Friday, May 10, 2013


I know, I know. It's been too long and I never updated when our precious, promised daughter from the Lord arrived, BUT there was good reason. I had most likely mentioned in my previous post about the annoying rash I'd developed with my pregnancy with her. It wasn't terrible, but at times did require some benadryl for me to get some sleep, but for the most part was managed by topical ointment. Well, let me take you back to the month of June 2012.

First, we normally celebrate our precious Layah's life by going to the beach each year the first week of June, but obviously we couldn't do that this year so we decided we'd take the boys to the Georgia Aquarium. We took a trip on Saturday which was the 2nd, Layah's actual birthdayMatt began a program. I wont go into all that but I'll just say, it was a partial program to help him with some things he was struggling with that had really gotten out of control that we knew needed to be addressed before Arwyn was to arrive. So while he was doing this program that we were told would be 8 weeks, Tobi began to not feel well. To make a long story short, Nana took him to the doctor after 2 days of a stomach ache and him not wanting to eat, which is HIGHLY unusual for Tobi, and we were referred to the ER, and it ended up being appendicitis. So on Matt's birthday, June 21st...Happy Birthday to you Dad, Tobi had his appendix removed. He had not ruptured, bu the surgeon advised us it was acute and could have made him extremely sick had it ruptured or they not gotten to it when they did. So, home we go.

Then, the next week, I got my cerclage removed. We had scheduled it to be done in labor and delivery because of the way that my cervix is. Dr. Davis did have some difficulty getting to it, and we were all very glad that we'd not attempted to remove it in the clinic. Mom and I went and ate at Red Lobster and then headed home. As I was sitting in the floor playing with Luke, I looked at him and saw a bulge under his chin. He looked like he had an Adam's apple. So, I felt it and it felt like a moving ball in his throat. He was breathing and eating fine. I'd called the pediatrician and the nurse said we could have it checked at the after hours clinic. The ER doc there said that it was a cyst of some kind, but that it needed to be checked by ENT. I went back to work and and then on that Wednesday I ended up having to get Matt to take me to the hospital in the middle of the night because I was having contractions. I was 37 weeks. We thought Arwyn was coming and this was gonna be it. I ended up having a UTI and was dehydrated. Once they got me dehydrated and gave me Demerol and IV antibiotics for about 18 hours, they let me go home, and I actually went back to work that Friday. We just knew that she would come that weekend.....but no....Arwyn had a plan of her own. She was not ready.

Matt's mom ended up taking Luke to his ENT apt with Dr. Witrak and he said that he suspected it was a thyroglossal duct cyst and would need to be surgically removed but for now, he'd be put on antibiotics to shrink its growth and once we had Arwyn, we could schedule his surgery. So, daily, we were anticipating that Arwyn would be arriving....then we got to suspecting that it might not be happening.... I went for my weekly OB visit and I wasn't dilated anymore than most non high-risk moms at this point. We had my shower on dad's birthday (June 23rd). We'd gotten her room ready, everything washed, car seat installed, pump ready, bags packed for boys and me and Arwyn, now all we had to do was wait for her to arrive.

The Cornwell's were planning a family reunion for July 4th weekend at Peggy and Earl's house. I told her we'd try to be there but it would just be in there air...up to baby Arwyn. We were able to go and I thought "what the heck, the swimming might actually get things going and get her ready to come out." It didn't. She wasn't ready. It was good to see all the Cornwells, especially Ashley and her girls all the way from NJ, even though I get to keep in touch with them through FB it was good to put my hands on her. I went back to the OB that week and we were no closer, so we scheduled the c section for that Monday, July 16th. We spent that week doing the usual and finally realizing, Arwyn Hope Shelfer wasn't coming on her own, she was nice and content where she was and she was gonna have to be taken out. It was all part of the plan.

The 11th of July Tobi had been attending the Church of the Highland's version of VBS and he made the eternal decision to accept Christ and the make the profession of faith to others and get Baptized so he was by Pastor Blake, It was an amazing experience knowing that I'd started this church single back when it first began with just 400 people showing up in 2000. Pastor Chris dedicating my precious miracle son Tobi back at the Mountain Brook High School auditorium when he was finally able to come outside when it was springtime in 2003. Then Blake becoming part of our family as he prayed over our tiny and very sick Layah as she clung to life and then he so generously gave his time to perform her funeral. Then, Pastor Chris dedicating or blessed Luke, right next to Pastor Blake and Lindsey as they welcomed their son Liam, Now to be about to have our promised daughter Arwyn, and here's Tobi being BAPTIZED by Pastor Blake! It was AWESOME!

