I Don’t Suffer From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I just am picky with some things

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). It’s also possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD.  With OCD, you may or may not realize that your obsessions aren’t reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings.  OCD often centers around themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease your contamination fears, you may compulsively wash your hands until they’re sore and chapped. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts, the thoughts or urges keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — and a vicious cycle that’s characteristic of OC

I used to think if you suffered from OCD, you were a perfectionist in EVERY aspect of your life.  Not so.  I remember an elderly gentleman I used to take care of, who had a strict evening ritual that he did EVERY night.  He would head to cafeteria after everyone else was already heading to bed, after a slow snack, he’d slowly walk back the hall into his bathroom.  He would take a long shower washing himself, thoroughly.  Some times we would have to encourage him along so he wouldn’t rub off his skin!  Then we would have to check on him again because he would wash his hands over and over and over.  This was what OCD meant to me. I was categorized as a physcho OCD lady because I don’t like seeing crooked pictures on the wall.  I didn’t agree because my house is rarely as clean as I wish it were, and I never had every hair in place, and rarely, if ever, wore make-up…things I thought were required to suffer from OCD.

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I was thinking about my ‘disorder’ as I hung out the laundry earlier this day.  Everyone who knows this secret of mine thinks I am crazy, but I KNOW I’m not the only one who does this.  After washing a load of laundry, especially with Braedon’s clothes, I sort out in groups.  The groups are from left to right: Cloth diapers, shirts, sleeveless shirts, and outfits.

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On the wash basket, I had the large stack of shorts on one side and his two pairs of pjs (yep, only have two pairs he fits in to at the moment-24m pjs, at that!). Then I hang them up in their groups.  Please tell me other people don’t just hang up their laundry frilly-nilly?  I know, most probably don’t go to the extent I did today, when I realized one of the shorts had a matching part of its outfit hung with the shirts, but still.

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One other OCD thing of mine which actually bothers me that it bothers me (follow that?).  The laundry sorting doesn’t bother me that it takes me twice as long to do my laundry on the line then other people, but this next thing bothers me that I get so annoyed by it.

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I love writing, and I think that is why this one is particularly annoying.  But I like to read Braedon a story before bedtime (supposedly helps brain development if you read and/or talk to your babies/infants a lot). This one book I rarely read anymore, or if I do, I skip one page.  What is so wrong with that page?  Is it that a baby is throwing a temper-tandrum?  Nudity?

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 Every page has a paragraph in the form of a poem in the upper left corner of the left page and then says ‘Night, night, _________’ in the lower right page.

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Every page, EXCEPT this one!  It is so annoying!  Why do they do that on every page but not this one?  I wouldn’t be so frustrated if it was a couple pages with the ‘Night, night ____________’ in the lower right page corner and a few like this, but it isn’t.  Don’t people look at this before publishing?  This one I feel that I am alone in being annoyed about so I know it won’t go far.  I think Braedon is only annoyed that I don’t read it to him anymore, I’m sure!

Happy 2nd Angelversary, Alexis

Two years have passed since I was in the doctor’s office to see if my baby’s heart was still beating.  My mom had been with me and even before the doctor confirmed what I already knew due to the lack of a beating heart on the screen, I told my mom in a flat tone, “Baby’s dead”.  Nurse and the ultra-sound technician said their condolences and slipped out into another room.

My mom turned to me and asked me what I wanted to do.  “Just go home,” I cried, not being able to keep the tears at bay.  I didn’t want to sit around and have the nurses to pretend to be sorry.  They are used to this, they don’t truly care. (Later I realized how much they truly did care, as several broke into tears when I returned for my check up when I first found out I was pregnant with Braedon)

My mom drove me to get my car where it was left sitting at my office job at the time.  On the way, I, of course was crying.  My almost 24 weeks of imagining I would be a mom against all odds, was just crushed!  I didn’t really look at my mom, but I did notice that she too was crying.  I only ever saw her cry one other time in life and it was several years before.  She was trying to be strong for me.  You could tell that she didn’t want to make it worse for me.  We got to the office and I slipped out of her car and into mine.  She left and I just sat there crying.  I hated where God had me in that moment.

