This month we are highlighting Darcy Noltemeyer, one of our Medical Impact Office Assistants. Darcy brings joy and encouragement as she provides organization and assistance to our team in many ways. She is a blessing to us all as she serves with a smile and a servant’s heart in all she does. We are so thankful for Darcy and all she brings to our team!
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Grove City, a small town just outside of Columbus, Ohio. For college I attended The Ohio State University for Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Share with us about your family.
I have been blessed with such a close family despite being so spread out across different states. My dad passed away when I was a senior in high school, so I am thankful to still have my wonderful mom to hug. I am the youngest of four children, and have six adorable nieces and nephews. I started dating my high school sweetheart when we were 16. We have now been married for almost 3 years, with two rescue Pomeranians, Bingley and Evee.
Tell us about what brought you to Heartbeat International.
Growing up as the daughter of a pastor, I understood from an early age the struggles that many people faced in their lives. I could see for myself how much expressing and sharing God’s love could change the hearts of people and help them when they needed it most. My heart has always been designed to help and serve others, and I never felt like I was accomplishing that fully in the beginning of my adult career. By God’s grace I stumbled upon a job listing for Heartbeat International and I was instantly intrigued. After researching the company, delving deeper into its founding, learning of the current works they were involved in, and their vision for the future; I knew God was calling me to place roots in the good ground they had cultivated. My desire was to be a part of an organization that aligned with my beliefs that would allow me to work wholeheartedly towards advancing their mission. I am thankful to have found that with Heartbeat.
What do you enjoy most about your work as Office Assistant for the Medical Impact?
Every day is new and varies in what I get to do! I enjoy a job that gives room for growth in ideas and responsibilities. I am very detail oriented, and love being given statistical tasks or projects that allow for me to be creative in presentation. It is so encouraging to be able to share with people all across the world the new hope we can give women, and to receive so much intrigue, excitement, and willingness in response. Overall, I am thankful for the trust that has been placed on me to support the Medical Impact Team.
Tell us about working on the Medical Impact Team.
Working with the Medical Impact Team is so unique! We are spread across two countries and still remain well connected. The trust that is shared amongst each other is nothing short of extraordinary. I have always been so impressed with how valued everyone’s ideas, thoughts, and questions have been with the team as a whole. Since I started here at Heartbeat, I have seen the passion Medical Impact has for the unborn, the commitment to the women, and the sincere heart for the people they interact with daily. They really do keep such a positive and loving atmosphere no matter what the team faces. I have only felt acceptance since I joined, and I love being a part of it!
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I enjoy the outdoors! Many of my past times include hiking, kayaking, fishing, and walking my dogs with my husband and friends. I am a certified scuba diver, but I don’t get to do that as often as I would like to outside of Ohio. If it involves tea, I’m in! I spend time going to local tea shops as I travel, and enjoy a nice cup or glass of tea when relaxing at home. I have always loved being an aunt, and spend a lot of time playing with them as well.
What else would you like to share?
Joining Heartbeat International has been such a wonderful experience, and I am proud to be a part of an organization that is moving forward to do great and impactful things in the world.
This month we are highlighting Maria Beigel, one of our Medical Impact Office Assistants. Maria brings joy and encouragement as she provides organization and assistance to our team in many ways. She is a blessing to us all as she serves with a smile and a servant’s heart in all she does. We are so thankful for Maria and all she brings to our team!
I grew up in a very small farming community called Coldwater, Ohio and attended Wright State Lake Campus for my associates degree in Business Administration. I graduated with that degree in 2015.
I’ve been so blessed by my family and I’m so thankful to have the relationship that I do with my parents and my siblings. I am the fifth of six children and all of my older siblings are married with children now, so I have a lot of nieces and nephews to love on! 14 to be exact. I’ve been married to my husband, Austin, for four years this past December and we have two children - a 2-year-old daughter named Vera and a 5-month-old son named Graham. We also have a very spoiled ragdoll cat named Shapiro (Ro for short).
When I moved to Columbus and I was looking for a job, my former pastor at my parent’s church, Michael Spencer (who now works for Project LifeVoice), recommended I look into Heartbeat International. As I was growing up, Michael played a big role in developing my passion for the unborn and I was eager to take his advice and I’m so glad I did!
Tell us about your experience sharing APR with others.
It’s always very interesting to tell people what I do for work, because most of them previously had no idea that it is even possible to reverse the effects of a chemical abortion. I love spreading the word about Abortion Pill Reversal!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Hands down, the best part of my job is reaching out to former APRN clients to see how their experience with Abortion Pill Reversal was and how they’re doing now. The responses that I’ve gotten have brought me to tears. I get to see photos of ultrasounds and born children who wouldn’t have had a chance at life without the APRN, and I get to hear the testimonies of their moms, who are so thankful and moved that there was someone who could help them, even when there were others pressuring them to continue their abortions.
