Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good Finds: My Husband

Today marks our 3 year wedding anniversary, and what a glorious day it was... okay really, it was a crazy, hectic day but the end result was perfect... WE GOT MARRIED!

One of many bridal portraits at my beloved alma mater, NCSU

Follow this link to view our wedding highlights video made by Charles' Aunt and Uncle, we are so glad to have these memories ... I'm thinkin' we should watch the whole DVD (rehersal dinner, full ceremony, reception soon!)

Us and Pastor Allen, wow, wish I was still that tiny! haha
Okay, I could go on and on forever but I don't want to start crying ... seriously guys, marriage is a blessing and honestly, the best thing that's ever happened to me. 

Growing up my mom and dad were the typical, we're married but we don't love, or really like each other, but we're staying together because we don't want to get divorced and we know the Lord wants us to work things out.  As stated in a previous post, my mom is the head of our family, financially, spiritually, socially due to my dad's illness, frontal temporal lobe dementia.  At times, I feel guilty talking to my Mom about how blessed I am to have Charles as my husband, because she rarely, if ever had that same love and devotion from her husband. But, the one thing I am certain of, my Mom has shown me true love and devotion and what marriage truly is ... you know, for better or worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health ... yep, my mom is a true woman of God and has taught me how to love my husband regardless of the situation, she has shown me, divorce is not an option, and I thank her for that.

Yep, my rock, my best friend (other than Charles), my Mom ...
Well, if you are reading this, you have read or will soon go back in the annals and read some of my previous posts (oh I hope you do!)  and you will see we've had a few bumps in the road over this short 3 years of wedded bliss, but God is still God and we will continue to praise Him for all he has given us and brought us through. 

3 blessed years ago, God joined a man, Charles Barrett and a woman, Kim Hartofelis together in holy matrimony. Praise God for the joys and trials we have endured, for the love we have shown and have been shown, and for the knowledge and grace we have been given. I love you with all my heart and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you Charles Grayson Barrett ♥

"Therefore, as God's chosen ...people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." 

                                                                                          Colossians 3:12-17

Yes, this is the man ...

I prayed to God askin Him to prepare a spouse for me.
I met one day in college and thought he'd never speak to me because he was out of my league.
I spent countless hours on the phone with while we dated.
I got jealous of everytime another girl spoke to him.
I watched teach and play with kids after school at the salvation army.
I went to Chicago, IL for Campus Crusade Urban Immersion with and saw his Christ likeness.
I always wanted to ask me to dance at Red's (Carolina Beach Music "Shag" club).
I fell madly in love with.
Who professed his love to me and asked me to be his wife.
I admired and couldn't wait for him to be my husband.
I walked down the aisle to with a goofy grin and tears of joy in my eyes.
I changed my last name for.
I saved my sexual purity for.
I have loved, honored and cherished for the last 3 years.
I trust with my life, my finances, my spiritual health and my personal security and well being.
I have mourned the loss of a pregnancy with.
I have prayed for continuously.
I don't deserve but am so thankful to have.
Who will be the father of our children, when the Lord blesses us with opportunity.
I can't wait to share the rest of my days with and journey through this life together for better or worse.
Who I will still be madly in love with until the day the Lord takes me home.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Home Sweet Home : Over 2 year old, $1 Wilton Gingerbread House

Oh my ... Can I just say, again, how much I adore my husband! He is hilarious and truly a gem! What other husband says, "okay, instead of watching football or studying for one of my grad school final exams tonight, I'll go to with you to Ihop to get your free birthday meal ecoupon and then come home and waste 2 hours making an old, stale gingerbread house!" hahahaha

So I got off work, met Charles at an investment property we may be purchasing (I really liked it).  Then we headed home, got changed ... into sweatpants a hoodie, because we were headed out to dinner.  You know that is the proper attire for Ihop :) We split a bacon cheeseburger, and both got waters. Went up to the register with a smile on our face and the email print out and left ... yep, almost $9 in free food and sadly the last of my free birthday ecoupons.  (no worries, we did tip our waitress eventhough she was ... well, once again y'all ... it was Ihop)

So on our way home, Charles said "Kim, I don't have much school work tonight.  Do you have any of those trashy shows you watch coming on? "  I then checked tvguide on my phone and sadly saw there was once again no Grey's or Private Practice.  So, what to do ?  Duh, decorate an over 2 year old Wilton Gingerbread house we bought at AC Moore for $1 that has been taking up room in my craft area!!!  And yes, Charles agreed upon those plans :) Not only did he agree, he took over the role of construction manager and entertainment specialist, i.e. brought his phone over and found an awesome Detriot, MI radio station on the internet that played great Christmas music.  We have made a gingerbread house before ... I think we were engaged, probably right before Christmas of '08, see picture below... haha.

Our first gingerbread house!

NC ...

SU ...

Wolfpack! I know ... Typical us :)

Icing fight !

Well, we wanted to see if we could make this house a little more sophisticated.  I'm just going to put some pictures up and you can see how the evening went!  haha we had so much fun! And once again ... I love that dear, sweet man with all my heart! I smile just thinking about him ! Praise God for my amazing husband and Christmas time :)

Charles holding the Gingerbread house kit

haha his genius plan to hold the walls in place

Me having fun decorating! Until my cheap plastic bag they gave me popped at the seam :(

CG putting the "snow" on the lawn
Paving the front walkway ...

A Barrett Gingerbread house isn't complete without a little icing fight :)

Icing tear ...

Our finished product !

It looks just like the box ! haha take the Wilton :)

I mean, I'd live there :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sounds like Life to me: 25 Questions - A reflection on 25 years of life, and life abundant

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Kim, happy birthday to me :) haha okay, well the birthday was yesterday 12/1 and I am the big 2-5 ! Yep, a quarter century of life well lived, and praise the Lord for that!  I can now legally rent and drive a rental car :)

Well, yesterday was... just another day.  I woke up, ate breakfast as usual, got ready as usual, got a hug and a kiss from the hubby and a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Enjoy driving your present to work!"  i.e. my "new" car a got a few weeks ago and also my birthday, anniversary, christmas present, for the next few years! hahaha we're so cheap... it's great!

