Fertility Awareness Method (FAM): Part Two of My Story and Ovusoft PC Software Giveaway

Fertility Awareness Method

 

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!

Menstruation

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.

Waking Temperature

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!

Cervical Fluid

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.

Cervical Position

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.

Fertility Awareness Method Chart

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:

  1. No more auras.
  2. Very few headaches.
  3. My periods are not as bad as they were on HBC.
  4. Weight loss is easier.
  5. I feel so much better!
  6. I am no longer worrying about the possibility of causing a baby to abort with HBC.
  7. Having the natural flow of hormones makes me feel more balanced and
  8. 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!

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter on the right side of my blog page so you don’t miss a post!

Please LIKE me on Facebook so you can keep up with all that goes on at the cabin.

Tell me your experience with HBC.  What have you used? Side affects? Any FAM users out there?

 

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. 

This post does contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. says

    Another great post! That’s so great that your doctor approves of FAM! I specifically sought out a doctor that did. I think it’s so sad how many doctors don’t approve of women learning about their bodies!

  2. Amber says

    I have used many forms of birth control, but sadly, after using the Ortho Evra patch, in 2005, I developed “multiple, extensive,” fully occluded deep vein thromboses and have had at least 2 additional DVTs since. I can no longer use estrogen as a bc method. However, I have also developed anemia, so in order to decrease the flow of my period and at the recommendations of both my PCP and my GYN, I currently have the Mirena IUD. It has its pros and cons, but overall it works well for my family.

    • says

      Amber, I new you had these and thought of you often as I wondered and worried about the risks of blood clots. I am sorry that you suffered through so much but I am glad you found something that works for you. Thanks for sharing and blessings to you!

  3. Dj Rayne says

    It’s great to see Ovusoft partnering for a Giveaway! Glad to see you have a Dr that supports your decisions. Many FAM users often feel frustration when trying to find support in the medical community when they decide to use FAM as their form of birth control.

  4. Mcturbo says

    This is a good overview! I appreciated the concise information you presented and I think it’s great that you shared this information. I’m definitely going to make use of it!!

    I do, however, have to take objection in some of the language used. HBC does NOT cause a baby to abort. It DOES or CAN prevent the implantation of an egg that has been fertilized. I understand that this can be objectionable to some people based on when they believe a life begins, but scientifically this is not the abortion of a pregnancy and to call it so only increases misinformation and confusion about this issue and politicizes something that is a medical fact.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience! I definitely benefitted from it and am glad you shared.

    • says

      Hi Mcturbo! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate your kind words and I hope you can make use of FAM! I am sorry for any confusion I may have caused. I do believe that a baby is a baby at fertilization. I do not know if HBC causes a baby to abort but I did become afraid of the “what if”. “I started having doubts and became afraid that HBC could possibly cause a baby to abort”. (from Part one). This fear is a part of my story that led to me finding FAM.

      The HBC that I was on (Nuvaring) causes three things to happen:
      1. It is supposed to prevent ovulation.
      2. It thickens cervical fluid to make it difficult for sperm to get to the uterus.
      3. It thins the lining of the uterus. If a fertilized egg got this far, it would have a hard time implanting.

      I so wish I had known about FAM when I was younger. My goal for this post is for women to know that FAM is an option. It is so sad that it is not more well known.

      For me, “I am no longer worrying about the possibility of causing a baby to abort with HBC”. No, I don’t know if it does or doesn’t. I pray it doesn’t. I pray I didn’t.

      Thankfully, we have the choice to do what we think is best for our bodies and our families.

      Thank you again for your thought provoking comment and blessings to you!

    • says

      Actually, for the longest time the scientific fact WAS that conception occurred at fertilization. However, when the birth control pill was released, many women were worried about the abortion component, so they actually changed the definition of conception to implantation so that they could say that the pill, which can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting, was not aborting a baby if it did that.

  5. says

    Hello Marissa!
    So very glad to see this post. I have used Natural Family Planning for 27 years now, and I’m so glad. I never had to go through the problems of the pill or other unnatural methods. My husband and I took a class at a Hospital. It was taught by the Couple to Couple League. So much good information! I was able to postpone pregnancy for a few years. And now we have two wonderful children. I have often thought that if everyone had this information, they’d be so glad. I’ve shared it with many people over the years, and even helped several couples to conceive. My own doctor prefers this method and uses it in his own marriage. It also builds respect and strength in our marriage. I’m always amazed at how some people refuse to believe that this works. Anytime I see it listed in “effectiveness” charts, it has low ratings, because the people rating it did not use it properly. The pill won’t work either if not used properly. Neither will anything else….why don’t people acknowledge this? I have never understood. I have also known women who have conceived while on the pill – never missing even one pill. Kudos to you for blogging about this. The more information people have — the better choices they will make! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for writing about this topic!!! 🙂 Sincerely, Catherine

    • says

      Hi Catherine! I am so happy to hear from you! Amazing that you have used NFP for 27 years! I so wish I had learned about it early on! It is wonderful that you have successfully conceived and avoided pregnancy. What a blessing it is to share with others as well. That is great that your doctor uses it, too. It is sad that people don’t know that this is an option. I could not stop myself from blogging on this. It has been so life changing for me and it is one of the things I am most passionate about. May not be the most popular topic, but I had to share. Thank you very much for your kind words. I have visited your blog, too. It is beautiful and I can’t wait to explore it more. Blessings to you and I hope to see you here more often.

  6. says

    I Have been doing FAM for several years now as well! I tried HBC for about 6 months, but it made me nauseated, emotional, and I gained about 10 pounds, so I quickly ended that! Let me just say that having a good thermometer, and actually taking your temp is an IMPORTANT part of this method! We were ok with getting pregnant, so I stopped taking my temp when my thermometer broke, and we just kind of went with what my cycle had been the month before. Well, my cycle decided to be a bit different that month, and I got pregnant. Lol. I was thrilled even though we were technically “trying” quite yet. :))

    • says

      Hi Angi! Glad you quit HBC and found FAM! Thank you for sharing your story. Temping is the most important factor of FAM. Your son is such a cutie and I know you are thrilled with him. Great example of how one month to the next can differ. Blessings!

  7. Jaime P says

    After reading TCOYF several years ago, I fully believe that every female should read the book in their teenage years. Can you even imagine what an amazing impact it would have on our society if FAM/NFP were incorporated into health classes in high schools?!

    Thank you for the great overview, and the giveaway! I’d love to be able to try out the software! 🙂

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