I couldn’t have asked for a better group of women to work with. From the day that I started working with the Medical Impact Team, I’ve felt welcomed and loved and appreciated. This team has faced many spiritual battles and continues to overcome and manages to stay positive in spite of everything. We are a unique team, in that only one of us is actually in office in Columbus. The rest are remote and working all over the country (and one in Canada), which presents a unique dynamic. Because of this, it’s extremely special when I do get to see others on the Medical Impact Team in person and I look forward to our weekly Tuesday meetings where we get to see a glimpse into each other’s lives.
I really enjoy visiting my hometown and my parents and taking my kids to the places I went as I was growing up. I stay at home with my children and love being a mom to them and getting to watch them grow up. I also enjoy reading, doing puzzles, playing tennis, playing board games, listening to podcasts, and going on date nights with my husband.
I’m very thankful to be part of the Medical Impact team! I can see that we are making a difference and I’m so excited to see how God uses us in 2022.
by Brooke Myrick, BSN, RN, LASHealthcare Team Manager, Heartbeat International
Pressure, stress, lack of support, and limited finances. Women with unplanned pregnancies often find themselves facing most or all of these challenges. Often it is not a matter of the pregnancy being unwanted. The external factors surrounding the pregnancy make it seem impossible. Women are looking for a plan, a solution to their circumstances, hope, and support. When women choose abortion as a solution to their situation, many experience immediate regret. Statistics show that more than 2,500 lives have been saved (and counting) as women successfully stop their chemical abortions and save their children through the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.
Using the APR protocol to reverse the effects of mifepristone roughly triples the chances of a live birth. The data that APRNetwork has been collecting and continues to collect supports the conclusion that the effects of mifepristone can be stopped by the administration of progesterone.
1. Delgado, G. M.D.,Condly, S. Ph.D., Davenport, M.M.D., M.S., Tinnakornsrisuphap, T. Ph.D., Mack, J. Ph.D., NP, RN, Khauv, J. B.S., and Zhou P., A
Case Series Detailing the Successful Reversal of the Effects of Mifepristone Using Progesterone. Issues in Law & Medicine, Volume 33, Number 1, 2018.
by Brooke Myrick, BSN, RNHealthcare Team Manager, Heartbeat International
“I'm so glad I picked up my phone that day and looked for help, who knows what the outcome would have been? All I know is it was by the grace of God! Thank you all again for your help. I'm blessed and thankful every day. I could not imagine my life without my baby boy.” -Ashley
The pressures and stressors women are facing at the time of an unplanned pregnancy are often played on for them to believe a chemical abortion is their only choice. Women are often looking for support, a solution, and a plan for their situation. Chemical abortion is sold to them as a private option to be completed in the comfort of their own homes with sometimes even with the convenience of mail delivery. Many women are not prepared for the severity of the bleeding, the severity of the pain, or potentially seeing the body of their lifeless child. An informed decision is the best decision. Women deserve to know the truth, medical facts, receive proper medical care, and a second chance at choosing life for their unborn child. Abortion Pill Reversal empowers women with choices.
Is it too late to reverse the abortion pill?
For those seeking to reverse a chemical abortion, the goal is to start the protocol within the first 24 hours of taking the first abortion pill, mifepristone, also known as RU-486. However, there have been many successful reversals when treatment was started within 72 hours of taking the first abortion pill. Even if 72 hours have passed, it may not be too late. Initial studies of APR have shown that APR has a 64-68% success rate.
Our completely updated training will be available in early March for medical professionals offering Limited Obstetric Diagnostic Ultrasound in Pregnancy Help Clinics. We are thrilled to offer ten new modules on topics such as ultrasound physics, first trimester scanning, legal and ethical questions, knobology, and more.
We invite imagers around the world that perform limited obstetric diagnostic ultrasounds to our updated Online Ultrasound Training. The purpose of scanning in the Pregnancy Help Clinics is to shed His Light on the reality of life by showing a mom the first image of her baby. Designed with the medical professional in Pregnancy Help Clinics in mind, this training is rooted in the LOVE Approach for all who serve and all who are served in Pregnancy Help Clinics.
Available to you:
Training topics includes:
You will not walk the journey alone but rather will be guided by those of us who have walked the journey before you. Each member of the Medical Impact team has been a part of creating this training and providing support for you as you learn.
Gathered from around the world, we are dedicated to assisting and encouraging while you learn not only the technique of performing a Limited Obstetric Ultrasound Diagnostic Exam but also as you forge through the spiritual warfare that will accompany it.