Thank you all for the sweet facebook posts and texts! I even got a video message from my sweet friend Heather  in Chicago :)

A fairly steady tradition of mine is going to Red Robin for my birthday meal, they have an eclub where they mail you a FREE birthday burger coupon.  I use to work at a RR in college and well, the food is amazing and overall... I really love the place! My favorite is the Banzai Burger :)  Well, RR implemented a new system, a rewards card so I get my free burger and a free appetizer for being a part of the club.  Long story short... I didn't get my free birthday burger, I got a free appetizer, so we're going to go back and recelebrate my birthday another time.

Look at that FACE ! Man I love that guy :)

Enjoying our free Onion Ring Tower! Do I look 25?
Well, our waitress was great, but the manager was not. We got free fries, water and onion tower... tiped the great waitress, Gina 5 bones and left RR. BUT ... we were still hungry and didn't want to pay $10 a piece for a burger that I was suppose to get for free, I know I know, but it's the pricipal ... not the money the principal that I always get a free burger from RR on my special day.  Haha so since we were already 45 mins away from home we went to our next favorite burger place ... COOK OUT! 

Cook out tray with a burger-club style no mayo, 2 chicken ranch wraps, 2 ice waters and a strawberry shake.

Yeah, that's the same tray ... we shared it ... awww I know we're cute !
We dinned together over a delicious, yet cheap meal.  It truly is one of our favorite places...we use to go on dates in college to the local cook out too :) It has a special place in our hearts!

Then we headed home.  On the drive home, Charles said "Was your birthday special?", I then proceeded to say ... "not really... but it never really is... but that's okay! It's just another day :)" I don't know about any of ya'll, but my birthday is just another day.  It's not hing I did, my mom and dad... well... you know... and then there I was! God was so gracious to grant them the blessing of ... well... ME! hahaha Blessing or a curse, if you know me, you can decide for yourself.

He then proceeded to ask me a list of thought provoking questions... some of them in the list I am going to share with you below.  Basically, here's my shot a 25 questions to recap my 25 amazing years of life that the good Lord has allowed me to live so far.  So sit back, and enjoy :)

1. What is your first memory? Breaking my arm when I was 4 years old on our trampoline and going to urgent care, SCREAMING, and the Dr. asking "which arm is it?" We immediately left and headed to another Dr. office.

2. What is your best memory over the last 25 years? My wedding day... not that it was a flawless event.  haha it was actually poorly planned, on a low budget, 3 days after I graduated college, 5 days before Christmas ... HECTIC.  It wasn't perfect, but that is perfect in my book.  280 of our family and friends gathered before God to lay witness to our union.  Wow, what a blessing. Being married to Charles has been the best thing that's ever happend to me.

3. What is your worst? Well, this is not a certain date or memory, but it's all tied together. From 3rd grade to my sophomore year in high school my dad was continuously hired and fired from jobs.  Everything from a major computer company to a grocery store clerk.  Everytime we saw dad at home before we made it home from school was terrible.  Even at a young age, seeing my mom's heart drop killed me. This is a really long story, and a disease that is so sad.  I will try to write a post about it another time. It was finally the beginning of my junior year of high school we had the final diagnoses that he has temporal frontal lobe dementia, he stopped looking for work, they took away his drivers license and he has been at home ever since.  Gosh, he is such a sweet man.  I love him to pieces... but bless his poor little heart, or really his brain.  But praise the Lord for my mom's dedication to her vows, sticking by him in good times and bad.

4. What was your favorite place you lived? I would honestly say growing up in Cary, NC would be my favorite.  It was an amazing town that had so much to offer, it was clean, safe, and very special to me.  I wouldn't want to live there now... it's huge and over populated, I love New Bern now!  Our house was unique... one of a kind in my book :)  My dad and family actually built it.  It was blue and yellow, the front door was on the top level (along with the kitchen, dining room and master bedroom) and down stairs was the living room, bedroom and computer room.  It was in a precious, wooded neighborhood with a large lot, the kicker was... the street was over 30 ft above the house.  Yes, you could not see the house from the street, we had a really long and steep driveway (perfect for when it snowed).  That was it... I loved that place.  Mom and dad just moved to a new house (one story, no steps, small yard, in a little neighborhood in another town).  It's nice ... but it's not home.  Gahlee I love that Miranda Lambert song "House that built me", I seriously cry every other time I hear it.  The house wasn't perfect by any means, but it was and will always be home.

The driveway from at the house below.

View of the back of the house.
5. What was your saddest recollection? the recent miscarriage... If you're here, feel free to look back at my last few blogs.  It will tell you everything you need to know.  But in all things, I give thanks and surrender my will to Gods, I will abandon all outcomes.

6. What is the biggest thing God has shown you over the last 25 years? His saving grace.  Wow y'all.  That's it right there. I'm 25 but I have eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord. The son of God who was perfect and blameless and pure, who died on a cross for my sin.  That's it.  He's shown me love, forgiveness, mercy, he has given me life.

7. What do you think he's going to teach you the next 25? Patience... gosh, I still don't have it! In the little things like traffic to the big things like having a child.  I need to completely trust him and his plan and not rely on my clock and my plan for anything. 

8. What do you hope 25 has in store? A sweet, perfect and precious baby Barrett

9. What do you pray God spares you from this next year? Another miscarriage

10. What is your favorite college memory? Being Ms. Wuf :) and considered a varsity cheerleader. Being on the field and behind the scenes of my favorite sports team ever :) I am a proud alum and will be a Wolfpack fan for life!

