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Entries from December 2009

Life as usual

It's been a week and a half since I gave birth to Eowyn Grey. She's such a lovely, easy-going baby.

We've been continuing with our work while adjusting to having a wee one. I thought that if you were wondering how I go about my day doing what I/we do with a new baby, I'd show you....

carry

Basically, I just tie her on and continue my routine as usual, with an occasional nursing and nappy change in there.

So today, in a few minutes, (after I take the photo I want to put in this article), Johnny & I will be heading off to town to do the routine things such as buying food for our home and Christopher's House (the boys' home), checking the mail, picking up a couple of packages, maybe grabbing some lunch, returning home, responding to emails and messages, and then planning some things we'll be doing in the days ahead.

~Kate Brooks
kate profile 2


Trust?

2009, what a year you have been, and you’re not even finished yet.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to reflecting back on the year. I approach self examination apprehensively. It is no easy task for me.

Why? Mostly because I screw up so often. I get it wrong on such a regular basis, that it is easy to miss where I get it right. Depressing.

Also I’m human, and tend to judge those who fail harshly. Know what I mean? When someone burns me, it is harder for me to trust them the next time around. I just don’t believe them, or feel that past failure points to future failure.

I judge myself the same, and the pattern of my life seems to indicate there is some truth in that judgment. I do tend to keep on missing the mark.

I’m trying to stop this. You see our Father(the one in Heaven) does not do the same.

Even though I have failed God on so many occasions, that I can’t even recall all of them, He does not hold it against me. He still trusts me to do what He has asked me to do. He still believes in me. (I believe, Lord help my unbelief.)

He has not removed me from “ministry” till I can get my act together. No. He just keeps on making it possible for me to be here in Kenya.

I hope that as we reflect back on the year, that you will be able to forgive me, and trust me. I will try and do the same for you. Don’t worry, I’ll leave out most of my failures, and leave you reflecting on the successes. Plus I tend to believe that our successful care of orphaned/abandoned children balances out all my failures anyway.


A Human life. How our recent baby came into this world...