Our team is composed of sonographers that are multicredentialed to include RDMS(OB/GYN) and recognized nationally for their accomplishments and Registered Nurses that have performed ultrasounds in Pregnancy Help Clinics throughout the nation. You will also hear from Heartbeat International General Counsel, HBI President Jor-El Godsey, Vice-President of Ministry Services Betty McDowell, and Vice-President of Development Cindi Boston-Bilotta and others from the HBI team. Each member of this team brings with them experiences that will enhance your learning experience.
This course was created for medical professionals who are called to perform ultrasound in Pregnancy Help Clinics. It is not essential for you to obtain the RDMS credential to effectively perform Limited Obstetric Diagnostic Ultrasound. It is essential that you become competent. This course is designed with you in mind. We fully believe that God equips who He calls!
This training is self-paced and can fit in any schedule. Participants complete modules when convenient to their them. There are no required log-in times but we would expect the course to completed within six months from start date. Recognizing that each person will progress at his or her own time frame, the clinical section of this course can be completed while one is completing the didactic portion of the program or may be completed following the completion of the program.
Module I The Power of Seeing This module explores a basic overview of the history of Ultrasound and its unique utilization in Pregnancy Care Centers.
Module II: Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound for the Registered Nurse These presentations provide guidance on patient assessment & education, documentation, and nursing professional practical guidelines for those that scan in Pregnancy Help Clinics.
Module III: The Physics of Ultrasound These presentations will help you become more familiar with you machine along with teaching basic physics principles that will enhance your scanning effectiveness.
Module IV: Pelvic and Obstetrical Anatomy This module will briefly review basic embryology along with the female reproductive system and basic first trimeter obstetrical anatomy in order to prepare the participant for First Trimester Obstetrical Ultrasound.
Module V: Obstetrical Ultrasound These presentations focus on the basics of scanning in the first trimester starting from basic transducer manipulation to basic measurements along with presentation techniques.
Module VI: Normal Variants and Atypical Findings These presentations focus on scanning beyond the typical first trimester scan concentrating on the second and third trimester basic measurements, presentation techniques, commonly encountered first trimester abnormalities and scanning multiple gestations.
Module VII: Abortion Pill Reversal and Ultrasound These presentations will help you to care for the abortion pill reversal client in your clinic.
Module VIII: Legal and Ethical Issues This module concentrates on quality analysis of exams along with legal and ethical issues.
Module IX: Self-Care and the Imager This presentation explores the personal role of the imager and the care that is involved in those who serve on the front lines.
Module X: Clinical Competencies The clinical component of your training includes two elements, an experience log and competency evaluation. Clinical portion of training is completed in your clinic under the supervision of a qualified RDMS OB/GYN Sonographer, qualified RN who has completed ultrasound training, or a Physician of your choice.
Each module of this course consists of presentations, discussion questions, and assignments. This course is designed to be completed in its entirety with each section developed to specifically prepare students for the task ahead. After each section, a small quiz assesses understanding of the topic. Questions are encouraged in the discussion forum or in email to our ultrasound instructors.
Cost is $495 for non-affiliates/$395 with HBI affiliate discount.
Assistance is available to centers who qualify through the Option Ultrasound Program (OUP) which provides grants to qualifying pregnancy medical clinics for 80% of the cost of an ultrasound machine or sonography training for medical personnel.
We are excited for those that will join us on this endeavor to image life. We can assure you, this will be a life changing experiencing for you and those for who you scan!
Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 16061 for eight contact hours.
by Leontine Bakermans MSc PharmDCoordinator One of Us, Netherlands
The birth control pill came on the market in the middle of the last century as a new remedy for menstrual disorders, such as painful or irregular periods, and it is still prescribed for these indications, usually for a short time. But what was first described as a side effect ("you can become infertile") quickly became the main indication.
The pill is now used by millions of women around the world. In the field of family planning, the pill is also presented as the instrument par excellence for the emancipation of women. Its use is promoted at all levels, such as the proposal of the Council of Europe with the resolution 'Strengthening women: promoting access to contraception in Europe' (1) and the UN population fund (UNFPA) (2).
However, there seems to be a turnaround, the number of women taking the pill is decreasing. This is because there are also negative sides of pill use, about which more and more is known.
There are different types of oral contraceptive pills. The most commonly used pills are the so-called combination pills and the pill with progestogen only, or the mini pill. This article is limited to the combination pill, which is most commonly used. At the end the morning-after pill and abortion pill will be discussed. The combination pill contains two artificial sex hormones: an estrogen and a progestogen. The pills can be further distinguished into so-called 2nd and 3rd generation pills. The 2nd generation pills contain levonorgestrel and norgestimate as progestogen and the 3rd generation pills contain e.g desogestrel. The estrogen is almost always ethinylestradiol.
