A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Birth Au Natural

Going into Abram's birth, I had hoped to go naturally, with no induction, no meds. With both Jonah and Matthias, I was induced. And although they broke my water with Matthias in hopes to get labor started, it didn't progress and I ended up with Pitocin and therefore an epidural. Don't get me wrong, epidurals definitely have their perks: I spent the last couple hours of all three previous births with no major pain. BUT, they make me sick. Sick like throwing up before the birth, and then throwing up after the birth. It is a little bit frustrating to want to hold and snuggle your freshly born baby, and having to hand him off over and over again so you can throw up in a bag.

So, I felt like I had spent the last nine months battling nausea, and wanted to try and see if I could avoid it during the actual birth. I read up on relaxation techniques, talked to friends who had their babies with no medication, and often felt like "Yes! I can do this!", and also often felt like "WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I THINKING???"

Yes, one tells herself that millions of women have done this before, and surely, surely I could as well! But, knowing that you're also going to enter what people call the worst pain ever is a bit intimidating.

At 40 weeks and 6 days, I was ready for Abram to come (not that we knew for sure it was a boy at that point!). We were sure a week and a half earlier that labor was gearing up, and then it stopped and never quite returned. I was dilated to three centimeters, and t.i.r.e.d. of being pregnant. Our Dr. agreed to break my water that morning of the 14th, and we were hoping that labor would progress on its own.

We went into the hospital at 7:45am, got settled into our room, and sat down so I could get a dose of antibiotics. Nothing major for the next couple hours. Dr. came in at 9:45 and broke my water and we got ready to do all we could do to get my body to agree to the process!

Eli and I walked the halls for probably two hours, with periods of stopping so they could check heart rates and everything. Contractions started to intensify some and come at regular periods. Eli was an awesome coach, just being there with me. Close to 1pm, the nurse checked and I was just at a 4. At that moment, I was a bit disheartened. I was sure she was going to say I was a bit further along! But, she was such a fabulous nurse, and quickly knew what to do. She had me switch positions for about 20 minutes, which made things pick up, and then got me into the tub, which REALLY made things start to pick up more!

In the tub I started to lose a little of my resolve: I was telling Eli if things were going to feel "like this" for a few more hours, I didn't think I could do it. I might even have said "I'll need an epidural!" Thank goodness for this man who encouraged me to just stick it out a little bit longer.

When I got out of the tub, I was really feeling it and wasn't getting long breaks between contractions. The nurse checked again, probably close to 2:30, and I was 6-7. Things were intense, and I started to panic. I think if I had really realized at this moment that I was in transition labor, I might have not been so worried. But, somehow in my mind, I still had at least two hours left of what felt like intolerable pain. Little did I know I had a much shorter time! I'm a little ashamed to say that during contractions I was begging Eli for some kind of pain meds, and then in the short breaks in between them, I would apologize for "losing my mind".

The nurse knew, though, that we were nearly there. She said "no pain meds!" and called the doctor, because when she checked things maybe 10 minutes later, I was a 9+. My mom and Eli's mom were both in the waiting room at that point. Eli, trying to fan me because I was super hot, was trying to text them to get in the room, and they said the saw the Dr. flying down the hallway and they knew it was time!

Just a few minutes later I was ready to push, and pushed for 2-3 contractions and Abram was there! 3:02pm in the afternoon. Two hours of crazy intensity, and suddenly it was over! I looked down and laughed: "It's a boy! Of course it is."

Moments after birth
Sooooo ready to snuggle my newborn - with NO NAUSEA. Definitely a little shaky from it all, but I felt great, and within two hours got to eat dinner! He was perfect in every way. We didn't get quite as many pictures during birth and right after as the last three, mostly because we were definitely in the moment and Eli was working to coach me through it all.

I won't lie, it was hard and it was painful, but to me, it was worth it. I have joked that I probably gave Eli PTSD from it all, but he has said it was worth it as well. I think back and I do think if I had known at that crazy transitional moment that I really only had 20-30 minutes left before the baby would be born, I might not have lost my mind quite so much. = ) But, I am grateful. Truly, it was only about 5 hours of labor that day, which was much shorter than I could have hoped for! And I know that a safe delivery and a healthy baby are a miracle ... and that is what our little Abram Nicholas is - a miracle sweetness to our life.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Abram Nicholas Brooks


Friday, November 14, 2014, at 3:02 p.m., we welcomed Abram Nicholas Brooks to the family! He was 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and 20 1/2 inches long. Definitely our biggest baby! I will write another time about the story of the birth, but needless to say, we are enjoying getting to know this little guy.

The big brothers pretty much adore him, and although there are definitely still moments of adjustment as Mommy's and Daddy's arms have to take extra time to bounce a baby, everyone is thrilled with his arrival (and the boys were thrilled he was another boy!).

