So, we made it through the first ovulation postpartum. My little one was 12 mo. I had at least a month of tons of fertile fluid along with cramps and spotting. I thought that was tough for charting and abstaining but now I'm completely confused. I had the obvious thermal shift, mucus change, menstrual flow 10 days later. I had a couple of dry days and now some sticky/some stretchy. What is frustrating is my temps. I vary from 97.1 to 97.9. The latter temp was my thermal shift last month for ovulation. I'm not sure what to do for abstinence purposes. Do I consider every day of fluid show (even sticky) as possibly fertile? I'm on day 13 of my cycle. I guess I just thought once I had a period things would be clearer, not more confusing! Last month my temp schedule was erratic at best but I kept on and still had a nice, easy to understand pattern. I'm so new at this please help me if you can.
i completely gave up on temping while charting and breastfeeding because pre O my temps were ALL over the place (after my 1st) It took months and months to have a more regular pattern in the first half of the cycle and even then my temps were crazy the first 7ish days of my cycle .. so i gave up and i only chart CM - the problem there is i have 10-14 days of fertile egg white CM before O .. i only count EW as fertile because if i counted anyting else i would always be considering myself fertile.. i also check CP and that helps a little, but its generally fertile-seeming for the same time the EWCM is around .. basically, it is VERY hard for me to chart to avoid while breastfeeding .. i do it, but its dangerous becasue we aren't going to abstain for 14 days of every cycle. it just doesn't work. anyway - chances are that in a few cycles you'll see eough of a pattern to help you figure things out, but you might not see the type of pattern you want ;) and my guess is that the crazy temps will continue until you get close to O ..
Charting while breastfeeding isn't very effective for me either. PPAF showed up when Babe was 5 months old, she's 8.5 months old now. The first cycle was 40 days, then 28 days, then 26 days, and now I am on day 34 of this cycle and still counting. My normal cycles are 27 days. I can totally forget temping since she is reverse cycling, I work full time. So good luck to all of us trying to figure this one out!
~Patti~ Momma to three girls and three boys , First mother to one girl
Certified, card carrying member of the IEP Binder Club
Yes, if you want to be most conservative, you would consider yourself to be potentially fertile regardless of what kind of CM you have. If you have the same thing every day for 2 weeks, you can consider that to be your Basic Infertile Pattern. Your temps will likely eventually do something like your first postpartum ovulation. They'll be all over the place, but then you'll see a shift when you do actually ovulate. Your CM might not be as obvious as it was for your first PP ovulation, like you might not have as long of super-fertile CM, so if it is really important to postpone another pregnancy, I would be pretty conservative about CM. If any of you need to find ways to reduce the amount of abstinence required, I would look into the Marquette Method or Creighton.
Thanks for the replies! So these crazy long fertile phases will continue as long as I'm nursing? There is no such thing as regular cycles (with less than a week of fertile cm!) while breastfeeding? My little one, who is now over 13 mo, is not showing any interest in weaning and I really wasn't in any hurry either. She is back to waking me up twice a night and nurses about 5 times during the day...hmmm. We have pretty much come to the conclusion that we have to cheat; weeks of abstinence are just not working and I was so excited to actually chart and God willing have a little break. Are there any natural helps to regulate my cycle besides stopping breastfeeding? I've upped my Vitamin C intake. Any other vitamins, essential oils or such? I thought I ovulated around Christmas but nothing doing.
Thank you again. I truly appreciate your advice and experiences.
Nobody can predict what your body will do. You may return to normal cycles quite quickly, or breastfeeding may continue to affect your cycles for quite some time or even until after you wean. In my own experience, I had some pretty long cycles with few truly safe days, and we had what we felt was a very serious reason for avoiding pregnancy (pregnancy would almost certainly result in miscarriage due to luteal phase defect), so we were pretty conservative, but I was toying with rules that would have given us a tight fertility window and probably prevented conception despite having long and irregular cycles. I don't know if it would have held up over time, though, as we switched to TTC for my 6th postpartum ovulation and got pregnant that cycle (even though I didn't ovulate until 5 weeks into my cycle!).
The rules I was toying with were that the fertile phase would begin on the first day of "more fertile-type" mucus (defined as clear, stretchy, or slippery) until I had a sympto-thermal rule. On the cycle with my second postpartum ovulation, this wouldn't have helped me a whole lot. I had more-fertile mucus beginning on CD 13 and had 2 weeks more before I had a thermal shift, but my peak day wasn't until 4 days after that, and my period started on P+4, so I had no post-ovulation infertile days that cycle. However, the next 4 cycles, I had 6-9 days from the start of more-fertile CM (not all days in between were more-fertile type CM) through peak day/before temp rise. You really don't want it to be under 6 days if you've got less-fertile type mucus, or you really increase your likelihood of getting pregnant. You'd want to be careful about the "not in the morning" (so you can make adequate observations) and "not on consecutive days" (so that you can make observations without seminal residue) rules for the pre-ovulation infertile phase.
I wouldn't guess that every woman would have the same experience as I did, and I wouldn't expect my "rules" to yield anything like the effectiveness that some people need. You might consider following the rules and observing what your body does around ovulation for a few cycles and see if you can see any patterns to make rules about what you're comfortable with.