Have you ever had that moment when you realized that you have been holding your breath…and you finally take that breath but you feel like you can’t really trust yourself to remember to breathe, which of course is an involuntary function, but you still just can’t trust it? So, you obsess over every inhale and exhale? Well, that is our story. Meghan’s story.
In the summer of 2001 we welcomed our second child Caden into our lives. His big sister Madelyn was over the moon excited to meet him and so were we. Our family seemed complete. A little girl and a little boy just over a year apart. Caden was just six weeks old when I began feeling overtired and sluggish. Of course, I am the mother of a young family and that’s what happens. When it didn’t go away I decided to go to the doctor for a check up and routine blood work thinking that maybe my iron levels were low. Later that day I received a call from the lab congratulating me, I was pregnant ~ Again!
Not only were we surprised and in shock, but so was my body. It didn’t seem quite ready to be pregnant again. While my husband and I were trying to wrap our heads around this, I was dragging through my days and I have to say that I had very few good days with this pregnancy. At almost 26 weeks my water broke, we were terrified and 50 miles away from my doctor and hospital. We made it to the hospital on that Saturday afternoon and they were able to hold off her delivery until Monday. After nearly three days, she couldn’t wait any longer and at 1:35 pm on February 11, 2002 we met our baby, Meghan Gabrielle. She was born 1 pound 15 ounces but she was very fragile as the cord had been wrapped around her neck four times and with minimal amniotic fluid to cushion the force of the contractions she was in trouble. By the time she made it to the NICU she was under 1 pound.
For the next two and a half months we held our breath.
With all of the complications that she had due to her prematurity, miraculously, she had no signs of permanent damage and she seemed to be thriving. The NICU doctor had informed us that developmentally she may be behind by a few months but would eventually catch up and by age two she did. Although she was and is still small for her age she continues to prove to us how strong she is and there isn’t anything that she can’t do if she puts her mind to it. We always tell her that she may be mini but she’s mighty. This mindset proves to be important for her ability to face the multitude of adversity that lay ahead for her.
The specialist at the hospital also had spoken to us about the possibilities of her showing signs of ADD, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disabilities, and Mental or Emotional Disorders.
She was almost three and she was perfect. No worries, we had beaten the odds.
Then she turned four and we enrolled her in preschool. Every mommy knows the anxiety that we experience sending our babies off without us and we know that it can be equally as hard on our children. At first we chalked it up to the fact that Meghan had never really been away from me because I own a daycare and I have been blessed to be home with her up until now. The separation anxiety that she seemed to be experiencing was overwhelming to say the least. It was heartbreaking.
Slowly we worked through it but everyday was a struggle and everyday we had to start over. Instead of progressing and working through the anxiety it only seemed to get worse. Any event that she would look forward to such as dressing up for Halloween or going to the zoo or a trip to see her grandparents in Cincinnati would cause a meltdown. When it would come time to get ready it would start. Her clothes seemed to be made of fire and she would scream and pull them off. If a brush touched her hair she would almost convulse and all the while punching and yelling with this guttural, blood curdling, throat burning scream. Who was she? Her face would change and I didn’t recognize her. There was no calming her down or rationalizing. Once the episode started no one had control over when it would stop, not even her. It became so emotionally paralyzing that she would barely leave the house.
Fast forward to age seven. It came to the point that when she was having an episode it was becoming increasingly violent towards me, my husband and especially her older sister. She would break or try to destroy anything in her path and when it was over she was physically exhausted and sometimes she couldn’t remember what had happened. She would become almost giddy afterwards and be almost in a manic, euphoric state. We would talk to her teachers and try to give them some insight on her behavior patterns at home in an effort to gain some perspective, but always their response is that they have never seen that side of her and can’t believe we are speaking about the same child. She is a straight A+ student (not just an A student) and it seems to be effortless for her. Seems to be is the operative phrase here. Because you see, she also suffers from extreme OCD and is an unrelenting perfectionist. Unless you are talking about her brushing her hair or changing her clothes. I know, it makes no sense to me either. We finally decided to take her to see a pediatric psychologist and then a psychiatrist. Of course, their mainstream form of treatment consists of drugs first, a little therapy, a little higher dose of more drugs, a five minute session with the doctor every month and “Let’s just stop this medicine and start her on this new and different drug.” UGH!!
So, for the next two and a half years we held our breath.
When she was ten and the doctor had changed her medication again she was becoming depressed and acting out in ways that we hadn’t seen before. What did we expect? She had been on seven different medications by this point. This time she tried to cut herself. Her daddy grabbed the knife from her and we all collapsed to the floor together and held each other and sobbed for what seemed like forever. I was crying for the daughter that I thought I was losing and I knew that we were not equipped to handle any episodes of this magnitude. The next day we had to admit her to the Children’s Hospital in the psychiatric ward. That was the hardest thing I have ever done as a parent. I was determined to make changes, whatever it took. We ended up changing doctors and he has been a God sent. We changed her medications but with the end goal in mind to get her off of the synthetic drugs and on to natural supplements instead but it is a process.
Meghan is twelve and she is still struggling. She seems so full of anger, like a powder keg waiting for a spark. I have tried to explain her outbursts to friends but it isn’t quite the same as witnessing it, as my friend Carrie would find out. One morning before school Meghan and I were battling as usual because I asked her to brush her hair and I was trying to pull it into a pony tail. She was screaming and hollering obscenities at me and Carrie had come in and heard her. I didn’t know until later how much that had effected my friend. Just weeks before I had attended a special event that Carrie had organized where the keynote speaker was Susan Richardson. I was so touched by her story and I sat with tears in my eyes as she spoke because I knew ~ she gets it. Little did I know how much that event would touch our lives. I had recently been introduced to Young Living Oils by Carrie and was using them at home with my family. I had the chance to meet and speak with Susan and briefly explain my daughter’s issues. It was then that I first heard about the “mommy driveby”. She gave me some valuable information about the oil that worked for her ~ Vetiver. I put it on my list right away and couldn’t wait for it to be back in stock. In the meantime I was using Peace and Calming and Valor and Joy on a regular basis with my family and especially Meghan. (When she would let me.) After Carrie witnessed Meghan’s episode up close and personal she called to ask if she could stop by that evening to talk to me. I can’t even tell you how I felt when she revealed the reason for her visit. She had spoken to Susan and wanted to offer the Reconnect Blend for us to use in the trial. God works in mysterious ways for sure. For as much as I wanted to keep Meghan’s meltdowns behind closed doors, it was because Carrie witnessed it that our guardian angels were revealed.
We began using it right away along with Valor. I won’t lie…sometimes she still refuses to put it on when she is in the height of an outburst but when she applies it regularly, dare I say, it works!
If I wasn’t sure before, I can tell you this. It was the last week of school and my little OCD perfectionist had no less than five big assignments due. I made sure that she applied her oils every morning and after school that week and she got through those projects like a pro. I don’t think I could have done it. The one time that we had a huge, full-blown episode I was completely discouraged and deflated until I realized that she hadn’t applied the oils for the past two days (I had left it up to her to do on her own). That was it. We got back on track and we have been steady ever since. She is completely off all medications and only taking natural supplements and using the oils regularly. Her life, our life, is changing for the better and I feel that Young Living has had a significant impact on that. Now, I’m not saying that things are perfect. She is definitely still a work in progress, but aren’t we all?
But now, we can breathe…
Thank you Young Living ~ Kelly & Meghan