The pill is swallowed for 21 days, after which nothing or seven placebo pills are taken for seven days During these seven days, what is called a “withdrawal bleed” occurs; it is not a real period. Because of these monthly hemorrhages, it seems as if there is a normal cycle, but this is a fake cycle.
What happens during a normal cycle is summarized in the figure below:
The sex hormones oestradiol and progesterone are regulated from the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary) and via the ovaries:
Because of this:
The effect of the pill is based on the same principles as the hormones in the normal cycle, but in the opposite direction (5). The artificial hormones in the pill weaken the signal given by the brain and this stops the natural cycle. The body itself no longer produces natural estradiol and progesterone, with the result that
To reduce side effects, the dosage of estrogens and progestogens in the pill has been reduced. The decreasing dosage of the pill has a direct effect on the effectivity and of course, a minimal amount of active ingredient is needed for a drug to have an effect. As a result, the main effect may no longer be 100% and egg ripening and ovulation are not always stopped. An egg can then still be released that could be fertilized. If this fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus despite the fact that the pill makes implantation more difficult, we have an ongoing pregnancy, despite taking the pill. But it is also possible that the fertilized egg cannot implant in the uterus, because the pill has not made the uterine mucosa suitable for it. The fertilized egg is then destroyed and the pill works as an abortifacient.
In practice there are a number of factors that reduce the efficacy of the pill. There are situations in which too little of the active substance from the tablet becomes available in the body, for example due to certain interactions with other medicines or diarrhea, or because a number of women have difficulty taking the pill consequently every day. Certain genes may also cause increased degradation. How often does an early abortion occur? There are no exact numbers, we can only say that it cannot be excluded that it happens (6,7).
Because research shows that some types of cancer depend on naturally occurring hormones for their development and growth, a lot of research has been done into the relationship between hormones in the pill and cancer. A study showed that taking the pill for more than 8 years showed an increased risk of cancer (8). By the way, the pill has a protective effect against cancer of the lining of the uterus and ovaries, but these types of cancer are very rare by nature and an improvement of a very small amount is still very small. The U.S. government has therefore added estrogens contained in the pill to the official list of carcinogens (9) and the WHO has also classified the pill as a group 1 (the heaviest type) carcinogen for breast, cervical and liver cancer (10). This is the same category as for tobacco and asbestos.
The risk for a woman to get breast cancer depends on several factors, including a link with pill use, because estrogens affect breast tissue. The risk increases from 1.1 times higher with 1 year of pill use to 1.6 times higher with 10 years of use. Further, this risk is higher if you start taking the pill at a young age, because when breast cell proliferative activity is high, there is more chance for mutations in DNA, so the susceptibility to genetic damage in breast epithelial cells becomes higher. Women who have an abnormality in one of the breast cancer genes even have a greatly increased risk of developing breast cancer (11,12,13).
The pill plays a key role in the development of liver cell adenoma (benign tumor), usually after use for more than 5 years, but sometimes an adenoma develops as early as after 6 months of pill use. It occurs in about 3 out of every 100,000 pill users (15, 16).
Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in females worldwide.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of viruses that are extremely common. Two HPV types (16 and 18) cause 70% of cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cervical lesions. HPV is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and most people are infected with HPV shortly after the onset of sexual activity. A condom gives insufficient protection because the virus is available in a broad zone around the sex organs. OC users might have more sex, with more partners higher chance of infection. Changes to cervical fluid caused by OC use may compromise one’s immunity higher susceptibility to HPV infection.
Women who take the pill for more than 5 years are twice likely to get cervical cancer. After 10 years, this can increase to a 3 times higher risk (17,18).
The amount of bone tissue in skeleton is known as bone mass and can keep growing until age 30. At that point, bones have reached their maximum strength known as peak bone mass (PBM). The PBM relates to lifetime fracture risk. Natural estrogen, plays an essential role in bone growth. By suppressing estrogen, as in OC-use, there is
a detrimental effect on the bone. In later life it increases the risk of brittle bones (osteoporosis) and therefore a rise in bone fractures (19).
Heart and blood vessels
Oral contraceptive hormones have an impact on the lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. They significantly affect plasma lipoprotein metabolism, which can raise the levels of plasma triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, and high-density lipoprotein.
Taking the pill therefore increases the risk of thrombosis (the formation of a blood clot,
in a vein of the legs, lungs, heart (heart attack) or brain (stroke) 2 to 4 times (23, 24). The third-generation pills even give a 4 to 7 times higher risk of thrombosis (reason why they are now much less prescribed).
