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Can you girls help me with this? Okay, let's just say I have only half way used NFP in the past. I know how to chart for fertility, but I have never charted to avoid. I used to have a perfect 28 day cycle and if NFP failed I was okay with that. With a perfect 28 day cycle I just used the good old fashion calendar method and that worked just fine for us.
Now, here I am after my second miscarriage and whether I want to or not I think I should avoid. I really, really want to try, but I am just honestly not up to hearing "I told you that you should have waited" again if I have another miscarriage. I have gained 24 lbs since starting to ttc from the stress of it and the miscarriages.
I have had a falling out with my doctor's office with my midwife suggesting birth control to me after my last miscarriage. I had a very bad appointment yesterday and was seriously considering the idea of a homebirth next go around. The only problem is I think I need progesterone supplementation and dh is NOT on board with a homebirth.
So I figure here I am. I will sit this cycle out because everyone around me thinks I need to and this way I can have some time to try and find a new doctor that will support my decision to use NFP and to investigate the cause of my losses. I figure I am more likely to get support if I sit out this cycle and next on getting things looked at should I miscarry again. This way the doctor can't give me a cop out answer that my miscarriages happened because I got pregnant right after a m/c.
Anyhow, onto my questions.
In the past we have used NFP in combination with the vaginal film. You are going to think I am backwards, but I have avoided during the fertile periods and used film on the 3 days before and 2 days after. This is mostly because I wasn't temperature charting and was really only looking at cm. Plus we have always been okay with the idea of another baby and dh was not as good about abstaining back then.
These losses have brought me closer to my husband than I have been in a long time and he is completely on board with NFP now. (He has always been the one pushing NFP on me, but we've had fights in the past because I felt like he wasn't doing his end on this with abstaining. I mean he would abstain, but whiny about it because he has never cared whether I got pregnant or not and would have as many children as God would give us.) Anyhow, he is on board with me totally now and I him. But here I am a little confused on how long to abstain because my hormones are completely out of whack right now.
I barely get any CM any more and really have to look for it to find it. (I suspect my lack of CM is reflective of my hormone problems and that this may be the underlying cause of my miscarriages, not that I can find anyone to listen to me.) Anyhow, this is getting long, but since I have little to no CM I am not sure how long to avoid. Do I need to avoid until I have 3 sustained temp rises on my chart? I have gotten pregnant now with very little to no CM so that has me concerned about using CM as my only guide. I think I can abstain if need be until then, but wondering if it is necessary. I started temping again this morning and will talk to dh more tonight as I have been driving him crazy with my moods and feelings on everything jumping all over the place.
You don't have to abstain until after a thermal shift. As you know, it only takes a tiny bit of CM to conceive - but when you have none, you can consider yourself infertile based on the TTA rules. Without CM, the sperm can't survive. Each type of NFP has slightly different rules about charting and avoiding, but I'm just going to give you the very basic information for Billings. It would be a good idea to wait about 2 weeks, to get a CM baseline without seminal fluid to make it confusing.
Following a m/c, ovulation usually occurs at some point in the first 6-8 weeks. Sometimes not until later than that, but I've seen it quite early too (3-4 weeks).
Chart the m/c as the beginning of the cycle.
Charting the CM:
Pay attention to sensation: what you feel as you walk around during the day.
The external genitalia is SOOO sensitive that you can feel even the tiniest bit of mucus as a sensation, when it would take 10 times the amount to see with the naked eye. This might be different than how you've observed CM in the past, but the sensation usually changes before the visible mucus arrives - so it's your earliest sign of fertility. Try to avoid internal exams as this is less accurate and can make it more confusing. It might be difficult to describe what you feel with FF because it doesn't really have categories for that, so just describe what you feel on a paper record or you can use another charting system that is better suited for that.
After you are finished bleeding, a plug will form in your cervix to protect the uterus from outside infection. Sperm cannot get through this plug. If you feel no sensation and see no mucus, you are infertile and can follow the TTA rules. The first sign that you feel anything or see anything indicates that the plug is coming out, sperm can get through, your body is thinking about ovulating.
Pre Peak Rules
1. Avoid genital contact on days of heavy bleeding (because you won't be able to tell if there is CM or not those days!)
2. If you are dry (feel nothing, see nothing) you can have sex on alternate nights, as long as you remain dry. No morning sex (because you haven't had a chance to observe your fertility for the day then) and only every other night. That allows time for seminal fluid to leave the body the day after. Then you have a day to evaluate and make sure you are still dry. If so, that night is available.
3. If you feel or see mucus and/or bleeding/spotting - WAIT. This is a sign that the ovaries are active, the plug is coming out of the cervix so sperm can get through. Wait while the mucus/spotting is present and until you idenitfy a Peak OR have 3 full dry days again if there is no Peak at that time. 3 dry days gives time for the plug to reform in the event that ovulation was not successful at that time. It also ensures that estrogen has settled back down to a low level. After you wait for 3 dry days, you can go back to alternating nights as per rule 2.
Once you've identified the mucus Peak (or in your case, a thermal shift) - wait for 3 days past the Peak. Intercourse is available any time from the 4th morning after Peak until menstruation.
Peak is when the sensation develops and changes over a matter of days, becoming slippery, and then drying up abruptly. Peak is the last day with a slippery feeling.
I know this might seem like a lot of information in one sitting, please don't hesitate to send me a private message if you'd like me to walk you through it all, ok?
Or if I've communicated any of this in a way that makes it confusing, just ask for any and all the clarification you need.
Last edited by ShawnaCAN; November 18th, 2009 at 08:11 AM.
Teresa, I'm so sorry for your loses. Come back to us though and we'll help you through all the charting stuff. I use FAM as my method of choice and although we don't abstain during our fertile times, the principle is about the same.
I temp chart, CM chart and VS (vaginal sensation) chart
Thanks for the welcome and the info. Since I have some ideas on some of this most of it made sense to me. I am also not going to be terribly upset if I fail on my NFP, lol, but I am going to give this a good effort right now.
Hi Teresa...I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I am breastfeeding my baby still so my hormones are always changing...I use Billings Method (CM method only) and have been able to chart and tell my fertile signs. I am taking the online course and having the instructor has been very helpful.
BTW I got pregnant with my son the first cycle after my miscarriage and he turned out fine and it was a healthy pregnancy So I don't think anyone (at least here) will say anything negative to you should you get pregnant again!! Like you said, if it's Gods will it's Gods will!
Sorry about your doctor. My doctor group is not educated on NFP but supports my decision.
I hope you get some answers and find a new doc soon!!!
Thanks Kelly and Shawna. I have to say that is one of the things I am annoyed about. I have gained 24 lbs from my lowest weight since starting to ttc. (It's only up 16 lbs from the pics on that thread.) The stress from all this has really affected my diet and exercise. I've barely exercised and my diet has been nothing less than embarrassing.
As far as how I did it, good old fashioned calorie counting and exercise. That is the only silver lining I am seeing with waiting to try and using NFP right now. I figure I can use this time to get my weight back down and start my next pregnancy at my ideal weight.