11.What was your favorite vacation? Driving from Cary, NC to Los Angeles, CA with my dear friend Annie.  We were two, niaeve 19 year old girls in a 2 door red honda civic on a mission.  What a great trip, moving Annie out to USC.  haha we still laugh about it to this day that our parents allowed us to do that alone :)

12. What is your favorite place to relax and clear your mind? The point at Emerald Isle Beach, NC. mMm it's perfect... where Charles proposed, where we went after we found out about the miscarriage... it's perfect.  I spot to sit and look at how big our God is.

13. Who was the person who had the greatest influence over your last 25 years? My mom.  She is amazing. I beautiful woman of God who has raised two beautiful girls in the way of the Lord.  Through blood, sweat and tears she has been the leader of our family and has maintained a cheerful outlook on life desite the many hard times she has been through.  She is my example of what marriage looks like... yes, sticking by your husband through the good times and bad regardless of what you want or what you deserve. She selflessly gives of herself everyday. And for that, I am greatly influenced to see how strong she is and I praise the Lord daily for her.

14. What does 25 feel like? The same as 24 :) which was the same as 23 ...

15. What is your greatest regret over the last 25 years? Not being better disciplined spiritually and physically. Being to busy and making excuses not to take care of me.

16.  What is one personal goal for the next 25 years? To be better disciplined spiritually and physically.  To do regular devotions and spend more time with God and to set up exercise and healthy eating habits I can maintain for a lifetime.

17. What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment over the last 25 years? Being the first member of my immediate family to graduate from a 4 year university.  NCSU- 3.5 years while working my tail off to help pay for it. 

18. If you could give one piece of advice for people younger than you, what would it be? Quit being a stupid, rude, hormonal teenager and respect God and your parents.  Act like you have some respect for yourself and for adults and truly be grateful for all you have.

19. Same but for people over 25? Trust in the Lord, not yourself for everything.  Do not try to manage your life and make it perfect.  Surrender your control and give God the reigns.

20. Why do you feel God has allowed you to live to 25? In all honesty, I love people and there are still so many people I haven't met and loved and shared God's love with.  Not saying I'm a super evangelist or anything, but I love talking to anyone, anytime any place.  I have never met a stranger :)  And, I honestly believe one of my greatest callings in life is to be a mom and to pour life and knowledge into a little one of our very own.

21. At what age will you feel old? Ohh that's tough... I'll probably change this when I get there, but 30 seems pretty old to me right now.

22. What is your favorite birthday memory? Well it's kind of reoccuring every year, so it's something I look forward to and it's not my birthday until this happens... My mom calls and wishes me a happy birthday after 11:21 am, because ... well, I wasn't born until 11:21 on December 1st, 1986 so it's not my birthday until 11:21 :) Sweet lady! haha aaaaaand my sister calling me and singing "happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey, and you look like one too".  I hope to create fun memories for my family one day.

23. What is something you want to do in year 25 you've never done before? haha once again, you knew this would be recurring ... have a happy, healthy baby :)

24. How do you think people percieve you now that you're 25? haha they don't think that I'm 25! Depending on how I dress, some people think i'm still in middle school :)

25. What are you most thankful for over the last 25 years? Life and life abundant.  I can't wait to see what God has planned for my next 25 + years!

We then got a free rental code from redbox for my birthday, watched Water for Elephants (good movie, we enjoyed it) and went to sleep :)  What a day ... a day like any other day, but a day I am so blessed to have. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sounds like life to me : Give thanks with a grateful heart

Wow, what a busy weekend !  Thanksgiving ... scratch that... all holidays are exhausting for Charles and I right now.  All of our immediate family and some of the extendend family lives within 2 hours or so from us.  Well, since we are the "young marrieds still without kids" we have decided to appease both sides of the family and do all major holiday events.  Soooooo here's a basic run down of our weekend.

Some goodies I made for the extended family.

Wednesday: Kim gets off work at 3pm, gets home at 4, finishes packing, wrapping, baking, makes dinner, does laundry. Charles gets home, eats, packs. They go to sleep.

Thursday: Wake up, pack up the car, Kim drives while Charles does a grad school project in the car (laptop on cookie tray with internet tethered from his phone and power by a DC to AC converter under the seat.  Arrive in Gtown and have lunch with Kim's side of the family. Leave Gtown and head to Ctown (not telling you the real names of the towns so you can't join us)  for Charles' immediate families Thanksgiving dinner.  Drive to stay with my mom and dad in Atown.

Precious couple in Gtown.

Sweet family in Ctown.

Friday: Wake up, run errands with Mom and do some honey do items for her.  Lunch with Sister and her hubby and sweet baby girl at Chili's then head to Rtown to see my Yia yia (grandma in Greek) and some of my dad's side extended family.  Leave Rtown, fly down the highway to Atown to get changed and arrive in Ctown i.e. Charles' grandma's place.  Kim leaves for Dtown to go to see the Radio City Rockette's with some of the ladies, and Uncle Bob. Charles, joins the boys in R town for NCSU vs Elon basketball. Meet up in Ctown and head back to Atown for a good nights rest at Mom and Dad's.

Sis, bro-in-law, niece

My immediate family and grandma

Sister and cousins

Rockette's with hubby's fam.
Saturday: Wake up, go to Chik-fil-a with mom and dad.  Kim and Charles meet up with the other Barrett boys in Ctown and head to Rtown to see an epic football game, NCSU vs Maryland. They all head back to Ctown to visit with family. Kim and Charles return to Atown to do more school work and relax.


Me and the Barrett boys.

Grand dad and nephew Rhett snackin' post game.

Sunday: Wake up, meet family in Ctown to then drive to Rtown to go to church. Head back to Ctown for brunch with all the Barretts.  Relax in Ctown for a while. Leave Ctown alllllll the way through Rtown, Gtown, Ctown, and many others in between til we arrive home, late sunday evening.  Get home, unpack, eat, watch some TV/finish grad school project. Go to bed. 

