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Newbie~Chart and BBT help

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am fairly new to charting and have some questions regarding my BBT. I don't sleep very well, have a 12 week old that wakes up between 4-430a to eat and 3 other kids that occasionally get up at random times throughout the night. Normally I take my BBT at 5am, but I have rarely had 3 hours of sleep in a row. Most of the time I have had a bout 1.5-2 hours. I am wondering if I should change my time next cycle for 3am? This is the time I would most likely have gotten 3 hours of consecutive sleep. Is that too early? Can somebody explain to my why 3 hours of sleep is so important? Also if I only wake up for a moment with out getting up and go right back to sleep will that affect my temps?


This morning my 3yo came in at 3:30, so I decided to take my temp then. It was 97.22. Then my alarm went of at my normal time to take my temp and it was 96.55. The second temp I had only had about 1.5 hours of sleep.


I am also wondering if my awful sleep patterns are making my chart inaccurate. By my CM and CP I am thinking that I should have O'd between CD11-CD13. However, I haven't had a definite thermal shift yet, so TCOYF hasn't given me an O date.



My Chart: http://www.tcoyf.com/forum/chart.asp?id=buterflymomma



Edited by buterflymomma - 8/8/11 at 8:48am
post #2 of 12

I'm not sure why 3 is the magic number of hours that you need to have. But, you do need to be rested and getting up and moving around will provide you with false results. I don't think that waking and falling back to sleep would be an issue. At least, it wasn't for me. In terms of when you take your temperature, I think what's important is that you are well rested and that your timing is consistent. Your temperature will change from hour to hour. But if you're consistent about when you take your temps, you will begin to see patterns in the temperature changes and that's what's important. And yes, inconsistent sleep patterns, among other things, can give you false readings.

post #3 of 12

Welcome! As I understand it, your temperature drops gradually when you are asleep before it reaches an equilibrium at your BBT. That process can take some time, and that's why the three hours of consecutive sleep are important. Everyone wakes in the night a few times whether they remember it or not, so momentary waking shouldn't really be an issue. Some women find temping very early or very late throws temps off even they've had enough sleep, but you might give temping at 3 a.m. a shot for a cycle to see if it works for you. Incidentally, your when I follow the link, it says I don't have permission to view your chart.


The Charting to Avoid/ Fertility Awareness thread has been a great resource for me in learning to chart, and it would probably be the best place to direct these sorts of questions since there are lots of helpful folks with many years of experience eager to help newbies like us. Would you like me to add you to the list? If we can figure out how to make your charts visible, I'll add that link as well.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the info! My chart link should be working now, I had to change the setting.

post #5 of 12

In looking at your chart, I'm not convinced that your temps are that inaccurate.  You would have to chart at least a full cycle before you could determine that, but usually, inaccurate temps are much more varied.


Different women are affected differently by sleep disturbances.  In general, women are very adaptable to whatever is "normal" for them.  I've even heard of nurses who work some days and some nights being able to chart effectively by temping after their longest sleep.  There are a few women who get up to go to the bathroom 2 hours before they wake up, and it throws everything off, but those are few and far between.  In general, the 3 hours of sleep rule is that you need to have gotten 3 hours of sleep in your night without having anything major happen that involves coming fully awake and exerting yourself physically.


I have a few questions to help me understand more of what is going on.


You said you have a 12 week old.  How is this baby being fed?  I ask because if the baby is fully breastfed, it is unlikely that you would be having normal cycles and have ovulated this early in your cycle by 12 weeks old.  If you had bleeding at over 10 weeks postpartum, I would assume that it is a period regardless of how the baby is being fed, but if the baby is fully breastfed, it is unusual that you would have your cycle back at all, and your cycles would almost certainly be long and somewhat confusing at this point.  If you are fully feeding with formula or donated milk, you may have more normal cycles by now.  If you are pumping milk or getting up to prepare a bottle for that 4-4:30 feed, or perhaps even if you are getting up to sit in a rocking chair to nurse, that could certainly mess with your temping.  If you are rolling over to nurse, or if someone else is preparing a bottle for that feed, it is less likely that it would cause a problem.


Is this your first postpartum cycle, or have you had other cycles already?  If you have had other cycles already, how long have they been?  If you are fully feeding your baby formula or donated milk, your cycles are more likely to return quickly to a similar length as they were before you got pregnant.  Do you know about how long your pre-pregnancy cycles were?

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

JMJ ~ No I am not BFing. She is exclusively FF. Normally my DH gets up with her at the 4:30 feeding. There are occasions when I get up, but I usually make a note on my chart. I do wake up when she does, but don't get out of bed. She sleeps next to me in a bassinet, so I just roll over to soothe her until my DH gets her bottle.