Éowyn's birth story starts long before she was even conceived, well before we POS (peed on a stick)...
It actually starts with Emma Caite's birth in January 2007. Emma was born in our home, as well as all of our children; however, with Emma, her birth was so difficult for me (she was posterior and fought the process) that I swore I'd never have another baby... I gave away everything, maternity clothes, baby clothes, etc...
January 2009, we had a friend visiting us named Lonnie Hatfield. Lonnie wanted to lose weight, so I decided to 'diet' with him. I started losing weight, and I loved it. I felt great! I went from 126 lbs to 105 lbs and then....One morning, as I lay in bed, I felt God's presence in my room. I heard him say to me, "I want you to have another baby."
I argued with him and even cried. I told him I wasn't ready. After all, I have 12 kids! Plus, I had JUST lost all of my pregnancy weight from having Emma. But, I MIGHT be willing in the future after Emma (who is very active and has a beautiful but strong personality, was a bit older and easier to deal with). Five years perhaps, OK, God?
I was so shaken up by what I heard that I went downstairs and just looked at Lonnie and told him, "Lonnie, God just spoke something to me that I'm not ready to hear. In fact, I don't like it one bit. I can't tell you what it is, but I just wanted you to know that He was in my room today, and I'm shaken."
Lonnie looked up at me and said, "Do you want ME to tell you what God said? He wants you to have another baby."
I just stared at Lonnie in shock as my stomach hit my throat. "No, Lonnie. I'm not ready. I don't need another baby. We have 12 kids! I will NOT do anything to get pregnant. In fact, don't even MENTION this to any one, especially Johnny. And that boy is wearing double protection, from now on!"
The end of March, I got a really bad stomach ache. I posted it on Facebook. Then I had a craving for Oreos that I couldn't resist (I wasn't eating sugar bc I was dieting), and I ate THREE Oreos from a box my mom mailed me. I posted that on FB and some one suggested I POS. I just laughed. My period wasn't officially late, so I waited a few days. Finally, I bought a stick for my 'friends' just to prove 'em wrong.
BRIGHT PINK lines. Yep. Positive. I was shocked. I went to a friend's, Susan Huebner's, house. I didn't know how I felt. I was upset because I was going to have to work so hard to get 'thin and back in shape again.' Plus, Emma was a lot of work at that time, and I was just drained. I have 12 kids, God, are you SURE I need another one??
As time went on, I learned to embrace my pregnant belly and actually enjoy it. Emma matured and required much less energy from me. God worked it out so that my dear friend/midwife who helped deliver Andrew, Makena, & Butterfly could come be with me for the delivery of this little one.
By the end of my pregnancy, I was glowing and LOVING being 'round.' I enjoyed baby's personality before she even made her debut into this world.
Now, on to the actual 'birth.' Baby was due to arrive Dec. 2nd. Judy, my friend and midwife, would look at my belly and tell me, "No, Kate, I don't think you are ready. I think she'll come between the 2nd and the 7th. What do you think?"
I told Judy I thought the 5th of December. We joked about her being born during 'movie night,' and we also talked about how a 'day labor' would be nice... Baby was also posterior (nose to my front), and I didn't want another posterior labor. I had already had 2 posterior babies- Andrew and Emma. Both were my toughest labors. Judy said she might turn.
Dec. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, I had lots of Braxton Hicks contractions in the night keeping me awake (along with a serious cold). Then Friday, Dec. 4th, as I was sleeping, my water broke. It GUSHED all over the bed. I stood up, and it just poured all over the floor. I stood by the bed and demanded that Johnny wake up and get me a towel. He just looked at me and said, "Just walk on the carpet, it's ok." I took one step and SPLASH, more water. He realized it wasn't my usual 'trickle' like with my other births. He got me a towel and went back to sleep with Emma who was now soaking wet in our bed.
Straddling a towel, I waddled to the bathroom and put on a newborn disposable diaper to catch the water.
Baby dropped and curled into a tight little ball. My belly looked much smaller, and my ribs felt less pressure. I checked the time. It was 2:06 AM. I got the 'shakes' from hormones, but I had peace. I tried to post a status on FB, but the network was down.
So I rocked in my rocker and started having regular contractions. I slept a bit, called my folks. When I called my step mom, I said, "Hey, my water broke at 2am, and it's GUSHING. I just thought you should know."
She replied, "I think you have the wrong number."
"It's ME, Kate!"
"OH!" she said, "I thought you were a plumber with a broken pipe!" LOL.
As the sun came up, my contractions stopped, or just became less noticeable as I went about my day. I had to wear a diaper to keep from pouring water on the floor, but otherwise, I went to town, did some shopping, chatted with Judy, ate lunch, etc...
After our shopping trip, I decided to hang out in Judy's 'room' which is a guest house on the other side of our compound. As I was chatting with Judy around 1pm, contractions really started picking up. I tried to just 'go on with our conversation,' but at times, I had to tell her I wasn't really listening. I was so glad to be laboring during the day, tho'.
After a while, we walked to the house, and while in the kitchen, as I had a really hard contraction, Judy just rubbed my belly, and I thought I was in heaven. I've never had anyone touch me like that while in labor, and it felt great.
I begged her to be more 'hands on' this time.
I went upstairs and changed into more comfortable clothes, sat in my white, wooden chair, and the contractions picked up really quickly. Judy came up after doing some things downstairs and started rubbing my back with olive oil. It was amazing.
I tried imagining baby's head opening up my cervix. I relaxed completely and allowed my body to work. Baby curled up into a nice ball and made the labor so much easier than Emma's (she kicked and squirmed through her birth).
We never timed the contractions. I just sat in the chair and called on Judy for a back rub each time one came, and then we chatted in between them. At one point, I remember telling Judy, "The baby is awake. I can feel her moving." I believe it was then that she turned from posterior to anterior.
At 4 pm, Judy wanted to check me. I was at a 6 cm. Then an hour later, I was at 8 cm. Then an hour later I was at 10 cm. It all was so pleasant. We talked, Judy rubbed, Johnny facebooked, and Pauline, Ben's wife was in and out as she helped serve the other kids dinner and then would come check on me.
I had asked Pauline to make sure I relaxed my shoulders. She was quite funny because she'd smack me on my shoulder rather harshly and say, "Relax!" I couldn't help but laugh at her. Her methods were well intentioned, but not very relaxing. She didn't do it very often as I was pretty relaxed through it all.
Anyway, I got up from my chair and decided to kneel as I started feeling small urges to push. I pushed a bit here and there and then suddenly realized, there was no stopping, baby was coming!
As baby's head came out, I reached down and touched her wet, dark, hair before I was overwhelmed with another urge to push. Her neck was wrapped tightly in cord, but I couldn't stop pushing. Out she came, and Judy gave her a little 'twist' to unwrap her cord. She started crying and pinked up really quickly.
Judy passed her to me between my legs. I sat down and met Éowyn Grey Brooks for the first time at 6:12 PM, December 5, 2009.
While we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, all of my little children were huddled at the door just aching to see the new baby. (The older ones had started the movie for movie night.) We let Emma and Butterfly in, but I obviously wasn't dressed so the others who were less comfortable with my disposition stayed outside. Then, once the cord was cut, I was able to hold her better and put her to the breast.
After a while, I pushed the placenta out and took a bath with Éowyn. As I got dressed, Judy weighed her and measured her: 6lbs 4oz (2.8 kg), 19inches long
Johnny and I named her Éowyn Grey. Éowyn is Johnny's choice because he is a LOTR fan, and because we both think it's just pretty. Grey was chosen by me because our family is a mix of blacks and whites, plus there is a lot of grey in my life, and Grey can be so many colors- purplish, bluish, greenish,etc... Also, I wanted a color name that would go with 'brooks,' and it's my friend Sandi's favorite color. ;)
So that's it. She's here, and she's so sweet! We thank God for a wonderful experience and a healthy baby girl!
~Kate