The whole crew in Ctown.
Overall, we had a great Thanksgiving weekend. I was really worried that the whole miscarriage convo would pop up... and it did. Mainly in really sweet side conversations filled with hope and encouragement, which I truly appreciated. 

The thing I didn't anticipate hitting me so hard was the overwhelming sadness and emptiness I would feel around family with children and how left out I felt.  Yes, new moms and dads gushing over their babies, as they rightly should, and talking about their shared parent experiences.  Feeling, once again, as not part of the club, and behind the curve.  Grand parents adoringly stating "their world is now better since they have a grandchild" and how they are so happy with their new role.  Once again... feeling like chopped liver.  Praying no one would "make an announcement" that they were expecting again and trying not to envy the baby belly.  Wow... didn't know it would hurt so bad. Gosh, even hearing the Christmas story out of Luke made me sad... Seriously Kim??? Jealous of Mary carrying baby Jesus .. yep. Sad but true. 

Oh well, as the post is titled "Give thanks, with a grateful heart..." I do have a lot to be thankful for. I truly do.  My faith in the most loving savior Jesus Christ, my husband, my family, my job, my house, my car, my church, my friends, my health and so on and so forth. 

"Give thanks with a grateful heart

Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son.

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich"
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich"
Because of what the Lord has done for us.

Give thanks
Give thanks."

I don't need to be jealous of anyone for any reason. But I am finding myself that way and I pray that this feeling will pass.  The other thing about this week is turning 25 this thursday.  I know, I know, it's just a number. But it's once again a reminder that time isn't standing still and my life is furiously passing before my very eyes.  I will give thanks, I will be grateful for each day and each blessing the Lord gives to me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sound like life to me : Healing

I will make this one short and sweet. 

We went to the Dr. for our follow up appointment yesterday at 4pm, we waited, and waited, but we didn't really feel anxious.  Finally they took a urine sample, and pricked my finger, and then we waited some more.  Finally, they pulled us back, yes, my sweet sweet husband came to the Dr. with me again, and the Dr. sat down.  He was cordial and asked how we were doing, by this point I was sweating and thinking...

GIVE ME THE STINKIN NEWS ALREADY ! Is the urine test negative? Is the blood results what you wanted to see? Do you have to draw blood or give me an ultrasound? 

This is what I heard out of the doctors mouth, he could have said something totally different but this is what was conveyed to me ...

" You're healed! 100% perfect! God created your body perfectly and he handled this without medical intervention. Your strength in each other and in your faith pulled you guys through this. This is the perfect (if there is such a thing) miscarriage with your minimal pain and how fast everything happened.  You were wise to follow your instinct and not have the procedure. I wish all my patiences had this smooth of a time physically through a miscarriage. "

Yeah he really did say some of those things! Wow ya'll ... our specific prayer request was, let the urine pregnancy test be negative and let no form of infection or complication be present and don't require any more testing i.e. ultrasound or blood work. 

BAM! Answer to prayer ... God is listening :) and all of you, our mighty family, friends, and prayer warriors helped so very very much and we wish we could hug each of you and let you know how special we felt with your love pouring down on us.

The next question was ... "okay, Doc, uhhh when can we start trying again?" He then told us we're free to start whenever we are ready emotionally and physically.  They'd like you to wait for one period so they can date the pregnancy better, but it's not required. 

Wow, leaving the office, we both had huge smiles on our faces... I even think we high fived! haha yeah, we're those people. Those people who were happy to see a negative pregnancy test (the one, and only time I hope to see that and be rejoicing) ... WE MADE IT!

Yes, it was a 4+ month set back in our plans to create Baby Barrett, but it was a victory!!! Mind you, it was very emotionally difficult and still something I NEVER desire to go through again, but God brought us through it and we were victorious!  No more moping around waiting to be back to normal ... it's time to prepare ourselves emotionally for another go round, with that, we have to be prepared for another miscarriage (yeah, that would suck).

I have spoken to a lot of women in the past week and some of them truly told me stories of physical pain and agony... my pain was severe but bareable and I am beyond grateful God allowed it that way.  We saved a lot of money and a lot of time healing from the procedure.  And I would have to say today, if we miscarry again... I will probably try to pass it naturally again and then get things tested to make sure there's not an underlying condition, but other than that, looking back on this now... there's nothing we would have changed.

We would have still rejoiced the first time we saw that positive pregnancy test...
We would have still prayed for the baby...
We would have still told friends and family who were near and dear to us before 13 weeks...
We would have still gone to the Drs. to check out the bleeding...
We would have still cried and grieved at the picture of the empty sac...
We would have still chosen to pass it naturally...
We would have still shared all of this on the blog/facebook and asked for prayers...
We would have still prayed for a painless miscarriage...
We would have still trusted in the Lord regardless of this situation...

We will still pray, and fervently ask for your prayers for a child, or two or four! That is a desire of our hearts, to be parents together, to raise a Godly family and we do not feel this set back is God taking away that desire.  He has shown us how precious life is, even when you lose it.  Mainly, he has shown us how to love and love deeply and rely on him when lifes path is unclear.