Studies show that in young women taking the contraceptive pill more or less doubles the risk of having a stroke (20.21). Women who take both the pill and carry the variant of a certain coagulation factor gene are 20 times more likely to have a brain attack (22).
In rare cases, a venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism is fatal (26).
The risk of thrombosis when taking the pill is also greatly increased by the presence of risk factors such as smoking, age and obesity.
In addition to effects on the ovaries, the sex hormones also influence emotional things like attraction, stress, hunger, behaviour, friendships, aggression and how you feel (4). Effects on this by suppressing the sex hormones through pill use is therefore inevitable, but only recently more clarity has become available. It appears that also the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis (HPA axis) is involved. This axis also acts via the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, but with the adrenal glands as target organ. Via this axis, the renal glands release cortisol. Cortisol reacts to stress and regulates many body processes including, mood, emotions and sexuality. Sex steroids exert profound control over the HPA axis. Suppressing this system with artificial hormones, has an effect upon all the processes this axis regulates. The HPA axis continues to develop until after puberty.
A 2016 Danish study of women between the ages of 15 and 34 showed that among those who used hormonal contraceptives, there was a forty percent higher risk of taking antidepressants. Especially women between 15 and 19 years had a higher risk of becoming depressed (28).
A link between pill use in young women and the risk of depression in adulthood has also been shown. This suggests that adolescence can be a sensitive period during which pill use can increase a woman's risk of depression, even years after use of the pill was stopped (29).
The Dutch researcher Estrella Montoya states: "It is almost certain that the pill has an effect on the brain, in areas that are important for mood, anxiety and pleasure (30).
In her book 'Your brain on the pill' (4), Sarah Hill, professor of psychology, describes new research on the effect on the brain and psychological influence of pill use. She came to the conclusion that by suppressing the natural hormone profile through pill use you can start to feel like a totally different person. This goes as far that, although the research is still in its very recent, this suggests that the pill could have an influence on who you find attractive (through pill use you could fall for a different type of man as without pill), on the dynamics of your relationships (pill extinguishes feelings of lust), how you react to the face of your partner, on your chances of ever getting divorced, etc.
MRI scans have recently shown that the size of certain parts of the brain, including the hypothalamus, was considerably smaller in women taking the pill than in women not taking it (31). And the hypothalamus is the organ from which the hormones are controlled. What effect this has in the longer term is still unknown.
The influence of sex hormones plays an enormous role in all gender-specific developments during puberty and adolescence, not only in the visible parts of the body, but also on the brain. Girls who are just menstruating are still busy with their brain development. Brain development is usually not finished until we are 20-25 years old. Sarah Hill advises against influencing your hormone balance with the pill before the age of nineteen or twenty and recommends more scientific research into the effects of the pill. Animal studies have found that hormones, especially when the brain is still developing, can irreversibly influence behavior. Adolescent girls have in addition a higher chance of getting breast cancer and reach a lower peak bone density with higher risk of fractures.
There are 2 types of morning-after pill available. One consists of the same progestogen as most commonly used in the pill: levonorgestrel. It can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse. Later, another one is added EllaOne® (ulipristal acetate). This is even effective up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sexual intercourse. They are sold about 300,000 times a year in the Netherlands in a population of 17 million people (32).
The effect of the morning-after pill is partly based on ovulation inhibition, but if the pill is taken from the day before ovulation, i.e. in the most fertile period, ovulation can no longer be inhibited. If ovulation has already occurred, it can of course no longer be inhibited as well. In these cases, the efficacy is based on preventing implantation, an abortifacient effect (33).
Despite contraception, many women get unplanned pregnancies. 60-70% of women who come for an abortion indicate that the unwanted pregnancy occurred despite the use of contraception (34).
The abortion pill is a series of 2 types of pills, to be taken 2 days in a row. The first pill to be taken, mifepristone, is an antiprogesterone drug, which suppresses the natural progesterone needed to maintain a pregnancy. It loosens the baby. After 2 days another medicine has to be taken, prostaglandin, which causes the uterus to contract and expels the baby. This can be done up to ten weeks after the last menstruation in the U.S.
The abortion pill is not a simple and innocent remedy. It ends human life and it's not without risk. The leaflet therefore states that it is important to have access to appropriate medical care if an emergency situation arises and the patient must remain close to the treatment center (36). In addition, an ectopic pregnancy must first be excluded, because in that case the abortion pill does not work and medical intervention is required. Enormous cramps and heavy blood loss are common. Prolonged vaginal bleeding may occur. In some cases, severe bleeding may require surgical removal of the uterus. Rarely, the uterus may rupture or a fatal shock syndrome may result from a particular bacterium. Bleeding is in no way proof that the pregnancy has ended, because bleeding also usually occurs if the treatment fails. The non-negligible risk of failure (4.5 to 7.8% of cases) makes a control visit mandatory to check that the abortion has been completed. In case of an incomplete abortion, a curettage is still required to achieve complete abortion. A so-called "do it yourself abortion", which means that the pills are taken without medical supervision, can therefore have terrible consequences.
