Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Trying to Find the "Perfect" NFP

Initially my husband and I used Symto-Thermo Method (STM).  I was very excited about it even though Hubby was skeptical.  I like the symto part or cervical fluid/mucus.  The thermo started to crush me.  My temp readings were low, but an updated version said for some women that was normal.  HB didn't have a great schedule, but once we had one it was fine.  It wasn't until Knee came on the scene that things fell apart.  Hubby hated the method (or rather how I was doing things) and I wasn't sleeping well at all. 

I finally gave up and we started using a very conservative version of Billings or Creighton.  Basically just the symto part. 

But a few months ago, Hubby complained about it.  Being a scientist, he didn't like that I was basically using the Two-Day Method.  I had stopped using paper charts or electronic charts at this point.  He actually went and sought out advice from a priest, which is serious because according to Hubby he is not Catholic.  We agreed to using a method with 2 data points, and so we went back to STM.

I'm not happy with STM.  It requires you to basically get up in the morning at the same time and take your temps every day.  Some people enjoy this regimented schedule.  I am not one of them.  It got worse when Hubby started doing all the charts.  He's very meticulous.  He doesn't like all the variability.  "Your temps are so hard to read."  And he's waking me up but shoving a thermometer in my face when he gets up.  From all the NFP propaganda, you get this picture in your head of your beloved husband brushing your hair back in the morning, saying good morning, and handing you a thermometer when you use STM.  The reality is/was it's my husband getting up before it's day light and saying "you need to take your temp before the boys wake up.  here."  I want to roll over and sleep in, but he's shoving this thing at me and insisting that I take my temp.  Or he's cursing because the reading cleared out.  We were clashing.

So I suggested using another method.  There are hormonal methods out there, I told him.   He wants data and I want convenience.  I don't like having awkward conversations about checking cervical mucus around my children.  I want to be able to take two seconds and be done.  I hate pouring over charts and having lengthy discussions about what they mean. I suppose I could try the LadyComp, which is a computerized thermometer.  But that's expensive for what it does. It shouldn't be so complicated, right? 

I've been looking into a couple of methods.  There's the popular one that uses a Clear Blue Easy Monitor called Marquette Method.  It's a bit pricy, but it sounds more convenient.  It's not like I don't have to pee in the morning anyway.  So I'm leaning toward that one.  Ebay is selling monitors for a fraction of the cost of a new one.  You'd just have to invest in buying the sticks.  I know a couple of online friends who really like it and manage to budget for it.

But then there's also OvaCue, which has been around for a little while.  It uses sensors to detect hormonal changes in your saliva and cervical mucus.  You pay an upfront cost, but then after that there's no additional cost.  The newest model can connect to your mobile device or I pad or I pod.  I've been reading some reviews and people like that one too.

So what method do you use if you use a method?  Do you like it?  Is it the "perfect" method for you?


  1. I use Creighton. It's the only method I've ever used, and I do love it. I keep a paper chart and am meticulous about noting everything (you know me, I'm type A). I've never taken my temp a day in my life. :0

  2. My previous parish taught Creighton. A lot of ladies liked it (and apparently never heard of STM). But it's out of the question. My husband doesn't trust my record keeping skills and he doesn't feel comfortable without two data points. Plus the priest is on his side. The priest in the nicest way possible told me I need to suck it up and take one for the team. (He basically said given our particular situation I needed to do more to help maintain our marriage. Which means assuage my husband's fears and desires.) So I'm looking for a way to keep all parties happy. If not, STM it is :(

  3. We use Marquette, which uses the Clearblue monitor. I don't know that I'd ever love NFP, in that, well, who wouldn't rather be able to have sex anytime? :p That having been said, I much prefer it because a) it's totally objective and b) no temps. I didn't mind temping, but DH would get woken up on the weekends when I did and then couldn't fall back asleep. The objectivity of the monitor readings--ie, I couldn't possibly misinterpret it--was a big source of relief/peace of mind for me.

    One thing I will say is that the monitor does occasionally miss peak. It's unusual, but it can happen. Backup OPK strips are very cheap on Amazon (like, 80 for less than $30 cheap), and are a great help for one's peace of mind on the rare cycle when peak is missed. Depending on your sex drives (which are none of my business, so please don't interpret this as a question--just trying to give you complete info! :)) you might also consider keeping a digital CB ovulation test on hand, too. OPKs test for luteinizing hormone, but not estrogen. CB digitals and the monitor test for both. My method is to test on the monitor first on a day when I think I may have peak. If I get it, great, I flush the urine. If I don't, I dip with an OPK, and do so again in the evening. If I get a strong positive on the OPK, I'll use a digital. For what it's worth, I've missed peak only once with the monitor in almost a year of using it. I just like having options so that we don't "lose" an entire cycle, as we've been sticking verrrrry conservatively to phase III only. I use mucus observations to cross-check to confirm peak.

    I use the online chart system that Marquette offers. I STRONGLY recommend if you're thinking of Marquette: register on their forums. They're strapped for cash (the forums are free, though), so they haven't updated the non-forum portion of their website in a while, and the info there is no longer 100% accurate, especially the postpartum protocol. Stupid, I agree, since it would take any marginally-competent web designer about 3 minutes to copy the appropriate text onto the page, but there ya have it.

    Another thing I like about Marquette is that while the forums are pretty much impossible to search through, if you post a question it will be answered within 24 hours by either Dr. Fehring, who created the method, or his assistant.

    RE STM: if you *really* wanted to use that, would your DH be willing to check/record your cervical position as a cross-check? I have friends who do that, and it works well for them. It wouldn't for us :p, but every marriage relationship is different, so I thought I'd toss that out there.

    Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  4. Katherine- Thanks so much for the info. It's really been helpful. I took your advice and signed up for the forums although I haven't been accepted yet.

    I'm still considering Marquette. Really it all depends on Hubby finding a permanent job as Marquette does require some continuous cost. And it's not as cheap as paper, ink, and a basic basel thermometer.

    We've looked into cervical position cross-check. It's not as reliable especially if there's arousal involved (sorry for the TMI). And it's not very comfortable when there's not (again sorry).

    For now we're just trying to see if I get any kind of surge indicator on an OPK and using CM (like we've always done). Hubby seems okay with just a basic indicator. He says relying on a machine to figure out the results for him bothers him. I guess it's the scientist in him. However, he says he's willing to go on the Marquette Method if that makes me feel more comfortable.

    Marriage is not easy.

  5. Re your last: heck no, it isn't!

    About the cost: something I would like to have known before I started is that the cost significantly decreases over time. After about 3-4 months of testing through regular cycles, the machine started only asking me for tests for about ten days of the month, which means using 1/3rd of a box every month. This is normal; it's a question of the machine getting used to your cycle length. I've found the sticks to be cheapest at, where they're generally just under $40/box, bringing the cost to about $13/month. They are more like $65/box if you go to Walgreens or CVS in person, though, so it certainly pays to have a spare box stashed away in case shipping gets delayed or something. Definitely pricier than STM, but not too bad, especially after the first few months. Of course, there is the initial monitor cost (*winces*).

    I've never been entirely comfortable with the cervical cross-check either, for what it's worth. :/ I mentioned it because it's been very helpful for this friend, but I know it's not for everyone.

    I hope you find a method that works well for you! :)


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!