I am a researcher at heart. If you are into personality typing, I'm an ISTJ, a green, an emerald, a melancholic earth type. I'm *very* data and fact oriented, and most things have to be proven to me. There are definitely downsides to a personality like mine, but it has been extremely helpful in learning to be the best advocate I can be for my kids. I've had to advocate for them since day one:
-- The doctors told us to "selectively reduce" one or two of our quadruplets. We said no.
-- They were born at 27 weeks, 6 days and immediately put on ventilators and into incubators where we couldn't hold them for days.
-- One had heart surgery and has autism.
-- One had an infection in the hospital that they didn't catch for days, and major eating issues which required a scope, dye test, and hospital stay, along with lots of occupational therapy focused on texture issues.
-- One embodied the "wimpy white boy" name that nurses give NICU babies who are struggling, and still manages to end up needing stitches or glue at least once a year.
-- One had the wrong breast milk given to her in the NICU (from another pumping mom) which meant a 6 month scare while we waited to find out if HIV would pass through the milk to her. We also were faced with the possibility of cerebral palsy (see second section of the linked post).
-- Then reaching Pre-K meant a fight for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, and a safe place to learn.
Those are just the highlights. There have been many more opportunities to practice my skills since then. All that to say, I know advocacy. I learned it in the school of hard knocks while trying to do the best by my kids in a situation that we really didn't see coming (If you were wondering, nobody tries for quadruplets.). I've read every policies and procedures manual handed to me, read governmental paperwork, websites, and legalese regarding my kids' rights, read so many stats about survival rates, special needs rates, long-term success rates, and cried tears of frustration over how hard it can be to simply parent and raise kids in this world.
Can I get an "amen" from the collective parents?
So 2.5 years ago, in all of my researching, I started looking into essential oils. At the time, we had exhausted every wellness strategy we knew of, trying to keep our medically fragile kids happy. I thought the oil thing was most likely a scam. BUT, it was the only thing we hadn't tried yet, and I figured that if I didn't, I really didn't have a leg to stand on by telling other people that they didn't work.
Call it fate, providence, serendipity....whatever. (We like to give the credit to God *smile* )
Unfortunately, I haven't written an update on any of that since then. Shame on me. So here's your update on what we've learned and experienced...and then I'll tell you how essential oils ended up ruining our lives:
-- We've learned that staying well is 100 times easier than getting sick and trying to pull ourselves back out of that pit. This whole journey has made us very aware of how our choices affect our health. I've learned that there is amazing freedom in being able to be proactive about wellness instead of reactive to sickness. I'd much rather be on the proactive side and just maintain being healthy. It's easier on everyone, plus no one loses time from school or work.
-- We've taken tons of toxic products out of our house and switched them for safe products that help keep the body running optimally. My mom had 6 kids. My grandma had 7 kids....I dealt with infertility. Genetically, I should have been able to pop out babies without too much trouble, but for some reason, that wasn't the case. Could it have been the HUGE increase in toxins in our products over the years? Toxins my mom and grandma weren't dealing with when they were young? I have no idea (and since I can't prove it, I won't claim it), but this is what I do know. I do know that toxins can cause major reproductive issues along with a whole slew of other issues. I also know that I have two little girls. And I know that I want grand babies. Obviously, there are other reasons to get rid of toxins, but I don't want my girls to call me one day and tell me that they can't get pregnant. That's a gut wrenching pain that I don't want them to experience. I do know that our respiratory issues have majorly decreased since we removed toxins and fragrances from our home. Fragrance is the new second hand smoke. Having my house smell like "Sangria on the Beach" is not worth it.
Abby, Elijah, and Mommy
-- I've learned that there are good essential oils and sub-par essential oils. Although the series ended, my research did not. I've bought more oils from other companies since then, poured through more essential oil company websites, and *still* not found anything that comes close to Young Living's Seed to Seal Standard. As a side note, I still get emails from people asking me my thoughts on different essential oil companies. Here is all you have to do. Go to seedtoseal.com. Read through that. Then go compare it to whatever company you are looking at. The difference is stark.
-- We've learned that weight loss may be a side effect. Sean and I have both lost weight. We still have a ways to go, but it's nice having a natural option to help us get there!
The Quad Parents - Sean and Rebecca
-- We've learned that essential oils do amazing things for emotional health. What is that saying? "Too blessed to be stressed." HA!!! Yeah, right! I'm super blessed, but I'm also super stressed, and I have my occasional moments of feeling blue or anxious on top of that. Essential oils have been awesome for the moods in our household.
-- We've learned that essential oils are key in getting our son with autism to focus and concentrate more during school and therapies. This has been life-changing for us. It's actually what sold Sean on oils in the first place. That's how big the difference is between oiled Caleb and non-oiled Caleb.
-- I've learned that essential oil trolls can be worse than quadruplet trolls. I am so not even kidding about this one. We have been in some local news articles, magazines, and a few short clips on the news due to the curiosity about our family. The trolls on those articles can be brutal. Everybody loves a keyboard warrior who leaves anonymous comments as the expert on rearing quadruplets. (Just kidding. Don't do that.) Apparently, using essential oils and writing a 5 part series on your findings also brings that out of people. MY STARS. I've even had friends participate. It's kind of unbelievable to me how judgmental people are across the board. Be kind, friends. I'm not just talking about on my blog or Facebook wall. Be kind in LIFE. Because you don't know what another person has gone through. So maybe this point should better read, "I've learned more fully the importance of being kind, listening with respect, and not judging other moms for doing their best." Also...if you are a troll and you are reading this, every single comment on my blog is on a delay. I put that in place way back when my kids were babies. Go plague reddit or something.
