Thursday, February 6, 2014


I probably approached the idea of having a third child with too much certainty.  We struggled to get pregnant with Allison for a year, but found that Clomid was exactly what we needed, and we were able to conceive in just 1 month.  For Hailey, we went back to Clomid and were pregnant in 2 months.  Easy.  With so much success, I assumed that I could basically choose our third child's birthday!  What third child, you ask?  Oh, we don't have one.

Twenty-one months ago we decided it was the right time to add just one more to our family of four.  We were over the moon excited!  The anticipation of the two pink lines was almost too much for me!  I KNEW it was coming!  Heck, it would probably end up being twins!  That's ok, I thought.  I can handle twins.

Six months into it, though, and we found ourselves with a perpetual lonely pink line, and in the office of an RE (reproductive specialist).  After the full gamut of tests, none reporting anything noteworthy, I began a much more aggressive treatment including the self-administered shots in the stomach, which I swore I would never do.  It felt like an alternate universe.  How did I become a woman who does these things?

But there was good news!  During the first month of shots we were told that the treatment was working great!  So great in fact that we were sat down and told that we needed to prepare for up to three babies!  My head was spinning at the news, and I began imagining the ultrasound appointment where we would "count" the babies!  Not once did I consider that we would end up empty handed that month.

But we did.

So we tried again.  And again.  And again.  Each time being told that they have never seen such a great response to treatment!  We should prepare for more than one baby.  But that's not what happened.  There was never a baby.  Not one.  And we had spent so much just for the chance.

I was killing myself trying to find out why.  Obsessed would be an understatement. I spent countless hours every day researching and combing through fertility forums trying to find new vitamins, diets, treatments, you name it.  I didn't discriminate against any of them.  In fact, I eventually had elective surgery to find out if I had endometriosis, because there just had to be SOME reason why I couldn't get pregnant, and maybe this was it.

It was not. I spent the next two weeks healing from the surgery, and crying because we had hit what felt like the millionth dead end. The monthly payment we now have to the hospital, though, won't let me forget it. So now I can say we have TWO monthly reminders that I'm not pregnant!

The whole process left us drained - financially, emotionally, and certainly spiritually.  I prayed a lot, and I asked God a lot of questions like:

Am I not a good enough mom to my girls? Do you not trust me with another child?

How can you allow life inside of a woman who will ultimately abort the child, while I sit here begging for one?

What is broken in me?  Can you at least help us find out what's wrong so we can try to fix it?

If you won't tell us what's wrong, will you please just allow something to finally work?

If you won't give us a child, will you please remove the deep desire I have for one? Help me be content.

Sometimes my prayers were said in humility with tears rolling down my face, and others were screamed in rage. After more than a year of trying, I felt more distant from God than ever. Each prayer felt like it sat in silence. Hovering somewhere above my head, and completely ignored.

I felt alone in my secret world. A few friends knew we were seeking help with fertility, and close family knew our hurt, but apart from my husband, I didn't know anyone who could grasp the despair I felt, or knew how closely I was walking the line of depression.

Because the pain is difficult.  It's a place you live, and it feels like loss.  You are constantly assaulted with reminders of the dream unfulfilled and it lurks in every conversation, every room, everywhere.

What things do you see when you are struggling with infertility? You see pregnant bellies literally everywhere.  Your Facebook feed is 83% sonogram photos, gender reveal parties, and birth announcements. Your youngest will inadvertently find a onesie that she wore when she was just 1 week old, tucked in the back of a drawer. When she hands it to you, it will leave you to be the emotional wreck that you are on the floor for 30 minutes. You see the rocking chair that has been in the garage for a year because you can't sell it - that would mean surrender.

I struggled with putting my journey into words because there is no conclusion yet. I haven't had any new revelations, or answers to my prayers - only more of the same disappointment. There are days when I'm numb to it, and I'm allowed to forget, and then there are days that I'm crushed by it. Today is one of those.  The hurt is compounded because we have now exhausted all avenues of treatment. The only thing we haven't tried is In Vitro, but hey, we don't have $10k.

