NFP Yellow stamps


#1

Hi,

I am new to this site and found it after growing more and more frustrated with my situation. My husband and I have been using the Creighton method our entire marriage (almost three years) and felt very confident and satisfied with it. However, after the birth of our second son seven months ago, I have had mucus almost every single day. I had to use yellow stamps for a short time after the birth of my first son, and my instructor has told me to begin using them again, but for me it is stressful deciding everyday if there is a difference in mucus from one day to the next. We are trying to avoid pregnancy right now, and seeing how this has been going on for 7+ months now, it doesn't leave many available days for intercourse. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice about this or has been through this themselves. I am breastfeeding, baby started solids at 6 months, and my period has returned but hasn't made a difference with my signs. I think what makes this harder is that I don't feel like my instructor is very sympathetic or understanding to our situation, but I feel embarrassed to ask to go to someone else. We have to have our appointments over the phone since there are no instructors in our area.


#2

If you're having trouble with the cervical fluid sign, you might want to switch to sympto-thermal. For me, temperature is the most useful because my BBT shifts are very obvious. The Couple to Couple League (ccli.org) uses the sympto-thermal method. Also, Taking Charge of Your Fertility (tcoyf.com) is a useful resource.


#3

A different method seems to be in order, perhaps adding a fertility monitor to your current method?


#4

I can relate- I also use yellow stamps (before and after my pregnancy) and there are times when it’s difficult to decide. I’m sure you know this, but I just hear my instructor’s mantra “is it clear, stretchy or lubricative”? If it is then it’s fertile and I use a baby sticker and count three, if it’s not then it’s yellow. Also, I pay attention to how I feel- if I’m really looking forward to hubby coming home :wink: :stuck_out_tongue: it might mean I’m approaching a peak time.

I got a CBFM to try and help “confirm” peak but I can’t report any success with it yet. You might want to switch to STM if you are interested in learning a new method. But I think with the return of your cycles and likely breastfeeding less frequently, your signs will soon become easier to distinguish. Good luck!


#5

Has your instructor given you a picture book? Told you the process of figuring it out? (2nd stretch, etc?)

I've been charting for 8 years, and the first couple years was rough because of yellow stickers, But honestly, I'm so glad I stuck with it because its so easy to see it now.

Also, talk to your doc about a possible cervical aversion, which may be the cause. The simple solution to this is a cryo (freezing of the cervix....not painful) and the yellow sticker needs almost stopped completely.


#6

Thank you for all the helpful suggestions and support! It is nice to know that it will get easier with time. I think you’re right that the “clear/stretchy/lubracative” question should help me if I consciously think about that definition every time. I think I had started thinking my peak mucus might be different since my “dry” days are different now too, but I guess it is true that peak mucus is still peak mucus no matter what everything else looks like.

I really like this method for the most part because the rules are laid out so clearly for me… I don’t think I would do so well w/ the sympto thermal method because my sleep schedule is never the same – I get up a lot at night with the baby still, and I also work part-time which means waking up certain days much earlier than I normally have to.

My teacher had suggested during my last follow-up that maybe my cervix was inflamed and had told me the options, including the cryo agapewolf mentioned, but it had really freaked me out the way she described everything. Maybe it’s something I should find a little more about. Thanks.


#7

[quote="csimom, post:6, topic:193000"]
Thank you for all the helpful suggestions and support! It is nice to know that it will get easier with time. I think you're right that the "clear/stretchy/lubracative" question should help me if I consciously think about that definition every time. I think I had started thinking my peak mucus might be different since my "dry" days are different now too, but I guess it is true that peak mucus is still peak mucus no matter what everything else looks like.

I really like this method for the most part because the rules are laid out so clearly for me... I don't think I would do so well w/ the sympto thermal method because my sleep schedule is never the same -- I get up a lot at night with the baby still, and I also work part-time which means waking up certain days much earlier than I normally have to.

My teacher had suggested during my last follow-up that maybe my cervix was inflamed and had told me the options, including the cryo agapewolf mentioned, but it had really freaked me out the way she described everything. Maybe it's something I should find a little more about. Thanks.

[/quote]

The thing that helped me figure out the difference is "point of change". Watching to see when it changes.

