Recently, my husband and I thought it would be fun to take our six-week-old newborn and three other small children to Hawaii. My mom came too.
I was excited to dip my toes in the warm sand and drink a few Mai Tais. I use (and teach) the Marquette Method of NFP, so 6 weeks postpartum also means that I needed to start testing with the Clearblue monitor again on my trip.
I dug out the Marquette Method supplies which had been buried in the bathroom drawer for nine months.
The trip was an amazing success. The kids saw their first active volcano. We saw some amazing sunsets.
And the NFP side of things went well too—with some careful prep and the right supplies I made it work, with airplane travel, time zone switching and all.
If you use Marquette and are about to jump on a plane (hopefully somewhere sunny!) here are some tips for successfully tracking your fertility with Marquette, even on a family vacation.
1. Choose and Set an Optimal Testing Window
With Marquette, you need to test during a 6-hour “testing window” which you set at the beginning of each cycle. If you’re not traveling, choosing when this window should fall is pretty simple. Most women just set the window to fall around when you usually wake up. From there, the monitor will ask for and accept tests like clockwork.
If you’re traveling and your trip involves time zone changes, this can get a little tricky. A little planning ahead goes a long way.
I used a handy little tool called World Time Buddy. It lines up both your current and destination time zones visually, making easy work of finding a testing window that will work for your whole cycle.
To give a practical example, I live in Austin, Texas. I was traveling to Hawaii, which is 4 hours behind Texas.
With the two times neatly stacked, it was easy for me to choose 9 am to 3 pm Austin time my testing window, which would translate to 5 am to 11 am Hawaii time.
Remember, of course, that the time displayed on the monitor won’t change, so when you test it’ll be showing your home time zone, not your destination time zone.
2. Don’t Forget to Pack All Your Marquette Method Supplies
Along with your cute little dress and the heels to go with it, remember all your Marquette Method testing supplies.
- Clearblue monitor
- Clearblue fertility test sticks (bring extras)
- collection cup with lid
- LH test sticks
- extra batteries
- your chart
Pack it in a cute little cosmetic bag to keep everything together and prevent the kids from rummaging through your supplies!
3. Pack Your Monitor and Testing Supplies in Your Carry-On
The Clearblue manual recommends you pack your monitor in your carry-on bag, not in your checked luggage. The monitor won’t be harmed by the x-ray scanners.
Also, if your checked bag gets lost, you’ll still be able to test each day on your trip.
4. Waterproof Your Chart
Hotel bathrooms can be notoriously wet and moist. This can cause the ink to run on your chart … and you’ll lose all your hard-earned data. If you are a pen and paper gal like I am, you will want to protect your Marquette Method chart with a plastic sheet (or, perhaps just for the trip, plan to track using a Google Sheets version.)
Another quick tip is to take a pic of your chart just in case it gets lost. (Or one of your kids uses it as a coloring sheet.)
5. Prepare for Cycle Irregularities
Public Service Announcement: Stress can affect your cycle. And nothing says stressful like packing up and vacationing with a family of six for a week-long vacation.
In a biological sense, the stress needn’t even be bad for it to affect your cycles—all the excitement of vacationing, the altered sleep schedules, the reentry into “normal life” when you get back—your body might react in ways you don’t expect.
Prepare for cycle disruptions in advance by packing extra test sticks in case you don’t identify peak as per your usual schedule.
And of course, don’t be shy about touching base with your instructor if you have any confusing fertile signs or patterns. That’s what we’re here for. The Vitae Fertility Marquette instructors are all moms too. We’ve been there. And we get it.
Have a great trip!