What if there is regret after the abortion pill? After taking the abortion pill, some women have regret and realize that they do want to keep their baby. If they have only taken the first pill, but have not yet started the medication for the following days, they are still eligible for the abortion pill reversal.
The abortion pill reversal consists of the drug progesterone because the woman’s body had stopped producing it naturally when the first abortion pill was taken.This was switched off by taking the first pill of the abortion pill. By not taking the second day's pills and taking the abortion pill stopper as soon as possible (at least within 72 hours) and continuing this until the 14th week of pregnancy, the baby can be saved up to 65% of cases (37).
We are concerned about artificial sex hormones that men use in the gym because of all the effects they have on their bodies. But at the same time, healthy women are routinely prescribed female sex hormones and swallow them for years, despite the increased risk of cancer and thrombosis, sometimes with fatalities and severe emotional disturbances.
The hormones in the pill are excreted again and reach the water purification system via the sewer. The sewage treatment system does not succeed in breaking down all the female hormones in the wastewater, causing estrogens to re-enter the environment. Synthetic hormones can be active even at very low concentrations. Estrogens from the pill, for example, are ten times more active than the natural female estrogen (38). Hormone-disrupting effects in the aquatic environment have been clearly and frequently demonstrated. For example, feminization was found to occur in male fish.
What this means for humans and the environment is still unknown (39-43).
There is an alternative to taking the pill. This alternative requires the cooperation of both partners, especially in the field of self-control, but it has no side effects: natural fertility management, also called 'Natural Family Planning' (NFP). NFP is based on the knowledge that, on the one hand, sperm cells only survive in the fallopian tubes for a maximum of five days and, on the other hand, an egg cell can only be fertilized for a few hours. A woman is therefore fertile for a week before ovulation until about a day after it. If one does not have intercourse during this period, pregnancy is impossible. To determine when the fertile period falls, there are several possibilities.
The Billings method makes use of the fact that around ovulation the mucus in the cervix is thinner. It is possible to draw 'threads' from it, as with the white of a raw egg. This is easy to determine yourself. You can even determine when a woman becomes fertile again after a pregnancy.
The sympto-thermal method, such as Sensiplan, is also based on the observations in the cervix mucus, but also uses the woman's body temperature: after ovulation the body temperature rises by about half a degree (five dashes). By taking the temperature daily, one has an extra control on ovulation.
Information about Sensiplan: www.sensiplan.nl
© One of Us Nederland
by Christa Brown BSN, RN, Medical Specialist/APR Coordinator
Clients we serve are often in the midst of making relationship, pregnancy, sexual, career, health, and a variety of other major life choices. We are given the honor and privilege of assisting them in this process. We want the best outcomes for the women and men we are called to serve. But how do we successfully assist them navigate these life-altering decisions when sometimes there is no clear right or wrong? How do we allow them to choose without imposing our will on them? How do we help them succeed?
Often we see the situations they face in only black and white, good and bad. But the choices they are making might not always be answered that way. And the backgrounds of clients, the present circumstances and their future goals in life are all different. The better thought process might be, “what is the wise thing to do?”
Many clients have had some conditional love such as, “If you make the decision I want you to, I’ll care about you”, but very little unconditional love. Friends and family with other agendas can create doubt in the patient's choices. Even a very positive decision can feel completely wrong and clients might waiver either for a moment or for an extended length of time. As they struggle to get footing, it’s important we are not yet another voice causing them confusion. Pushing the decision we want might cause clients to agree in the moment, but it will likely not remain a long-term decision.
The big question becomes –
“In light of past experience, current circumstances, future hopes & dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?”
Looking at past experiences can bring clarity to current decisions. But it can be easy to be deceived into thinking that doing the same thing will achieve different results. We all believe we can manage outcomes. We tell ourselves, “I know last time didn’t go well, but this time is different.” Decisions made in the past have created the realities of today.
It’s also important to look at current circumstances to understand how they are affecting decisions. It’s not uncommon to want the easier way or immediate satisfaction. It’s just human nature to avoid thinking of the many outcomes that one decision might bring.
And thirdly, the vision for tomorrow can guide today’s decisions. It’s important for clients to see clearly their hopes and dreams and understand how today’s decisions affect them. It’s almost always a bad idea to trade something desired now for something wanted in the future. Friends and family might not have the same ambitions, so decisions might not be understood or supported. It’s a good exercise to brainstorm those hopes and dreams and even write them down, so they can remain in focus.
