Mind over Matter…Right?

Pain.  It was shooting down my leg with each step that I took.  In fact, the nodule that I felt pulsated with just that.  Pain.

I was certain something had gone terribly wrong.  And I was scared about the future…Would they have to put me back under the knife?

Did I split my internal sutures open?

Did I get a hernia?

What happened and how would it be remedied?

Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch.

That’s it.  I have to call my husband first.  Then the doctor next.

Ring.  Ring.

“Rich.  Rich!  I did it.  I got a hernia.  Or I split my sutures open.  Something happened.  There is a knot under my skin!”

My poor husband got off the phone and came home.  After all, it was to the day two weeks after my C-Section, and he was just as certain as I.  Something happened to me.

Good grief!

Now.  Let me tell you what happened the day before.

The day before, I had been stuck in the bathroom nearly the entire day.  Food did not sit right with me.  And to round up an already miserable day, the entire evening into the wee morning hours, I had been back in the bathroom.  Because this time the food was coming up.

I moaned all night, writhing in pain.

“Richard!  Call my parents.  Get them over here, quick!  I need to go to the emergency room!”

Okay.  Okay.  I am a bit of a drama queen.  My husband realizes this.  So, needless to say, he ran around getting me puke buckets and cleaning up after me, but he did not call my parents nor run me to the emergency room.

Now it was the next day and something—who knows what—was protruding from under my skin, on my right side, right above my incision.

Lord have mercy!

And then I called the doctor’s office.

“Hello!  Hello!  Can you get me in?  What’s that?  What’s the problem?  I’ve split my sutures!  Or I got a hernia!  Help!!!!”

“What’s that?  You can get me in to see the Nurse Practitioner?  Heavens no!  This is too serious.  A doctor it must be!”

And, so, much to their amusement, they got me in for the very next day—bright and early the next morning.

Of course, we did not end the phone conversation without me asking WHAT SYMPTOMS I should pay attention to.  You know, just in case the world turned upside down and it got worse.

Like I said—I am a bit of a drama queen.

And then I did what most of us do.  I went online and got my PhD at Google University.  And I told my husband that it advised I lie down and stay still.  And, of course, I spouted all sorts of knowledge (that I had just acquired).  But I still knew it all and prepared for the worst.

My poor husband.  He was now guilt ridden (believe me, it was not my intention).  He had actually LEFT me alone and GONE to work.

Home.

Alone.

With a newborn.

And a 1-year-old.  A 30-pound 1-year-old.

His poor wife.  He had caused this great pain upon her.  How DARE he go off to work, right?

Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch!

And I just prayed to the good Lord above that all would end well.   At this point, not only am I a drama queen but my hypochondria is also kicking in.  And when my hypochondria kicks in, my mind refuses to shut off.

Get me a cool cloth, cover my eyes, and let me lie down, folks!  It’s enough that I have to wait until TOMORROW to find out my fate.

But, before we know it, tomorrow rolls around.  We get our 3 kids out the door (that’s a small miracle in itself since the last time we tried to take 3 kids somewhere, we left without 1—whoops.  To be fair, it was our first time out as a family of five), we drop our daughter off uber early at school.  Thankfully Uncle Casey is there with his kids.  So she goes and hangs with her cousins.

Now it’s only the 1-year-old, the newborn, the baby daddy, and me—the unfortunate patient of imminent doom—in the car.  And we’re heading with heavy minds and hearts to the doctor’s office.

We make it to the doctor’s office.  The doctor, by the way, is a year younger than my husband and 9 months younger than I.  And, yes, this is the doctor that cut us open.  So, here we are at the doctor’s office expecting the worst.

My husband has great pity on me.  He feels so bad that I gave him a baby for his birthday and, as a repayment, I have to go back under the knife to correct something that has gone terribly wrong.

I feel great pains accompanied with great fear that “Oh no” I have to go under the knife again.

And the doctor.  He confirms it all for us.

He confirms that, “Yes.  I feel that nodule…”

Here’s the kicker.

“…But you are fine.”

Say what, young man?!

Well, as our baby doctor explains, it turns out that my “split sutures or hernia” is actually sutures—not split but stable.  In fact, the nodule I feel is the “knot” that is keeping all of the sutures tied together.

And the reason I probably feel it is because I have lost some baby weight.  Or perhaps it is just the first time I felt it, after all, I hadn’t spent much time poking around at my sensitive belly.

