Family Planning

Posted by  | Sunday, March 1, 2009  at 9:19 PM  
Since a lot of good, solid points have already been made, I thought I'd just share my story like Leah and Christina did.

I think that as someone who practiced abstinence before marriage, going on birth control a few months before my wedding was just understood. I knew that was what "a girl did" right before getting married, and I was excited to start taking it. Heck, I knew friends that went on birth control in 9th grade to ease menstrual cramps. I didn't know anyone who chose anything but birth control, except those who didn't prevent and conceived immediately following the wedding. My Grandmother, who had eight children, told me that I had better go on birth control for at least a few years to give my husband and I some time. So, that was exactly what I did.

You also must know that right after I got married, doctors discovered that I had a benign growth on my pituitary gland called a microadenoma. It was on the side of the gland that affected the prolactin hormone, and my OB told me that I could possibly have a hard time getting pregnant, especially if the tumor grew larger. This really explained why my cycles had changed from a 28-day cycle (with seven to eight long days each cycle) all throughout high school and some of college to a three week cycle only lasting three, maybe four days each cycle. I didn't want to take any medicine to shrink the growth since there would be a vacant spot where the growth was and that in itself would present another set of problems. I'd rather pray that the Lord shrink the growth!

During our first year of marriage, I became uncomfortable with the hormones I was putting into my body every month, especially due to the pituitary microadenoma, but I had never been big fan of taking medicines anyways. Before we moved to NC for seminary, we decided that we were going off birth control, and we finally did a few months after being at Seminary. (By the way, the Lord DID shrink the growth from 5mm to 2mm with no medicine!! My Endocrinologist could not believe that I did not take any medicine! All credit goes to the Lord!)

At that point, I started to chart my basal body temperature every morning for months using this printable chart. Here's a sample basal body temperature chart to give you an idea as to how to fill in one. I learned so much from seeing a consistent pattern with my temps and knowing exactly when I was ovulating. I had a clockwork cycle, thanks to that one year of birth control, but still kept hearing the words of my OB in my mind that we could experience an uphill battle with conceiving. In those months of being off birth control, our method of prevention was mainly steering clear of each other during the week I was ovulating. We also used spermicide. Although I had a lot of confidence in using spermicide, I never had a peace about what exactly I was in the spermicide. Long story short, once we decided to not prevent and "just see what happens, we conceived our daughter IMMEDIATELY. Our first pregnancy truly shocked us to the core, as we weren't expecting it to happen so quickly. We were elated! Laney was born December 2006.

After Laney was born, I was nursing and pumping for 13.5 months, so I knew that had to help in preventing conception, but we also went back to the same method we used to prevent before we conceived Laney. I still was uncomfortable with the idea of spermicide, but didn't have the energy to research another option. (If you happen to know what's in spermicide, enlighten us!) We assumed that I was fertile myrtle since my cycles were like clockwork and getting pregnant came so quickly, but boy were we surprised and discouraged with how long it took to conceive this second time. I'll save my story, and what I learned in this time of waiting on the Lord, for a POH week dedicated to infertility, but I will say that the birth control that I was on the first year of our marriage really straightened out my cycle and gave me that perfect 28-day cycle, ovulating on the 14th day. I learned a ton from the same book Christina featured in her post, Taking Charge of Your Fertility." I was able to self-diagnose myself after reading that very informative book.

Lastly, what's my view of birth control? After taking a seminary Marriage and Family Class and reading the books from that class, we both agree with Christina's viewpoint on birth control. If you haven't read what Christina wrote, it's below. We'd love to hear from you!

2 comments:

Monica said...

Hollie,

Thank you for that. I am new to this blog (a friend of mine recommended it to me), and I found your post to be helpful. My husband and I do not have any children yet, however we are in the process of getting our bodies ready for conception (eating healthier, exercising more, etc.). I have been on BC since I was 16 years old to help ease cramping (I had horrible cramps) and to help keep me regulated (I go off of them next month). Also, last year I was diagnosed with beginning to go into the early stages of hypothyroidism...my doctor caught it early on and now I'm on a low dose of thyroid meds and am checking my blood every couple of months to make sure I'm ok. Anyways, I've read so many books and websites that have scared me into thinking that conceiving will never happen. I knew already that I need to continue to put my faith in the Lord, and know everything will be ok and He will let me know when we are ready- however your story has helped me to relax a little about conceiving. Thank you!

Hugh & Hollie Carson said...

Monica,
Thanks for sharing and visiting POH! Let us know how your journey goes with coming off BC and trying to conceive. We all can learn so much from each other! And yes, you're right on -- the Lord's timing is perfect.

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