Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

How I Made Charting Work for Me

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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Our Newest Family Member

So what do you do when you are sad and frustrated because it is almost August, which will mark a year since you started trying to have a baby? You get a puppy. Everyone, meet Molly:

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Molly is a Australian Shepherd and Labrador mix that we are getting from a woman I work with. We won’t get to take her home for a few more weeks because she is only 4 weeks old, but I can’t wait until she is ours. I’m really looking forward to training her, having a buddy to walk with, and a puppy to snuggle. Hubby didn’t even put up a fight–he immediately agreed and said that he thought it would be good for me. I know she will be a lot of work, but I could really use the distraction. I know it won’t get rid of that need to love and raise a baby, but it might help curb it a little until we get everything figured out. Then, once we have a baby, he or she will have a friend to play with–every kid needs a dog. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am :)

I know I promised in my first post to give some background information about our journey, and I’m planning on telling a little bit of our story at the end of each post. So now that I’ve told you all about Molly, let me tell you about our first appointment. After we had tried a few months, I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and started charting my cervical mucus and basal temperature. I noticed that my average temperature was fairly low (about 96.3) and that my luteal phase was only about nine days long. I could also tell from my charting that hubby and I were definitely having sex at the right time when I was ovulating, but I wasn’t getting pregnant. So I made an appointment with my OBGYN in February where I showed him my charts and told him I thought I had a progesterone problem. He smiled at me and told me that they don’t do any fertility testing until a couple has been trying for a year. He suggested that I buy some OPKs and come back in six months. It was so frustrating–I felt like he didn’t hear a single thing I said. I just knew there was something wrong with me and if my OBGYN wouldn’t take me seriously, I honestly believed I couldn’t get pregnant until after he saw me again in August.

Has anyone else had the frustrating experience of an OBGYN that just wouldn’t listen? Or have you been told that you can’t have any testing until you have been trying for a year? Is anyone else guilty of getting a new pet to help you deal with fertility problems or a loss?

-Danielle

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