Here are some steps that can be used to help process decisions:
As these decisions are processed, clients might not be consistent. When the trajectory has been set for quite some time and suddenly a different plan is made, the line sometimes doesn’t stay straight. Clients sometimes take two steps forward and three steps back. But then a few more steps. It’s important that we show our pride in them for each accomplishment. We might be the only ones cheering them on. But it’s equally important to let them know they can always be honest about those steps backwards. We cannot help them if they never return. Even if they make decisions they know we might not agree with, clients need ongoing support offered without judgment and condemnation. That can be the most difficult part of working in a center - maybe one of the hardest things we will ever do. But it’s what God calls us to, and it’s what will make the difference – loving them unconditionally.
Assisting clients to navigate very complicated waters can be both challenging and rewarding. With education and support, most clients are well capable of making good, healthy decisions. We can be the voice of support and love that helps them make the best choices possible. One good move forward today can affect all of the future.
“Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.” Psalms 107:43 NKJV
Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic ([Rev. ed.].). New York: Free Press.
Covey, S. (2014). The 7 habits of highly effective teens: The ultimate teenage success guide. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster.
The LOVE Approach https://www.heartbeatservices.org/resources/resources-by-topic/volunteer-training/the-love-approach-3rd-edition-training-manual
Stanley, A. (2014). Ask It. The Question That Will Revolutionize How You Make Decisions. Danvers, MA: Multnomah Books.
by Lisa Kimrey RN, BSN, MBA
A day in the center:
Serving in Pregnancy Center Ministry is Stressful!
You see the clients who come in hurting. The enemy’s lies are weaved, even knotted, inside their stories. You teach. You pray. You fight. You hope. You never give up.
But long before lunch, your energy wains.
You need refueling. Without it, the enemy's lies will tease even you, the saint soldier.
The lies that make you wonder if it's worth the effort. Or, worry your words aren’t making a difference. The lies that create urgency; to hurry through—maybe skip—your necessary refuel and recharge.
But! You are equipped to overcome the enemy’s distractions. You decide to rest. You eat a nourishing meal. And so, God is pleased.
The Lord gave you your calling, your spiritual gifts, and your form. Particularly in ministry, these all work together. Have you ever thought about the synergy between these three?
Your calling is to love the unborn. Thus, you say and do things that you never imagined you would, or could do. Life-changing things; life-saving things.
And, the Lord gives you the opportunity to use your gifts to share the Gospel—which you do daily in your ministry work.
But, what about your body? How does it collaborate with your spiritual calling and gifts?
Let’s look at Scripture.
Psalm 100:3 says, "Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture" (NIV).
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength" (1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV).
Scripture shows that God is the wise creator of your body. But, He created it in a way that requires you to provide the needed support. His design is NOT a maintenance-free form.
Why do you think He chose this method?
Because, when you take care of your body, you use your gifts for your calling at your highest ability.
The Lord fully expects you to do the proper self-care.
Thus, self-care is a way to show obedience to God. A form of worship.
Paul states, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" (1 Corinthians 3:16) (NIV).
Temple worthy self-care shows obedience and honor towards the LORD. You glorify God when you do so because your focus remains on Him. You stay on mission.
Taking care of your body in this way will honor the Lord.
Perhaps, a healthy snack when needed. A short break for quiet or prayer. Getting enough sleep.
So, what do you do if you are not providing temple-deserving self-care? Where and how do you begin?
You won’t find the courage to start by looking inward (your flesh) or outward (the world).
You must look upward. You need to pray!
Your obedience moves your focus away from yourself and towards the LORD. You align with His will. You can trust Him.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
With prayer, you are blessed with the confidence (or courage) to start doing the things your body needs for Kingdom work—even when it’s hard to do!
But here is the best part. When you center on the Lord, you move away from the desire to use your body for your pleasures and purposes, and towards the desire to use your body for God's glory.
Your desire to please God transforms into a prevailing source of motivation to start and continue doing temple-worthy self-care toward the Lord! And, it is another way of worship.
In closing, be encouraged! Your calling is no small feat, but it is so vitally important. It’s worth the effort, and your words are making a difference!
Remember that you are fully equipped to fulfill your calling to serve the unborn. Your unique gifts help you thrive in this ministry. Proper self-care is necessary to fight the good fight. And thankfully, you have everything you need for the battle.
Lisa is a writer and blogger at Mylifenurse.com where she provides ways to grow your faith while taking better care of yourself and family. She has 26 years of experience as an RN in a variety of settings and finds joy in writing health articles and insights from her nursing experiences. When she is not working, she loves to sit down with a good book and a chai tea.