The cryo is no big deal--- really. Its a little uncomfortable, as any procedure is, but its not painful at all. I felt cramps (like regular cycle cramps) for maybe 1/2 day afterwards, and thats it. Don't be afraid.


#8

Creighton user here, and a bit of a Creighton cheerleader. If you think switching methods would be best and easiest for you, then that is your decision to make, but I truly think that Creighton offers a solution to most women struggling with most issues relating to their observations.

I have a friend who has had a personality clash with her Creighton instructor, and she has a much different level of satisfaction with the method than I do--so I talked to my instructor (in a different city) to get a recommendation of a good instructor near my friend. If you go to fertilitycare.org and look for one of the 'major' FertilityCare centers in your region, even if it's a few states away (or call the Pope Paul VI Institute in Nebraska), and they should be able to recommend other practitioners/instructors for you. Don't feel bad about it--if you don't click, you don't click. It's like any other medical professional--you should trust them and their abilities, and appreciate their "bedside manner". If you need to switch, you need to switch.

I have wacky cycles (probably PCOS, endo, thyroid problems...) and occasionally use the yellow stamps. When we first incorporated the yellow stamps my instructor did show me the picture book that agape mentioned. It's very helpful. Even if you don't meet with your instructor in person, they should be able to mail it to you for a little bit for you to look through. Some other suggestions that have helped me...

When thinking about sensation, ask yourself if it REALLY is lubricative. Sometimes just because I've been in a seeming holding pattern of lubricative CM, I get a little lazy and just assume that it always feels lubricative. Sometimes it's just smooth--which is a whole different story.

Along with the point of change thing, your instructor should be having you ask the question "Is this CM essentially the same or is it essentially different from yesterday's observations?". That helps point out the point of change more clearly. I put Ys and Ns on my chart for each day to show that I've asked, and then a little up arrow on the point of change day. I'm guessing that's standard CrMs charting practice.

When I started dealing with constant mucus and trying to chart, my instructor recommended a variety of changes to living habits and supplements. Of course ask your instructor if any of these are appropriate, but here's what I did:

  • Started taking 1000mg of Vitamin C daily. This reduces mucus so that you are only observing peak-type and the non-peak-type goes away. At least that is what it did for me.

  • Changed bath soap and laundry detergent to "no fragrance/color added" versions. I now use Dove Sensitive Skin bars in the shower, and any brand of "free & clear" detergent. I also ditched fabric softener for towels and undies, and when I do use the dryer sheets I use the no-fragrance kind. All of these soaps/scents/colors can alter your body's chemistry and affect the CM observation. It sounds weird, but it really has helped!

  • Similarly, feminine hygiene products can cause CM observation problems. Definitely avoid any scented/deodorant pads and tampons. I also avoid the brands of pads that have a more plasticky feel to them, as they don't allow air flow. Also only use natural personal lubricants (virgin coconut oil works great; a sheet I got from my FertilityCare center recommended olive oil or SHORTENING, which grosses me out!) and never douche (this is one of the tenets of CrMS anyway...the whole 'the vagina is a self-cleaning organ' element of instruction)

  • Wear only cotton undies and avoid pantyhose (or remove the panel in the crotch area, if possible). Sounds weird, but it's related to the whole 'breathing' thing, too.

If I think of anything else that might help I'll post it. Sorry for the long post--I hope you figure things out! From what I've heard navigating post-partum can be so difficult, and to be honest difficulty in identifying truly infertile days was one of the reasons we started TTC over a year ago. (For me the use of yellow stamps indicated other issues and sub-fertility, though I know that's not how it works post-partum.) Good luck!


#9

Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been practicing a lot of the things you mentioned already, but some are new to me, such as the vitamin C and the natural personal lubricants. I will have to ask my instructor about those and see what she knows on it. I hope between those things and possibly looking into cryo more will help me solve my problem.

Thanks too for the advice about the teacher. It's true, I really do think it matters if you click with the person or not. I had actually avoided calling her for months because I just don't do well with her style, and am now regretting it because I'm sure I could have avoided a lot of frustration if I had just sucked it up and called earlier or made the jump and switched to someone new. I still can't believe with as a big a city as I live in (Phoenix, AZ) there are no Creighton teachers here! I've already checked with both of the places you had listed.


#10

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