The reason it probably aches especially is because I spent the entire night before puking my guts out, pulling at my sutures, and causing tummy pains.

Woe to me for…well, I guess for no big reason.

Mind over matter, folks!

I felt something and my mind went to town.  I Googled everything that could possibly have gone wrong—and I began to “live” everything that I read.

Isn’t that how it works, often, in our lives?  We “worry” about something that we have no control over.  And then we let our minds take over and spin out of control.

I am not going to be naive that say “Don’t worry.  Be happy.”  Because, truthfully, something could have been quite wrong.

Problem was, I diagnosed myself and took a swan dive straight into the deep end.

What did we do once we found out I would be okay?

We laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.  We called our concerned family and they laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.

And it seemed that once I heard I was going to be okay, the sharp, shooting pains slowly went away.

The ache of the night of puking—twas still there.  After all, I did just have my stomach cut open 2 weeks earlier.  But the pains that accompanied each step I took—yep.  Gone.  Just like that.

Ah, Brooke.  Sometimes I have got to learn to not let my MIND take over.

As for my PhD at Google University, I really need to remember to, instead, go for a PhD at God’s University.  After all, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

This sure sounds a lot nicer than constant stress and worry and sleeplessness that presents itself when I try to “diagnose” myself, eh?!

Ah well…All in a day and life of Brooke.

And, what do you know?  Pain’s nearly gone.  Knot is still there.  And, mentally, well, that’s left up in the air.  After all, I am the mom of a newborn.

Ciao for now.  Have a great day and stay HEAD STRONG!

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Perhaps I’ll hang Wonder Woman?!

And, heck!  I don’t have to wait until I’m old.

I’m fairly sure that with my lack of sleep, I might fall for it now 😉

Life. It’s one big contraction.

So, I was in the Polish hospital a little over a year ago.  I was 29 weeks pregnant with my son, lying in the hospital with the contraction monitor on my belly for hours at a time, eventually receiving a raging, itchy rash from that contraption.

And sure enough that annoying machine was jumping up and down like crazy.  I was having contractions, so I was given something to stop those suckers.

Yes.  Contractions.  I know them well.

Let’s continue with this contracting belly baby named Maxwell and how he loved to cause pain.

It’s still a little over a year ago and I actually made it from 29 weeks to 34 weeks.  Thirty-four painful weeks and my mom and I are watching my belly.

“Oh, look at Maxwell.  He’s so funny.”  And my belly would move and turn and slide and then stop.

Hmmm.  That’s weird.  Oh, wait.  There he goes again.

Well, this became a pattern.  Now, please keep in mind that I do have a 6-year-old daughter, but 6 years is a LONG time to forget about contractions.  Apparently so is 5 weeks, because I didn’t even remember from my 29th week of pregnancy.

Needless to say, I wind up in the hospital just halfway through my 34th week and the doctors decide that it’s time for my bum moon to shine, in a room full of 6 other preggo women, and that’s where they give me a shot—on my bum moon.

Let me also say, the shot hurt.  Did I mention that I was in a hospital room, on a bed, in a gown and there were 6 other very afraid pregnant ladies there with me?!  Yep.

Full moon…Full shot…Full pain…Full hollering.

The nurse looked and me and said, “Oh, now.  That wasn’t bad.”

And I replied, “Nie, straszny!  Straszny!”  Basically, “No!  It was horrible!  Horrible!”

She just chuckled, as I once again hid my big ol’ bum moon, while she left.

The contractions, however, were not impeded by the shot from Hades, and so I delivered my baby just a half a day later.

Well.  If I thought the contractions were bad at 7 minutes apart, I was in for a really big surprise later during the day.

At first, after my water broke, I told my husband who was watching the monitor, “Hey!  Let me know if a big one is coming.”

Utterly foolish.

Because he then became the sportscaster of Team Contractions and would holler out each time he saw it rise, “A big one is coming!”

“I KNOW a big one is coming!”  I would holler back!  “Don’t you think I can FEEL it?!”

The air was tense…he thought his job was fun.  And I was at the point where I thought I was going to DIE.  Literally.  Die.  And here is my husband in no pain watching a monitor yelling, “A big one is coming!”

