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photo credit: Yvonne L Sweden via photopin cc

Ok, internet. I am going to share too much and ask for your feedback. Which can’t go badly, right?

So as a slightly neurotic type-A individual trying to get pregnant, the question of whether or not to use a thermometer has been weighing on me. I have read Taking Control of Your Fertility, and wow, does she talk you into basal body temperature readings as a way of understanding what’s going on with your cycle. It’s not mysterious: there’s charts! You can draw lines! Look at all those magical stories of people who just started charting and understood themselves better!

But being a slightly neurotic person, going into this process I am trying to make choices that lead to health and flourishing and not feeding the anxiety. And for me in particular, when I get stressed, it comes out in sleeping poorly. Ever since I have been a kid, at times of high stress or who knows what, I won’t be able to fall asleep or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night wide awake with concerns.

I’ve gotten better at dealing with occasional sleeplessness, often by keeping myself from panicking. It’s the middle of the night and you are the only one awake, and rather than say “I’m doomed! I have so much to do tomorrow and my whole day will be ruined! It is dark and lonely and I am the only one up! Ahhh!” I have gotten better at saying to myself “It’s ok, self. The night isn’t scary. Let’s go get a glass of water, and read or watch something light and fluffy on the couch, and if you fall asleep that’s ok, and if not that’s ok too.”

All of this is to say that for me sleep is highly reactive to stress in my life.

So it seems like a really bad idea to start something potentially stressful that depends on how much and how good of sleep I have had. If there was another way to do it, it would be a more serious consideration, but I would hate to add “And my temperature will be off in the morning!” to my list of crazy middle of the night thoughts.

Which brings me to today. I am now on cycle four off of birth control and I have no idea what is happening. I have had wonky spotting each cycle so far. Before going on birth control, six years ago, I had regular normal periods. Since going off I have few days of spotting in the middle, a few days to a week of spotting before anything I would call a period, all-in-all weirdness. I went to the ObGyn in cycle two, after about two weeks of spotting off and on, and her response was “well, at some point you will ovulate, and then things will kick in.” I would say she was right, except there seems to be a method to the madness, I have started spotting consistently on day 24 of the last two cycles, which coincides with lots of PMS-y symptoms. Which makes me think that it’s not completely random?

So in the absence of actual information, I have been naming random spotting: like I call these two days of spotting “ovulation!” or trying to come up with why a few days to week of spotting before something period-like is possible. I think actual information would be helpful, or at least give me more of a sense of what this is or isn’t. I know after hormonal birth control, a body can be odd… and yes, I know at some point another trip to the ObGyn is in order, but I would love to have a better sense what is going on. If this is just “now I spot in the LP,” that’s a different thing then “you haven’t ovulated”–right?

Which brings me back to trying to decide about charting temperatures. Hmm. 

So internet–what has been your experience of temping? Any anxiety-prone tempers out there? 

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