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Honoring Jonah

Talking with couples about their fertility is something Kajda never thought she would do! Growing up, it was a topic she was never felt comfortable talking about. To this day, she is in awe of God’s plan in her life. How God brought her through tragedy, placed so many people along her path and led her to help other couples.

Kajda and Andy were married in 2008, and after Kajda completed her undergraduate degree, they were anxious to start their family. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen as soon as they had hoped.

“It was very heartbreaking each time we took a pregnancy test and it was negative,” said Kajda.

A year and a half later, after they had moved from South Dakota to Washington, they were pleasantly surprised to learn Kajda was pregnant.

Jonah and Hope The pregnancy progressed completely normal. Kajda’s doctor assured her that her challenges to become pregnant were not an issue and didn’t affect the pregnancy. Out of the blue, at 24 weeks pregnant, Kajda began to bleed…a lot. “My dad was visiting, helping us with some home projects since we were just settling into our new house,” said Kajda. Two hours after he left for the airport to return to Minnesota, I began to hemorrhage. Andy was at work.”

Andy arrived at the hospital just in time to learn Kajda had a placental abruption and needed to be flown to a different hospital with a higher level of neo-natal care. He jumped back in the car and drove. Andy arrived within minutes of their son being born.

Jonah was born on Dec. 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm and weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces.

“He was born healthy and kicking,” said Kajda. He was a good size for his gestational age.”

During this time in the NICU, Kajda said they felt the love, support and prayers of many. They were blown away by all the messages and prayers from so many people, many of whom they didn’t know.

“The consolation of knowing God’s love in those moments was profound. I’ve often said it felt like an umbrella. You’d walk into that NICU, and it was pouring rain, but under His umbrella, you really knew that nothing would be able to touch you, no matter what it was,” said Andy.

A week after Jonah was born, he took a turn for the worse. It became a roller coaster of emotions as he developed an infection in his abdomen and then suffered from a brain bleed and had to undergo surgery.

“That moment was particularly surreal. We stood watching helplessly as they prepared our dear son for brain-surgery. You would have traded places with him if you could have. He looked so small, so brave,” said Andy.

After surgery, he recovered well, but then began to have serious trouble with his lungs. Eventually, it was too much, and on the evening of January 9, 2011, Jonah passed from the arms of his earthly father to those of his Father in Heaven.

“It was a really hard time. We found comfort in the love and prayers of so many as well as the blessings we experienced. It was a blessing to see how God was pulling our families together into a deeper prayer relationship,” said Kajda.

Kajda learned she was pregnant again the following Easter. Unfortunately, she experienced a miscarriage shortly after they discovered she was pregnant. They named their baby Hope.

God sending people Eventually, they were able to conceive again. At five weeks, Kajda started to bleed. An ultrasound revealed she was experiencing a subchorionic hemorrhage and would most likely miscarry. Her doctor wasn’t very optimistic but prescribed some progesterone tablets. A week later, the bleeding had stopped, and they heard a strong heartbeat.

“Our hearts soared,” said Andy.

Their daughter, Mary Ann was born healthy and full term.

When Mary Ann was three months old, they moved to Iowa to be closer to family. Kajda needed to schedule Mary Ann’s well child check-up. Being new, Kajda didn’t have a preference for a doctor. She was scheduled with Dr. Hanson.

Little did Kajda know, but Dr. Hanson was trained from the Saint Paul VI Institute. Kajda was familiar with the Saint Paul VI Institute. She and her husband had learned the Creighton model of fertility, a form of natural family planning, that was developed by the Institute. Another arm of the Institute is its work to identify and treat women who struggle with infertility, miscarriage and other gynecological issues.

When Dr. Hanson heard about Kajda’s background, he agreed to help by doing a hormonal evaluation to address any issues before conceiving another baby.

In the meantime, a young woman named Amanda heard Kajda and her family recently moved into the community through a mutual friend of Kajda’s grandmother. Kajda received a phone call from Amanda who welcomed her to town and invited her to get together. Upon hearing about Kajda’s recent losses, Amanda shared she had a good friend, Kari, who was Creighton model FertilityCare practitioner and could possibly help her.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kajda. “I mean, what are the chances that we move to a small Iowa town and I’m introduced to someone who is a FertilityCare practitioner?”

Finding answers Kajda met with Kari and she helped Kajda improve and interpret her charting of her fertility signs. From the patterns in her charts, they were able to see she most likely had a progesterone deficiency.

It was confirmed by Dr. Hanson when he evaluated her hormone levels through a series of blood work and found her progesterone levels were very low. Low progesterone is a cause for infertility and miscarriage. When Kajda thought back to her history, it all came together.

Kajda was given a progesterone supplement before she became pregnant again. She remarked that they were able to achieve pregnancy that first month. Quite a change from their previous experience! They continued to track her progesterone levels and supplemented her throughout the pregnancy. She went on to deliver a health baby boy, Augustine.

Helping Others Kari encouraged Kajda to pursue the training to become a Creighton model FertilityCare practitioner and help other couples.

When Kajda reflected on Jonah and her pregnancy history and how God placed all these people in her path, there wasn’t a doubt that God was calling her to be a practitioner.

“One of the questions on the enrollment application asked me why I wanted to be a practitioner. It brought up a lot of emotions. When we had difficultly achieving pregnancy and then when we conceived Jonah, we were not made aware that my charts indicated I had a progesterone deficiency. It was heartbreaking. I had to work though my anger and hurt and focus on mercy. Moving forward, I resolved that as a practitioner I would do everything I could to help other couples and their babies. I knew that if I saw anything at all in the charts, I would encourage my clients to get evaluated by their doctor and have their progesterone checked.”

For the last six years, Kajda has been working with couples, teaching them how to chart their fertility signs so they can achieve or postpone pregnancy effectively as well as provide guidance when they face challenges.

“It’s been very rewarding. Many of my clients who were experiencing difficulties achieved pregnancies with progesterone support. It’s a blessing to know that I’ve done what I can to help,” said Kajda.

Kajda’s FertilityCare organization is named Olive Branch and it features a dove as its logo. Jonah’s name in Hebrew means “like a dove.” “I wanted to honor Jonah in the work I do to help couples and their babies,” said Kajda.

“There is healing in time. God worked through Jonah. Jonah was with us for such a short time but he has been such a big part of our lives.”

To learn more about the Creighton model of FertilityCare, visit click here.

Reflection Questions

1. Who are the individuals that God has placed in your journey through life? How have they influenced you and your faith?

2. Are there things in your life (a hobby, occupation, volunteer opportunity, etc.) that you never thought you would do? How did God bring those opportunities to you?

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