I wish infertility wasn't cloaked as such a hidden and shameful topic. Yes, it's deeply personal, but I wonder how many of my friends are walking through this right now?  But we keep our secrets for many reasons.  We quickly learn that when we confide in friends who can't relate, they tend to offer shallow and offensive advice.  Usually, they are sure we are just "trying too hard".  So we save our tears for home.

I'm aware that there are many who will likely be perplexed that I'm stuck on this.  I have two perfect and healthy girls after all - shouldn't they be enough?  How can I possibly be so sad when I am not childless?  All I can say is that my family doesn't feel complete, somehow.  I love the joy of young kids in our home, and I hate to think that that part of our life is over.  I'm not ready for it to end, and there is so much frustration because I get no say in the matter.  

Some of you are battling infertility right now, and have never had even one child. Or you've suffered many miscarriages, never making it to the moment where you get to hold your baby in your arms. I'm aware of how selfish I must sound to you, and I apologize. Your pain is on a whole other level, and my heart truly goes out to you.  

Some of us have been trying for one year, and others crossed that mark many years ago.  Maybe you know why you struggle with infertility, or you're like me - still wondering what the heck is wrong.  No matter what the scenario, I bet most of us have one thing in common: we never thought we'd be here. We don't want to fight this battle - one that seems to be so effortless to most. But with an outcome that has such a huge impact on our families either way, how can you not fight?

I don't plan to give up for many years, but at this point I've done all I know how, and all we can afford.  My hope is that we can find a way to bring another child into our family one day, biological or not.  In the mean time, I'm hoping that these words will be a small amount of therapy as I let go of the secrets, and allow others to see me exactly as I am right now.  My biggest hope, though, is that one day I will look back on these raw and painful times and see God's plan, His timing, and His provision.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year

I announced on FaceBook that I planned to create a "30 before 30" list to attempt this year. I just turned 29 on December 29th, and I can't get over how much momentum my life seems to be picking up. Every year goes by faster than the rest, so I want to be more intentional about how I spend my time. I wont share my whole list here - partly because it's not done yet! It's really hard to find 30 things to accomplish (reasonably) in one year. Had I made this list when I was 25, though, I could have put things like "have two kids", "buy my first house", "learn photography", etc. But now it would be cheating to put those on there.

So far my list includes a few main areas - spiritual growth, health/fitness, finances, personal and business goals. Lucky for you, one of my "personal" goals is to blog at least once a month. That is setting the bar pretty low, but when measured against the rest of my list I couldn't justify more without setting myself up for failure.

Here is a sampling of my list (in no particular order).

1. Read through the Bible cover to cover. I'm ashamed to not have done this yet. I've read the whole Bible, just not like this and not all in one chunk of time. I just finished Exodus today. Woo hoo!
2. See the Holy Land. Not trying to brag, but this is totally happening! Frank and I are joining his Dad, Step-mom Janet, and his sister Jen and husband John on a 2 week cruise for the Journeys of Paul tour. We leave at the end of September, and we are SO excited!
3. Lose 15 pounds. Now that there are no kids on the horizon and I have my back more or less in check, I finally feel free to really work hard on my weight. Frank is a great motivator/encourager. Tonight we went for a run/walk. So far I've lost 1 pound! Hey, it's a start.
4. Blog once a month.
5. See a Broadway musical. I don't care where or which one. Frank has promised to take me, and he will be a wonderful date because he will enjoy it as much as I will. I love him for that.
6. Run a 5k. That may not seem like a big deal, but at the moment I can't even run a half mile.
7. Learn 20 new recipes. This week I tried something called "Birds Nest Pie". It was SO yummy! Even Allison had seconds and she is picky!
8. Do a family service project each quarter.
9. Sponsor another child through Africa New Life Ministries.
10. Get Posh Eyewear on page one in Google for all relevant search terms.
11. Develop a family devotional plan that works for us and our kids.
12. Do 50 push-ups at one time. Right now I can do 8. Hahaha...
13. Memorize Ephesians. I started this in college and got the first 2 chapters done. It's always bothered me that I didn't finish and have forgotten most of what I learned.
14. Read Atlas Shrugged. Thanks, Jen for the suggestion!
15. Ride in a hot air balloon. This just sounds fun, but I kinda doubt it will happen.

