March 13, 2005
No Worries
Well, true to form, I was worried for nothing. I am still weirded out by the fact it was a 36 day cycle, but I woke up this morning to an unpleasant sensation down there.

I appreciate the advice and your thoughts regarding my all-over-the-place cycles.

The following is a pretty long account and I am recording it mostly for myself and to have a place to refer people who wonder why I would trust NFP. You probably don't really want to read it and that is okay, because even though I don't mind who does read it, it isn't written for a broad audience. Like I said, it is specific and I don't want anyone to take offense to my beliefs or to believe that I am judging them for their own decisions. I always have felt that it is important that you make the decision that is right for you and gives you peace. Not everything is for everyone.

First, my strong Catholic faith plays a large role in my fertility awareness. And while I don't necessarily think that all the "rules" are perfect, I do believe that I am supposed to follow them. One of the things that drew me to this faith is the fact there are clear cut guidelines. Maybe I was drawn to that because my life was chaos before having faith. And I just wanted some rules. And the fact that this Church can trace its formation to the time when Christ sent his disciples out to minister and spread the word (the very first priests), well, that was a something that secured my heart .

Anyway, back to the fertility stuff. Pope John Paul says no artificial birth control. And while I don't believe that he has ever been confronted with the choice (other than to remain abstinent in his devotion to the Church), he has been chosen to lead the Roman Catholic Church and to make the decisions to the best of his spiritual abilities what is right and God-willed for the majority. However, I do believe, as do many priests, that there are certain instances where health issues would trump the rules. And I will tell you that there have been times during my marriage when health issues have warranted not getting pregnant. The first time, we chose for me to take BCPs. This was not a good choice for my health (weight gain, acne, etc.), though it did prevent pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with Little A, I wanted to find a way to know my fertility so I could prevent future pregnancy without chemicals. We took a class on Natural Family Planning and got on board with the idea and with the statistical data. You can use NFP for planning and preventing pregnancy and while at first the idea of touching my mucus from down there was a bit icky, it quickly became second nature. I didn't really get into charting every day, I didn't learn to take my temp every day (the method we learned didn't use temp - just cervical mucus), but I learned a lot about my body and fertility. I knew when I was ovulating. I knew when I was going to start my period. It didn't hurt that I was regular, so it was easier to detect the signs. We got good at NFP. Because we knew it would work if we did. I knew I was going to get pregnant in December 2003. I told A twice after doing the deed - "that probably is going to get me pregnant" "if the last time didn't get me pregnant, than this time will".... I was pregnant.

After that pregnancy ended much too soon, I have had no idea when I was ovulating - my mucus is almost constant - even the stuff that's only supposed to be present during ovulation. And well, it is frustrating. I've had friends suggest BCP to get me on a more regular cycling pattern, but the inconvenience of irregular cycles doesn't warrant (for us) using chemical birth control. I did look into getting a diaphragm (we feel that the barrier methods are better for us since they don't chemically alter any of the reproductive cells/functions), but since you have to use a spermicide with the diaphragm, that ruled that out. So, we've just continued to use the other barrier method... In the last year, when I was taking an anti-anxiety drug occasionally, I was told it would cause severe birth defects, so to prevent pregnancy, we would use condoms. This has gone against what we believe is right for us, but come on you can't just have no sex. And with the meds, we weren't willing to risk the health of a child. Not to mention, I've known that I was not emotionally stable enough to jump into another pregnancy.

But, I did buy a BBT thermometer last week and I will add morning temping to my regimen and I've been keeping a chart on Fertility Friend since my periods started back up last May - just tracking when my periods are. I am hoping that this will give me a better picture of when I am ovulating so that we can get back to our more natural planning.

So, we will chart my BBT and CM and for a few months just abstain for a couple weeks each month until I have a good idea of when ovulation is occuring. And with any luck, with time, my cycles will get on a more normal track.

I know NFP sounds like a lot of work, but it has been worth it for us in the past to have our fertility awareness allow us to have an intimate physical relationship without boundaries when we join together. There has been a deepening of respect for our bodies and their purposes. And while we know there are instances when getting our groove on would possibly lead to pregnancy, we are open to God's plan for us. We know that it's possible (as low a percentage as using condoms correctly, as long as you are charting and consistent with abstaining during fertility) to get pregnant when the chart says you shouldn't - hey, bodies sometimes do weird things. But, our trust in the Lord is that if that were to happen, it is His will, even though we'd rather just wait a while longer.

I am available for questions and I will tell you that
Amy is even more of an expert/advocate than I am. She's always been helpful when I have questions and I am sure if there is something I can't answer for you, she'd be willing to jump in and give it a try.
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