After the birth of my first son, my husband and I decided to try natural family planning (NFP). We knew we wanted another child and I didn’t want to go back on the birth control pill. I quickly discovered charting fertility is a wonderful way to understand your body. In fact, the NFP nurse educator actually was the first person to diagnose me with PCOS based upon my charts! Because I don’t believe that birth control is always the best choice for managing PCOS, (read my post about the pill here), I am often asked what birth control to use if you have PCOS. To answer this question, I refer clients to FertilityFlower.com. This site provides a wonderful way to understand your body and chart your fertility that is easy, streamlined and enjoyable. In this month’s Diva Dish, I asked Kimberly Racic, Founder of FertilityFlower.com and Editor of Fertile Imagination to share her thoughts and experience with charting fertility and tell us more about FertilityFlower.com. I am honored that she said “yes” and thrilled to share a very informative post that includes a valuable coupon for PCOS Divas too! Enjoy!
Becoming Mom: How Fertility Charting Changed My Life
By Kimberly Racic, Founder of FertilityFlower.com and Editor of Fertile Imagination
My introduction to fertility charting came after a miscarriage – my first of two, so far. For me, the ability to figure out my gynecological health and my fertility status (in particular) through a series of simple observations was miraculous. Through charting my temperature and symptoms, I could see that despite the miscarriage I wasn’t actually broken. I could see the times when I was going to ovulate; and I could see when I wasn’t. No mystery – it was all there in black and white. Therein lies the strength behind fertility charting. It’s an innately positive activity. Though it might take sixty (or more) days to ovulate, we can see that things are working – how each of us ‘works’ in our own unique way.
Through charting we gain a deeper knowledge of our fertility that allows us to increase our chances of conception. As we seek to build our families, the only thing that we can do is create conditions that are optimal for conception and then take advantage of our natural fertility. And, while good things sometimes take time to happen, when you ‘chart’ – that time can be drastically reduced. Via charting alone, I successfully conceived 3 times and am blessed with a beautiful son and daughter on earth and one more guardian angel watching over us. I charted to achieve these pregnancies using FertilityFlower.com – a website that is my project, my baby – about which I’ve been graced with the opportunity to talk to you today.
Our chief mission at Fertility Flower is to lead women through the process of gaining a fuller understanding of their bodies, wherever they’re at. We advocate the use of the ˝Sympto-Thermal Method˝ to do that, which is one of a handful of natural fertility methods (other methods include Billings, Creighton, etc). All of these methods rely on one simple fact – the fact that our bodies exhibit outward, measurable changes as they respond to internal hormonal activity. Basically, fertility charting allows us to SEE what our hormones are doing. This is very powerful information to have because each of these observations tells us about our current fertility status, how close we are to ovulation and sheds light on our overall gynecological health. We prefer the Sympto-Thermal Method because more information is always better than less information when it comes to these matters. With this method, you can unequivocally confirm that you’re ovulating (or not) via the presence (or lack of) a temperature shift. You can also learn a great deal about your progesterone levels by tracking how quickly your temperature shifts from its pre-ovulatory lows to its post-ovulatory highs and back again or if your temperatures stay above the coverline during the luteal phase. Slow meandering temperature shifts and temperatures that dip repeatedly below the coverline during the luteal phase are classic signs of progesterone deficiency. Furthermore, regular pre-ovulatory temperatures lower than 97.5 are associated with hypothyroidism. These are just a few examples of what can be learned via waking temperature that underpin our decision to advocate the symptom-thermal method above other natural methods. One strange cycle can just be that – a strange cycle – but a pattern of strange cycles could signal the presence of a problem that requires a change in diet, supplements or sometimes something more aggressive. Charting your fertility symptoms and waking temperatures can tell you a lot about what’s going on and yet requires just a few moments every day to do successfully. It’s well worth the effort, I think.
Fertility Flower as a website differs from the standard terrain of fertility charting in a few significant ways, starting with the design of the website. I sought the help of Truro-based PensandPencilsandPens.com to bring some edginess and creativity to the visual aspects of the project. They have done websites and graphics for Bat for Lashes, The Gorillaz and others.
Soothing colors and a garden motif dominate FertilityFlower.com. While this seems like a shallow distinction, how our members feel while they interface with the website is incredibly important. We wanted to impart a sense of calm and peace and provide a clean, uncluttered space.