At a memorial service we had had a couple weeks prior, a friend of Justin and mine said, “God won’t let this baby die.  It is a miracle that you are pregnant, so there is no reason He would take your baby away.”  I despised that comment.  As much as I agreed with his sentiment, I knew God’s ways were not always our ways and wanted to keep from having such thoughts that He wouldn’t let her die because what would the point have been of this miracle pregnancy that I wasn’t supposed to have, much less past 8 weeks?  I kept telling people that would make comments like that, not to say things, because they aren’t God. I do know they were trying to encourage me, but unfortunately it was getting my hopes up too much.

Then I had people who felt that we were not hopeful and that we did not believe in the power of God’s healing hand because we stopped renovating the spare room and stopped looking for baby items.  Do you know how hard it is to buy baby items, redo a nursery room for a baby and then have that baby snatched from your arms within a couple weeks.  Do you know how hard it is to go past that nursery room every day to see it empty of your child?  No, and I knew it would be hard if we were not able to keep her with us, so I did not want to make it harder on ourselves than we needed to.  But, hey, everyone else knew our situation better than ourselves.

We had a lot of people telling us about this person and that person who’s baby was given an impending doom but is happy and healthy and that we just need to believe He has the power to Heal.  Every time someone would encourage us with another person they know who had such a story as ours it encouraged me…until they would say, and they always did, “You just need faith!”  As if we didn’t have faith in God.  It hurt.  It hurt bad!  We truly believed God could and would heal our baby, but yet, we wanted to be a vessel used by Him if He chose to heal our baby when she went to Heaven.

Obviously, He chose the latter alternative, and we still don’t know why.  Through it all we lost a LOT of people close to us.  We had some say we caused too much drama due to talking about how we felt on social media.  We had others say that I didn’t care about her anyway because I didn’t cry enough (who determines if you ‘cry enough’ when someone close to you is hurt or dies?).  I even had someone who heard that Justin and I talked about our experience in front of church, that we were acting and enjoyed the attention?  Yeah, none of those people who said those things are in our lives any more.  It is sad when someone is critiqued with how they handle sickness and ultimately death!

I am just thankful for the people who, after two years, still want to be my friend.  Who still comment on my posts of Alexis…who still message me around this time saying they are praying for me, and those who pray for us throughout the year in secret.

As we drove to the hospital two evenings later, I randomly checked my Facebook messages and saw I had a message from another mother who had two angels waiting for her in Heaven.  In the message she suggested a funeral home for our daughter’s casket and burial.  Wait, what?!  For many weeks we knew Alexis’ health had been declining more and more with each check up and even after finding out that she had passed from my womb to Jesus’ arms, I still didn’t think about her having actually died.  Not once did we think about having to plan a grave side service.  And people said we were acting as if she died already.

August 17th she was born and our church family, and immediate family was around us, physically and emotionally and with prayers.  The son of the funeral home arrived and I remember looking up at him as he entered the room, nodded at us with sad eyes, and lightly touched someone’s shoulder, to let them know he had come to take our daughter.  That is when it hit me.  I was about to lose my daughter all over again!  After the doctor told me a few days prior that our baby (we found out the day after she died, that she was a girl) had died I felt like I was punched in the gut.  Then I went in to a trance for several days and only now…when the morgue was ready to take her, did I feel another punch.  This one as if someone was ripping out my heart as well.  He left our family say our good-byes before taking her body from our arms.  He was so delicate and respectful of her.  I had worked for many years in two different nursing homes and seen how they take out those who had deceased in body bags, but he didn’t.  He carried her out of the room as if he was holding a live baby in his arms.  I learned that he had brought a body bag, but he had left it at the entrance of the hospital so we wouldn’t see that part.  I just wanted out of the nightmare I felt I was in.

Our church elders helped plan a beautiful grave side service as well as meal for many who made it. I don’t remember who was there really, but in the picture book that my sister-in-law made for me, I see faces of people who made it there…not for Alexis, but for us.  I have been, and still am touched with the number of people who came out on that hot day to just be there for us.  And now it is almost two years since we said our final good-byes to our daughter’s body, and it still feels like just yesterday.

I just had someone message me asking when I will get over the grieving process and move on with my life “because you are hindering your bond with your son” they had said.  I didn’t realize that was happening.  I don’t feel I will ever get done with the grieving process or ‘move on’.  But I am NOT hindering my connection and bond with lil B!  I feel that, by remembering our daughter who is waiting on the other side of those pearly gates, it reminds me how special B is to us…even as he wrecks the clean living room and grabs another cheese puff to smash in his fingers instead of eating it.