I'll leave you with this :

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

                                                                                  - Psalm 139:13-14

God was, and is in control. He is the ultimate creator and sustainer of the universe.  He loves us and he wants what's best for us.  He created me in my mother's womb and we will hold fast to His word and pray for the day that we are blessed with a little one of our own.  Until then ... we will be filled with joy and gladness because our marriage is stronger than ever ! Our almost 3 short years of marriage has been a dream, not a day has passed that I haven't praised God for my amazing husband, and let me tell you ... passing through a difficult time with your spouse is a blessing.  It shows you what you're made of.  It confirmed to me, that I have the most amazing God, husband, family, and friends and I am so thankful to be alive.  Be blessed ya'll ...

ha ha ... so much for short and sweet :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sounds like Life to me: Keep your head up

" I am suffering ... Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."          
                                                                                           - 2 Timothy 1:12

I get daily emails from Heartlight.org and they are amazing! A bible verse, explanation of the verse or a thought, and a prayer.  Well, today is Thursday... at 4pm we have the Dr. follow up appt from the miscarriage.  Needless to say I am on edge today.  This past week has been tough... and this verse this morning was perfect.  Now, we in no way have suffered to the extent of Paul (the one writing here in 2 Timothy) or Job, but after this past week, I was feeling pretty low. 

"As Paul faced very difficult circumstances near the end of his life, many of those he had led to the Lord abandoned him. But he was confident that the Lord would not abandon him! He had committed his life to Jesus as Lord. That Lord would ensure that the investment Paul had made would not be wasted. His life, his future, and his eternal destiny were entrusted to the Lord. He was confident that they were also secure in the Lord. He believed with every fiber of his being that on a special day known only to God, Jesus will return and every knee will bow and Paul's faith in the Lord will be joyously validated."

PRAYER:  mMm I love this prayer ... it really blessed me today :)
"Almighty God, I believe, but please strengthen my faith so that no matter what I may endure, my confidence in you will remain firm and my hope may remain vibrant. I entrust to you all that I am and all that I hope to be, believing fully that you will bring me through whatever lies ahead and bring me into your glorious presence with great joy. In Jesus' glorious name I pray. Amen."

Photographer captured this shot of me praying with the bridesmaids and lady family members right before I walked down the aisle, wow, what an amazing day that has truly changed my life for the better... and for that, I praise God :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Update: Mercies in disguise...

** Warning: I am going to get a tiny bit graphic here, because, it may help someone else when they are going through this one day, so just be aware of that. I will try to warn you before it comes **

Hey ya'll.

Wow, what a week! In the Barrett household... our days are all screwed up, the time change makes us go to bed by 9 pm it seems and we're kind of living in a fog.  While it has been great to be home all week, the circumstances have been less than ideal. No one wants to deal with something like this, ever. Seriously I think I could poll 1000 people and not a one would say, "sure, I'll take miscarriage, that sounds like fun!" and if they did say that I would say they need help :) Well, working from home was great ! I had something to do to keep my mind off of my body and it allowed me to get other things done and have dinner made before 7pm every day.  I also had sweet time to go for walks with my amazing husband in the afternoons when he got home. I'm not going to lie, it is tough working 45 mins from home but I am so blessed to have a job.  That is one of the biggest blessing of the week, the support from my co-workers and job.  I plan on going back to work monday because I think the worst has passed.

Okay let me give you this update. *Warning: a little graphic* From all of the highly skilled research I did, I mean googling "what happens during a miscarriage, what am I suppose to look for during a miscarriage, steps of a miscarriage" gives you a lot of great information! haha of it was helpful, others scared the living daylights out of me.  Most women I spoke to or read about compared it to 80% of labor pains, blood blood blood, no energy and cramps that will make you double over in pain. Ha ... are you kidding me!?

Our specific prayer request was "Lord please let this miscarriage all of what's left inside pass through me with minor pain and infection.  Be in control and allow us to pass this naturally without medical intervention by 11/21/11, if not we will schedule the procedure and have everything taken care of so we can enjoy time with family for Thanksgiving." 

Speaking of procedures, I talked to many, sadly too many women that I know and love who told me about their stories with miscarriage and their friends stories. It was everything from, "I was older and wanted kids so I got the D&C and moved on,  back when it happend to me the only option was a D&C, or My friend had a D&E and they messed up and didn't get everything and had to do it again, or my favorite, my sister in law had a D&C and they tore the back of her uterus." OKAY, if you're human and you knew you were contemplating on getting this surgery, would any of these situations comfort you? Once again, if you say yes, you need help, please, let me pray for you...

Once again you can google both of these to get greater detail :
D&C - Dilation and curettage: knock you out, dilate your cervics, take a surgical spoon and scrape it all clean
D&E - Dilation and excavation: knock you out, dilate your cervics and suction everything out

**Warning: I want to be able to give a little bit greater detail here so others can possibly gain wisdom from my experience, sorry if I gross you out **

Here's a timeline of the last few days:
Day 1 (sunday): I experienced a light brownish pink discharge when I wiped after I went to the bathroom, called the Dr. and they said, "it should all be okay, most women have a little spotting during pregnancy, come on in monday and we'll check you out"

Day 2 (monday): You remember "terrible, horrible no good very bad day" ? right, that was the day of our diagnoses for a blighted ovum.

Day 3 (tuesday): Light bleeding all day. I was awoken at 3:10 am with very light cramping and proceeded to stay in the bathroom until 4:30 until the feeling and bleeding passed. haha I even made a little pallet on the bathroom floor with two towels and my pillow inbetween cramping to get a little rest :)

Day 4 (wednesday): Moderate bleeding and passing a little tissue.
               SIDE NOTE - I had 3 sweet, sweet visitors come see me.  My sister and her little baby girl surprised me and came up from 2 hrs away to see me and spend some time togther. And, an amazing friend from church, came and brought me a "goodie" bag with movies, a magazine, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, and a few other things to help the next few days :)
                                Okay, back to wednesday... We were watching 27 Dresses and I was literally curled in the fetal position on the couch barely able to carry on a converstation.  My whole mid section of my body, pelvic area to lower back felt like the muscles were being rung out to dry every 4 minutes.  Seriously, 4 minute waves of okay, this isn't terrible but I really can't even straighten out my body right now, they were long and momentarily crippling and probably the worst pain I had this whole time.  The pain was such that I passed up fresh chocolate chip cookies and sat with an ice pack on my forehead and back of my neck to take the edge off. Oh yes, I finally took a pain killer, a little fairy brought me some special pills that I am very grateful for, though I only took 2 this whole time, they were perfect. That night, I had the special pill in me, and I slept in the other bedroom so Charles could sleep. I slept 6 hours without waking up, pain, or much bleeding.