Interested in learning more about using your faith to improve your self-care? See more here. A mini-course introduction can be found here.
Join Heartbeat International in celebrating National Nurses Week May 6-12. We rejoice for each of you who lead the charge in medical care in each of our affiliate centers!
We certainly have plenty of reasons to celebrate the amazing nurses in pregnancy help organizations who serve with compassion and expertise, inspiring client and patient trust. Every day we are confronted with life and death. Yet babies are saved because of the compassion, expertise, and prayer we offer our clients. We inspire clients with the confidence and hope they need to carry their babies to term. We innovate new ideas and methods to best help them. And we empower our clients as they make healthy decisions for their relationships and pregnancies and then eventually in their strong parenting choices. It's these things that lead to amazing little everyday miracles, like precious healthy babies being born into the loving arms of their healthy mothers, sometimes even after an abortion has been stopped in its tracks.
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak…Ezekiel 34:16
We hope you know, we are always praying for you, and if you have any specific prayer requests or praise reports, feel free to share them any time by clicking the button below!
Anyone who has labored in a ministry for any length of time knows that there can be struggles. Our work can be an odd endeavor. Sometimes our efforts do not produce immediate and “concrete” results that show our work was beneficial and effectual. Sometimes our clients take three steps forward, only to then take five steps back. As we try to wait with positive expectation, sometimes disappointment can creep in.
It is critical to lean on the Lord because this is His work and His battle. Paul was an apostle, not because of his brilliance, compassion, personal skills, or preaching ability. He was an apostle because he was called. And so were you! The calling is not what we do, it’s who we are. It goes with us everywhere. Our calling is simply to be fruitful in what He has called us to. He does the rest. And His call to a ministry is an invitation to unequaled privilege. We work in the midst of miracles every single day!
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. Hebrews 6:10
God loves the women and babies we serve with such a deep, unending love, He moves mountains for them. And that is a truth we can rest in. As we strive to do all He has called us to do, always remember, He will do more. He wants the best for each life He creates. And He fully knows all you have done and all you have carried.
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15-7
Each of us at Heartbeat International pray for you and are inspired by you. We appreciate your good works and your willingness to do God’s will each day. Thank you for being on the frontlines of care and for putting clients first no matter how grueling your day. We appreciate your kindness, dedication and healing touch. Today we honor each of you who are quite literally changing the world one heartbeat at a time.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
There are two little words you may not hear every day. But to each of you, we proclaim a resounding, “Thank you!”
The 2017 Pregnancy Help Institute Ultrasound Track was a great success!
Heartbeat International was incredibly blessed to have Tammy Stearns, RDMS and Bryan Williams, RDMS facilitate the ultrasound training portion of PHI. Tammy and Bryan, along with several other volunteer sonographers, spent the week training ten participants, including nurses, an RDMS, a Nurse Practitioner and a physician, from Pregnancy Centers around the country. Trisonics and Preferred Medical Systems, in a joint collaboration, provided ultrasound machines for use during the week of training.
The ultrasound training not only contained a didactic portion and scan labs, but a spiritual component as well. Tammy opened each day reminding the class that this is a ministry, not just a skill, and that this ministry is something that can only come out of God’s overflowing presence in our lives, and not from within our own selves. Each day, Tammy’s devotions emphasized how the spiritual side of things was a big part of the ultrasound ministry.
“I appreciate that this training was tailored to working in a CPC. I learned not only technical training but the spiritual aspect of giving these babies a voice for the first time.”
Each morning there was a classroom-style teaching which covered topics from physics and QA in the ultrasound setting, to anatomy of mom and baby, and abnormal findings while performing ultrasounds. For many of the participants, this was the first time they had undergone such a training, and the curriculum was designed to be real and applicable.
The afternoon scan labs were a huge success. There were 7 instructors who were involved in the hands-on training, and about 40 “models” from the community who volunteered their time (and bellies) for the students to take turns scanning. In total, about 200 scans were performed by the class (about 20 per student) which went towards the recommended 50-75 training scans that is recommended for Limited OB Ultrasound training. The students learned the basics of scanning a typical client that may present in the PRC, as well as the unique instruction on how to dialogue with the abortion-minded client during a scan.
“This was a very informative training. Each sonographer had a helpful hint to give, each one gave critical information for getting good ultrasounds. The didactic information was explained fully and in a helpful way. I believe I got way more than my money’s worth.”
The overall success of this year's ultrasound training will prove to be a huge tool in the PRC tool-belt as more qualified medical professionals are learning the ultrasound skills they need to be successful in the collective quest for life.
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