Needless to say, he was quickly FIRED from that job.  I put him to work getting me ice, getting me a cool head cloth, hand feeding me the ice, getting me the puke bucket, finding me pain drugs, and so forth.

In hindsight—he was an angel.

And eventually the contractions led to the game winning push!  Twelve to be exact.  Twelve devilishly painful pushes that popped us out a baby!

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A baby…

And quickly all contractions were forgotten.

And then the world seemed right.  And peaceful.  And perfect.

Those contractions, they gave us a gift.  And that gift is our son.

Life is sometimes like those contractions.  Big and painful.   Often we wonder if we are going to make it through moments in our day or moments in our lives. 

And contraction after contraction is upon us.  Seemingly endless.  And there are people all around shouting—“It’s a big one!”

Exhaustion sets in.  There is no doubt in your mind that this is the most painful experience of your life.  And you are ready to quit.

To throw in the towel.  Kaput with it.  No more.

And then the worst of it comes upon you.  And you unbelievably know that you will.not.survive.

But you do.

And, in the wake of all that was painful, you are given something precious.

It’s called life.

A chance to begin again.

Like a newborn.  Except with experience.

A new day rises before you and you know that you can conquer it because you just survived the most painful experience of your life.

Contractions.  Big ones.  Labor.  Labor that was accompanied by pain.  Lots of it.

But you made it through.  And now.  Now it’s your turn.

Cradle your new beginnings and go to sleep, looking forward to a new tomorrow.  You deserve it.

You may be the only Bible some will ever read…

Today, my mom and dad, Maxwell, and I went to a little church in the mountains of Pinetop, Arizona.  And the guest preacher was an 18-year-old kid fresh in college.

And, boy howdy, was he a HOOT!

First of all…He was 18.  It looked as if I could be his mother!

Second of all…he was so funny.  But maybe not always on purpose 🙂

Lastly…although his sermon was as fresh as he himself was, it was awesome and from the heart.

I’d like to share a bit what I learned from this young chap today:

His sermon was on optimism and pessimism.  And his reminder was that we may be the only Bible that some may ever read.

So he asked us, the congregation hanging on to every word from this adorable boy…

How do you react when in a situation that is unfair or unjust?

How do you react when you are mistreated or disrespected?

How do you react when things do not go your way?

How do you react when life serves you tragedy and not always triumph?

And it does give you a lot to think about.  Truly.

How do I react to situations in my life that were not of my choosing or not in my control or not pleasing to me?

Because, after all, I may be the only Bible some will ever read.

The next thing he stated really painted a visual picture that shows unfathomable pain…

A friend of his was in a tragic plane accident that killed his father (his friend’s father).  And his friend, himself, was burned over 40% of his body.  He had to go through months of excruciating and painful healing and skin grafting.

And his friend shared this with him…

You have to remove the old skin in order to not receive infections and to heal.  You also need this removal so that they can graft skin from other parts of your body to replace the old skin with new.

BUT…you have to use a hard wire brush and have the old skin scrubbed off of you.  You have to be scrubbed.  Raw.  In order to have a chance to heal.

This made me think…it’s so true in life.  Often, we have to be scrubbed raw to rid ourselves of what it is that is keeping us from being healthy.  We have to be scrubbed raw, sometimes, in order to be brought to restoration and healing.

And it’s not pretty.

And it’s not pain free.

But it’s necessary.

And only when the dead and infectious skin is gone.  Only then can we be given new skin.  Only then can we begin to heal.

Perhaps this is why sometimes people don’t heal.  Because it’s a wire brush.  It’s a scrubbing.  It bares their very soul raw.  And it hurts.

Perhaps this is why many cover what is infectious with ways to mask their pain?

But, he went on to share, when his friend went through all of his unfathomable pain and re-grafting of skin…only then was his friend able to heal.  And only then was his friend able to leave the hospital.  And only then was his friend able to live, once again.

You know…Today’s message was brought about by a kid with dirt still behind his ears.  But what he shared was from his heart—and it went straight into the hearts of all those of us listening.

I hope it resonates in yours, too.

Let me end with this…

As he was praying at the end, he said, “Dear Lord, Thank you for helping me not pass out today!”

And we, the audience, lost it!  Good thing his sermon and church were over.

We were left with a lot to think about…and a good laugh to leave.

Friends, you’re never too young to let God use you in great ways.

And you’re never too DEAD to allow him to help you be scrubbed raw…and healed.