Day 4 (thursday): When I woke up in the morning I felt great! No bleeing, no cramping... oh no, had the pain pill worked too well and stopped the process !?! At that point, I discontinued all pain killers so I could feel what my body was doing. From all the research I read it told me there was someting that I should be passing out of my body, and I knew it hadn't passed yet.  Frustrated and defeated, I took the day by the horns. I went to a friends house and got some of her advice to help the process, I took some clothes to be dry cleaned (shoot, I need to pick that up), I went to Wal-Mart, I jogged a mile (yeah it had been about 2 months since I had jogged, and then walked 2 more miles, I had 2 cups of raspberry leaf tea (which is suppose to induce cramping) I was a woman on a mission.  I WANTED EXCRUCIATING PAIN, I WANTED CLOSURE AND HEALING, I did everything I could think of to help this gestational sac out, but nothing was working :( 

Charles was working on school work, so I laid on the floor and watched 2 TV shows (Up all night and Glee) on the internet, I had very minor cramping and had finished my shows and stood up, I mean come on it was almost time for Grey's Anatomy.  As I stood up, I realized I had to go to the bathroom. I went #1 as I normally would, without pain and minimal bleeding ** Oh, oops, WARNING** and out popped, literally popped out an oddly shapped large ball of tissue (picture a small squash or a small 1/2 inflated balloon shape 3 to 4 in long and about 2 1/2 in in diameter).  Really, my body felt like a balloon was being blow up, in a certain female area and out it popped. I then yelled for Charles and he came and looked too.  All the research I had done said that was it, SUCCESS, the gestational sac !!! Okay, really, I want to go into greater detail here but, I won't. IF THIS HAPPENS TO YOU, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL ME AND I'LL TALK TO YOU IN GREATER DETAIL.  What this meant to us was, we're over the hump, we're basically painlessly and uneventfully passing what was failing to grow our child.  It was the strangest feeling I had ever felt and I was relieved I didn't have a horror story like some other women had shared.  I slept in bed with my husband that night and woke up in the morning.

Day 5 (friday): Charles had off for Veteran's day, I had work still and continued to work from home. I had light to moderate bleeding and that was all. No more tissue, and only slight slight cramping.

Day 6 (saturday): Moderate bleeding and no cramping.

Okay... that's where we are. We are so blessed to have all of your support and prayers. WE TRULY BELIEVE THAT YOUR PRAYERS HELPED US WITH THIS NEARLY PAINLESS PHYSICAL PROCESS.  Y'all, i'm not going to lie, I was afraid, I had no idea what I was going to experience pain wise. My husband and mom were the best, haha they were like " are you kidding me, you're strong and tough, you'll be fine, you're not like other women" haha okay, I love having my own cheerleaders to pep me up :)  Everytime I sat infront of my computer reading your emails and FB post I felt loved. I felt hugs coming from Raleigh, Cary, Wilmington, even right down the road but I was home, alone most of the times, in sweats, messy hair and all.  I felt loved. 

We have a follow up appointment at the OB's office next thursday.  Here's our next specific request: "We pray that the miscarriage was complete, that everything was expelled from my body and we are now healing.  We pray that no medical action is needed and that the pregnancy hormones are little, to non existant, we pray for no infections." 

Okay, right now, I just feel like i'm on my period and i'm waiting for it to end.  I hope we're in the clear!  After the update from the Dr. and my next regular cycle... we're free to start trying again.  Okay, here comes the next prayer request...

Pray for emotional healing.  Pray for our bodies to be functioning at optimum baby making ability and pray for our hearts and our faith in the Lord to be strong.  Pray that we do not start this process again until we really feel like we're ready to deal with miscarriage again.  Yes, we want a child so badly and we both feel like that's one of the greatest reasons why God called us together, to be parents.

Two songs to leave you with that we've loved this week:

We love ya'll so much! Praise God for each and everyone of you and your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time in our lives.  Grin and Barrett... perfect.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekend Warriors: Terrible, horrible, no good VERY BAD day :(

Wow... How do I even being this post?! Okay starting out, a little warning... this is my blog and I have a right to share personal information on here... This is my blog and I am choosing to write something very personal, an account of probably one of the worst days of my entire life. I am not doing this for pity, or out of anger with the Lord; I am doing this so I can personally keep an account of a major struggle we went through and hopefully encourage others if they have been through (or will go through) something similar. I pray this on NO ONE... Let me tell you this in advance, this is terrible, and terrible things happen to all of us, through these trials we are strengthened. Eventhough it has only been about 24 hours, I am releasing the outcomes to God and I have full faith he will restore me and my husband and will allow us to be ever so blessed in the future.  All that aside ... let me begin.

On July 23, 2011 I stopped taking my BC, Charles and I were ready to start a family!  We prayed, and prayed and prayed many many times that God would be incontrol of the whole process and eventually give us a happy, healthy baby.  After being off the pill for a month and successfully having a visit from "Aunt Flo" we began "trying" hahaha yeah that's how i'm going to put it, that was August 22,2011.  On September 23, I was "late" and said "well maybe I should take a test... and I did, and it popped up PREGNANT! To my shock and amazement I woke up Charles and proceeded to test about 5 more times within the following week.  WE WERE OVERJOYED !!! This was the perfect time for us and we truly felt blessed for such a short time trying and such great results.