Any idea what else I could put on there?

I will actually go ahead and promise at least one more blog this month. I have quite a bit to share about what is going on with my girls, too but this all seemed relevant since it is the new year, and I'm always open for some accountability.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with your families!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's Up?

Oh man, I'm a mess. Any time I spend a long time away from my blog, I find myself reading through old posts before I can start writing again. This time I read backwards all the way to Hailey's birth announcement blog, and was crying by the end of it. But what mom doesn't get emotional when reminded of the great day she met one of her precious babies?

So what's up now? Yes, it's been quite a while since I've been active on this site and I'm sure I've lost quite a few readers. I can't blame you! Well I've been staying really busy building another new business. I'm a textbook entrepreneur. I have tons of ideas, lots of passion, and I get crazy obsessed with my projects. Then I let them run, and move on. In case you're wondering, our reading glasses business Posh Eyewear is still around and doing well. But this time I am working on a business called Elastic by the Yard selling 1/8" skinny elastic for baby headbands. You'll see a few photos of Hailey proudly displayed on the home page. Anyway, I've had a blast working on this business and I see a lot of potential for growth and product expansion. I'm so excited to start promoting it this week! In fact, as part of my promotion I'm starting a give-away right here! If you would like a FREE five yards of elastic from my store, simply post a blog with a link to my home page. Then shoot me an email at kristinbarnettATgmailDOTcom with a link to your blog where I can see the post, your name and shipping address, and the color you'd like me to send you. It's that easy! Once you receive your colored elastic you can start creating your own baby headbands.

I'm not going to try to cram two months of information into one blog. Instead I'm going to start posting a little every day so you can get caught up. A lot has happened recently, and I have lots of pictures to share.

Anyway, we are doing great. I just wanted to say a quick "howdy", and let you all know to start coming around again to see what's up!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hailey Bear

That is my latest nickname for her. In fact, I'll admit that I am guilty of coming up with ridiculous pet names for my girls. I'm too embarrassed to even tell you my latest one for Allison, but I will tell you another one of Hailey's - baby hippo! (hence the shirt) Come on, that's pretty cute! That name comes from the fact that this girl can put away some food, and her little (read: massive) double chin is proof. I remember Allison chunking out about this age, but not so much as this.

Hailey will be two months on Saturday! I've loved spending sweet time with her. She is a very clingy and cuddly baby. I shared with Frank a few days ago that I think I'm a much better mom this time around. I set very high standards for Allison to reach, and drove myself crazy making sure that she followed all of my 'rules' correctly. It's no wonder first borns end up having type-A personalities!

Just to prove to you how crazy I was, (and granted I honestly believe my hormones made me mental) when Allison was 5 weeks old - 5 weeks! - I was crying to Frank because she wasn't on a good nap schedule yet and I was positive that my lack of ability to get her to sleep was going to turn her into an unhappy child that no one would want to be around. Poor Frank. How do you rationalize with a sobbing new mother who has no perspective, no sleep, and no experience?

This time is so different. I'm still working to get Hailey on a schedule, and following Baby Wise the best I can, but I feel so much relief now knowing that if we don't have a perfect day that it's alright. I can bend the rules here and there - which is a necessity when you have a two year old to entertain at the same time - and still feel good about how she's being raised. So instead of putting her down as much as possible to play on her own, I take time to cuddle with her. Instead of letting her cry for 1/2 an hour so she can make it to her 3 hour feeding time, I will go ahead and feed her. Things are just different, and it's nice. I'm grateful to have another little girl, and since she is most likely our last I want to enjoy her as much as I can.