We are blessed with our almost-1-year-old son, and even in the times I struggle the most with being a loving mom and wife, I don’t ever take him for granted.  I know too well how wanting something so much, and having it be pulled from you, can feel.  So while the other moms are complaining about how frustrating their children are because they won’t leave them even pee in private, or how they exhaust them, I am going to be thankful.  I know it is hard, and I am sure having multiple children is even tougher, but I am going to remember Alexis.  My firstborn.  My daughter. My angel.  And remember that I am not guaranteed another day…hour…or even moment with Braedon.  I am blessed.

What Is Heaven Like

What is heaven going to be like?  For those of us who have lost a child, will they be small?  Or will they be all a certain age?  What about those of us who have lost a grandparent?  Will they be old as we remembered them?  Or mid-age?  What is ‘mid-age’ in heaven?  These are just some things I was thinking of last night at our Ladies’ Bible Study.  We talked about some of us who have lost a baby, or are close friends/family with people who lost a baby.  I like to think that Alexis is somewhere between 3-8 years of age, because in the Bible it talks about how they will run to meet us at heaven’s gates! But, I know that no matter what age she is, I will be just happy to hold her! Can you imagine arriving in at heaven’s gates and seeing your loved ones who have passed through the gates before you come running to see you!  I have never been so excited to reach those pearly gates!  I’d love to hear other peoples’ thoughts on seeing our children in heaven.

Dear Alexis

My dear Daughter, how are you doing today?  Heaven must be beautiful and sound just as great with you singing with the other angels around God’s thrown. Although I know you are enjoying your time with other children and adults up there, but really wish I could see you caring for your lil brother, like I know you would.  Seeing you kiss his forehead and proudly tell others that he is your little brother.  Watch you as you run to him when he starts to cry after falling when he is learning to walk…oh so many things I will never get to experience, and things he will never get to experience with an older sister.

Had to run errands and pick up a book from a lady who lived near your grave side, so I stopped in to ‘talk’ to you.  I know you had physically left this earth even before I got to hold your lifeless body, but going to that grave side, just makes me feel like you are right there.  Makes me feel that if I reach out, maybe you will reach back…crazy, I know…

I just miss you, Alexis.  I am so happy that I got to be your Mommy for 24 short weeks.

Tis The Season

Hello Everyone!

I have realized I am a unique angel mother…everyone is different…and each time I meet someone else who is a parent to an angel, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death, we all handle it differently. That is why so many of us angel mommies and daddies lose friends through this experience. Some of us cant talk about our angel even months and years down the road, while others of us don’t want to stop for fear we are the only one who thinks about our angel anymore.  Some of us have close family or friends that were pregnant over the time you were and due around the same time. Others of us were pregnant alone.  Some of us feel that unless the baby wasn’t born alive, its not a human being and therefore, not your child.  While others of us see that no matter how long, or short their life was in and outside the womb, they were a human.  No wonder people don’t know how to act around us.  No wonder people we thought were our best friends or close family steps away from us.  They would step away because they feel that wouldn’t hurt us as much as saying the wrong thing, but little do they realize, that some of us are hurt more than not knowing what to say does. But the one thing I still don’t understand is when someone brushes off your loss as…as nothing.

At Wal-Mart Monday I met a lady who was gushing over how cute Lil B is.  She asked, “Is this your first child?” (*What do you say here?  Do you say ‘No, we had a stillborn last year,’ and then have to keep telling the stranger that they didn’t offend you even when they won’t believe you?  Do you say ‘Yes,’ and leave it at that but then spend the next day feeling like you just locked your child in a closet?)  I did not chose the latter.  Instead, I said, “No.  He has an angel sister who was born still last August due to many health issues.  We stopped by her grave today even though we know her body is in heaven.”

“So she died in your arms?” The stranger said sadness coming into her face, as she put a gentle hand on my shoulder. “I’m so sorry, that must be so tough!”

“No, she died before I got the privilege to hold her,” I responded.

“Oh, in that case,” the lady said, regaining her composure, all compassion disappearing from her face.  “Then it wasn’t as bad as it was for my son who’s baby died at childbirth.” With that she turned her full attention back to my son.

Then it wasn’t as bad…then it wasn’t as bad…‘ just resignation in my mind over and over as I drove the 25 minutes home.  Why did she feel like it was a contest?  I never said my experience was worse than her son’s experience with burying a child, goodness, i didn’t even know her son had an infant death!  I just finished grabbing my groceries from the self-check-out and walked out.  But now I have a response for Wal-Mart lady.