Waking Charles up and telling him the "good news"

tear stained eyes ... SO EXCITED

Clear as day ... Pregnant

After taking another test a few days later, and better dressed.
Alright ... on with the story.  So we calculated the baby would be born on May 28, 2011. Once again PERFECT ! Both mother in laws are school teachers and they would be able to spend some time helping, and this is a "slower time" for work for both of us.  We scheduled an 8 week appt with an OB and went on our marry way.  By marry way I mean, reading, studying, planning for life ... with a baby.  We look a few pictures "of before and we had a spot all picked out for weekly belly pictures".  I had started eating differently (i.e. no sandwich meat, watch the fish I ate, pack in the calcium and iron and take prenatal vitamins).  I had no doubt in my mind I was pregnant, even my body was showing and growing.  My boobs were sore and growing by the day, I had to buy a new bra to keep up with them.  I never felt any kind of morning sickness but I did tons of research and consulted many friends, family members and Drs and they said "you're blessed" only about half of women have bad sickness, be thankful and knock on wood.

Next we had our 8 week appt, they took blood, did a urine test, and a pelvic exam.  Our insurance is a crazy high deductible and then the ins. co. pays 100%  Also, they only cover one ultrasound at 18 weeks to check developement and the sex.  A lot of my friends, okay almost ALL of my friends are pregnant or have young babies, I so dearly wanted that first ultrasound to see a little tiny creature, but our insurance didn't cover it and the OB said ... you're perfectly healthy and you only need one ultrasound during your whole pregnancy... unless there are complications.  Charles and I left the Dr. office, happy as could be, we were doing great and couldn't wait for the 12 week appt.

Well, here comes the kink in the plans. On Saturday 11/6/11 we were at the NCSU vs UNC football game and I noticed a little "spotting"... didn't think much of it because we were having an AMAZING time and my team NCSU won.  Side note, this was the highlight of the "weekend", thus why I put weekend warriors because, well, it was the longest weekend ever, eventhough the worst part happend on monday.

Okay so Sunday, we went out to eat after church and I noticed a little more spotting, went home, called the OB and they said "ohhhh it should be nothing but come on in first thing monday and we'll check you out."  Sunday night, we have life group with a sweet sweet group of friends.  We have started to discuss prayer, and we were going to do a year long challenge where each person lifts up one, HUGE prayer request that only God could answer... and I mean we're talkin' huge! I'm a little prayer girl and always come to the group eager with something to share, but I knew we were trying not to focus on the little requests, so I said "okay guys, we need your help, this is a quick, but insanely important request we really need your help with".  We told the team I had a little spotting (aka light light bleeding) and bleeding and baby are never a good sign. Our team of amazing friends laid hands on me and prayed their hearts out... for a heart beat.  I have a uterus that's tilted towards my back (so does my mom and sis) and the Dr. always uses that as an "excuse" oh yeah, we won't be able to hear a heart beat until later because of that, you're fine... blah blah blah.  So our prayer was to go in, do a simple dopler heart beat monitor, hear the heart beat and go on with our days.  Leaving life group, we were exhausted and nervous for the appointment to come, but, we were hopeful that we served an amazing God who had a perfect little creation inside me.

On to Monday morning at the OB's office.  Still feeling fine and only minimal spotting (all of this was only when I wiped) no aches, pains, cramping etc.  They took us in and said ... "okay, everything looks great! We'll get the doppler out, find a heart beat and go from there." Cold, and nervous they squirted the jelly on my belly and began.  With my eyes closed and hand clenched around Charles' I prayed and prayed "Lord, give us a heart beat, a strong, strong heart beat. Put our minds and hearts at ease and get us out of here!" Well, the midwife said... "yeahhh probably that uterus" no worries, we'll getcha an ultrasound!"  She had us wait in the waiting room where I began crying... remember, we had prayed for a heartbeat. We wanted God to show us that first thing so we would have our minds at ease... ultrasound was next, and almost last resort.

They then brought us back to this dark, cold, purple room. I immediately began shaking uncontrollably. Charles tried his best to calm me... wow, what a champ! Seriously, praise the Lord for my amazing husband who took time off work, and missed an important staff meeting to be by my side.  They did a pelvic ultrasound and ... you guessed it "man that uterus really is tilted back, are you sure of the date of your last period?" yes, yes and yes to all... woman get along with it.  She finally found something of interest, a gestational sac, yes, that's where the fetus grows. She said we needed to do a different ultrasound to get a closer look.  By this point, I was in tears, full out shock. I had seen many friends ultrasounds and some online and I knew something was wrong.  She then said, "let me go get the Dr. and we'll have him do a transvaginal ultrasound and we'll get this figured out." Okay, that's a little, I mean BIG wand they stick up your lady part to get the closest look.  The Dr. was there, the probe was in, the sac was there ... but it was black, there was a gestational sac and no baby or fetal pole. Empty. A black oval where a tiny little plum size 11 week old baby should have been. I literally felt like my heart was ripped straight out of my chest. The shock, awe, and extreme anger of praying SOOOOOOOOO hard for a little heart beat and not even seeing a fetus, took the breath out of me.
this is not my picture, they didn't give us one but this is what it looked like.
This is what an 11 week ultrasound should look like.