-- We've learned that we can save so much money. We used to take at least one kid to the pediatrician every other week. We went so often, that I actually asked for a frequent visitor punch card. You know....pay 9 copays, get the 10th free. Sadly, they didn't go for that (ha!). Man, those copays added up!! We now go for well kid visits once a year (check-ups...so important!). In the 2.5 years since we started using essential oils, we have had probably 5 visits TOTAL for other than well kid visits. Not 5 visits per kid. That's total for all of them. That is IN.SANE given what we've been though. Being proactive about maintaining their wellness has been a huge focus for us, and it has paid off!
Ellie, Abby, Elijah, and Caleb - Enjoying a strawberry smoothie split 4 ways!
-- We've learned that when big pharma and the insurance companies refuse to help, that we still have options. I need to just write a whole other blog post on this, but one of the reasons why I was so quiet here on the blog last year was because I was diagnosed with a disease called Primary Immunodeficiency that had me in an IV clinic every 3 weeks for antibody infusions in order to stay out of the hospital. That was a lifelong diagnosis and treatment plan....until our insurance decided they didn't want to pay for it anymore. I guess the $500,000 a year price tag made their eyes bulge. They decided that I wasn't worth it (Literally. That's what happened) and sent me out on my own to let come what may. AHH!! So. many. tears. when that treatment plan was taken away from me, but what was I to do? I started working hard core on trying to stay well, and have been extremely healthy this year! I haven't been in the hospital AND....(get this!!) I haven't even been to the doctor other than my chiropractor. BOOM! Not to say that I won't ever have issues in the future. Unfortunately, this is something I'm going to have to be aware of for life, but I will take awesome health when I can get it!
-- I've learned that certain entities don't want our stories of wellness, success, and abundant living out there. I'm sad to say that most websites have been wiped clean of the amazing testimonies, recipes, and documentation that used to be readily available on the internet. I now have to use reference books (which hey! I love reading!), deep googling, sites like THIS and THIS, and talking to friends with personal experience to find stories and answers. If you are as data minded as I am, take a look at pubmed.gov. It's a government site and you can find real studies done using essential oils. If you aren't as data minded....don't go there. It will make your eyes cross. *wink*
Daddy, Elijah, and Caleb - The boys wanted to help Daddy put oils on his back
-- I've learned that "healthy" does not actually equal "well." Interesting, right? For example, you can have a perfectly "healthy" athlete with major emotional problems. He may be healthy, but he isn't well. Or you can have a college student who never gets sick, but eats processed food everyday and drinks every weekend. She may look healthy, but she isn't well. (Not knocking any food choices. Just pointing out a fact). I've learned that wellness is a full body thing: emotional, physical, spiritual....and I've also learned that I have a long ways to go before I get there. Baby steps!
It's not an earth shattering update, but one well worth writing. Many of you have followed our journey since I was pregnant. Anybody remember the REALLY old first website that we had? You've cared about our kids, prayed that they would survive, prayed that *we* would survive (lol!), and hit our highs and lows with us. This. This is one of our highs. A life-changing high.
So how did essential oils ruin our lives then? Well....they ruined what our lives consisted of BACK THEN. Our status quo....the version of life that we were trying to fight out an existence in.....has been irrevocably ruined. We can't go back to that version of life again....but truly, we don't want to. While that type of reality has been ruined, it has been replaced with a much more vibrant version of life than we could have hoped for.
What tied into this that I didn't see coming at all was the opportunity that we would have to pour this research back out to other people. What started with "I think these are a scam" has now turned into a full-time job for me. Besides raising quadruplets, I now teach other people how to have success and live their best lives using essential oils and non-toxic products as their springboards. It's pretty much the most amazing job ever! I love working with moms who are stressed (yep, I'm looking at you!) and helping them see that their families have options when it comes to their wellness. I teach people to buck the status quo and find a better way with a higher quality of life. Because life is meant to be so much more than working a job every day and collapsing into bed each night. It's meant to be vibrant, full of life and vitality with abundance and purpose woven through the threads of every day. I believe that this is why God put me on earth. To pass that hope onto others (well that, and to pop out babies four at a time). It's a beautiful thing to live out a calling.
Us at the Young Living St. Marie's Farm in Idaho - August 2016
So that's the update to the initial post 2.5 years ago when I was wondering if oils were a scam. If you haven't read my series, you are welcome to jump back now and do so. The 5 part series links to each other so that you can follow along. It may be old in internet land, but it's still very current. If you haven't tried Young Living Essential Oils, then call them a scam like I did and try them anyway. If you haven't tried them, then you don't know if they work. I'm just sayin'. If you have a friend who has offered them to you and you think they will help you learn how to use them effectively, then talk to them about getting started. If you don't have a friend to help you, then jump over to this post, grab some oils over there, and then email me so that I can help you. Either way, just *try* them.
And yeah....our kids are totally oily now and love it!
- First Post: Essential Oils: Do they really work or is it all just hype?
- Second Post: Essential Oils: The German, British, and French Schools of Thought
- Third Post: Essential Oils: To Ingest or Not to Ingest? (and how I ended up picking my method)
- Fourth Post: Essential Oils: Which Essential Oil Company is Best? (and reviews of five popular companies!)
- Fifth Post: Essential Oils: How I Saved Money by Switching To Young Living Essential Oils
- To Sum It All Up: The Oily Options and Free Stuff
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