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Cold

I’m still fighting this cold. Which means I have to refrain from writing, as I tend to get irritable and offensive when I have a head cold. (I’ve already threatened a few people with damnation in hell, and seem to have hurt Kate’s feelings more than once in the past week.)

Nothing serious, I just don’t handle stuffiness, runniness, coughing, and sore throats well. Thankfully I rarely get colds. NyQuil and Tylenol cold are my friends right now.

Otherwise life goes on. Today we plan out the menu for the week, and I will go buy all the groceries etc. that we need. (If you have any good recipes that can serve 20 people, and don’t require any packaged mixes, please send them our way.)

I’ll also be stopping by the post office, as I am waiting for my new Star Trek DVD to arrive. I’m trying to be patient.


I'm back.

Kate here. I haven't written an article in quite some time. Johnny has done well keeping up with things on this side (ie. the virtual side of things).

And I've been 'keeping it real' by giving birth this past Saturday evening in our home.

I have to admit, it was the best birth experience ever. I will spare you all the details, (even my children weren't aware of what was going on). In fact, I told my children, "We are going to have a baby today," and they just looked at me like, 'How is that possible?' None of them realized that mean I was in labor. I guess they expected more 'drama.' LOL.

ewoyn 2 days old & emma 2Anyway, Éowyn is 5 days old, and I'm just now getting my groove back as far as sleep, tidying, interaction with people, and 'work,' and any other stuff that was 'normalcy' before Éowyn decided to exit the womb and enter our world. She is the calmest most content baby I've met. Very sweet. Just like her wonderful daddy. :)

Thanks to all of you who care about us and are apart of our family dynamic through various forms. We love having so much encouragement around us.

~Kate