 So I finished out the work week with no signs of her on the move...fortunately for my boss who I knew had been on edge ever since I'd come back from being admitted at the end of June. We decided to take the boys to AL Adventure on Sunday. We had a great time and afterwards, Nana had made an appointment for she and I to go and have a mani/pedi- since I could not see my feet! It was so nice and I was thrilled to get to do this since I'd never done it before. We planned to have the boys spend the night away so we could get to the hospital early the next morning. We got to the hospital and we were ready to go by 7AM. Dad arrived and waited with us. I was more anxious anticipating the c-section than if it'd happened like Luke's where my water broke on its own and things progressed and then the c-section happened rather quickly because of me being in active labor. I don't think I felt the spinal at all. I was very scared that I was gonna feel the scalpel. I don't know why, but I just kept thinking, what if my lower half is not asleep yet and I actually feel this. It was and they all calmed me, including Matt. Then the sound. I heard her cry. The sound of her crying as they took her over to clean her off. Wow....She was here. She'd finally arrived, full term, healthy! God's faithfulness had come to fruition! Our verse


was now here! Arwyn was born at 8:38 AM, weighed 7 lbs 10.2 oz. She was 20 : long. She was perfect. She had to go to the NICU just for a little while because she had a little fluid in her lungs from being a section baby, so I didn't get to see her until after lunch. I was still on cloud 9....but I was itching. I thought it was just from the morphine pump so I dismissed it and thought as soon as I could get off it after the 24 hours, I'd be fine. I noticed my hands began to itch worse. It was not getting better but getting worse. They began giving me medication for the itching, but nothing seemed to help, even once the pain pump was disconnected. Dermatology came by to see me and examined the places that began to look angry and decided to put me on some antihistamine medications along with the benadryl and anti itch medication I was already taking. I looked past it, trying to enjoy all these first moments with our precious Arwyn. She was so beautiful. She then developed a "newborn rash" where her eyes were all puffy and red, but we were assured that it would go away. I had vaguely remembered Luke having it for a short time, so I didn't think too much about it. Derok came up and bless his heart, tore his ankle all up as he left the hospital so Dad had to take him to the ER after leaving our visit. We were discharged from the hospital on my birthday. Although I was thrilled to be going home, I was very anxious about what could be going on with my skin. We thought it was PUPPS. As we tried to settle in to having Arwyn home, I was miserable. I couldn't get comfortable. My hands and feet, palms were on fire, stinging and itching all at the same time. The more I clawed, the more they were inflamed with raised bumps. I tried cool baths, homeopathic soaps, Sarna lotions, and the only thing that brought me any sort of relief was ice packs or frozen sponges that Matt's mom had made for me in zip loc bags that I could change out once they'd thawed, but I had a new baby, a baby we'd prayed for and waited for and here I was, with stuff slathered all over my hands and feet trying to get relief. I couldn't hold her because I was usually scratching...or pumping or trying to feed her when I could. But my dear Arwyn, she was so content, such an easy baby, not startled or upset or fussy in the least bit. Going through such a difficult time, the Lord gave her such a pleasant disposition, just as H had with Luke. Sleep for me was out of the question, even on benadryl and the Atarax I was on, on top of Claratin and Allegra. I didn't sleep but maybe an hour or two a night. I cried-a lot. I really wanted to die. I couldn't think of anything but how miserable I was. I loved this precious child but what was going on with my body and how long would this last? What I read said that this PUPPS should go away after the baby was born or a day or so after the hormones were gone, so why was it getting worse? It was spreading... Mom took me that Saturday to triage so they could see how it was getting worse. They wanted me to max out all the over the counter anti histamines before changing anything so we could make sure we knew what we might be dealing with. I cried on the way home. As we were on our way home though, there it was, a beautiful full half circle rainbow in the sky. I knew it was a sign that this would get better. He promised and He always kept His promises.

