Friday, November 21, 2014

The past few months of learning NFP

NaturalGuy and I have had an interesting few months of learning NFP. I've gotten accustomed to my 7:00 am temperature alarm, and mucus checking has almost become second nature. At night, we takes a quick look at the charts together. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes/day at this point.

We have found Taking Charge of Your Fertility to be the most helpful resource for NFP. The author thoroughly explains how the menstrual cycle works, and how to determine the fertile time frame through careful observation. We've found ourselves looking up questions in the "trouble shooting" section at the end of the book, or brushing up on chapters as they become relevant. This book was a great investment, and I think that we could have gotten by with this book alone. It's a fantastic reference book.

In the past month we also completed our "Couple to Couple League" NFP class. We found the classes to be a huge confidence booster, but not great overall. Your experience may vary - the teaching couple plays a huge role in how the course is taught. The course we attended followed the textbook, "The Art of Natural Family Planning," very closely. There were many opportunities to practice applying various NFP rules to real charts, which was very helpful and gave us a great deal more confidence handling charting. The textbook clearly describes various rules, when each rule can be applied, and the accidental pregnancy rate associated with each rule for couples trying to avoid pregnancy. I think the book is much better used as a workbook and introduction than as a a reference book. Our biggest problem with the classes was that 50% of the class time was spent listening to arguments for why NFP was approved by the Catholic Church and birth control wasn't. We were already in the class and didn't like being lectured, especially by videos made in the 80's of priests describing the "matrimonial embrace"! (The textbook also includes these sections, but they're easy enough to skip.)

We've had an interesting few months coming to terms with what fertility means to us. We noticed that my luteal phase is a bit shorter than expected - only 9 days instead of the typical 12 - which could effect our chances of pregnancy later. This could be an effect of coming off birth control, so we are keeping an eye on it, but not worried yet. NaturalGuy had a health scare a little over a month ago. During a routine exam, the doctor found testicular cysts and NaturalGuy had to get an ultrasound to confirm that they were benign. Thankfully, everything was fine! But it certainly gave us pause to think about what it would mean for us if we were faced with infertility. I will probably write a post about this in the next month, but I haven't gotten my thoughts together yet.

We've had a great experience learning NFP so far and we'd encourage other couples to take the leap!

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