My days have flown by faster than I can catch up with, and my to-do list (or rather, catch-up list) is long, but sometimes things just aren't going to get done each day! Which is why I'm getting to this post finally, when Abram is already nine days old = ) But, as we approach Thanksgiving in three short days, mine and Eli's hearts are most definitely full of thankfulness and awe as we gaze at another miracle: a healthy baby and three other healthy boys that create chaos and fun in our home. Our bushel and our hearts are full!

Friday, November 7, 2014


Soccer season is well over and we have moved into basketball season (for Jonah). This was the boys' first year playing soccer and they both really loved it so much. Jonah definitely connected with his teammates and got in there and we saw some great improvement. Eli played soccer for many years, and so he did really great with playing with the boys in the backyard during the week, and keeping them excited about playing! Reuben did better than we thought (I was worried he would be the kid standing on the field, completely spacing out) and was very much focused on his game and pretty intense-faced during games. He did great, and had fun with the boys on his team.

Even though they are young, I can see how we're going to be getting into those years soon in which we have to decide how to be involved in sports and activities. Do we really focus and push into one or two? Or just let them try what they want, and maybe enjoy a lot, but never really achieve a high level in one thing? I see families in which soccer soccer soccer consumes their weekends. And I'm not really sure I want to be there. But, I also never want to hold the boys back if they really find something they excel at. And so, it is a guessing game as we enter a bit more social and activity time as Jonah and Reuben get bigger.

Either way, I know it will take prayer and all of us being willing to work together and be flexible as we figure it out. I think back on all the gymnastics and dance classes my mom took me to (and with four other kids to homeschool and take care of) and I am really grateful my parents made those sacrifices - financially and timewise - because I have great memories of those times. And I want to give the boys opportunities to participate in activities, without letting the activities and sports control us.

Jonah was ready to jump right into basketball season, and is loving getting to know new teammates and go to practices. But Reuben didn't even ask to play = ) The difference between my boys. I overheard Jonah asking him a week or so ago if he was going to play basketball sometime, or if he wanted to. Reuben shrugged his shoulders and said "maybe someday when I'm in second grade". Not nearly as social as his brother, he is happy to attend Jonah's games and not worry about it. He rather prefers it.

Getting ready for the kick in

Just love this picture = )

Monday, November 3, 2014

Harvest Party 2014

We worked really hard to get a family picture this year - on a real camera no less! There was one year we got no family picture, and a couple years we've only gotten them on phones. Which is an improvement, but still! I nearly didn't dress up - which I think would have been my first halloween in my entire life that I would not have dressed up for ... but it became apparent to me that I might have faced being disowned by the four most important men in my life. So, I did! And I am glad that I did = ) Pregnant squaw and all.

Our Harvest Party this year was the biggest ever - over 950 people came through the doors of the church to enjoy our evening! Wow! And that is without advertising, save the poster by the side of the church. It did seem crazy and busy and all those things combined, but it was fun.

I ended up leaving early with Matthias. I could NOT STOP candy from getting into his mouth! And couldn't get him to eat dinner. He was having fun, but at the same time, having trouble waiting in line for games and getting a bit frustrated himself. So, I left the two big boys together, with Oma to bring them home, and headed home with Matthias. Who happily ate at home, took a long bath, and then read books with Mommy. Jonah and Reuben stuck together at the Harvest Party the entire time, and had the evening of their little lives = ) So glad that we have this opportunity each year!

And so, the family of Native Americans survived another October 31st ... and we now await the birth of our little papoose.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait: October Reflections

If anyone else in my little world is counting along with me, it is eight days until baby's due date. Not that a due date means anything specific, except a good guesstimate that around that time, your baby might be born.

Except that it plays a mental game with you, right?

For about the last two weeks, I have felt so good. Not necessary just exploding with energy, but good. Content. Happy. Full of joy. Peaceful.

I didn't feel that way the first half of the month. I was over-tired, exhausted (mentally, emotionally, physically), and couldn't see past my to-do list. Instead of taking time to be refreshed by the Lord each day, I focused on getting everything done that could possibly be done, and allowed myself to be frustrated at what remained undone at the end of the day. Really not a wise choice in daily living!

A retreat that I almost talked myself out of going gave me a 180 turnaround. I truly was refreshed and got to spend extra time listening to the Lord, worshiping Him, and allowing myself to relax in His presence and physically relax as well. Although I couldn't see it prior, I needed a couple days of not being "Mommy" and not focusing on what I hoped to accomplish around the house. Both in the midst of being away, and in hindsight ... that I was I REALLY needed. A re-focus. A time to re-think my priorities.

Be still and know that I am God.

I hadn't been taking anytime to really be still. My mind was always going even if my feet were taking a break.

Coming away didn't mean that my list changed or many of my daily activities changed: I still have to work; do school with the boys; clean up the house; etc. But my focus changed and I wasn't walking around stripped thin.