Here is what I've learned about Hailey in the last two months.

* This is the biggest one. She HATES being on her back. I figured this out about a month ago, and it has changed our lives for the better! One night she was totally inconsolable. Fresh diaper, check. Fed, check. Swaddled, check. Tired? Absolutely! And yet she would not go to sleep. In the middle of the night I'm willing to try almost anything, so in a moment of desperation I pulled her arms out of her swaddle and flipped her on her tummy. Silence. I counted to ten in my head thinking she was probably just confused and getting ready to let out another wail. Nine...ten. Still nothing. So then I had to have the conversation with myself about how pediatricians recommend that babies sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS, etc. In the end, I recalled that when I was a baby all babies slept on their tummies. That was good enough for me, because Hailey was happy. I'll also note that she was strong enough at that point to hold up her head and occasionally push up on her elbows.

No, that's not the angle of the camera.

* As I've already mentioned, she is a very cuddly baby. Since she doesn't like being on her back - even cradled in my arms - I hold her up on my shoulder and she alternates between looking around and tucking her face into my neck. All at once - 'awww!'. :) The whole time she's there she grabs hold of my sleeve with one hand, and has a fistful of skin from my neck with the other. I love how she likes to hold me back!

* The ceiling fan is her friend. As with most babies, she finds them fascinating and will stare at them and smile for the 5 minutes she tolerates being on her back.

I love that she smiles now!

*She hates her car seat. This is terrible. Unless I put her in the car when she is sound asleep, she will scream for the duration of the car ride. At the same time, Allison is sitting next to her yelling 'Stop crying, sister! Mama what's wrong with Hailey?? Hailey stop!'. I have to mentally prepare myself for the chaos before we go anywhere. I'm really hoping this is just a phase with Hailey. Did anyone else have this problem? How long did it last? Too bad they don't make car seats where they can ride on their tummies! She would be in heaven - or maybe that would be me.

My beautiful family.

I will love this picture forever!

* She is great at having her diaper changed. Not only does she not cry, but she also stays dry while I'm changing her. I wasted soooo many diapers with Allison because she would pee everywhere just as I was fitting the new one on. Of course, I may be faster now, but either way this is a big plus in my book. Just a note: She's been in size 1 diapers for a few weeks now!

* Hailey developed baby acne around week 7. It's all over her face and even on the top of her head, so she can look very blotchy - especially when she's hot. I also think that sleeping on her face probably aggravates the problem some. She also has a clogged tear-duct in her right eye. Poor baby. I'm hoping both of those clear up soon. It did, however, make for a funny remark from Allison. She saw Hailey's face looking pretty red one morning and she said 'oh no, Mama! Hailey is a mess!'.

*Hailey has awesome leg strength. She already wants to try and stand in my lap even though her head is still floppy.

* Recently, Hailey has given up bottles. I have plenty of milk saved in the freezer, but she will have nothing to do with it. If she's starving she will accept about an ounce and then hold out until I allow her to nurse. Talk about being nailed down! I have to be sure anywhere we go that I will have a place and opportunity to feed her. It also means I get no help with the late night feedings anymore. That is very sad!! I don't think Frank minds though. :)

* Finally, she is starting to make progress sleeping through the night. Her record is 7 hours, and that only happened once. Most nights she will go for 4 -5 hours, and I'm happy with that. I expect her to be at 7-8 hours consistently by 10-12 weeks.

That's my Hailey Bear, in a nutshell. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Conversations with a 2 year old

I just have to share. Allison is such the comedian, and I think she knows it. I really believe that she is going to grow up with a very dry sense of humor - my favorite kind. She can say anything with a straight face, and it cracks me up!

