Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My Name is Brooke and I Am Brave

(2001) My heart seemed to stop as I watched a team of doctors load my baby on a gurney and close the ambulance doors as the lights flashed and the sirens blared. My 10-week-old baby needed emergency surgery to correct a bowel volvulus (blockage in her intestines). I was a young, first time mom. Being brave was my only option.

(2004) I woke up and looked around, I knew where I was, I was alone and so afraid. A nurse noticed I was awake and she came to me. I quickly wiped the tears from my face as she kindly asked if I was in pain. "You were so brave," she said and I turned my head as the tears filled my eyes and I shook my head. Then she said something I've never forgotten and I didn't believe at the time, “You know being brave looks different on everyone." In some weird way I was at peace in knowing that it was okay to be afraid. I had just lost the baby I had been carrying for 18 weeks.

(2005) Shortly after delivering my third baby girl, she began the fight of her life. I watched as she struggled to take a breath - her lungs collapsed and she was put on a ventilator and had tubes put into her chest to evacuate the air. Another mom in the NICU told me, "Honey, you're braver than you believe." I sat every 3 hours on the hour on the hospital bathroom floor pumping any and every drop of milk I could and repeating those very words over and over.

(2010) After 4 girls the doctor said "it's a boy!", minutes later I hemorrhaged and, while on the hospital room floor, I struggled to stay conscious in a puddle of my own blood.

(2011) I knew I could do it but I didn't want to, but I had to self-talk my way through a miscarriage at home. That day replays in my heart often. 

(2013) At an ultrasound of my last pregnancy, the identical twin sister no longer had a heartbeat.

(2013) She came nearly without warning, forcing an all-natural delivery. I hemorrhaged. Twice. Somewhere in me I knew I'd be ok, but I had to keep reminding myself. 

Many years have come and gone and through experiences I've come to know what that nurse meant; that being brave doesn't mean you're not scared or afraid. 

Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it. 

So much in life depends on our attitude. 

"To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." -Thomas S Monson

(2016) A few weeks ago at Primary Children's hospital, I hugged my little 8 year old girl tight and whispered, "it's okay baby, be so brave." She held on tight to me and cried out "mommy, mommy, mommy." The nurses took her away and I turned around as tears filled my eyes. She was so scared. So was I.

Over the next 5 hours my baby would endure major cranial surgery, for the second time, this time closing 8 holes that had never closed from the surgery she had on her first birthday to correct craniosynostosis, a premature fusion of bones in her skull. My mind immediately began jumping from memory to memory. I was not a stranger to the waiting room.

Being a parent makes you realize that the little people that you created deserve the very best of you. I remember a friend once telling me "you know you've gotta have the bad days so you can love the good days even more." Since the age of five (2012) my girl has also been fighting an incurable disease that is trying so hard to destroy her muscles and joints. I've prayed for bravery over and over and over. Being brave for someone else is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Brave :: by definition means to face or deal with something unpleasant, to endure danger or pain, showing courage

Enduring and carrying on is not just a matter of tolerating circumstances and hanging in there, but of PRESSING FORWARD. 

I know that's what most of us find difficult --- to endure joyfully

Being brave is more about that glimmer of hope after the worst possible news. 

The golden light of sun after the worlds longest night. 

It's the way you continue on even though you can't figure out how. 

My name is Brooke and I am brave. 
*Please remember the purpose of the "My Name is" series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow. You can follow Brooke's inspirational journey on Instagram HERE.

Read other stories of inspiring women in the "My Name is" series HERE

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  1. I feel your pain Brooke and I along with you had to be Brave and it wasn't easy seeing my second child who never came home from the hospital undergoing heart surgery which in the end took his life at 8 months old. I think of him often. Then suddenly in 2013 we lost our last child at 7 years old to the Influenza A flu virus. I have the gospel to help me thru these times. I know that I would be lost if I did not have a knowledge of where my baby boys are at

  2. Nikki, oh my goodness. You have had to endure, and are enduring, the unthinkable. I cannot fathom your pain. I am sending you so much love right now. Your story reminds me of a friend of mine, Bonnie, who actually wrote a piece for this series… she lost her two oldest sons (who were both my friends growing up) exactly two years apart in the exact same way. It was so incredibly devastating and it made no sense… and I'll never forget at the viewing of the second son when she hugged me and said, "The only way I am surviving this is knowing that they are together." Love and peace to you.


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