Ma’am,

I don’t pretend to know that my experience is any worse than anyone else’s experience with death.  Whether that is from a miscarriage, stillbirth, or some time after your child is born,  to me, all are not something someone wants to endure.

That being said, I want to now address your comment ‘Then it wasn’t as bad‘…

You can say that after you go through what my husband and I did in the last couple years.

Three years of not believing you would have any children…

Suddenly you find out several months after getting married that you are pregnant and after a moment of getting excited you immediately become nervous about when you will no longer be pregnant due to what the doctors had said.

Then you find out you are already 6 weeks along (doctors said IF you do become pregnant, it won’t last beyond 8 weeks), and realize you have less than 2 weeks to enjoy this miracle.

Then you find out your sister is also expecting.  Her due date is 20 days after your due date. Tell me that ‘it wasn’t so bad’ when you know your sister will be delivering a baby within a couple weeks of your baby’s supposed-to-be birth.

Next you pass the 8 week mark and surprisingly your baby is doing well, so you are excited.

Then you find out your sister had a miscarriage and fear strikes your heart again.

Finally at 20 week check up, you find out your baby is VERY unhealthy.

Over the next four weeks you keep asking God to keep worry at bay because you know He can perform miracles, and you want to enjoy your time with this child.

Then the day comes and you deliver you daughter.  Even though the doctors said she would be too deformed to be considered beautiful to you, you still feel she is the most beautiful daughter you could ever imagine…and for the coming weeks, months and possibly years, you will have to remind people that you love her nonetheless.

Now, after all that, you leave the hospital without a baby, and once again wondering if you will ever get to experience the joys of having a healthy pregnancy and bring a child home from the hospital…

So, tell me again, how ‘that wasn’t so bad

Today We Should Be Celebrating Your Bday

Yes, just a few short months ago, we celebrated your angelversary, Alexis…your one year since arriving in Heaven’s Gates…today though, will always be a day I will never forget.  The day you were supposed to come into our life and the day that we start raising our child.  Instead its a day that we just remember ‘What ifs’.

The other week we celebrated Thanksgiving…last year at this time, all I wanted to do was cry…this year, I wanted to cry too, but it wasn’t sad tears.  I am sad that I didn’t get to raise you, Alexis…but I am not sad that you are going to forever be a part of my life.  So much has happened this past year, and I have learned not to think of your death and how it is sad, but think about the life you lived and how I am blessed that I was chosen as your mother.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

I have learned to be thankful for the 24 weeks I had with you…the 20 weeks of naive bliss, where I thought everything was ok.  And I am thankful that I can tell Braedon about his big sister that he will get to meet when his time on earth is done

So, Alexis, I hope you are having a great day in Heaven chillin with Jesus!  I am more and more eager to meet Him than I had been before.

Dear Alexis

My dear Daughter, Oh how I miss you!  When you little brother, Braedon was born, I could see you so easily in him!  It made me think that if you would have been born full-term, you would have looked identical, but alas I did not have that priviledge.  Now he is almost 12 weeks, and I don’t notice him looking like you as much.  Not that I don’t think of you every time I look in his blue eyes, but I just can’t see you in him…I can’t see you at all.  And it scares me!  For weeks after you were born, I could close my eyes and picture you in my head…then when he was born, I could so clearly see your face…and now, that’s gone too!  I don’t want to start forgetting anything about you!  Right now, I can’t imagine an hour going by that I forget I am a mother to two beautiful children, but yet, I never thought I would have to look at a picture of you to remember how you look.

Daddy talks about you still.  Makes me very happy to hear him talk about how he loves his family of four.  Daddy, Mommy, you, and Braedon…our family of four.  If you would have been born full-term, you would almost be 1 year old…yet, we just went through your 1 year angelversary.  What would you have been like?  Would you be bull-headed, or quiet? Would you have wanted to snuggle all the time?  Would you have been out-going or shy?  Chunky or lean?  Blue or Brown eyed.  As Braedon goes through different milestones, I wonder what you would have done.  At 12 weeks, would you have been in the 95 percentile with weight, like Braedon, or somewhere in the 25 percentile?  I can’t wait to he can understand me when I talk about you.  Took him to your grave side a couple weeks ago, just so he can ‘talk’ to you.  He talks so much and has such a big smile on his face so much.

