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Old 01-27-2013, 11:52 PM   #1
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Smile Joining to Glean ...

Hi all, I'm new here (in TTA, anyway). I'm hoping to glean from those of you who've gone the natural/charting route.

We're TTA until 2014 at the soonest (we're going to need a bigger car to accommodate a 4th LO, for starters). Charting's really only our only option - hormonal b.c. affects me like a serious depressant and I'm sensitive to latex. In any case, I'm 15 months PP and AF finally made her appearance two weeks ago. I guess our time indescriminance (is that a word?) is at an end, heheheh.

So what have been your favorite resources/aids?

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Old 01-28-2013, 05:58 AM   #2
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Re: Joining to Glean ...

Hi mama, I'm new on this board too and to charting but not new to TTA. These mamas are a great resource, so if you haven't already, read as many threads as you can. The book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" has been a big help to me as has the tcoyf.com site, where I chart online. Fertilty Friend also has free online charting but I just got the free charting emails from them as I found TCOYF easier to navigate. There are some other online resources and books you can read. You can use charting as your only BC. It is our main method as well. It requires some discipline but it does feel good to know your own body and truly take charge of your fertility.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:54 AM   #3
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Re: Joining to Glean ...

This site may be of use to you if you're looking for an app to track things, whether TTC or TTA:
http://www.parents.com/fun/entertain...ation-tracker/

I don’t temp. I estimate ovulation by cm, when ewcm goes away, and o pain when I recognize it. For B and K I also used opks. I started out with Answer Brand dip strips then switched to ICs for value. I never had an issue reading them or seeing my surge but I tested twice a day. A lot of women that only test once a day miss seeing the surge (positive) and play guess the line to see if it's coming or going.

As far as temping goes, I did look into that before B was conceived. With temping you have to be consistent with temping every morning, same time after a certain number of hours of sleep, for it to be most accurate, if you're using the bbt chart method. I have crazy inconsistent sleep/wake times during the night, which doesn't help. It also predicts ovulation after the fact which I didn't like. It confirms O or changes suspected O after a few days of temps. Opks predict ovulation before it happens. Depending on test brand Ovulation will happen an average of 12-36 hours after the surge is seen on the OPK. That being said, sometimes you can gear up to o but not and there's a chance an opk would show a surge anyway. Really, it depends on what you are comfortable with and what you're willing, or able, to do.

Right now I use a ticker from lilypie to track cycle days which I have on the sidebar of my desktop. I also keep a more detailed "Fertility" calendar in my windows mail calendar which syns to my playbook calendar. I note when AF arrives and cycle length, what days I have EWCM, what day it goes away, if we DTD, when I feel O pain (or suspect O pain). I also have a "Mom" planner from Day-Timer to track things on paper, while keeping everything together. Truth be told though, I tend to track more in my electronic calendar, than on paper. After my 29 then 24 day cycles recently I have been really considering going back to OPKs for a short time (a cycle or two) to help to verify when I ovulate, but I haven't ordered any yet. I'm looking at different brands of ICs at the moment. I figure that will give me more confidence and, along with the other things I already track, help me reel in my LP.

If Daddy needs something visual, maybe something like cycle beads would work? I made my own after K was born but you can buy them. It's a really simple way to track and visually recognize where you are in your cycle and if you're fertile and may conceive. http://www.cyclebeads.com You have to have a few regular cycles first so you couldn't use it now, but maybe come spring time.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:25 PM   #4
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Re: Joining to Glean ...

Thanks, ladies! I'd forgotten to set up for e-mail alerts so I hadn't checked in for a few days.
Jamie, is it just me or did you change your DS name?... I like "Spunkify". Thanks for all the links!

PS I don't plan to temp. We're not desperately TTA. We're just definitely not TTC, and would rather keep our TTA as low-stress as possible. I'm definitely going to pick up the book; DH uploaded one app (but it made me giggle-geared at men to warn them when PMS is coming, but only suggests one day for O. I told him we'd probably have to get a better app. But I am looking at tracking cycle and cm. I also believe I'm having O pain this time around (I've had what I thought we GI cramps one night each for two months now, accompanied by thick cm about three days after discharging what appears to be ewcm). The odd thing is I mush have a late/short LP because if the cramps are any indication, I'm O'ing 4 days after I "should" be. Fun times ...

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Old 01-30-2013, 11:05 PM   #5
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: Joining to Glean ...

I learned to chart TTA from Taking Charge of Your Fertility as well, and have been using the method since 2007 for both TTA and TTC. I use the software developed for that book's charting details, found at Ovusoft.com. I think they have a free online version now, but I really prefer the downloadable one (it's a one time fee, and their customer service is excellent if you ever need help). The only caveat I have to recommending it is to make sure you understand the method first, because no program is going to be as accurate as you are.

I have found since my cycle returned at 10 months PP that it doesn't really matter *that* much that I take my temp at the same exact time every day, or even after much sleep, as long as I take it between 4-7am. I can still very accurately identify my fertility status with temps and Cervical Fluid. The first few cycles were pretty long, but they are much closer to normal now that I'm about 4 cycles out from my return of fertility. I have PCOS and irregular cycles anyway, so I am a big believer in temps, having seen a lot of CF-only patterns that *look* ovulatory, but really weren't.

What has really helped me over the years is joining a forum dedicated to women who chart and know the rules for TTA. Ovusoft (affiliated with TCOYF) has such a community, as does Christian Family Planning.net- a couple of the TTC charting sites also have communities, but TTA is typically not allowed to be discussed on their boards. My husband and I also took a class with the Couple to Couple League that really helped him learn and do the method with me, since he's not big on reading. You can also find a few online courses on either "Natural Family Planning" or "Fertility Awareness Method," which are mainly different in their approach to barrier use.

I have also taken a class for CF only with a Creighton method instructor. You can also find doctors who teach/ use Creighton in their practice. They usually won't prescribe HBC for moral reasons, so they teach their patients charting. You can find one on the Creighton website, if there's one near you, it could be a good resource.

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Old 02-03-2013, 10:40 PM   #7
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Re: Joining to Glean ...

Thanks for the info, gracekissed. Clearly it's going to take a while to get it all sorted. Fortunately, so far all my PP cycles have been pretty regular. Well ... In only had two between DD1 and DD2. But I seem to remember noting that they were right at 28-30 days apart; and all my cycles between DS and DD1 were about 29d +/-1 ... which admittedly was a surprise because I had irregular cycles until I had kids!
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