Another unique NFP question

Ok, so sorry for starting now three threads on this subject in the last few months, but this is some pretty interesting but confusing stuff.

As background, my wife is still breastfeeding our 8 month old about 6-7 times a day. Basically we don’t have a schedule for her to eat, but she does get some supplemental solids about twice a day. That leaves at least five full feedings by breast and a few additional “snacks.” That’s keeping full fertility away.

However, she’s experiencing the typical “patches” one would see during the fertile time. Dry days leading to “T” days leading to “S” and then back to T and D. Weirder still is that she experiences a temperature spike that lasts about three to four days as one would normally see after ovulation, but then the temp falls back down in the space of one day.

To be specific, she sees temps in the 96.9 to 97.2 range and then it spikes to 97.6 to 97.8 for a few days and it falls back from 97.7 to 97.0 in one day. This is a pattern she’s seen regularly now for the last two months. So what’s going on? Obviously she can’t be ovulating, so is this her body just “getting ready” to do so? Anyone else ever experience this?

Well, I don’t think you can rule this out completely. I know a woman who got pregnant twice while breastfeeding exclusively. She got pregnant with her second child when the first was 2 months old, and pregnant with her 3rd when the second was 6 months old.

Once you start solids, you should consider yourself past LAM.

I very much doubt she was exclusively breastfeeding or at least following LAM if she got pregnant when the first was two months old. I mean it’s possible, but she had to notice the end of lochia and the start of her fertility but just didn’t think it mattered.

Anyways, what I meant was that my wife can’t be ovulating because the temperature is not staying above the LTL. It goes higher for three days and then falls back down.

It’s like two weeks where she has dry days or scant mucus and then fertile mucus for the usual 7-9 days as you would see in a normal cycle. As it starts to dry up she sees the usual temperature spike, but it doesn’t last more than 3-4 days as opposed to the typical two weeks or so. It goes right back down to the lower levels, though the mucus remains dried up or very scant. And yes, the first thing that I thought was luteal phase defect, but she’s not menstruating between these alternating cycles of mucus patches. Not even spotting or anything. It’s very weird.

Have you used any LH test strips?

It will not be 100% but it will help add a little bit of certainty when the signs are confusing. It would not surprise me in the least if your wife is ovulating.

Breastfeeding will not keep her fertility away forever unfortunately, so you need use something other than LAM past 6 months.

Is the baby nursing at night? Or sleeping through?

Sorry to “sound” impatient, but no, we’re not using LAM. I know you can’t use that beyond six months and we have not.

Yes, we’ve got the LH strips and they keep turning up negative even during this time of more fertile mucus. That, in addition to the lack of the sustained temp rise after drying up (or menstruation following the short rise showing luteal phase defect) is why I’m 100% certain she’s not ovulating during this time.

Now, of course, since pregnancy is out of the question for the near future (health issues), we’re not taking any chances. Even days of scant mucus are right out; only after consecutive dry days do we even think about it. And even then, we’re following the “special protocols” as laid out in NFP and more, backed up by a LH test strip as per the Marquette protocol,

So yeah, that’s frustrating and all that since there are very, very few “green light” type days but that’s life. This thread was started simply because I’m very curious as to what’s going on right now with her and she doesn’t understand it either.

Sometimes she sleeps through the night. Sometimes not. I know that not feeding her at all during the night could potentially spur the return of full fertility and while that would make it easier to chart, if she’s really hungry I don’t want her to go without some food!

Plus my wife overproduces and while she’s done well to cut that production down some, she’s had to do it very gradually because A) it hurts and B) she would get clogged quickly if she just took some ibuprofen to deal with the pain. She previously had a bout with mastitis that we don’t want to repeat.

Hmmm. Maybe a GYN or reproductive endocrinologist could answer some questions for you? You are obviously totally educated about the subject, so if your wife’s signs are “off the grid” it might be worth talking to an MD!!! :slight_smile:

I agree that if your wife isn’t seeing a sustained temperature rise then she probably isn’t ovulating.
My guess is that she isn’t seeing a temporary rise *after *ovulation, but in fact a temporary dip due to releasing estrogen. Estrogen *can *sometimes depress or lower the waking temperature in some women.
As your body slowly “revs up” and gets back into it’s normal cycle, it is possible to have estrogen surge (just as you would before ovulation) and detect fertile-like mucous, but without having a follicle releasing an egg (which would then in turn surge progesterone and then cause the sustained temperature rise in a normal cycle).

Yes, it can be frustrating to flip-flop back and forth between fertile-like signs and then dry signs… that just comes with the territory of returning fertility. Eventually, she’ll notice the fertility signs (cervical mucous and cervical position) becoming even more obvious and stronger - which will eventually be followed by that confirming sustained temperature rise. For some women, though, it can take many months of these frustrating flip-flops before that happens. Also, when she does eventually start cycling, don’t expect her to be as regular as she was before. If she is still BF’ing when her cycle returns it’s possible to still have erratic cycles for many months. It won’t last forever, though - I promise! :slight_smile:

Good luck and God bless! :slight_smile:

Best advice, call your instructor.

Sounds like you’re speaking from experience. That’s what I was thinking too, but of course, once you’re past six months or so you can’t just assume that those dips aren’t a sign of true fertility! It’s only after the fact that you can look at it and say “hrm, that looks more like a ‘revving up’ situation.” It’s a situation like this that makes me wish for a time machine where I could warp forward, look at the chart, and then warp back and say “don’t worry, it’s a head fake.” Ah well, as I’ve said before, such is life. And we learned from experience with our first that yes indeed you CAN catch that first egg! Our first was in the hospital for a long time so he couldn’t breastfeed. The warning period showed up about three and a half months later and then… well… four and a half months after our boy was born, our little girl was conceived.

Now that we’re past the point where women almost certainly see that “warning period” first, we’re not messing around. And yes, that was supposed to have a lighthearted and innocent double entendre.

Thanks for the info; I really just wanted to see if this is what that “revving up” looked like from those who have more first hand experience than we do.

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