So that Monday we had an apt to see the Dermatologist at UAB. When Matt's mom came to get us, she gasped. She was not expecting me to look the way I did. The rash was now spread to all my extremities, my abdomen, chest, and now my neck and one place on my chin. She could tell I was miserable. We got to UAB and the barrage of nurses,  medical residents and attendings came in. I was in no mood to be a case study, but it didnt look like I had much of a choice. They discussed what this skin condition was that was tormenting me and decided to do a biopsy to confirm their suspicions. By this time, there were several places that had begun to 'bubble' an blister around the folds in between my fingers and several places near my stomach so they found a place near my c section scar wear they could remove a blister, a healthy piece of skin and a sample of skin next to the blister. They put 3 stitches in it after they biopsied it. They gave me a steroid shot and then called me in steroids which I would be on high doses until we could get this under control. The pain medication I was taking had not even been able to take the edge off, so I was praying these steroids were really gonna be the miracle drug.  Over  the next few days the spreading slowed but the blisters worsened. They were so uncomfortable and difficult to wear clothing beacuse anyting that touched me would ruptre the blisters...i know, gross. The doctor herself ended up calling me to confirm their suspicions. They told me that what I had was called PG pemphigoid gestationis, which is so very rare like 1 in a million literally. here is what the NIH says about it.

"Pemphigoid gestationis (PG), also known as gestational pemphigoid or herpes gestationis, is an autoimmune skin disorder associated with pregnancy. Signs and symptoms of the disorder typically present during the second or third trimester of pregnancy, but it may occur at any time during pregnancy or anywhere up to six weeks after giving birth. Although the signs and symptoms are variable, a red, itchy rash with blisters is common. The rash may occur in different parts of the body, but usually develops near the belly button and/or the arms and legs. The condition is caused by the production of antibodies that attack the person's body, leading to damage and consequently blister formation. PG is caused by the production of an antibody that belongs to a specific class of antibodies called IgG1. This antibody attaches to a specific protein called bullous pemphigoid antigen. The antigen-antibody complex, through a series of reactions, results in the release of certain molecules by special cells called eosinophils. The molecules, which are normally released in response to inflammation or infection, cause damage in the layers of the skin, leading to symptoms of PG such as blister formation "

So over the next few weeks it gradually began to dry up and heal. I was able to actually hold my precious girl and take care of my family. The tragic part of this condition I beleive is that it robbed me of nursing my sweet baby girl. Although, I've been able to continue to pump for her, she doesnt nurse. I was so miserable and always crying and trying to get comfortable no matter what position I was in and who would want to try to eat while being bounced around non stop? I know I wouldnt. So, although I'm very blessed, beyond blessed. I'm a little bummed about that because she is our last child-unless there is a miracle since Matt and I have both been 'fixed. Hopefully I will be able to come off the steroids soon. The doctor at UAB that I've been followed for this is the Director of Blistering Autoimmune Disease, Dr. Navee Sami, and boy and I glad for UAB. If you have something rare and bizaree and of course that's twice now in my life that i've been text-book rare, UAB is the place to be seen next to the NIH.

So i'm sure I've probably missed a good bit doing this update so far off, and i'll try and get back soon. With 3 kids, some issues we've been dealing with in Matt's struggles and trying to work as its gotten busier with folks moving around and the changes with Healthcare Reform (which is a whole other topic), I'm just really too busy and tired to post most times.

God is so good and I'm so privledged to be a part of a story He's chosen to write through me and my testimony thorugh struggles, loss, and life. :) I'll forever bee greateful to my God, no matter what may come.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Overdue update

So I've been without my laptop for a few weeks. Matt thinks its gonna need another hard drive-that's about $150. So, I'm just now getting a chance to update the blog. Things have been going really, really well. God has continued to show He is faithful to His promises and He has His hands safely holding Arwyn in my womb. I continue to go every week to have the pessary removed. Dr Davis checks my cervix and continues to be pleased that there is no thinning, shortening, or any signs of opening. He's been pleased at the displacement of weight of the uterus-off the cervix- that the pessary has accomplished. He had felt her head behind the cervix when it was discovered that it was shortening at 24 weeks, so knowing that that is no longer the case, its a relief. I am now 28.2 weeks. Now I do feel MUCH bigger with her than I did with the boys. I am bigger! That's okay cause I'll get it off once she comes and am not worried about that but boy have I had some men say some idiotic things! 

