Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Warning: TMI Ahead

Subtitled: YAY!

Further subtitled: HIGH FIVE THE OVARIES!

Ok, last chance to hit that 'x'. This post will include things related to periods, female-ness, NFP, and the like. You have been warned.

Today, ladies and gentleman-fiance (because I sort of hope no other gentleman is reading my blog, at least none I know in 'real life'), I started my period. Yes, you read correctly. The last time I went off the pill it took me 7 months to get a true period (not just the withdrawal one). This time? Approximately 2 months. That, my friends, is what I like to call improvement.

I'm trying not to get super excited for a few reasons:
1) I'm not totally sure I ovulated. I certainly hope I did, but I want to be sure as it could technically have been anovulatory. 50 ovulation strips are on their way to me as I type. Next time around, there won't be any doubt.
2) Who knows if my 'long cycle' is actually a cycle. I am well aware that I could not get another period for many months. But I'm hoping that I get it in about the same amount of days as this time (or less would be nice but I won't be greedy) and, even being long, I will at least know that's my cycle.

I was pretty sure I had ovulated- I was really hoping anyway!- but didn't want to write anything until it was confirmed. It's funny how things happen. At my previous follow up, my practitioner added the essential sameness question (was today essentially the same as the other days on my chart?) but held off on the yellow stickers so we could get used to that. I kept asking her, if my body is already producing peak type mucus, how will I know if something is essentially different? She just kept telling me I'd know. I walked out of there with serious doubts of this essential sameness business working. However, the very. next. day. I noticed that my observations were definitely NOT essentially the same. And then for 5 more days after that. She was right. I just knew. I tried not to get my hopes up, since I had before many times after marking the peak day. When we went to her last Saturday, she said she really, really thought I had ovulated. I kept resisting the idea and telling her I didn't want to get my hopes up and she said we'd see if I got a period before my next follow up. Then, shock of all shocks, we actually got to use a few green stickers! This is big for us... we had only used ONE green sticker (infertile) the entire time so we were excited. Anyway, 7 days after my peak day, and I started my period today. I actually had mild cramps all morning and kept telling Steven I didn't want to get excited, that it could just be nothing, so I was really glad when my body proved me wrong! I felt like a little girl getting her period for the first time. I didn't have it because I took hormones away from my body for a week out of the month, I had it because my body is functioning (well mostly) as it is supposed to. That feels SO good!

Does the whole foods, less processed, more natural lifestyle I'm living have anything to do with it? I'll probably never know for sure, but you better believe that shaving 5 months off the amount of time it took for me to have a period is encouragement enough to keep it up! My luteal phase is a bit short, but I know that's a fairly easy fix with progesterone supplements. Who knows if it will stay that way. I know my practitioner said we should see three complete cycles before knowing if something is typical for me, but I do know that progesterone deficiencies are common in women with PCOS. I just have to be sure that I'm on a supplement before I ever get pregnant and it should be of little concern. Thank God for charting, seriously. I never would have known that if not for the chart.

I am one happy girl.

Side bar comment: I promptly went out and bought some organic cotton tampons. I'd been wanting to quit using the regular brands after reading about the chemicals used in them. Who wants chemicals there? Not me. But I hadn't yet purchased any other kind since it didn't seem there was an immediate need. I ended up with a Trader Joe's brand, but they are pricey so I will have to see if I can find something better online or at Whole Foods. I figure my body is doing it's best work correctly, I should do the best I can to use things that I know won't have a negative effect. If you use organic, unbleached, chlorine free tampons and get them for a decent price (better than $4 for 16) let me know! If you want to know more about my decision, but don't want me to ramble on longer, read this. Here's an excerpt for those of you who, like me, are sometimes too lazy to click a link:

Some college courses on women’s health conduct a simple class demonstration: Place a new tampon in a glass of water. After it absorbs water, remove it, and watch all the remaining fibers floating in the water. These fibers remain inside a woman’s uterus.
In the U.S., more than one billion tons of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on cotton crops every year; and residues may taint tampons. Many of these pesticides can damage the nervous system, lead to cancer or function as hormone disruptors.
Although the effects of hormone disruptors on women’s health are poorly understood, it is known that estrogen itself can cause problems at certain levels. Dr. Susan Lark, author of Fibroid Tumors and Endometriosis, notes that women “are at higher risk of developing fibroids or endometriosis…if they have high levels of estrogen…or use estrogen-contaminating medication [such as Hormone Replacement Therapy].” A 1996 report in the journal Science concluded that when estrogen-like chemicals are combined, they often become more damaging. Jan Stout of Physicians for Social Responsibility argues, “We’re creating a threat to an entire generation.”