And I have felt peace about when the baby would come. Mind you, I tell people, I wouldn't mind this baby coming ANYTIME, but I have felt okay with being pregnant days longer. I know I face sleepless nights and a huge change in the dynamic of the home, but I also long for hips that don't ache and shoot pain every time I switch positions at night. For my physical body, the birth of this baby means no more nausea every morning, ease with bending over again and holding little people in my arms. I'm ready for those changes.

And somehow this morning, I am facing the GET THIS BABY OUT NOW attitude. THIS BABY WILL NEVER COME, when I know full well this baby will be born at some point! Maybe not tonight (please, Lord, oh please, tonight would be great!!!!!), maybe not even before the said "due date". But Baby Brooks will arrive. And will I trust? Will I really really believe that God has a perfect time? That all my calculations and thoughts of when that perfect should be are actually the small picture of my little world, when He sees a grander scope?

And I wrestle today. Wrestle with emotions and not wanting those emotions. With wanting today to be fun and full of laughter (and a little sugar) as the boys look forward to the Harvest Party and costumes? And also wanting a whole bunch of contractions to hit at any given moment? = ) I know, I think I'm a little hormonal. As in one day I see ups and downs in my thoughts, I look back over the month and see the down at the beginning, and the beautiful lift that came halfway through. And may it remind me even in this moment, to be refreshed. Re-focus. There is a better way to wait.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not a Baby Anymore

My baby isn't a baby anymore. He is a full-fledged little boy with strong opinions of his own ("Mommy, sometime I like you, sometime I don't" - true statement from a boy in the backseat of my car when he DID NOT want to go to soccer the other weekend), running faster than I can often catch these days, asking me who I'm talking to on the phone, giving me big squeeze hugs, requesting Mommy to read books each morning during our couch snuggle time, refusing to ever sit on the potty, finally eating some pasta after a two year refusal, and giving a day-full of challenges, giggles, laughter, hugs, and whateverelseyoucanthinkof every single day.

Matthias really is such a fun personality. Oh, he makes me want to pull my hair out several times a day, but he also just brings lots of joy to our home.

But, the realization is sinking in that he won't be our my baby anymore. I'm not really sure how this will all pan out. He loves babies and helping to take care of them ... but that is an entirely different story when a baby is going to arrive in his home, taking up our time. He is still my snuggler, and wants me to lay by him when we read a story before bed or naptime. He wants to have his blanket and pacifier often (the habit will have to go after baby-adjustment), and walks up to me: "Momma, hold-a me" with those not-so-chubby-anymore arms.

Although it is hard to actually wrap my mind around the fact that in only a few short weeks Brooks Baby will be here, every now and the the reality hits me that life is about to change. A lot. In a short time. And I know the affect on him will be huge.

And so I pray: pray that he will adjust, that he will love and not resent his newest sibling. That God will show me how on earth to spend my time wisely, investing in each child separately, and teaching them (us) to live together.

And I am treasuring the little moments that I am getting that I know will inevitably change: putting him to bed. Trying to read more books when we have time. And I admit: I feel a little sadness sometimes - knowing that we face the transition and he just isn't my baby anymore.

My current favorite moment? When I lay next to him in his bed, after reading a book, and usually I close my eyes and sing or pray. And then little hands frame my cheeks, and I can "see" him looking at me. And then, then little fingers touch my eyebrows (of all things!), and he always says, "Mommy? I like your eyebrows". = )

that is my Matthias.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Patch

With mine and Eli's schedules in October, I dreamt of taking the boys to the pumpkin patch, and wondered how on earth it would be coordinated! We have retreats for the youth, the Harvest Party, a weekend fundraiser, counseling a couple and then Eli doing their wedding and on and on. It seems like most days are packed, and the weekends are too. Adding in doctor appointments for myself, trying to get school and my work done everyday, and I fall into bed exhausted!

BUT, yesterday was a bit of a reprieve - and once soccer was over in the morning, we didn't really have big plans the rest of the day. It just happened to be gorgeously sunny and beautiful, and so at 4:15 we decided to just load up and head out to the pumpkin patch.

SO MUCH FUN! It was busy, and I have never actually been there when it was that busy, but since it is outdoors and everyone was just walking around and enjoying themselves, it felt so festive! Felt like fall, I should say. Lots of people and kids walking around, laughing, avoiding mud puddles, and picking out pumpkins while they munched on kettle corn or watched the little ones play on the playgrounds and run through the maze.

The big boys, of course, remember the pumpkin patch and were soooo looking forward to being out there. Matthias didn't really remember it at all, so it was like experiencing everything for the first time over again. Chickens! Cows! Tractors! Pumpkins! He was totally into everything and had a blast. We took the boys' cousin, Mya with us, and she had a great time wandering the pumpkin patch, and playing with the boys.

Although I love to plan ahead, this was the perfect spontaneous trip for us. Just the right amount of time left in our day, perfect weather, and no meltdowns = ) For the Brooks Bushel, that is counted as highly successful!