete life, wedding planning, and everything in-between, with Alex Martinez, BSN, RN

Episode 5 is with Alexandra Martinez, a registered nurse in inpatient pediatrics. You can listen online here, or on your favorite podcast-streaming service.

 

 

After a heavier conversation last month, I thought a fun, lighter conversation was in order. This episode is especially for the students out there and the 20-somethings trying to figure out life.

Alex and I chat about:

  • How to navigate a busy schedule as a student, and how those long days and trying to balance everything is worth it in your future career
  • Advice on finding the field in medicine that is right for you, and ways to boost your resume to land in the career you want
  • Wedding planning, being newlyweds, and Alex shares the joy it was to walk alongside her husband in his first communion, reconciliation, and confirmation before they were married.

 

We reference:

  • The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines

 

Also, I have some very exciting news to share! A book I contributed to was released last month. It’s called By His Mercy, by Tricia Walz, and can be purchased for only $15 (with all proceeds to charity!) here. It’s a compilation of 11 young adult’s stories of God working miracles in their lives, and of His great mercy. My story includes kidney failure, a plane crash, and a flood, all in the span of about a year- God sure knew I needed a lot of opportunities for his mercy to shine brightly through.

 

**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employers. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**

God bless!

-Catie

4. Palliative Medicine and Combating Burnout, with Natalie Rodden, MD

November’s episode is with Dr. Natalie Rodden, a palliative care attending physician. Click here to listen online.

Dr. Natalie Rodden

I first heard Natalie speak at a Catholic Medical Association meeting, and knew I wanted her on the show. Fun fact- Dr. Rodden was the first president of the student chapter of the Catholic Medical Association!

We chat about:
– The field of palliative medicine and how it helps people live their best lives
– How the culture has changed with the passing of death with dignity/physician assisted suicide laws
– How to avoid burnout and find joy in your job

We reference:
Dying for Revenge, by Barbara Golder
Dying for Compassion, by Barbara Golder

I hope you enjoy! Don’t forget to follow Practicing Catholic Medicine on Instagram @practicingcatholicmedicine.
www.practicingcatholicmedicine.com

 

God bless!

-Catie

 

**The usual boring disclaimer: The views expressed in this podcast by myself and my guests are our own and do not represent those of our employer. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please see your healthcare provider for any medical needs.**