Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I SUCK at charting.

True story.  I really, really do. 

When we were TTC Grace, Georgia didn’t chart.  To be honest, we didn’t even know what charting was at the time.  It wasn’t until after Grace was born that we learned of the benefits of charting, especially if you’re someone like me with irregular periods and PCOS.  I started charting using Fertility Friend on Tuesday, June 4th (CD8) following an orientation of the website and mobile app as well as the review of several “how to” videos.  You would think this would have done a sufficient job of teaching me how to use the software… not so much.  I had planned to begin charting the month prior but didn’t get a period.  At the end of May when I did get my period, the plan was to start charting on CD 5, but I could not find a basal thermometer for the life of me!  I finally found one 4 days into my search at the 3rd Target I visited.  Apparently basal thermometers are hot commodities these days – who knew?  As it has turned out, waiting for aunt flo and finding a basal thermometer were the least of my troubles…   

Here are the charting issues I’ve run into in just the past 2 weeks:

Issue #1: My digital basal thermometer reads all over the place.  I figured this out one morning when I decided to take my temperature for a second time immediately following my first temperature reading.  The second time, my temp totally changed and it was only like two minutes later.  Below is an example from this morning.  The top temp was taken at 8:08am and the bottom was taken at 8:14am.  I know the difference between the two isn’t huge but it’s definitely a difference, and on other days there has been even more of a discrepancy.


Issue #2: Every day when you chart your temperature it’s plotted in a graph as a solid dot.  As I was charting I began to notice that on some days my dot was an open circle.  After checking the key I found out that if something in the data indicates that the temperature may be slightly inaccurate, the temperature will be plotted using an open circle instead of a dot.  WTH?  Why has my temperature shown as inaccurate in 7 of the past 14 days?!  I literally take my temp every morning between 7:00am-8:15am and plug in the numbers.  How can one even make a mistake doing that?  I don’t understand.  Here is my chart since day one.  It’s a total mess. :(


Issue #3: The first day I took my temp I didn’t realize that my basal thermometer was set to Celsius and not Fahrenheit.  I took a picture of my temperature to later enter in Fertility Friend as I always do and realized later at work that it was Celsius (because my temp was in the 30’s LOL).  I googled “how to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit and did the calculation using the formula given.  I cross referenced my temp in Fahrenheit against several other Google searches to make sure it didn’t change.  I later found out that my wife has an app that could have done this in seconds, ha!  As you can see in my chart above, my temperature increased drastically following my initial test day.  This can mean one of two things.  1.) My recorded temp was incorrect on that first test day  2.) I ovulated the one to two days prior, which means I would have ovulated on CD6 or 7.  Don’t women usually ovulate around CD14?  Again, I don’t understand.

And then there is Issue #4:  This one is 100% my fault.  The first pack of ovulation tests (OPK) I purchased was a 7 day supply.  I kept telling myself to go get more as I was running low but I didn’t.  I ended up running out and not getting more until 2 days later.  This meant that I didn’t take an ovulation test on CD15 and CD16.  I know, I know, what a bonehead move.  Since taking my first ovulation test on CD8, I haven’t had a surge in the over 2 weeks since I started this process.  I’m thinking (and hoping) that I ovulated during the two days that I didn’t test.  I’m praying this is the case because if not, it would seem that I didn’t ovulate at all this month and that’s not good. 

So there you have it.  I suck at charting.  I’ve learned more about the whole process since I started so hopefully my charts begin to look more “normal” and make more sense as the weeks go by.  In the meantime, if you have experience charting, if you have tips or can help direct me in any way – it would be very much appreciated!  This is all so new to me and I feel as though I have no idea what I am doing. :( 

17 comments:

  1. As another PCOS-er - my doc told me that you generally don't get a period if you haven't ovulated, so likely you did ovulate. I don't even bother to chart because my cycles are so messed up. I'm just using OPK's and Clomid! GOOD LUCK!

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    1. I’ve heard that too, which gives me hope! I may stop with the charting after a few months if I don’t start to see consistency, but I’ll definitely continue with the OPK’s. What did you do to determine the day(s) you ovulation or is it different every month? I started peeing on sticks about two weeks ago and my plan is to just keep testing until I get the YES.

      As a fellow PCOS-er, I’m curious - how is the clomid helping you? Thanks for the well wishes! Good luck to you too. :)

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    2. So I don't ovulate regularly without Clomid. I can go like 9months without a period which when you are TTCing (as you know) is way too long to be trying to guess if you are going to ovulate in a single day. I sort of try to guage from my previous cycle where my next ovulation date will be in the following months - but mostly I use OPK's. Which gets pricey but is worth it to me when you're already spending a ton of moolah.

      I'm definitely pro-clomid (i'm not sure I'd ovulate on my own at all without it - however it definitely ups your odds of multiples ;)

      Good luck! esp with the layoff - It will work out. My partner was laid off right before we wanted to start trying. We had to put things off but we're back on the train again and it was for the best - gave us some time to reconnect and not be crazy about ttc-ing.

      Hang in there!

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  2. The monitor is a nice and easy way to figure it out.
    I did the temp charts. It can be confusing and didn't really work.
    I would just leave the monitor on the back of the toilet and so it reminded me ever morning that I needed to pee on a stick.