Since Hailey was born Allison has been waking up more frequently in the middle of the night just sobbing. It's very sad to hear! When we check on her she clings to us and wants to be held and comforted for a while before going back to bed. Well she did this a few nights ago, but it just happened to fall on a night when Hailey was refusing to do anything but cry, and I was already at a point where I was ready to join her! So when I heard Allison chime in, I was really at the end of my rope, so to speak. I left H with Frank while I went to be with Allison, and I ended up taking her into the nursery so I could rock her in the glider. She laid with her head on my shoulder, and was happy to just be held. I let out an audible sigh out of pure exhaustion, and it caught her attention. She quickly sat up and looked at me in surprise and (with great concern) said:

A: What's wrong Mama?? (waits for answer)
K: Mama is very tired, sweetie.
A: (Gently puts one hand on each side of my face) Oh, boy... (followed by a long sigh of her own) What's the matter, Mama? Tell me..
K: I told you, baby. Mama is just very tired.
A: Oh, no! I'm sorry, Mama. I'm sorry! Aww! (leans over and gives me a BIG hug!)

I was cracking up! I don't know where she learned to cup my face and look at me with such empathy! Doesn't matter, though, because she made me smile when I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, and I love her for that.

She is always making us laugh. Tonight she and Frank were playing with one of her balls, and Frank couldn't help but peg her with it once as she runs away. She turns around and says 'Ouch! Be sweet!" lol! Guess she's heard that one before!

I get blamed for this one a lot, but Frank is my witness that I did NOT teach her this! Allison and I were in the front yard watching Daddy pull weeds, and she stood next to him the whole time blabbering away about whatever was on her mind. Then Frank walked off for a moment to throw something in the trashcan on the side of our house and she runs after him saying "Hey! I was talking to you!" Seriously - NOT me!!

She has become quite the back seat driver. She recently learned about stop lights, so she tells me 'Red, stop!' and 'green, go!' when she sees them. She has apparently been paying attention to our surroundings when we go somewhere, because once I tell her our destination she will tell me where and which direction to turn. That one still surprises me!

She's also become something of a parrot - which is dangerous. A couple days ago, we were driving to visit my parents and went through a highway area that's under construction. It was rush hour, and when one lane abruptly ended, it totally bewildered an out of town driver in the lane next to us. Frank slowed down to let him in, but the guy didn't move quick enough. Frank said (loudly) "well, come on!" Immediately from the back seat came a sweet-but-emphatic, "come on!" Guess we'll have to watch ourselves more close there.

That same freeway construction has also become the scene of another fun Allison experience. Thanks to an episode of Dora, she now instructs all passengers to "duck your head!" every time we drive under the many overpasses that are going up around us.

Allison is still a little obsessed with mowing - who knows why! Although she no longer thinks that's what Daddy does at work, it's still the highlight of her day when she hears a mower start up somewhere in the neighborhood. She knows the names of all of our neighbors, so she will often ask me "Danny [Rick, Kyle, Daddy] mowing?".

Here is how she sings her ABC's. A, B, C, D, A, B, C, H, I, J, K, ELMO, P... The rest is pretty dead on, except that she refuses to say 'next time won't you sing with me'. Instead, she just repeats 'now I know my ABC's' over and over.

I was thinking of all these things the other day because I had been struggling with whether or not to keep her in the Mother's Day Out program that starts next month. I initially signed her up for it because I was assuming that I would have the 'struggling to keep my head above water' feeling like I did when she was a newborn. But actually, it hasn't been as hard as I had expected with two kids. Plus, I still have help from Jackie (MIL) and from my mom, too. Anyway, these are the kinds of things that helped me realize just how much I would miss out on if she were gone those days at school. Soon enough she will be in someone else's care 5 days a week, and I don't look forward to that day. So for now, I will selfishly keep her under my wing.

