Tag Archive | charting

Still blogging and charting…

It makes me so sad that almost four years after starting this blog I am still blogging and still charting.  I’ve come to terms with Frank and I most likely never having a biological child.  I see the more than 200 hundred likes on my Facebook page, and my heart breaks for the 200 families who find themselves in our situation.  I wish I could be more helpful.  I wish medicine took us all seriously.

We’ve gone from wanting to adopt children who needed a home most of all, to admitting they would never be a part of our family.  The work we did identified their intense needs that CPS preferred remain unaddressed because documenting them made the children hard to adopt.

The responses of family and friends can often be its own challenge.  Yes, people mean well.  But most are rather unaware of how raw we are.  In attempts to cheer us up some have commented that things are, “so much quieter now,” with a broad smile.

I don’t expect them to know how deafening the silence of infertility and a failed adoption can be. However, when one moves a loved one to inconsolable tears, an apology usually follows.  Others just ignore things and let them go by without acknowledgement…cookie parties happen and we’re not included because we don’t have kids this year.  What should have been our baby’s due date, passes without acknowledgement.  The anniversary of our loss passes in silence.  There’s either silence or sadness.  Sometimes there’s numbness.

I still chart to monitor my health.  Right now charting is telling me that my endometriosis is most likely coming back.  We knew there was a chance.  The bright side is, another surgery would optimize my fertility again and make conception possible.

We’re also saving for a private adoption.  Since the children have left our home things haven’t gone back to normal as we might have wished, instead things from other realms have popped up: the death of a colleague; the death of a former student at the hand of another former student; friends and loved ones battling illness.  Not really the best time for a home study…but we’re getting things together.

Despite all this, I’m still in it.  I’m exhausted but I’m here…blogging…and charting…barely.  I don’t know if the exhaustion I feel is from all the loss and change, the new puppy who slathers us with kisses, or from endo as it takes a hold.  I’ve known this journey would be long…thanks for walking it with me.  Love, Catherine

Reflecting on a year of infertility part III

I tend to be long winded; I actually started blogging to have an outlet to express all that was going on throughout this journey through the muck of infertility.  I was pretty sure that my husband, Frank, and my close friends were getting tired of hearing all that I had to say about what was happening.

keyboard

Here’s a quick recap: My NaProTechnology Dr diagnosed me with endometriosis and an allergy to grains.  I had surgery to remove the endometriosis and was back to work in two weeks.  I am so glad that I chose to make the drive to New Jersey and have my Surgery at the Gianna Center at Saint Peter’s Hospital.  I was back to work within two weeks and was told to wait two cycles before trying to conceive again.

While I waited for my body to heal, I observed some amazing changes in my chart.  My cycles became more regular in length, there was less pain associated with menstruation, and when I say less, I really mean that I went from a 10 to a 1.  I had less bleeding at the end of my cycle and the bleeding that used to happen mid cycle completely disappeared.  I still had some unusual tail end brown bleeding, which my doctor suggested might clear up as my body healed.

Since we had been told not to try to conceive, there was no pressure to wait for a positive, there was no disappointment.  I just enjoyed observing the positive changes in my body.   The weight I grained before Dr. C figured out my grain allergy was slowly coming off, I was starting to recognize my body again.

weight loss

Menstruation happened with minimal pain.  The once crippling cramps and abdominal pain that began two to three weeks before menstruation were replaced by two days of abdominal discomfort.    This reduction in pain was due to taking an OTC medication called pycnogenol, a natural anti-inflammatory derived from French maritime pine bark.

Things were going great, my pain was down, I felt better overall, but my weight loss had stopped.  I cut out chocolate for a week thinking that I might be overdoing it with sweets.  Even then I didn’t lose an ounce.  Something was up, it was time to hunt for grains again.  I had been trick by grains hiding in kielbasa, bullion, flour blends, and even shredded cheese.  But I was almost certain I had eliminated them all.

Still I had to try and see if there were a few I missed.  I went through my cupboards and fridge but everything in there was grain free.  I checked the chocolates I was eating, thinking there might be corn starch or corn oil that I had missed; still nothing.  It wasn’t until Sunday night when I was loading up my medicine case for the coming week that I thought to check the medications I was taking.

rice flourMy vitamin D3 was grain free, as was my magnesium, my glucosamine, my kelp tablets, my B6 and my B complex, and my prenatal vitamin.  It was down to the pycnogenol.  And there it was, hidden inside a tiny 100mg capsule, rice flour!  The capsule was smaller than an average pain relief pill, there had to be less than ¼ teaspoon of rice flour in there!  However much there was, it was enough to nix the weight loss.

I got back on vitacost and ordered a brand of pycnogenol that did not contain rice flour.   Of course the brands that were grain free cost three times as much as the other brands.  I decided to see how I felt without pycnogenol.  Big mistake.  For a moment I forgot all of the pain that endometriosis was, but it only took one cycle without pycnogenol to remind me.  While it’s true that I was feeling great after surgery, a few weeks off the pycnogenol and that all changed.

It took my husband, Frank, to convince me that my body and my health were worth the extra money.  So, I ordered the new pyconogenol and within two weeks the pain was gone.  Let me tell you, the expense was worth it!  If you are living with endometriosis, please ask your doctor about pycnogenol, it allows me to live almost pain free.

Reflecting on a year of infertility Part I

Napro II

It’s been almost a year since I first heard the dreaded word.  A nurse who thought she was out of earshot told a doctor, “Your patient is a little upset about her infertility, but she hasn’t really been trying very long.”   That’s how I learned my diagnosis, by overhearing a conversation I should not have heard.

It was like someone had reached in and ripped out my uterus and rendered me broken.  That’s how I felt, just broken; like the Barbie after her head popped off, something that just couldn’t be of much use in its current condition.  I’ll spare you the story of how much I cried.

