Clinic helps couple realize dreams of parenthood
By Michele Chan Santos
There was a time when Laura Blahuta did not know if she would ever be a mother.
Laura Blahuta and her husband, Carl Blahuta, live in Hallettsville and own Splashway Waterpark in Sheridan.
In 2010, they had been trying for several years to have a child. They had seen a physician, “who had no answers for why we were struggling,” Laura said. “Our regular doctor suggested artificial insemination and then in-vitro fertilization.”
Because of their Catholic beliefs, Laura and Carl did not want to pursue IVF. They consulted their pastor, Father Tommy Chen. At the time, he was assigned to their parish, Sacred Heart Parish in Hallettsville. He suggested seeing a doctor trained in natural procreative technology (NaProTechnology).
The closest physician was Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides, of the Vitae Clinic in Austin. The Vitae Clinic is a unique medical practice that provides women with state-of-the-art, holistic health care throughout their reproductive years and beyond.
“I called his office and spoke to Christine, one of his medical assistants at the time. She spoke with me for an hour about our situation, my health, our struggle,” Laura said. “I made an appointment and Dr. Kalamarides explained to me about what he does. This was about three years ago.”
Although she lives in Hallettsville, which is about a two-hour drive from Austin, Laura made the regular drives each way to see Dr. Kalamarides.
They discovered that Laura had polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder in women that interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus, usually inside the pelvic cavity. This condition can make it difficult for women to become pregnant.
As part of her treatment, she took medications, including Clomid, to help her ovulate. Laura monitored her cycle using the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS). At visits to the Vitae Clinic, she underwent a series of ultrasounds to see if she was ovulating.
Dr. Kalamarides performed a laparoscopic surgery on Laura to remove endometriosis, and a procedure called an ovarian wedge resection for her polycystic ovaries.
Five months after the surgery, Laura became pregnant. Sadly, she miscarried only a month into the pregnancy.
A month later, she was still mourning the miscarriage “and not really thinking about becoming pregnant,” when she became pregnant again.
“Everyone says just let it go. You do have to believe and trust in God. Everybody was right that was saying, ‘Let go and give it over.’ When I was not thinking about it we conceived,” Laura said.
She took some hormonal medications during her pregnancy “just to keep me in the right place” and to assist in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Laura and Carl’s son, Peyton, was born in March 2014 and is now 17 months old. He is a smiling, sunny baby and the delight of his parents’ lives.
Looking back, Laura admits she had doubts about NaPro at first. “I didn’t know anyone who had been through it,” she said. “But we thought, we can do it, we can try it –– we didn’t have anything to lose.” Their insurance covered the cost of her laparoscopic surgery.
“People think NaPro is just a Catholic thing, but it’s worked for us and for so many other people,” Laura said. “There’s just a misconception about what it’s about. I didn’t know where else I would go. I didn’t want to go the IVF route.”
“I’ve recommended Dr. Kalamarides to a lot our friends,” she said. “I definitely recommend him to other couples.”
Laura is making regular visits to the Vitae Clinic again, as she and her husband hope to give Peyton a sibling.
“I feel like Dr. Kalamarides is not just our doctor, but our friend,” she said. “We run a water park and he, his nurses and staff have all been out here. It feels like our family.”
For more information about Dr. Kalamarides and the Vitae Clinic, visit www.vitaeaustin.com.