And don’t forget…You actually may be the only Bible some will ever read!

My Nose Ring was NOT a Good Idea…And we got a puppy.

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(c. photo Hel Ka Photography)

Have you ever tried to compensate for something missing in your life?  For example, when Richard and I were struggling through infertility, I got a rabbit. This rabbit ruled the roost.  Literally.  I let this rabbit, named Sylvester, run wild.  It had free reign of our home…Of our balcony…Of our couch cushions—which it gnawed to smithereens…Of our electrical cords—which in turn had their revenge on Sylvester-shocking him 4 feet off the ground (Don’t worry—no bunny was hurt in that revenge.  Well, maybe temporarily).  This rabbit was my compensation for no children. When Adelyne arrived in our lives, rainbows abounded, the sun sang to us with its rays, birds chirped melodious tunes.  Life was so complete.  Life was so beautiful.  Life was richer than we had ever imagined. And Richard and I were completely content.  For nearly 5 glorious years of Adelyne’s life, we had more joy in our souls and family than imaginable. We had no idea, however, that life could get grander than Adelyne…That is, until we experienced Sam. When I first thought I was pregnant, neither my husband nor I believed it.  But after I saw two little pink stripes—I knew!  My husband took the rest of the day to let it sink in.  But, by the end of the day, I had a beautiful bouquet of flowers and our daughter dancing around the room at the news of her impending sibling. Let me say, the entire reason we were given our second baby is because I had a daughter that for two entire years of her life PRAYED faithfully for this sibling. Notice I said my daughter prayed.  I did not.  You see, Adelyne was miraculous enough.  I never thought God would grant us a second.  So I became content with my family and did not ask God for more.  And, despite my lack of faith, my daughter said, “I want to pray for a brother!”  And so, from the age of 3, she prayed.  Nightly.  Faithfully.  Beautifully.  Truly, I admired her great faith-even though I had none of my own. And, sure enough, 2 years after she started faithfully praying, God gave us our 2nd most amazing miracle.  Our Baby Sam. When I was pregnant with Adelyne I was in great shape.  I had no pain.  I had no complications.  The girl hung out in my belly for 42 weeks.  I went bike riding pregnant, rode alligator boats, swam with Manta Rays, was stung by a jelly fish, jumped off a mountain in Austria (jumped off a mountain before I knew I was 6 weeks pregnant) and off a 30-foot platform too (again-before I knew I was 6 weeks pregnant).  And through all of Adelyne’s belly adventures, I had the most gloriously easy pregnancy known to man. When my pain began with Sam, I was astonished.  But the pain was unmistakable.  And then the contractions began.  The bleeding was daily.  Through it all, the baby kept growing.  The doctors became confident that we were making it—although painfully—through the first trimester and would make it to the finish line. So when I woke up that morning—full of energy, without the need to run to the bathroom, and not starving my guts out—I knew.  I knew my baby that my daughter had prayed for years—My baby that I had fought so painfully hard for—My baby was gone. I went to the doctor the next day and received the beautiful picture—and the tragic news.  My baby was curled up with beautiful toes and a hand reaching to the sky.  But there was no heartbeat. I had never before in my life experienced such heart wrenching and hollow pain.  I curled up inside of myself.  I would lie in a dark room for hours at a time.  And I wondered if the pain would ever go away. And I told my husband to let me be.  I needed to grieve.  And he did.  He allowed me my grief. And my daughter—what could I do for her?  Her very being was crushed.  She cried for months after.  We lost our baby in the summer.  But one wintery and snowy day when I was picking her up from school, she started crying as I was putting her in the car. “Why, Momma?  Why doesn’t God give me a brother?” And she cried.  And she cried.  And she cried. I couldn’t even start the car.  The two of us sat in the car, and, despite the snow outside, we sat there and cried.  And we allowed our pain to reveal itself deeply in the car, in the parking lot, of her school. And that’s okay.  Because pain needs to be felt.  Pain needs to be shared.  Pain needs to be relieved. But what could I do? I couldn’t give Adelyne what she wanted most—and so I did something for her. I got her a puppy. You know, to replace her sibling.

