After having a heart attack at the age of 37, Traci decided it was time to make some major changes in her life. Her journey to healing started by prioritizing herself and focusing on her fertility. After spending a lot of time trying products and programs that promised to help with infertility, but never did, Traci found hope tracking her ovulation with OvuSense.
The Start of Traci’s Fertility Journey
In 2018, after many years of irregular, infrequent and painful periods (which eventually disappeared altogether), I decided to seek treatment in the hope of understanding my chances for getting pregnant. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, a condition in which your hormones are out of balance and can cause missed or irregular periods. It was during this time I was also told that with my PCOS diagnosis conception was unlikely.
While this news was devastating and discouraging, I had hope because I was armed with new information that would help me with my fertility journey. I believed I would either find a solution for my infertility or find comfort in the community of people going through a similar situation.
On my journey to healing, I have spent years researching metabolic properties, endocrine system disruptions, nutrition, and mental health. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on pills, potions, gimmicks, and supplements. I hope, by sharing my own journey, I can save people some of the heartbreak and confusion I experienced, as well as the financial burden that comes with having to find a solution on your own.
Infertility is a complex issue that can take years of treatments to overcome. I did not feel supported by the mainstream medical care I received and oftentimes felt dismissed. On top of that, there are companies that target people with infertility issues making a variety of claims from monitoring and improving symptoms to actually curing your infertility.
A lot of these are snake oil claims that I've fallen for in my desperation. That Instagram ad that shines like a diamond in the dark tunnel of depression guaranteeing if you pay $500 and $49.99 a month then you will get pregnant. That 60 second TikTok with a dietitian dancing with her specialist PCOS physical trainer husband, promising only they can help you and, oh yeah, use these supplements with a convenient discount code. It's awful, it's shameful, and most of all it is predatory towards the people who seek knowledge, comfort, and solutions.
So, after spending the time and money on a lot of these products and programs, I want to share what worked for me.
Practice Self-Care and Get “Selfish”
The first thing I decided to do was prioritize myself. That's right. I got a little selfish. I am a 37-year-old woman who works full time managing a law firm. During the pandemic we faced staffing issues, merged with a major attorney and I had to start commuting more than 90 minutes each way to a new office. Work became a huge source of stress and started impacting all areas of my life. I had trouble sleeping at night, my heart rate was rising, and eventually the stress became too much for my body to handle. The week after my firm administrator told me she was retiring I had a heart attack. That was May 18th of this year.
I was given one week to recover and was expected to work overtime when I returned. I reached my breaking point and told my boss that I needed to work from home two days a week or I would have to leave. They agreed to this arrangement and it has helped my stress levels immensely.
Shortly after my heart attack I saw a lovely video about a woman who began dating herself. She took herself to lunch, got a manicure, enjoyed an ice cream cone, and had a bubble bath with a book at the end of her day and I thought, "What a concept!" We often give so much of ourselves to the people we love and our commitments or obligations that we rarely give to ourselves.
So, the message to "date yourself" was just another way of saying it is OK to make yourself as much of a priority as the people in your life. This doesn't mean you have to take away from what you give to others, if you feel good doing so. There is enough love in you to give some to yourself too. I started with Prioritize Me as number one because once you start to do that, you will see that the rest of the suggestions fall into that category as well. You just need to keep these suggestions in your mind as you are doing them for the betterment of you and, hopefully, your future family.
Get Up and Move Your Body
Exercise is so important. It doesn't need to be insane HIIT exercises. In fact, they are discouraged because they raise cortisol levels. I started walking and it has been the greatest gift. Sitting all day is as bad as smoking. I also like a program called Barre3. This program institutes Barre and floor work with modifications for each fitness level. I'm a total beginner, so I found that helpful. The practice focuses on really listening to your body and prioritizing mental health, both of which are excellent for managing stress and PCOS symptoms.
Clean up Your Diet
Cut out the junk. You have to do it. You really are what you eat so get rid of the sodas, iced teas, and sugary energy drinks. Drink them with meals if you must have them, but don't sip on them throughout the day. Water is the miracle drink. Mine has to be ice cold and not a degree warmer, so I understand how difficult it can be. Using a cup with a straw helps, but stay away from any plastic, even those that say BPA free because research shows the BPA alternatives are just as bad as BPA, just in a different form. You can also try products like Inositol if you have insulin resistant PCOS.
Track Your Fertility
Track your fertility in whatever way makes you comfortable. I used OvuSense and on the 14th day it told me I ovulated. I was so skeptical. My body just DIDN’T ovulate, but OvuSense said I did. I felt a certain superiority that this was just another snake oil product, wasting the time and money of suffering women everywhere. Well, I certainly got slapped with the reality stick, when on the 28th day I got my period. I was so shocked and the iron skepticism that surrounded my heart started to crack, and I began to believe in the science of OvuSense.
My periods then went to 35 days, 45 days, then 66 days and back to 30. Each of these cycles OvuSense predicted ovulation correctly. I was able to compare this to the physiological symptoms I was feeling (tenderness, headaches, moodiness, etc.) and, even though it’s been several cycles, I’m still amazed when I get that confirmation.
The 66-day cycle was the hardest because I had to wear the sensor for so many nights in a row. The OvuFirst skin sensor seems less invasive, so I am very interested in trying it out. I also like that OvuSense is more affordable than most of the other fertility tracking devices and it accommodates people with irregular cycles and PCOS. Within the app you can track your medications, etc., my only other wish would be that you could track physiological symptoms too.
Finding Hope Moving Forward
If you are on the fence or losing hope or sick of seeing an endless slew of products that will guarantee pregnancy, then please listen when I say that OvuSense is legit. If you want to know when you are ovulating, so you have the absolute best chance of conception, then this is the product for you.
I haven’t reached the end of my fertility journey, but I’m so grateful for the knowledge OvuSense has given me and the community of women I have found along the way. Through community, we can find our voices and provide data backed information for people to consider and implement if they so choose.