    Another way to determine it is if your vaginal discharge becomes like egg whites. I always knew that it was that time of month because I was horny and I was slippery when wet. ;-)

    This is all so fun.

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    1. K, your comment proves that I am NOT crazy! A few months back I told G that I was pretty sure I was ovulating because I had the egg white discharge you mentioned above and could just tell. I hadn’t tested for ovulation, like ever, but for some reason I just knew. We had a pee stick left over from when we were TTC#1 so and peed on it and BAM, positive surge. Having said that, there are months when I can tell and months where not much happens down there. If I could turn back time, I would have started peeing on sticks and charting months ago. As it stands now, I really have no idea if and when I regularly ovulate. I need to get better about tracking it!

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  3. The charting drove me CRAZY and I was not even the one having to get up every.single.morning and take their basal temp and write it down (as not to forget when recording later). I will say this: 1) The VERY FIRST READ is the most accurate. Even if it is only a few minutes later, once your mind is awake and your body starts "working" then your basal temp starts to increase. Thus why it should be taken first thing upon waking, even before you get up to use the bathroom or anything.

    K is right, slippery egg white mucus is EXACTLY what you are looking for. Also your cervix being open is an indicator that you are in your fertile days as well. I recall mentioning to our OB/GYN's assistant that I "knew" Kris was getting ready to ovulate because her cervix opening was wide and he made a half joke and asked, "Oh did you go to gynecology school?" and I said, "No, but I am a woman who has sex with another woman, I know what a cervix looks like through out a cycle, and we HAVE BEEN trying to conceive for about 2 and half years...so yeah, I have seen IT a bunch a times." Cue awkward silence. Lol

    That being said, save yourself the crazy confusion and buy a Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor. There is no second guessing OPKs, no charting, and it really lets you know EXACTLY when it is time to do the deed so to say. I know they are not cheap, but I promise after months of buying those OPKs (and the extra boxes when you run out) will pay for it.

    Good luck! I am sending massive good baby making vibes to your reproductive organs ;)

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    1. So I'm just wondering. if by see do you really mean feel because I have no idea how you have seen her cervix unless A) it hangs down really low and a slight spread reveals it or B) you use a speculum whildst in the throes of passion

      I had the Clear blue easy fertility monitor. You can get them cheap on ebay.

      and now I have to go watch gangnam style on youtube to get the use of the speculum out of my mind.

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    2. Amanda, thanks for the tips! Good to know that I really shouldn't be taking the average of two different temp checks, duh! For the past two days I've taken my temp from bed and I'm going to continue to do that because it's actually easier than getting up and out of bed at 6:30am every morning. This morning I tested at 6:40am and yesterday I tested at 6:30am. Not the exact same time but better than when I was testing between 7-8:15am...

      That's too funny about your vast knowledge of the female cervix, haha! I'm with K - how the heck do you get up in there enough to see the cervix? Actually, don't answer that. I'm sure Kris would prefer you not share that information on some other mamas blog, LOL! Thanks gals. :)

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    3. I forgot to tell you, this is the website we used to keep track of Kris' cycles. It helped to see it all laid out at once and they give you the best days to baby make. We also used it to track our pregnancy after the long awaited BFP :)

      http://www.pregnology.com/ovulating.php

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  4. I used fertility friend early on, before I knew I had pcos. My chart never made any since & it looked like I ovulated at a dif time every month. Maybe I did??? I used OPK right up until we decided to go with IVF & got a happy face around the same time time each month. I'd say they are a better way to go along with your body's cues :)

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    1. It will be interesting to see if charting even works for me. I guess only time will tell. In the meantime, I've been peeing on a stick every morning just in case the chart doesn't catch my ovulation. I agree, OPK's seem to be a must with PCOS-ers.

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  5. I charted for around six months before TTC last year and I had no idea what I was doing or how to read my chart. I finally gave up!
    Let me know if you can use some more OPK's, I have a bunch left that we won't be using for our IVF cycle and I'll be happy to ship them to you.

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    1. Thank you Nadine, that is so SWEET of you to offer! I think I'm going to invest in a fertility monitor as it seems to be the more precise and economical way to go.

      How much longer until you start your IVF cycle? I'm so excited for you mamas-to-be!

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  6. The fertility monitor is a great investment and takes the guess work out of using the sticks.

    Egg white mucus, the position and feel of your cervix are great indicators of ovulation. The cervix should be low, feel soft and be open at the time of ovulation.

    Here is useful book that I used to help decipher is all - 'taking charge of your fertility' by Weschler.

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    1. Thank S! My friend Michele just recommended the same book to me yesterday so I'm thinking it's something I need to look into.

      Apparently I also need to find a doctor who can teach me how to check my own cervix... It sounds like most of you gals are very familiar with yours and can tell when you may be ovulating. Even if I poked around in there looking for signs of ovulation, I don't think I would be able to tell. :/

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  7. I laughed when I read this because I could NEVER have the discipline to chart! Mommy "N" was so on top of it with TTC Baby C. It's too overwhelming for me. lol

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    1. Nell B, I'm starting to feel very much the same way! My chart is still all over the place and I can't for the life of me, figure out what I'm doing wrong. I'm giving it two more weeks before I toss out the charting and just stick to peeing on a stick, lol!

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Thanks so much for keeping up with our little family! We love reading your comments and will get back to you as soon as we can.

K+G+g+w ♥

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