I held it together in the office and asked what my options were.  I was told that before IVF, IUI was successful, but first we needed to have some tests.  It was an SA for my husband, Frank; and an HSG for me.  We were both pronounced pretty normal.

We went full steam ahead with IUI.  It wasn’t something we were excited about, but it was something we were willing to deal with to get a baby.  We were told we had a “good chance”.  The unfortunate part was all the drugs they pumped me full of during the treatment.  I got 50mg of clomid on days 5-9 and had two follicles, but they were small.  I also got two hundred mood swings, and was pretty psyched that my head did not do an exorcist style spin.  After turning into a screaming banshee, the HCG shot made me feel as if I were getting the flu, I was sure I was pregnant.  HA!  AF came and went.  My doc told me that I had some unfortunate side effects and should try again.

I got 100mg of clomid on days 5-9, then the HCG, which made me even sicker than the first round.  My cycle started to get weird similar to the way it was when I was in my teens.  I asked the doc about it, could the abnormalities in my cycle have something to do with our failure to conceive.  I got a “maybe but we really can’t be sure, every woman is different.”  I’m surprised that I didn’t ask him which cereal box he pulled his degree out of!  But, I was desperate and the treatment he was giving me was all that I knew existed.

Round 3 wasn’t much better.  I was more ill than in rounds one and two.  As the day for the HCG shot approached, I just knew I couldn’t do that to my body again.   I never made it to the HCG shot.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t put my body through such agony again.  I called the nurse and asked what my options were.  I was crushed when I was told that IVF would be the next logical step.  That seemed so illogical.  IVF would mean pumping me full of even more of the drugs that seemed to be slowly killing me.  There was no way that I would consent to that.  My heart told me that no good could come from feeling that way.

My friend, Jordan, mentioned that she was a NaProTecnology patient.  She had endometrosis and was scheduled for surgery.  She explained the differences between NaPro and the way my doctor had been treating me.  As a result of her treatment she felt better and was healthier, while I had never felt more ill in my life during my treatment.  What did I have to lose?

I started charting my biomarkers using the Creighton model fertility monitoring system.  My charting consultant agreed that I needed to see a NaPro doc asap as my chart showed some serious abnormalities.  I know I’ve written similar posts where I elaborate on how awesome Dr. C was during our first phone conversation–I’ll try to keep it brief.  I immediately started taking vitamin D3, magnesium, and a B complex vitamin.    I was feeling better before my first visit. Click here  to read Part II

Some Information About Charting:

IMG_0393[1]NaPro Technology asks that a woman monitor her own health by charting her bio-markers.  If you’re considering NaPro Technology, then charting is something that you’ll be doing daily.  It’s not a lot of work.  It involves monitoring your health by interpreting the messages your body is sending you through your bio-markers.

Before I go any further, let me say that this post is for those who are truly interested in learning to chart using the Creighton Model Fertility Care System.  It’s going to contain some references to anatomy, fluids, and what to do with them.  If you’d rather not read on, I completely understand and encourage you to continue reading the next post in the series on NaProTechnology which will only reference bio-markers and not explain how to document them.

Thanks for continuing.  So charting… When you chart using  the Creighton Model, fertility is defined by the presence of cervical mucus.  The closer to ovulation you are, the more mucus there should be.  The better the quality of your mucus, the better your chances of getting pregnant that month.

The basics of charting:

  • Any day of bleeding (red, brown, pink, or black) is a red stamp
  • Dry days- days without lubricative mucus- get green stamps
  • Lubricative mucus days get white baby stamps
  • The last day of lubricative mucus is considered peak day.  Mark it with a P
  • The three days after your peak day get green baby stamps.
  • All days with white baby stamps plus the three days after peak are considered fertile.

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Determining the quality of your mucus:

Throughout the day, each time before you use the bathroom or shower, you’ll do a quick observation of your cervical mucus.  Observing mucus takes less than a minute, after a while it becomes something you do as a habit, though it does take some getting used to.  Before you go, you wipe from front to back across the perennial body (the space between your front and back door).  The perennial body is the only skin on your body that can tell the difference between the sensations smooth and lubricative.  I’ll talk more about that in a few lines.

Each time you wipe you’ll make decisions about the sensations you feel.  Is it dry? Is it smooth?  Both of these will get green stamps.  Is it lubricative? If so, it’s a white baby stamp.  Any bleeding gets a red stamp.

All mucus is not equal…

Before using the bathroom and showering, you’ll be checking for mucus.  After you decide the sensation, that is whether your mucus is dry, smooth, or lubricative, you’ll make an observation.  After you observe the mucus for color and shine.  You’ll try and grab some off the tissue using your fingers.  If you can get some off with your fingers, next you’ll see if it stretches.  The greater the amount of stretch there is, the better the quality of your mucus.

Recording on your chart:

Throughout each day, you’ll make observations about the quality of your mucus.  At the end of the day, you record your most fertile sign.  For example if you record smooth sensations 3 times, but lubricative 1 once, you mark the 1 lubricative sensation on your chart and use a white baby sticker.

Some Closing Remarks on Charting:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t!  This was just a brief introduction to charting.  I’m not a NaPro teacher,  and for the record, they are way better at explaining charting than I am.  When you decide to go with NaPro you’ll meet with your teacher one on one and she’ll teach you to chart over several sessions.  She’ll check your chart and help you learn what to look for.  If you see abnormalities in your chart, she’ll help you get an appointment with a NaPro doctor and get on track towards better health and hopefully pregnancy.

If there is anything that I can help you with please do not hesitate to ask!  You can either reach me by commenting on this post or by messaging me privately through facebook.  I’ll do the best that I can to help you get started!

Best wishes to you on your Journey! Love, Catherine