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Does it really? No.  But that is what many of us do in life. We try to replace our pain with something else. For some, it’s alcohol.  For others, it’s eating.  For many men, it’s pornography.  For too many, it’s seeking love from the wrong places.  Others it’s shopping.  The list goes on. Compensation for pain is very real.  And it’s what I did.  With a puppy. As we headed into our second year of our loss, and our pain lessened, and our lives went on…I did two things to compensate for what my heart truly desired: First, I went car shopping—looking at a sporty little convertible (no—not a good idea for a freezing country like Poland).  We even took it on test drives.  At least I had fun, eh?! And secondly…I got a nose ring. Yep, an honest to goodness nose ring. Now, let me tell you…I am a HUGE fan of nose rings.  They.Are.Awesome…in my opinion.  And, I finally felt like—Hey!  This is something I can do.  This is a way that I can have a bit of control over my life—I can pierce my nose. I know.  I know.  But, again, like I said—we all try to compensate somehow…in some way…for something we have no control over.  And a nose ring was my way. Let me also share—getting your nose pierced in Poland is the MOST EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFE! The lady, in the little city next to our little village, said, “Lie back!”  And then she started the SLOW process of the Stone Age’s way of inserting a nose ring—she started screwing it through my nose. My sister-in-law, here in the States, has a nose ring.  I just found out that there is a FAR faster way to get said ring—and it’s called a nose ring gun.  Yep.  Didn’t have that.  Had the hammer and chisel way to go about getting what I could control. Talk about PAINFUL control, eh?!  Yep.  But, in the end, I had what I had control over—a nose ring!  And I loved it.  Or at least I thought I loved it. How, then?  How was your nose ring “snot” a good idea? Well—life is great at throwing us the unexpected. Just as my husband and I were preparing to fly a social worker out from Germany to Poland for a home visit so that we could start the process of adoption, we saw the most glorious two lines!  A positive pregnancy test…It is now eleven years into our marriage. This time, however, my heart smiled—but in smaller measure.  This time, however, we kept it a secret.  This time, however, we approached with great fear.  Not great rejoicing. And…all of our worst nightmares began to reveal themselves.  Pain.  Bleeding.  Cramping. And, so we did what many of us also do in life—we threw the “Hail Mary” pass.  We called up our families and said, “Please!  We’re pregnant and it’s not going well. PLEASE pray for us!” Friends, let me share now…Yes, sometimes touchdowns are scored on the Hail Mary pass—but God would ALWAYS prefer us to come immediately before his throne.  Don’t wait to seek His face.  Come first—and bring along your prayer warriors. Our families…they immediately responded to our pleas.  Prayer became intercessory around the clock for us, around the world, on behalf of our baby. But, despite the prayers—despite the support—despite it all…Fear became present in my very being.  In my core.  In my soul. The pain did not subside.  The cramping did not subside.  The bleeding did not subside. I did what any normal human would do—I cried.  A lot. And that’s when I realized that my nose ring was definitely “snot” a good idea. Here I was fighting for the life of my baby…crying…and snotting.  And so something had to go. I had to let go of the ONE thing that I had control over—my nose ring. I had no control over my body. I had no control over my baby. But I had control over the 1 thing that I got to exercise control—my nose ring. Isn’t it funny how in life we sometimes have to relinquish the one thing we have control over? And that’s how I went from awesomely cool momma with a nose ring (okay, that’s my opinion of myself) to fighting momma with a hole in my nose. I’ve learned a lot in my 37, going on 38, years of my life, and I’d like to share them with you. We have many desires in life.  Sometimes, we are freely granted the desires of our hearts.  Other times, we lose the desires of our hearts.  And, on occasion, we go through hell to get the desires of our hearts. But compensation for desires never fulfills your very heart.  Your very soul.  Your very being.  And, so, Friends, I leave you with this… When you are in pain—cry. When you are afraid—seek help. When you need to be alone—be. When you need a friend—tell them. When you need a hug—receive. But always, always, always go about your life with God. Compensation will never fill the void.  But God will always be there.

***

I have found an article that I think beautifully states how we need to be very aware of how we speak to someone that has lost a child.  Please take the time to read “Why Miscarriage Matters When You are Pro-Life”.  It compares how Pro-Lifers react to abortion and how some of the very same people react to miscarriage.  It gently shares that many have the mentality, “one is a tragedy the other is a blessing”.

Both are losses.  Enjoy the read:

http://thelewisnote.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-miscarriage-matters-if-youre-pro.html?m=1