I just found out I’m expecting my third child. This is my third surprise pregnancy in seven years of marriage.
I have done everything I can to make NFP work for me. My husband and I took an NFP class through the Couple to Couple League several months before we were married. At the time, my cycles were 40-80 days long. I had been to several doctors over the years about it and no one had a clue what was wrong. I was having a lot of difficulty with learning NFP, so I met with the teacher outside of class and called her several times. She recommended the book “Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition,” so I bought it, and per Marilyn Shannon’s suggestion, I started taking flax seed oil and eating carrot sticks every day (carrots are supposed to make your mucus stretchier and therefore more obvious. It’s mostly advice for trying to conceive, but it also gave be a longer mucus patch so I had more warning when ovulation was coming.)
Despite these efforts, we had a surprise pregnancy three months into our marriage. After our daughter was born, I went to an NFP-only doctor in our area. I finally got a diagnosis for my long, irregular cycles – PCOS – and started taking metformin. They also said I had an erosion on my cervix, which was making my mucus confusing, so they painted it with silver nitrate. The metformin made my cycles more like 40-50 days instead of 40-80 days, but it didn’t make them regular. I ended up having a second surprise pregnancy when our daughter was 3 ½.
After the second daughter was born, the NFP-only doctor upped my dose of metformin to the highest possible dose. I also had a procedure called cryosurgery on my cervix to freeze the erosion, which was supposed to work better than the silver nitrate.
Now, our second daughter will be two in a few more weeks, and I just found out I’m expecting #3 – also a surprise.
My husband did not react well to the news at all. We have been arguing about NFP for a long time – he wants to use birth control because NFP hasn’t been reliable for us. He even suggested getting divorced if we can’t agree on this.
I don’t know what to do at this point. Usually when people say on this board that NFP didn’t work, everyone tells them to take a class, try a different method, see an NFP-only doctor, etc. But what if you’ve already done all those things, and it still doesn’t work?? I even bought a fertility monitor once, only to find out that fertility monitors don’t work for women with PCOS. I know some women have luck with cervical checks, but I have been doing internal observations every day for seven years and I’ve never been able to determine my fertile time based on my cervical position. Sometimes it seems higher or lower, but there’s no correlation with fertility. I know some people find the Creighton method easier for long cycles, but I know the basics of Creighton and I don’t think it will work for me. The only way I’ve ever been able to tell when I’m fertile is through internal observations and temperature, and Creighton uses neither of these. I can’t tell just by wiping. Also, I looked into a Creighton class in my area and it’s $200. We already spent $75 on the NFP class, $80 on a fertility monitor that doesn’t work, $100 for the cryosurgery, and probably a couple hundred in copays going to the NFP-only doctor. How much money am I going to have to spend to make NFP work for me??
I just don’t know what to do. I know NFP works very well for most people but I seem to be an exceptional case. It just doesn’t work for me, no matter how hard I try. My husband is fed up with it and I’m afraid it will destroy our marriage.
I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I kept using NFP after the first surprise pregnancy, which resulted in me getting fired for being pregnant and a subsequent lawsuit against my company (I know this because a former boss called me and said I had been fired for being pregnant). I kept using it after the second surprise pregnancy, which resulted in me developing severe preeclampsia, which in turn led to me developing pretty severe health anxiety and panic attacks. Most people would have given up on this a long time ago. Now I’ve had a third surprise pregnancy, which may mean the end of my marriage.
I can’t do this anymore. I can’t. I hate NFP. I hate knowing the truth about birth control. It’s an unbelievable burden. For the first time in my life, I’m tempted to leave the Catholic Church. This is just intolerable.