This is my third cycle since having my baby. It is a long story, but I tried the Nuvaring for BC and didn't like it. I took it out which induced a full period. Then I took 3 days of the Birth Control Pill which caused me to have another period early. So, this would actually be my first complete cycle since having her. I am pretty fertile though and have gotten pregnant the first month of trying will all my kids. I actually got pregnant with my DD1 on my first cycle after having the Mirena taken out and also got pregnant with DD3 immediately following my m/c. I didn't even have a regular period yet.


My pre-pregnancy cycles were an average 28 days with CD14-15 being my O date. I have always been extremely regular.


I am pretty sure that the BC pill has messed with my cycle. I have actually been having menstrual type cramps for the past 4 days, but no AF so far. I did have an teeny amount (like half the size of a pea ) of pink tinged CM on Friday, but no other tinged CM since. Normally when I start cramping AF is about 1 day behind. Also, my CP has been midway-high and firm.


We aren't trying, but did have an oops on Monday which was CD11. That is why I am trying to figure out when I may have ovulated. I started with OPKs kinda late in the game and they have all been negative so far. I am really a novice at this and am just trying to understand how the coverline,ovulation is calculated. It seems it keeps moving on me. Thanks so much for your help! I appreciate it. Any other input will be greatly appreciated too!

post #7 of 12

Good luck charting!  I find for me, if I were to temp at 3am it would be too early and I am better off to have a couple of ups and downs in the night and temp later.  I also can't temp too late so once I reach past 7am it is too late.  There is kind of a window where if I have been up and down it is okay as long as I temp during the right time.  I have my alarm set for 6:15am each day but find I end up temping somewhere between 5:30am and 6:15am.  If may be up for a feed at around 4am and it wokrs fine as long as I get myself back into a good sleep prior to temping and had some good sleep prior to feeding.  Actually, this week, my son was up for a couple of hours each night in the middle of the night.  He ended up back in bed around 4 each night and my temps stayed normal when it was time to temp.


So far, I'd say your temps look pretty stable and doing fine.  Keep on with what you are doing.

post #8 of 12

OK, that makes more sense.  I'll be interested in seeing what your temp does today.  It's highly likely that your cycles will be back to normal, but with the recent use of hormonal contraception, things probably won't be completely normal this cycle, but they're not looking bad.  Looking at CM only, you definitely had a Peak day on CD 13.  If we were looking at CM only, we would probably estimate that ovulation occurred on CD 13, but it is possible for ovulation to occur up to 3 days before or after Peak day (the reason why we wait until at least P+4 to assume that we are infertile), and in long cycles, it is possible to have many Peaks in CM without ovulation occurring.


Temperature gives you a lot more information.  It can actually confirm that you ovulated.  It is very risky to assume that you have ovulated and are completely safe if you have had a Peak day but no temperature rise.  (To clarify, there are mucus only rules that are quite effective, but if you are temping and know that your temp hasn't risen, it is unwise to assume that you have ovulated.)  By temperature only, we generally assume that you ovulate on the day before your temperature rise, but it is possible to ovulate a little before or after the start of your temperature rise (the reason why we wait until the third day of temperature rise to consider ourselves infertile).  Your cover line keeps moving because it is set at .1F above the highest of the previous 6 temperatures.  There is no ovulation line on your chart yet.  The cover line will stop moving when ovulation is detected.


When you are trying to determine the start of fertility, you need to assume that you are potentially fertile at least by the start of CM (any kind of CM) until you have 4 days past Peak day + 3 days of temperature rise.  Sometimes, you may have some days of CM that are far enough away from ovulation that you wouldn't get pregnant, but you can only know that in hindsight.  If you have CM, you have to assume that sperm can live in it for 5 or 6 days, so you could get pregnant if you ovulate any time in the next week.  If in your previous history, you ovulated around CD 14, I wouldn't assume that you are infertile past about CD 5 or 6 until you have confirmed ovulation, especially not if you have any CM at all.


