Monday, December 11, 2006

More NFP studies....

If you're not interested in reading about Natural Family Planning right now...feel free to go elsewhere.

I read almost the whole NFP study book last night before going to bed. Talk about a heavy read. It's kind of like studying for a Chemistry Exam right before you go to bed. I've been trying to determine what is going on in my cycle. I was pretty sure that the amenorrhea had something to do with the rate at which Anneliese has been nursing. (It feels like 24/7....No wonder I'm so tired all the time!) They even have a phrase for this sort of nursing-- ecological nursing. Just in case you did not know, it is different from total nursing because with total nursing you still might substitute breast milk in a bottle. Which I don't. It is essential that the baby suckle and nurse only at the breast to keep the hormones suppressors working. As I was reading it crossed my mind that if I had not gone to work when Anthony was 9 months old I probably would have suppressed my cycle even longer than the 11 months. Research has shown that women can suppress their fertility for up to 30 months with ecological breastfeeding. That's a heck of a long time! The average is between 12 and 18 months though. In countries where contraceptives are not as widely used this is how child spacing is achieved. Say the !Kung tribe who has somewhere around 4 children on average with a spacing of 18-24 months. Pretty nifty if you ask me. Neat how nature works things out. Considering it takes on average a womans body 2 years to return to normal from pregnancy and birth...18-24 months seems like a nice time to have another child. That is if you don't have some substantially serious reason for avoiding pregnancy.

At my post-partum appointment, (I'm still scarred from that experience), my doctor was trying to educate me on the fact that I don't know as much as I do about my cycle and my body etc. And she was telling me that you ovulate before you menstrate. However, research has shown that when you are ecologically breast feeding and still having amenorrhea that is not always the case. Firstly, because you are still breast feeding with gusto your hormones have not been allowed to return to normal and so you may have symtoms of ovulation, but in fact you don't. Secondly, it has been observed that within the first 56 months post-partum you can have hormonal bleeding but this is not in fact menstration. It's essential that you record your tempatures and symtoms so that you can determine if these things are going on with you.

I think it's all pretty awesome, if you ask me. There's all this stuff that the general public doesn't know about womens bodies. I feel like I've been let in on some huge secret truth. I wish more people were educated about these things. It would probably save a lot of people heartache if they are trying to have a baby. Especially with women who have abnormal cycles. They could probably acheive pregnancy fairly quickly if they were keeping track of their symtoms.

If you are interested in that sort of thing, you can go here and download an awesome program that helps you keep track and determine your fertility. This is also helpful if you have to go to the doctor and they want to know what your cycle has been like. And if you are like me, you can't remember because your brain-cells are fried.

One might ask why I'm so damn obsessed with this...My husband comes home in February. That's not that far off. And that's all I'm going to say!
Anthony is in this huge playing-pretend-stage. He brought Flounder, from The Little Mermaid, into Church with us yesterday. Literally. He was walking with his hand cupped out in front of him, like there was a fish in it. I told him he better leave Flounder in the pretend pond in the car so he didn't drown on air during Mass.
And then during Mass he was talking about the other children and how they were his friends, and he had a name for each one. Like the boy "Eggo" who was sitting in front of us. This one has quite the imagination.

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