I know I am sad when I think of what could have been had I gotten my wish with you, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t look forward to heaven like I do now.  Yes, as a Christian, you should not be afraid of death, and I wasn’t, but I also didn’t want to die for many many years. Now, if I got deathly sick, I wouldn’t be sad as much.  Yes, I want to raise my son to he is an adult, but, I have someone very close to me who is waiting for me at heaven’s gate.  Just like we told Braedon “Welcome home,” as we walked in our house, I can’t wait to hear you say that to me when I get Home.

Now, I will let you get back to playing with your friends up there…their parents miss them too.  I just wanted to let you know that even though we have Braedon, I still miss you and think about you throughout every day!  I love you, my dear daughter!

Love Mommy!

P.S. Daddy and lil Brother say ‘Hi!’

The Love of Motherhood

Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth.  Motherhood was more demanding in the last almost-11-weeks than I expected in the first 6 months!

Braedon has grown out of his cholic stage, (I think) and acid reflux isn’t as bad and I am only giving his medicine once a day instead of 3x a day until this bottle is all.  The tongue tied issue is gone with the clip of his tongue and he has become the happiest boy around!  I never realized how much I would love a baby until Braedon came into my life.  When Alexis was born, my heart filled with so much love for her, even though I never got to raise her.  And when I was 37 weeks pregnant I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to care for my son like a normal mom.  Whenever I saw another mother with her child and they would say newborn wants something or other, I never knew how they could.  Their cries all sounded the same! Braedon came and it didnt take long at all for me to differentiate his cries.  After those first trying weeks with figuring out his cholic, and acid reflux and then constipation, I thought everything would be perfect!

Up to this point I was pumping and bottle-feeding as Braedon wasn’t nursing well.  I had practically changed my diet as well since he didn’t do well on spicy food, beans, diary, beans, and chocolate wasn’t the best for him either.  It was NOT easy as I consumed all of those on a daily basis, especially milk!  I was on the verge of giving up on pumping altogether as it was getting less and less.  Then Braedon’s tongue curled so much so we clipped it, and nursing completely changed!  But sadly it suddenly stopped after 2 weeks!  So, ironic!  I hated nursing when I could, but when he could nurse, I loved it and then suddenly two weeks later I could no longer do it anymore.  I felt horrible and cried often.

Then for the next month he was very pleasant.  Started cooing and smiling so much more! I love being his mother so much!  All my worrying that I wouldn’t know what he needed/wanted, has long since left me.

Sunday night into Monday, I had tried changing his formula a little to a cheaper brand, but my Monday night, I knew he was not feeling well at all. But it was worse than I thought by morning.  He is quick to sound congested if he cries much, but even though he didn’t cry all night (i’d immediately give him his nuk or bottle when he would start fussing), I noticed his congested never went away.  But he smiled and cooed when I held him, so I decided to drop him off at my parents’ house so that I could go to a part-time job interview.

Side note: Do not put a car seat in the back of your car with the car seat cover over it hiding the empty car seat and leaving your car locked at a supermarket.

I felt sorry for my mom because apparently he pretty much cried the whole 2 hours she had him!  She dropped him off at my house, and I knew he had a bad cold.  His eyes were swollen and red and his nose looked like Rudolph’s.  Still, even with him feeling so sick and SCREAMING as if I had broke every bone in his body, I was still filled with such love, and occasionally he would have a moment of happiness and looked so intently at me as he smiled, reassuring me that he loved me.  When my husband came home, Braedon was having one of his terribly gut-wrenching cries which brought me to tears as I hated hearing it, so Justin sweetly took him from me and got him to finally calm down and sent me upstairs for a nap.  I woke up an hour and twenty minutes later to relieve him so he could get to bed.  We were giving him 2 LRX capsules from Reliv in each bottle to help with his immune system, Cough N Cold from Hylands with permission from doctor, Saline spray for his nose, and vicks on his chest and feet.  When in bed we had his bassinet tilted forward, plus blankets under mattress to help have him on an incline.  I couldn’t sleep ALL night because I was worried about him.  Finally he woke this morning around 1:30 for something to drink but didn’t fall asleep to 3am.  He sounded much better by this morning, but has cried some so he is sounding real bad again.  He is currently sitting in his swing watching Animal Planet and sucking on his thumb.