(So this post might be a rambling one, that seems to have no real point. But that’s kind of the day I’m having. So, Happy Women’s Day! lol)
I know I’ve said a few times before that I am a *BIG* temp pusher when it comes to TTC. My app of choice is Fertility Friend. I’ve used several apps, but that is the only I’ve stuck with. For me, it’s the most accurate. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
The tracking apps can be used in several different ways. It can be a date tracker, where all you put in are the dates each month when your cycle starts. It can be a BBT tracker, where you track your basal body temperature each day to confirm ovulation. You can use them to track daily cervical position, cervical fluid/mucus, symptoms, and OPK testing to help track your fertile window. Or you can do it all. As you might guess…I do it all. (Well, except cervical position. Haven’t gotten that down.)
But, I’ve learned the more information you put into it, the more accurate it is. And the longer you use it, the more accurate it is. It learns your patterns and can help predict better based on them.
For example…if all you use it for is a date tracker, it gives you a projected fertile window & expected period start date based on what is “average” for your cycle length. Which, can be WAY off for you specifically. So, I always say to use them to their fullest. Especially if you’re using a paid version of the app.
But I have also learned that no matter how much information you put into an app…it’s still just an app. Life will always be life. It can alway surprise you.
Five of the last six cycles have been medicated. So I didn’t do OPKs during those cycles because of the scans I was having to track progress. But when we decided to go unmedicated this cycle while we worked out some things in preparation for IUI, I decided to go back to the full on crazy OPK testing lady that I use to be. Hence, the outrageously nutzo test stash pics you’ve seen.
Now, typically during an unmedicated cycle, my usual cycle length is average 32 days and I ovulate sometime between CD16 & 19. The rule of thumb on OPK testing, if I remember right, is to start testing 16 days before your period is expected. It’s another rule that’s based on dates only…so it’s based on a 14 day luteal phase being the “average”. My avareage luteal phase is 13 days. And, I have been known to have an occasional wonky cycle where I’ve ovulated on CD10 or 11. So I decided to start my OPK testing on CD5…just to be safe. And it’s not like I don’t have enough tests to cover a couple weeks worth of testing, should I need it.
So, based on what Fertility Friend knows of my cycle…after years of using it, this was my OPK Optimizer for this cycle. And it lined up pretty much with what I was also thinking my cycle would look like. But because I’ve had those crazy cycles before…
And I’m glad I did. Because my cycle appears to be going rouge.What a difference 24 hours makes. Positive OPK on CD10. Which puts me most likely ovulating some time today, CD11. So, while my cycle history suggests that I’m “Probably Not Fertile”…everything else says otherwise. Now, again life can still be a factor. I’ve had cycles where I’ve gotten a positive OPK, complete with fertile cervical mucus…and not ovulated with that surge. Sometimes I surged again within a few days. Other times, it took weeks before I surged again. So, I may not be in my fertile window after all. I won’t know until I get those beautiful crosshairs at 3DPO confirming a temp shift.
But the point I’m trying to make…in an extremely long way…is that an app, even with a lot of information, is still just an app. It’s a guesstimate. And there’s a good chance that I could have missed my fertile window if I solely relied on the suggestion it made. It’s still just one tool available. And you should take everything into consideration.
So follow your gut! If you think you need to start testing early, start testing early. If you feel like you should test until you get that confirmed temp shift…test away! This is your journey. And it is unique to you. So don’t worry about not doing it the way someone else does it. Do it the way you need to do it to feel like you’re doing it the optimal way for you. The most important thing is to make an informed decision. That way you KNOW you’re making the right decision for you.
***The OPK Optimizer is a relatively newer tool to Fertility Friend. I have a paid subscription to the app. I am not sure if that is tool strictly for the paid subscription or it’s available on the free version as well.***