Staff Story, Sam & James: Addressing low progesterone for a healthy pregnancy
I first learned about the fertility awareness method (FAM) when my boyfriend James joined a company that was creating an app to make tracking fertility signs easier. We'd been together for almost 2 years, we were living in Denver, Colorado and I was on a contraceptive pill that made my skin more sensitive to the sun. We were also training for triathlons and spending a lot of time outside. I'm a fair-skinned person and I had always burned easily, but ever since going on that particular pill, just walking outside was an unpleasant experience. I burned more easily and I could feel my skin responding to the sun every time I stepped outside. This was not a great combination with our love for the outdoors and Denver.
After learning more about FAM, I decided I would be ok with trying it. I'm a data-driven person, I'm fortunate enough to have a regular schedule that makes tracking reliable, and I was in a committed relationship with a wonderful person who was willing to be an engaged partner in this contraceptive choice.
We used it for contraception for 2 years without any pregnancy scares. I enjoyed being off the pill and I took a lot of pleasure in the greater understanding I gained about how my body worked and watching the body signals move along in a predictable pattern.
Fast forward 2.5 years later when we were married and wanted to try to get pregnant. I had 25+ cycles that told me when I could expect to ovulate (I'm fortunate that my cycles were very predictable). We got pregnant on our second month of trying! I kept charting since it was habit, and the temperatures started to drop. I knew something was wrong and then blood tests confirmed that I was having an early miscarriage—some people call it a "chemical pregnancy" — maybe if I hadn't have been charting, I wouldn't even have known. Miscarriage affects every couple differently, but I took some solace in the fact that miscarriage isn't uncommon and that my cycles had been so regular that perhaps this was just a fluke—a small genetic flaw that told my body that the fetus wasn't healthy enough to grow to become our baby.
A few months went by and charting let us see that my cycle was normal again, and we got pregnant again. I decided not to chart this time and see where things went. At our 10-week ultrasound we learned our baby had stopped growing. I was able to miscarry at home, and it was one of the hardest moments in our relationship.
As we gained our strength back, once we decided we wanted to try again, I went back to charting. We wanted to make sure my cycles looked normal, and we were lucky enough to conceive again. We went for early intervention and found out my progesterone was low. With a supplement, we carried our baby all the way to term and had a beautiful baby girl.
Then we went back to charting for contraception again until we decided we wanted a second baby. This time I again knew when to expect my ovulation date, and we got pregnant on our second try.
We have 2 wonderful little girls right now and I'm still charting (TTA). I've learned so much about my body. Sometimes I like to scroll back and see what was going on just before I conceived or what happened around the time I was having a bad day. It's actually a lot of work to remember to record everything and follow the rules, but once you're used to it, it's almost second nature. It was a great choice for us!