For Those Who Are Trying - FAM Part Two

Note: Once again, this is possibly a "too much information" post, and it's intended for female readers, especially those who are married. If you are a kid or a male reader, please skip this post. You've now been sufficiently warned.

Also please note that I am not a doctor or a medical professional, I'm just summarizing some of the research I've done.  Please consult your medical professionals with concerns.  These posts include information as well as my opinions based on research I've done and are for your information only.  They are not intended to replace proper medical diagnosis or treatment.

Someone recently asked me to explain how I monitor my fertility signs, and that led to yesterday's post on the Fertility Awareness Method. So if you haven't read that post, you might want to start there, and this post will make alot more sense.

Also, I'd like to redirect you to what got me started doing FAM over a year ago. At the time I was taking the birth control pill, and I learned some disturbing information that every woman taking the pill should be aware of, especially if you're pro-life. Please see my post "Important Information You Might Not Know" for more about that.

So let's jump right back into it, shall we?


Some Additional Signs Of Ovulation


There are a couple other signs that you may or may not notice around ovulation:

1. Ovulatory pain. Sometimes you'll get one-sided pain as your ovary releases an egg.

2. Ovulatory spotting. Sometimes you'll get a little spotting right around the time of ovulation, but it should only last a day or two, and it should be extremely light.

3. Anything really. The more you chart your cycles and are aware of when you ovulate, the more you may notice some signs that are unique to you. If you notice anything out of the ordinary around the time of ovulation, make a note of it on your chart - it may be a helpful clue for future cycles.



Charting



You should be recording your signs on a chart for easy reference later. You'll want to be able to look back on previous charts to see if you can identify a pattern, or if something isn't functioning properly you want to have the information at your fingertips so you can talk about it with your doctor. Plus for the temperature rise you often have to have it spelled out in front of you before you can see it.

The Bump's version of a fertility chart (Resource 1) is one chart that I have used in the past. After a while of dealing with confusing cycles, I actually bought a computer program that helps with charting your cycles (see Resource 2), and that's been helpful for me as well. There's a web-based version (Resource 3) of the software that is free, but it wasn't working properly when I tried it - they may have improved it since then. There are lots of different charts out there if you search for "Fertility Charts". Just pick the one you are most comfortable with and go for it.

Here's an example of a way to chart - you'll notice the different rows to record different signs. The chart should also include a row for you to record when you have intercourse, even though this one doesn't have that row.



For more information on charting, please see "Taking Charge Of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler (Resource 4). It has alot of good information on proper charting, and it also addresses special situations and how to interpret your chart correctly.



Menstrual Cycle Myth That You Should Know



You do not always ovulate on Day 14. In fact, many women do not ever ovulate on Day 14. So if you ovulate before then, that's perfectly fine. If you're on Day 22 of your menstrual cycle and you still haven't ovulated, that's perfectly fine. The beauty of this method is that you can actually know the precise day that you do ovulate, so when your doctor is all confused at how far along you are, you can let them know why (and they will be confused - doctors always expect you to ovulate on Day 14, even though they should know better).

Maybe I'm just a control freak, but I just like knowing. Every woman should know her body, and know her cycles - it does bring about a sense of control over things, as well as peace of mind, because you know what's going on with your body.

Plus, if you just assume that you'll ovulate on Day 14 and plan accordingly, you may totally miss your window of opportunity, or have a surprise and wonder how that happened. With this method you can know what's really going on.

If we had been planning on a Day 14 ovulation, we wouldn't be pregnant right now (I ovulated on Day 7). I wouldn't have expected to ovulate that early, but I was watching my signs, and I just had a feeling this was the real deal - and it was. And the Lord blessed us with this sweet baby.



When Things Aren't Working Right



If you start charting and things just aren't coming up right, it can be super-frustrating. Trust me, I know. It's even more frustrating if you're trying to get pregnant, because things need to be working right for that to happen.

A couple notes:

1. You can have bleeding even if you're not ovulating, but this doesn't qualify as a normal period, because a true period is always preceded by ovulation.

If you are having continuous bleeding, or very short lengths of time between periods, I'd recommend seeing a fertility doctor. Your body shouldn't be doing that, even if you just went off the pill. I'd recommend seeing a doctor you trust or a fertility specialist (because fertility specialists are more familiar with the way things can go wrong and the proper treatment than regular gynecologists are - at least that's been my experience).

2. You can have all the signs of ovulation and not actually ovulate - that's why it's important to chart all your signs. A shift in temperature or lack thereof, will confirm whether or not you really ovulated.

3. It's okay to be pro-active. If you haven't ovulated within 6 months of going off the pill, I say call up a fertility specialist and get going. I know they say if you're young, you don't qualify as infertile until you've been trying for a year - but if you're young, you shouldn't be gong six months without ovulating either. Your doctor might look at you weird at first, but stick to your guns, tell them why you think something's wrong, and don't let them make you feel weird about seeing them about your concerns. At this point you know your body, and it's not normal to go that long without ovulating. There's a little pep-talk for you.



Some Encouragement For When Things Aren't Working Right



1. You can ovulate any day. Even if you haven't had a period on months, you can ovulate on any day. Don't give up hope, be pro-active, and keep monitoring those signs.

2. Nothing is impossible with God. There is nothing He can't do, and miracles happen every day. If you've gone many months without ovulating it can be easy to get so discouraged that you throw in the towel, or have doubts about the Lord's plan - but He always has a plan. He always has plans to prosper you and not harm you (Jeremiah 29:11). The fear comes when you're worried that His plans might not match up with your plans - but His plans are always better, even if we never understand the reason why. And He always works things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

3. The Bible tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). It says that He will withhold no good thing from those walk uprightly, seek the Lord, and fear Him (Psalm 84:11, Psalm 34:10, Matthew 6:33). It also says that when two or more are gathered together in His name, He is there with them, and if two people on earth agree about anything that they ask the Lord, it will be done for them (Matthew 18:19-20).

