Friday, February 07, 2014

Giving Up Creighton

I plan to write more on my NFP experiences, when I have had more of them. I still new to this, and for me, the jury is still out.

Yesterday I decided to stop using the Creighton Model of natural family planning. I grew frustrated with the tedium of it. There were so many directions you had to follow and understand. It puts a burden on the woman to check for mucus by folding toilet paper into several layers of flat squares and wiping before and after every urination, bowel movement, shower, swimming, etc. You have to "bear down" and do a series of Kegel exercises to eliminate seminal fluid after-sex, and you are also supposed to do this at the end of the day before bed. Yeah sure, all this is less onerous than getting pregnant, and so far, I have not gotten pregnant. But I also had trouble reading mucus some days and misinterpreted possibly some non-fertile days for fertile.

The problem with the Creighton Model, is that it relies on only one sign, although it is perhaps the best sign, for fertility. But if you miss and forget to wipe and register the three observations (sensation, color, consistency/finger-check) EVERY time, my instructor said it invalidates the process, because sometimes the fertile mucus only appears once a day, so if you missed it, you could risk confusing fertile and nonfertile days. I found this discouraging, because sometimes, well, you just really have to go, especially if you are teacher and had to hold it for two 80 minute blocks of teaching. Sometimes you are just two damn tired at night.

But more significantly, I had trouble interpreting the mucus, despite three classes and being a biology teacher. My confusion led to my getting blood tested three times last cycle for progesterone levels. I was very upset at having to take time out of my busy schedule to go get blood drawn, when I am a healthy individual.

Finally, maybe I am not good at following simple directions, but I kept messing up the chart. I put the letters before the number, not after, causing my instructor to cross them out and rewrite everything. I put "D" for dry, instead of "0", again causing her to correct my chart. I forgot to record sensation, most days, when I felt it wasn't necessary. I used the wrong color stickers multiple times.

I guess I make a pretty bad student. But after my class yesterday my teacher asked in frustration "Are you taking this seriously?" It was then I decided to give up. If I can't learn it after three classes, then it is not for me. I went to a class last week on the sympto-thermal method offered by the New York Archdiocese and the Couple-to-Couple league. I think taking my temperature at the same time each morning is easier than this militant attention to mucus. STM still relies on mucus observations, but it is more casual, something you just make a mental note of as you go about your day. There was no strictness about how often you wipe. I know STM isn't for everyone. Some people don't have regular sleep patterns that allow them to take their temp at the same time everyday. Some people don't have regular temperature patterns for some reason. But I am hoping it works for me. I did track for one cycle before marriage, and I saw the typical rise in temperature one would expect. So I hope this method works for me, because I won't use contraception, and the only other alternatives are to look into the Marquette Method or 2-day Method, or some other form of tracking.


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