Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

How I Made Charting Work for Me

on August 13, 2012

Today I’m going to tell you about my experience with charting. After we had been TTC for four or five months, I discovered Taking Charge of Your Fertility, the bible of fertility and charting. Almost every woman who has had difficulty TTC has read this book and put it into practice in some way or another. The author goes into the details of checking your  basal body temperature, cervical mucus, cervical position, how soft/firm your cervix is, etc. All of this information is converted into a chart that reveals quite a bit about your cycles and ovulation. When I read this book, I felt like my eyes had been opened–of course I hadn’t gotten pregnant! I was convinced that once I started charting, I would have no problems getting pregnant, and even if I didn’t get pregnant immediately, it would reveal what was wrong so that I could fix it and get pregnant. So I downloaded FemCalLite on my iPhone, and I started keeping up with everything.

After two or three cycles, however, I realized that my obsessive personality is not very compatible with charting–especially temping. In order to get an accurate BBT (basal body temperature), you have to take your temperature at the same time every morning; it has to be the moment you wake up, and you must get at least four solid hours of sleep before you take your temperature. I found that I was becoming so obsessed with my temperature that I was not sleeping well at all, and I woke multiple times a night, which caused my temps to be inaccurate. It was actually getting to the point where it was completely stressing me out and my temps weren’t very accurate. So I had to stop temping. I still check my cervical mucus because that has basically been a perfect indicator of my ovulation. How do I know that my CM is a perfect indicator? I use an OPK every cycle when I have EWCM, and it has always been positive. By checking my CM every month while still using an OPK, I have the peace of mind of knowing that we are definitely trying at the correct time, but I don’t waste a ton of money on OPKS by using one every day for a whole cycle. I bought the Clear Blue digital OPK because they are individually wrapped while other OPKS are all in one wrapper, causing them all to expire within 30 days of opening the package. The Clear Blue digitals cost a little more, but they are easy to read and because of the individual wrapping, I made one 30 pack last 6+ cycles.

At this point, I’m basically using a very abbreviated system of charting where I make note of the day my period starts and the days I have EWCM and postive OPKs. This way I know when I ovulated, how long my cycles are, and approximately how long my luteal phase is. I feel weird saying this system works well for me because I’m still not pregnant, but it works well for me in the sense that I’m aware of my cycles and it fits my lifestyle.

Have you tried charting? Have you had to adjust the system at all to fit your personality or lifestyle? What works for you?

-Danielle

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