Blighted Ovum ... two words no woman EVER wants to hear.  Seriously, just click on the link or google it to read about it.  Basically, the egg is fertilized, and implants and your body is pregnant, and at some point ... it simply detaches and your body continues to think it's pregnant until it realizes it's not.  I got dressed and we headed in to talk to the Dr. A miscarriage.  An "oops". A medical mystery.  Questions filled the room as Charles and I tried to understand what we did wrong and how we can prevent this :
1. what did we do?
2. is this our fault?
3. will this happen again?
4. was there ever a baby?
5. was I ever pregnant?
6. why didn't you guys catch this?
7. is this common?
1. we did nothing wrong
2. not our fault
3. hopefully not
4. yes, just cells though that sometime reabsorbed into the body
5. yes, and your body will still think it is until it realizes it's not and rejects the gestational sac.
6. we couldn't have caught this much earlier and there's not much we can do now
7. yes, sadly it is.  Over 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and 50% of those are blighted ovums.
None of these were "GOOD" answers to me. Enraged and frustrated we asked "well, what's next!?" Either a D&C (a surgical procedure where they put you under anethesia for an hour, dialate you and suck everything out, medicine to help move it out, let it come out naturally.   I wanted closer as soon as possible and the Dr. suggested we go ahead and prep for a D&C tomorrow, but, that we could always change our minds. I kept apologizing to Charles, asking him "I hope you still love me and want me as your wife, I hope I can have babies in the future, I'm so sorry I ruined everything, I am so sorry and I don't know what do to."  I was sooo excited to finally be a mom, seriously being a mom is one of my hearts greatest desires, and it was ripped right out of my hands. I felt empty, rejected, and less than perfect. I questioned God, why he did this to me. Why he created something so terrible that would make you and your body pregnant, but there was no baby inside.  I questioned him and why he didn't alert me and a more substantial way... I was so upset that this was happening to us.  I would have rather still been trying to get pregant and not have "failed" and had to wait, and start over, already blemished and torn.
As we walked next door to the Surgicenter, I felt defeated, I was so embarassed and wanted to wear a shirt saying "failure to concieve" so everyone could see it and I didn't have to tell my story.  At the surgericenter ... I felt terribly out of place, people coming in and out like no big deal, getting a tumor removed, or a toe fixed, but me... I felt like I was going to an abortion clinic.  Not that there was anything I was doing that was causing an abortion, I just felt like this "quick, easy, and expensive way" that my Dr. suggested to get quick closer and get on with my life was not the right answer for me.  Charles and I kept it as an option. Once we left, we continued to make phone calls and consult family, friends and Dr. on what to do next.  We kept saying... "why us!?" why in the world did God decide this path for us, we were upset and frustrated.  Once we notified my work of this, my boss brought me my laptop and wished us well.  The overwhelming support from family, friends and the amazing scripture shared was so comforting, and still is. Once again guys, this is still very fresh on my mind and I am still in a battle here. We appreciate all the prayers we can get!
So, we then went together home to get comfy and headed out... out to our favorite spot at Emerald Isle, NC to clear our minds and try to figure out what's next.  By this point, we had spoken to an amazing friend who is specializing in family practice and becoming a Dr. basically he said, he doesn't perform D&C's and he would suggest letting it all pass naturally.  Not to get too graphic here but, we're talkin, major cramping, lots of blood and tissue and that 11 week gestational sac (eventhough the Dr. said mine looked smaller)  Wow, really, so now I am a ticking time bomb of blood that could explode at anytime.  Is this what we want? Do I want to seriously deal with this?  Once again, our friend said, I truly believe God created our bodies to do what they needed to do when they needed to do it.  He then gave me some warning signs and said if any of that occured, we did need to get medical help. 
At this point, I had heard from many friends and found out that a miscarriage is very very common.  Hey, will you look at, I am in a club, the miscarriage club! No, it wasn't the one I wanted to be in, my any means, especially when I see friends and family members glowing with joy over their new pregnancy or baby, it makes me feel like ... a reject, someone who's just not quite right.  I know I shouldn't feel this way and I do know God has made me perfect in his image, but it's really hard to feel whole, and complete as a person, and especially a woman when something like this occurs.
Charles, you know, husband of all husbands was amazing ... and blunt. As we spent the afternoon looking at the ocean and seeing how big and amazing God was and spending time alone from "life" together he said "You know what Kim, today was rough, but atleast we had a great weekend and NC State beat Carolina! (I immediately started to laugh)  I had no idea this would happen to us.  I am upset, but at the same time, we're fine. We're going to make it through this and have many many healthy babies in the future.  I know you're strong and I think it's best for us to let you pass this miscarriage naturally and rely on the Lord for what's to come next." In fewer words he said "snap out of it Kim! Stop feeling pity for yourself or that you're less than a woman, you're my wife, the love of my life that God created perfectly and we're going to get through this!"

WOW, exactly what I needed to hear... We're fine! Even though there's not a baby inside me and even though the next few days/weeks are going to be Hell (trying to naturally pass whatever is inside me), we are going to make it through this and God is good and he will continue to look after us and our well being and he is going to bless us with a child one day.  So for now, I will be grateful for today, and the next day. I will learn and grow and seek knowledge and strength from the Lord. I will rely on my husband to help me through the hard times and I will  be happy for those who are blessed with children. 

Here I am, 11/6/11 overjoyed with life and the hopes of being a mother.

I didn't take any pictures yesterday... I didn't want to. Personally, I wish yesterday never happened.  Last night I was awoken with the words "miscarriage, blighted ovum, failure, worthless" floating through my mind. Satan wants a victory, but I cannot give it to him.  As I sit here in tears, fearful of the next few days, weeks and months, I rejoice.  I have an amazing life, I have true hope and a lasting salvation in the one and only God and I will be grateful for whatever comes my way.  I do hope that this will help someone, that they can see that it's okay to have this happen, you will survive. Eventhough you feel like your whole world is coming to an end, you're not alone.  Also, I am going to follow up and write a post once I have passed this pregnancy inside me, I want others to know the route I chose and hopefully help them in the future.

What I ask now is for your prayers.  We are fine, but we're hurting.  Please pray that my body rids itself peacefully and with minimal pain, pray for NO infections and a full healing. Also pray that we will know when to seek medical help. Pray that my body will then get back to it's normal cycle and that we can begin trying to make a baby.  Pray that these scars, that are now on my mind and heart, will be erased and I will go at this with reckless abandon knowing full well that God is with me, not against me.  Thank you again for your support and love.

Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope..."
Isaiah 41:10  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make straight your path.
Philippians 4:6-7  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