With this cycle, I have two theories.  The first is that you have not ovulated yet, that you should consider yourself potentially fertile until you can confirm ovulation.  The second theory is that you ovulated.  Peak day was on CD 13, and if you shave the temp on CD 13, you may have the start of a temperature rise on CD 17, but we would need at least 2 more temperatures to confirm that.  It is unusual but not unheard of to have Peak day and the start of your temperature rise separated by so much time, but it likely means that you ovulated some time between the two, CD 14-16.  It is quite possible to get pregnant from any intercourse up to about 5 days before ovulation until the day after ovulation, and because we cannot pinpoint ovulation as exactly as some of this charting software thinks we can, we wait until we have enough days of dry up and temperature rise to confirm ovulation before we assume that we are infertile.  If my second theory is correct, you could get pregnant based on any contact with sperm between about CD 9 or 11-CD 15 or 17, and you need to assume that you are potentially fertile for at least the next couple days so that you can confirm that you have indeed ovulated.  If your temperature continues to rise today and tomorrow, my second theory is correct.  If your temperature does not continue to rise, my first theory is more likely, and you need to assume that you are potentially fertile until you are able to confirm ovulation.  The less fertile mucus you are experiencing now could easily sustain sperm until more fertile CM comes around, and if ovulation happens in the next few days, you could easily get pregnant.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

JMJ~ Thank you so much for taking the time to help me out! I really appreciate it. My temp went down again this morning. It was 96.78 at my 5am wake up time. However, I am wondering which temp I should use from Yesterday the 3am or the 5am? Since I normally wake at 5am should I use that one?


I have been congested and breathing through my mouth. Will that affect temps? I mean they are pretty consistent so maybe not? Also, what constitutes a disturbance? Since I normally don't sleep well, that wouldn't be considered a disturbance correct? Also what about drinking? I did have a few drinks on Monday August 1st and also a stressful day on Sunday July 31st. Are those considered disturbances.


I am planning on getting the TCOYF Book, but haven't made it to the store yet.

post #10 of 12

Since the time when you temp can affect your temperatures and you aren't yet sure what's going on this cycle, I'd suggest sticking with your 5 a.m. temps until your next cycle starts. Then you can try switching.

post #11 of 12

I would use the 5AM temp from yesterday.  Taking your temp at the same time every day is probably more important than any other factor.  Disturbances are kinda tricky.  Basically, it's something that happens that is reasonably likely to have affected your temperature.  My charts (on paper, so I can write whatever I want) have a lot of question marks in the disturbed section.  Really, if it's not near your temperature shift, it's not going to matter.


Mouth breathing will almost certainly affect your temps because it lowers the temperature of your mouth.  If you have been breathing through your mouth every day, you may have missed your thermal shift because all your temps are artificially low.  If mouth breathing is a chronic problem for you, you may need to temp vaginally to get accurate temperatures.  However, because your temps are so consistent, I think that it is unlikely that mouth breathing has been a significant problem.  Disturbed temperatures tend to be all over the place, not clustered in the same area.


I wouldn't mark normal sleep (for you) as disturbed, though some women have a difficult time charting with their normal sleep pattern as discussed above.  I would make a note if a night was especially bad, but it's hard to tell how bad it needs to get before it's going to start causing charting problems.


With stress as with sleep, we all experience a certain normal range of stress, and it's hard to know how much will affect our cycles.  Stress will normally not disturb individual temperatures as much as it may delay ovulation.  A major stress just as you were trying to ovulate could make your body stop in its tracks and try again later.  It is possible that if your stress on the 31st was major enough, that could be why your CM reduced without apparent ovulation a few days later, or it could be something entirely different.  If your stress inhibited your sleep, that could have affected your temperature the next day.  Since your temp the next day is the lowest temp around, it seems possible that something may have affected it.  In the end, though, it doesn't matter since it's not near your shift.


With drinking, one drink is not likely to cause a disturbance.  With "a few" drinks, it depends on the woman, but it may affect the next day's temperature.  Since the next day's temperature is in the same range as those around it, i wouldn't worry about it.


The tricky part with disturbances comes more when you're trying to see your thermal shift.  If you think that an upper temperature may have been artificially inflated due to something that happened, be extra careful there, because you don't want to assume you are done with being fertile when something else is making it seem that way.  In that case, you can't really look and see if your temp is in the range as the other temps around because you're trying to figure out if your temps are different than the ones that came before.


In any case, it sounds like you likely have not yet ovulated, but realize that sperm are likely to live 5 days (up to 7 days is possible) if you have any CM, so assuming that you might ovulate in the next week, you need to assume that you are potentially fertile.    Ovulation is likely just delayed as your hormones regulate after birth and hormonal contraception.  This will get easier with fewer potentially fertile days as your body finds its rhythm.  Be patient with yourself this cycle.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks again! I have also been taking OPKs everyday since August 2nd and so far they have all been negative. I started late taking them I know, so I could have missed a positive, but by my temps I don't think that is likely. I really appreciate all of your help. You have taught me a lot. nod.gif

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