  1. *cough**cough*

    saves money and environmental waste, and doesn't absorb all your natural fluids that SHOULDN'T be soaked up along with the blood :)

    1. Lol don't you remember about me blogging about that before? There's a whole mental process I have to go through ;).

    2. LOL yes, I just thought the website might help with that process!

  2. Omg Rachel I will NEVER use the divacup. Not until I have a couple of kids. Your lucky to get me to use tampons when I go swimming! I'm old school and use sanitary napkins. Yeah I know TMI!

    Funny Story I was cleaning my room and found this super OLD "get to know your body" books my mom had given me when I turned 12. This book is so old I think the copyright is the 80s lol and it said one option is to use a SPONGE!! I asked my mom if she ever did and she was all OMG EWWW!!

    1. Lol Beth Anne, you will either become super comfortable with your body through NFP or you will just decide to have as many kids as God gives you once you realize what it entails.... not sure about other methods but with Creighton you have to pick up any observation from the toilet paper after you wipe, stretch it, and make a mental note of how far it stretched and what color it was. How's THAT for TMI, lol! If you get comfortable with that, you'll be comfortable with most anything period related lol.

    2. YEAH I'm going to start with the thermometer method. Even though a lot of ppl don't even use it I think that is the easiest place to start.

  3. Ovaries FTW! Although I have to agree with Rachel even though I just got my DivaCup and haven't gotten to use it yet-- I did "try it out" (something you just can't do with tampons). it is so much better for your body and the environment.
    Jeanne G.

  4. Hi Stacy,

    I have some advice for you as someone else who is struggling from similar issues. Here is my advice. Take your temperature! I have been using an OPK the last few months and have been having LH surges (which essentially means you are ovulating), egg-white cervical fluid and are in fact NOT ovulating. Here's why, PCOS can cause your LH hormones to do weird things so the OPK tests may not be accurate. Also, people with PCOS are more likely to have frequent patches of fertile looking cervical fluid but are in fact not ovulating. The only way to actually know if you did ovulate is by ultrasound or taking your basal body temperature every day. A great resource is the book, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" which calls this method Fertility Awareness but it is actually the same as NFP. I wish I would have known this all a few months ago so I hope it is helpful for you. I too get so excited when I get my period even if it is anovulatory bleeding...

    1. Hey Alexandra! I appreciate the info. I did look into the other options before choosing Creighton (including STM which does temps), but I went with it because it has NaPro Technology and its own set of doctors (one of which I'll be seeing next month- yay!), which other methods don't offer. Also, I do get fertile looking patches but I handle those with yellow stickers (you use yellow stickers when you have fertile looking mucous that you know isn't fertile). That was how I identified the difference in mucous and knew a period was most likely coming (which it did).

      I know the temperature thing works really well for a lot of people, so I'm not discrediting that method at all! I may add it in the future, but for now we have a lot to perfect with Creighton. Hopefully others with the same issue will read your info so they can see there is more than one way :).

      I so appreciate the info and will keep it in mind for the future!

  5. I'm with Rachel! Big fan of the DivaCup. I had changed to the chlorine/bleach/chemical free tampons already when a friend of my mentioned the DivaCup. I had been reading about menstrual cups, but she took the plunge first.

    I will be took me about two cycles to get used it, but I am glad that I did not give up. I LOVE it now, and hate when I have to use tampons in the summer (the DivaCup and where I live in the summer aren't compatible.)

    It is really awesome. I am so much more comfortable with my body now, and I love how much easier it is to just go about life without worrying about leaks or do I have tampons in my bag. It is great for traveling and exercise, too. I think softball games sold my friend. Give it a chance!

  6. Way to go! That's a Really Big Deal for us PCOSers. And it's good to hear. After another month of wonky temperatures, eternally-fertile-looking CF, and negative OPK after negative OPK, it's really really good to hear a success story.

    And this was exactly what I needed to hear. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and being lazy, and get my (sorry) shit together. You're absolutely right, we can't know if whole foods, exercise, etc are the difference - but they certainly can't hurt.

  7. Thank you Kate! I just hope it doesn't disappear for another 6 months or a year like it did last time! I totally get your frustration. It's unfortunately really easy to feel sorry for ourselves. I get lost in it sometimes, but I know that probably does me even more harm (stress sure isn't going to help us ovulate, you know?). This might sound silly, I'm not sure, but we actually pray over my ovaries a couple times a week... it's brought me a lot of peace... that feeling of, I'm doing what I know to do but I'm also turning it over to God.