Those that know me really well know that I am a very shy person and not very fond of social events - especially ones where I don't know anyone. So, on Saturday I tried everything I could to talk myself out of going to Dr. Behan's open house because while I knew a bunch of people had gotten the info about the open house, I didn't know of anyone for sure that was going to be there. My morning sickness seems to be gone (praise be to God) so that wasn't an excuse. We didn't have anything going on around the house and the girls were down for naps - no excuses there. So I couldn't come up with a valid reason not to go besides being nervous which is silly so I gathered up my courage and went. My fears were immediately validated when I walked in, scanned the room and saw no familiar faces! Panic!! There was a table of food which usually helps fill the time but I was not hungry and even though the morning sickness is gone, my unusually picky appetite is not and nothing appealed to me. There did not seem to be any sort of formal presentation to look over or receiving line to meet any one so I turned to leave. A lady standing next to me caught my eye and introduced her self and the girl that she was standing with both of whom didn't seem to know anyone either. We chit chatted for a little while when the doctor and a priest from a local parish took their positions in the center of the room. The priest did a lovely opening prayer, blessing on the office and a mini homily on Jesus and healing. Then the doctor spoke. He said that he had always considered himself pro-life but now realizes he was really more anti-abortion. He had always drawn the line at abortion and IUD's - those were two things he would not do as a doctor. He was aware of all the ways that the pill worked but the only form of NFP he was aware of was the rhythm method and was not prepared to use that as an option given it's 25% success rate. He recently attended a conference and heard a presentation on the different NFP options - the Billings Ovulation Method in particular. After hearing that it had a 99% success rate amongst motivated couples and an overview on how it worked, he looked into it a little further and there just "happened" (no coincidences with God!) to be a Billings conference in Dallas coming up! After attending, he was sold. For years many of his 12 siblings had been urging him to give up prescribing the pill and become an NFP only doctor so after much prayer and armed with his new found knowledge and Billings training, he decided to take a leap of faith and go for it. He said that he knew his colleagues would call him crazy, would warn him that he'd lose all his patients and that this endeavor would never work. His hope is not only to prove them wrong but to inspire other Catholic OB/GYN's to have the courage to follow in his footsteps.
I only met him briefly but had the pleasure of meeting his lovely wife and speaking with her for quite a while. As it turns out, they go to a nearby parish. I think they are about my age and have young children. She is very involved in their Mother's Association as I am in mine so we had a lot in common. She told me that he has not lost a single patient yet (although she admitted that the switch was just taking place this week) and has already gained several - including 3 in mid pregnancy! She also told me that his colleagues were indeed already calling him crazy. She didn't go any further than that but I could tell from the look on her face and just from putting myself in her place that this was upsetting to her. I assured her that there were many people praying for their endeavor and that I feel that it will be successful.
It was wonderful to meet the doctor's wife (and even a brief glance at his kids, mom, dad and several siblings and their kids) and sort of feel like you know who they are in their personal life - definitely something I've never gotten to do with any other doctor besides my pediatrician who goes to our church. I was disappointed that there didn't seem to be any staff there, or if they were they stand out in any way so that you could meet them. To me the staff makes or breaks a doctor's office. In my experience, they are the ones you have to deal with to get anything done. But overall it was a very positive feeling and I am leaning towards switching over after the baby is born. I have definitely been praying for his practice to be successful because it is so important for people to come to know the beautiful truth of NFP.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, two ladies that I know showed up. One was my Billings teacher and one was a girl from my church and playgroup that I had no idea did NFP so it was neat to realize that we had that in common! I glad I went. It always feels good to overcome a fear and do something that is hard - sort of like practicing NFP huh?!