Like many couples, when Hope and Dan DeLuca had trouble conceiving, they found true healing at the Pope Paul VI Institute, but their need for healing did not end there.
“We married in 2004 and just could not conceive,” says Hope. “Our doctor at the time wanted to prescribe birth control, which I never really understood because we were trying to have children.”
It was then that they turned to the Pope Paul VI Institute and Dr. Thomas Hilgers who diagnosed the root cause of the infertility, an extreme case of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Following an ovarian wedge resection surgery, three years later, the DeLucas were expecting their first child in 2010.
“We chose to go with another doctor at the time to handle the pregnancy — not because we were not happy with the Pope Paul VI Institute, but because of our insurance coverage,” Hope said. “We thought that once we became pregnant, the challenges were over.”
However, an undiagnosed uterine infection posed a real threat of miscarriage and ultimately caused their son to be born premature at 25 weeks. He spent four months in the neonatal intensive care unit, underwent four surgeries, was ventilated for over two months, and suffered brain hemorrhages and a perforated bowl.
After the complications with their first pregnancy, the DeLucas again sought the services of the Pope Paul VI Institute to help conceive their second child. This time, however, they also turned to the Institute to handle the pregnancy: a pregnancy that bore some resemblance to the first when Hope again presented with symptoms of a uterine infection.
“I had symptoms at 10 weeks and again at 26 weeks, but Dr. Hilgers and Dr. [Kristina] Pakiz knew exactly what to do,” Hope recalls. “Two rounds of IV antibiotics relieved the symptoms, and we went the full term.”
Their third pregnancy also presented similar symptoms, but again Pope Paul VI Institute was able to address the infection.
“I get teary-eyed just thinking of the Pope Paul VI Institute,” says Hope. “When we finally got pregnant, we thought we were in the clear, but we never really were. We should have stuck with the Pope Paul VI Institute because they know what they are doing.”
The Pope Paul VI Institute is on the front lines in the fight against a culture of death that is continuing to pervade every nation and community across the globe. Fortunately, the Institute is well-supported in this fight, and among its strongest supporters is Archbishop Emeritus Elden F. Curtiss, former Archbishop for the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Institute’s current Spiritual Director.
In this role, Archbishop Emeritus Curtiss celebrates mass several times each month in the Institute’s Chapel of the Holy Family and also helped to develop the Institute’s impressive Bishops Advisory Board. The Board, which is comprised of cardinals and bishops from throughout the world, including Cardinals Timothy Dolan and Raymond Burke, as well as Archbishops Samuel Aquila and George Lucas amongst others, provides spiritual support to the Institute and its unique mission.
For Curtiss, serving as the Institute’s Spiritual Director is an extension of his longtime support for the Institute, which dates back to his time serving as Bishop for the Diocese of Helena, Montana.
“I received a letter from Pope Paul VI Institute in the early 1980s, and here was this organization that was truly responding to Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and its appeal to medical professionals,” Curtiss recounts. “The Institute and its mission had tremendous importance, and this was immediately apparent to me.”
After he was named Archbishop of Omaha in 1993 by Saint John Paul the Great, his support of the Institute would continue. It was during his time as Archbishop when Curtiss received further confirmation of the Institute’s unique contribution.
“Pope John Paul told me that the Institute gave him ‘great hope for the future’,” says Curtiss. “While I knew the Institute was doing great work, to hear it directly from the Holy Father was special.”
The future of the Institute and its mission is indeed cause for hope, according to Curtiss.
“It did not have a lot of support in the beginning, but Dr. Thomas Hilgers’ groundbreaking research has not only proven itself effective in pinpointing fertility cycles, but it is also gaining acceptance amongst young medical professionals who recognize the harmful aspects of a contraceptive approach to reproductive health care.”
“Pope Paul VI Institute does not take shortcuts in its treatment,” he says. “It seeks to address the real causes and always, children are important to us — they are not secondary.”