Anyway, just wanted to share some sweet and funny memories because they were on my mind.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fun Weekend

This weekend we had so much fun family time. We made two trips to the neighborhood pool, played outside with bubbles, and took the girls to Chuck-E-Cheese for lunch. We had even planned to make it back to church this morning for the first time since Hailey was born, but believe it or not, somewhere in the last six weeks I was able to forget what time church started. At 10:00 this morning I was leisurely finishing up some laundry assuming that I had plenty of time left, when Frank tells me that it starts at 10:00, not 10:30 as I had thought. Oh well, I guess we'll make that a goal for next week.

Anyway, I was inspired this week to finally break out my 'nice camera' to take some pictures. I spent some time talking to another mom in my neighborhood who religiously documents her girls and I realized that I needed to try harder to simply take more pictures and stop caring so much about perfect focus, composition, lighting, etc. This is the downside to knowing too much about photography. I'm trying to just appreciate a photo for what's in it.

All that to say, I brought my camera along to these fun things this weekend and captured a lot of great moments that I can share here. These are just my favorites, so check out my Facebook page soon for all the pictures. Sadly, I still don't have many photos of Hailey because, well, all she does is sleep and cry. Seriously. If she's awake and happy it's because I'm holding her, and Frank is not known to pick up a camera so I still only have one photo of me holding her. ONE! (hint, hint Frank!)

Let's start with a few photos from Friday. I finally got fed up with Allison's scraggly hair, so I gave her bangs again. I was trying to just let her hair grow out, but she won't keep a clip in her hair so it's always hanging in her eyes. Once I cut her bangs I also tried out pigtails, and they were so cute!

Before bangs...

After. What do you think?

I couldn't believe she sat still for the pictures!

Hailey thinking about crying. She pretty much hates that bouncer.

Allison watching a movie in her 'Allison chair'.

These next pictures from the pool are so fun! I was stuck on the side watching Hailey, but she was good enough to let me snap some photos when we first got there. Allison did so great swimming with her special swimsuit. I can't tell you how many times a day I hear 'Allison do it!' from my super independent child, so having the ability to swim around the big pool without help was a really big deal to her. She kept yelling 'Mama, look at me!'. We were so proud of her!

I absolutely LOVE the daddy-daughter pictures!

See how confident she looks?

We love to sit on our back porch from about 6:30 till dark in the evening. It's the only time of the day where it's bearable to be outside, since it's shaded and has two fans. We entertain Allison by letting her water the plants, eat a popsicle, or by blowing bubbles. Today was bubbles day!

Pure joy! I love that face.

She's not often successful at blowing them herself, but she tries. When it doesn't work she licks the wand and says 'mmm, tasty!'. I think she does it just to get a reaction out of me. :)

Finally, here a few from lunch today. Allison was so distracted by all the things to play with, I think she only ate about one bite of pizza.

Counting her coins.

She's having fun even if her face doesn't show it!

Serious fun. lol.

When it comes to buckles, Allison is turns into Rain Man.

Riding with Chuck E.

Hailey sleeping through it all. Frank and I laughed at the fact that we had our 6 week old in a Chuck E. Cheese today because we refused to leave the house with Allison until 8 weeks because we were paranoid about germs. Ah, the life of the second child.

Allison was bribed with Root Beer so we could take this photo.

After a good 5 minutes of pleading to 'play again!', we found her crashed in her car seat despite the fact that Hailey was screaming in hers!

The rest of these are just random photos from the month of July.

Maybe I have my mama goggles on, but Allison is just so beautiful. I'm worried about the teenage years!

The sheep is still a staple for Allison. Everywhere I go she petitions to 'take sheep!'.

Hailey watching TV with Daddy.

Such a sweet little face.

She likes to nap with Daddy, too.

Actually, she just likes to nap in general.

And I'll leave you now with her peaceful sleeping face because it's bedtime and I'm hoping to get a few hours of sleep myself! Goodnight!