The point of those verses - pray about it with your hubby! Pray as a couple that the Lord will grant you a child, and know that His plans are always better than our plans.

Cast your cares on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7), and then let it be. Trust in him fully, stop worrying, and you'll feel so much more at peace, with the kind of peace that only the Lord can give. Waiting and trusting in the Lord with a peaceful mind is a much better place to be than constantly worrying. And interestingly, if your more stressed you're more likely to have difficulty getting pregnant (Resource 5), so trusting the Lord is just better all the way around, for mind and body and babies.

Give it over to Him, and then let Him handle it. And know that I'm praying for you (ie. any of my followers who may be trying - and let me know if you want to and I'll add your specific name to my prayer list - I'd love to pray for you by name).



Some Closing Thoughts



There are so many benefits to using FAM, but one of the benefits that you may not expect when you first start out is increased appreciation for God's creation. When you think of creation, you tend to think of mountains and trees and oceans, but His creation includes our bodies.

Every time I go over this information again, I'm just struck with how perfectly the Lord designed our bodies. He designed it so that at the time of the month when you can get pregnant the sperm have a nice environment to live in, nice fluid to travel in, plus a nice lube to get the process of getting sperm in there easier. He designed it so that at the time that you can get pregnant, the sperm have an open path into your uterus and to your tubes. He designed it so at the moment that you may get pregnant, your body is already preparing a nice, warm environment to grow a baby in.

He certainly prepared everything perfectly so that we can fulfill His command to be fruitful and multiply. How anyone can look at the intricacies and perfect design of the reproductive process and not know there is a Creator is beyond me.

I guess that's why I like science and biology so much - every cell points to our Creator, and it never fails to leave me more in awe of Him. I hope you leave this series of posts with a renewed appreciation for the wonderful power of our Lord (and maybe a little motivation to get to know this aspect of His Creation better)!







Resources:

1. Fertility Chart, TheBump.com. http://images.thenestbaby.com/tools/pdfs/fertility_chart.pdf

2. Taking Charge of Your Fertility Software. www.tcoyf.com. I paid $40 for the software. Click here for a free 15 day trial of the software.

3. TCOYFweb, Web-based charting system. http://www.tcoyf.com/content/ApplicationDownload.aspx Still in the testing phase.

4. Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge Of Your Fertility, Copyright 2002, 1995.

5. High Stress Levels May Delay A Woman Getting Pregnant, Study Suggests. August 17, 2010, Sciencedaily.com. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817111658.htm Study performed by University of Oxford.
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Julie S. said...

Wow, this is a great post! We aren't trying for baby number 2 but I did try to chart when trying for Brayden. I got discouraged doing it right off of the bat and decided to let things go on their own for awhile before I started getting too intense. I was pregnant 6 weeks after going off the pill- a huge surprise and blessing.

I am scared that it won't be as easy the next time, so I am going to try the charting again. It is important to know your body. Mine is still getting adjusted from being done nursing, etc.

Anne said...

Lots of good info that I knew nothing of. Thanks for sharing!

Meg said...

I just started reading the FAM book this past week - I'm only in chapter 3 or 4, but have learned a LOT already. I really love this book and look forward to implementing this later on!

Rachel and John said...

I'm currently doing my masters in science and I agree with you. The more I study, either my body or just science in general the more in Awe I am. Everything is so organized and perfectly planned. God did that. Amazing!

Jessica said...

Thanks again for posting all of this great information! I think all women need to know about the FAM method. I can't believe I hadn't even HEARD of it until about a year and a half ago!


Every time I think about the way our bodies work, I am in awe of God too. He thought of everything! ;-) I remember when I was in chemistry in high school feeling the same way. It's just crazy how everything in creation works and fits perfectly together. I don't know how anyone can study that stuff and not believe either!

Melanie said...

Calli..I've really enjoyed reading your posts from yesterday and today. I love how today you incorporated scriptures and God's perfect plan for us to be future mothers if it is His will. You've given me something to possibly do some research on when we're back from vacation and start 'trying' again!

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

Great post Callie! I feel like once it's all said and down, I'll want to write down how to get past when everything seems to be perfectly fine/normal etc. and still it doesn't work! :) I'm so grateful for TCOYF and all the other resources out there, the information is quite empowering!

Kelley said...

again, great post!

Laura S said...

Such a great post, Callie. I really like your perspective and your style of communication. Thanks for the reminder to 'trust,' as well.
As you know, I can totally relate on loving biology! It's funny to me how I have become so fascinated by medical biology in the last 2 years or so. I feel like it's so rewarding, the more I study :)

Kate Craig said...

this is a really awesome post Callie! I'm going to need to read it a couple times! I went off the pill in May, had my first period on time, and then went 10 weeks before my next one. I went to see the doctor and they treated me like a paranoid idiot! I've never had any signs of ovulation that I know of, but I haven't charted before so I'll have to try it.

Emily said...

hi callie! i just recently found your blog and have been reading about your (1st) baby story. i have been using FAM, or natural family planning (NFP) as they refer to it in the Catholic Church, for about a year and a half. i had been on the pill for years, and decided to stop it even though my hubby and i weren't ready to try for a baby yet. over the last 1.5 years, it has helped us both avoid pregnancy and get pregnant. unfortunately, that pregnancy last year ended in a miscarriage, but that's another whole story.

anyways, i just wanted to echo your closing thoughts from this post. i think charting has definitely made me appreciate my body as one of God's creations, and it really leaves you in awe as to how perfect it all is!

hope you have a great day!

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