Welcome back to the rest of my birth control story! If you haven’t already, be sure to read Part One of my Story here.
I am going to tell you more about how I chart my cycles using PC Software. Ovusoft has a free online version that lots of women use. It does get the job done but is a little difficult to put your info in everyday and you can only see your last 90 days of charts. Early on I purchased the PC software($39.99) and it works so much better. They have a paid online version as well. You can also chart on paper.
I quickly learned how to implement FAM. It is not hard and only takes a few minutes a day. On a recent trip to the gynecologist, he was amazed that I had learned so much on my own without going to a Natural Family Planning class. He highly approves of FAM for birth control for me!
First, you mark the day you start your period. This is day 1 of your cycle. You mark each day you bleed or spot on your chart.
Next, you have to take your temperature every morning with a thermometer. I take mine early. It is best to have 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep to get an accurate temp. Temp before moving! Thankfully, you can adjust temperatures or mark one as disturbed and still see a clear shift to identify ovulation.
Typically, the day after ovulation your temperature rises at least 2 tenths of a degree above the highest of your last 6 temps and stays higher until your period. This is called a thermal shift and is caused by a rise in progesterone.
I love my Nexcare Basal Digital Thermometer. It has a backlight where I can see my temp in the dark and it saves the last temp. It does beep while in use but thankfully my husband sleeps right through it. This is the only digital thermometer I have ever owned that gives an accurate temp!
Then, you keep your eyes out for cervical fluid. It increases in volume and changes texture the closer you get to ovulation. It takes a little while to catch on to your own pattern and to be able to identify it for charting purposes. The vaginal sensation also changes from cold and dry to increasing wet and warm feeling the closer to ovulation. These changes are brought on by the increase in estrogen leading to ovulation. After ovulation, the fluid dries up.
You can also check your cervical position. The cervix changes height and how open it is during your cycle. This one truly takes time to notice the difference though out your cycle. The softness of the cervix also changes.
Secondary Signs of Ovulation
- Increased vision! I love this one!
- Increased energy. This is the time I get extra housework done!
- Ovulatory pain
- Spotting mid-cycle
I have all of these most months. There are lots of other secondary signs.
Here is an example of one of my charts. This one shows a very clear thermal shift and a cervical fluid dry up. The PC Software also has a place to mark breast self-exam, exercise , notes and anything you want to keep track of.
A clear thermal shift with 3 temperatures above your coverline (line drawn one tenth of a degree higher than those last 6 temps) and a complete dry up of cervical fluid (4 days) is what we are looking for avoiding pregnancy.
The great thing about FAM is that each couple can make it their own according to their level of risk. For us, we are avoiding pregnancy so we use barriers the whole cycle leading up to ovulation and we typically wait until 4 or 5 days after ovulation before we go barrier free. Then we have some time to enjoy this part of the cycle until my period comes and we start the whole process over again.
Using barriers has been different for us after using HBC for so long. Not a fun transition but I have found some things that have made it better than the grocery store stuff. I ordered CROWN condoms and Sliquid H2O lubricant and both made a huge difference.
I have seen a big improvement in my health since quitting the Nuvaring:
- No more auras.
- Very few headaches.
- My periods are not as bad as they were on HBC.
- Weight loss is easier.
- I feel so much better!
- I am no longer worrying about the possibility of causing a baby to abort with HBC.
- Having the natural flow of hormones makes me feel more balanced and
- I am just going to say it! Estrogen can increase feelings of intimacy and it has here at the cabin!
I began charting in January and have happily seen a clear ovulation most months but sadly some women do not. So many women come upon FAM while they are battling infertility. Many find the information they need to conceive and yet many still struggle while trying fertility drugs and procedures. Many a tear I have cried reading there stories, followed by lots of prayers for them as well.
As wonderful as the PC Software is. No form of birth control is fool-proof. If you want to learn FAM, read Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and visit the TCOYF forums. This is how I have learned most of what you have read about here.
The FDA has approved TCOYF PC Software by Ovusoft for Windows as an aid to conception. The FDA has not approved it for avoiding pregnancy. However, it is a very scientific method used to achieve or avoid pregnancy. Failure is typically caused by the users not following the rules of FAM.
If you are coming off HBC it is recommended that you use a barrier for at least 6 months until you see a clear pattern in your charts.
No FAM is not for everyone, but everyone should know it exist and know how it works.
God is so amazing. He designed the female body to work just the way He wanted it to and I regret that it took me 35 years before I understood. It takes a diligent person to make FAM work but my health is worth it! I thank Him that I found FAM.
Now for my big surprise!!!
Ovusoft has partnered with me for their very first blog giveaway! They have agreed to give a copy of their PC Software (for Windows) to one of my very blessed readers!
This one is an international giveaway so my friends across the ocean are invited, too!
Thanks so much Ovusoft!
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Disclaimer: I only write about my own experiences here at BLog Cabin Mama. These are in no way to be taken as medical advice. Please be sure to talk to your own doctor and do your own research concerning anything you might read here.
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