I was getting an omelet the other day and the chef said, "well you look like you are due very soon" and "you are carrying low". When he told me he'd just had his first child seven months ago, i figured that explained it. He doesn't know what he's talking about. Then Sunday, we dropped the van off at Firestone to have the tires rotated and balanced and the guy that checked me in said, "You look like you're about to pop. You must be due any day"...I just laughed and said, "no i have 2 more months!" Men are just clueless sometimes.....foot insert into mouth!

Speaking of men, Matt went to the Catalyst men's conference with Derok and really seemed to get a lot out of it. I pray he will continue to utilize what he's learned and knows is his purpose to be a Godly man, after His heart in ALL he does. Derok seemed to enjoy it when he was able to go Friday night, since he was doing his UAB  ER rotation and had to work that Saturday. I truly hope that Derok will one day marry again, and she will love and respect him, but most importantly will be in a covenant to him through her commitment to the Lord to be his wife. I know he's close to this friend of his from school, Heather, that is also going through a divorce. Her husband left her with a newborn baby girl, which was their second child, and ran off with another woman to FL. She lives in Chattanooga. Derok and her were in a bible study together so each of them knew the difficulties of the other being away from his/her family while they were in school. Derok really admires her strength and her heart after the Lord. I would love for them to get together once all of their pasts are ironed out and everything is finalized for both of them. I've never met her, but from what I hear, she's a gem.

I took Luke to get his first "Big boy" haircut Saturday. It was kind of a surprise for Matt since I'd not told him. Here's the picture:

I told Matt not to think that I wont let Luke's bowl cut grow back out, cause once the summer is over, I will! He just looks to 'grown up' with this hair cut! The lady that cut it said, "he looks like he's 4 years old!" and I said, "NO! He's 2 1\2! I don't want him to look 4!" So, its cool and lower maintenance for now and Daddy gets his way, but that will change come winter!

We had the March For Babies walk Saturday and actually had a Footprints Ministry Booth there next to the family teams tent for the first time. That was nice to get the word out. While Dad (Grungie), Matt and the boys, did the walk, I stayed at the tent. I did go over and talk to the UAB nurses and found out they are planning another reunion soon. Ironically, the last one they had, was May 31, 2008, right before Layah was born and now they will have one the year her sister is to arrive! Don't think that's a coincidence!

Every day when I feel her move, and wake up again pregnant another day, I just praise Him and thank Him for this life that He's 'knitting' together in there. Matt's ready to meet her too, but I told him last night that we didn't want to rush her, plus, since this is the last time I will ever be pregnant as far as I can help it, i want to enjoy every bit of this time with her!

He is Faithful,


Thursday, April 12, 2012


So I went to the OB last Thursday, the 5th, after I had not been in 3 weeks. Mom went with me. Dr Davis said since I was 24.3 at the time, it would most likely be our last cervical length measurement taken. So we went to have the ultrasound. The girl doing it was new to the clinic but supposedly experienced. She casually said that I was measuring 1.9....I said, "wait, 1.9?" I had measured a 4 initially after the cerclage was put in and the measurement was taken at 17 weeks, then at 19 it was a little shorter but still in the high 3's, then at 21 still in the mid 3's, so I was obviously take a little aback. She said she would tell Dr Davis. He came in and looked at it and said that he could still see some length behind the cerclage, and both he and the tech agreed the cerclage was still in good place and shape and holding well. Dr Davis offered a peace of mind device called a pessary. It is usually used in women that have bladder incontinence, but with pregnant moms like myself, they flip the device and insert it backwards to lift the uterus off the cervix, alleviating some of the weight of the uterus off the cervix. Dr Davis said that he had put one in a mom that was already dilated-which I am not- and she carried for 6 more weeks. There are no risk to me or the baby from device, so I decided to go ahead and get it put int that day. He said if there was any shifting of it, we might need to a little bigger with the device, but so far so good. He said the only negative aspect is that it has to be removed and cleaned and reinserted every week because it being a foreign object, we don't want to get an infection or my body to begin to attack it.

So mom is going back with me today to have it removed and replaced. He said he'd check my cervix to ensure that is not continuing to shorten, and that is what I claim, in Jesus' name. I asked Veronica why Pat had not done this with me when I was pregnant with Luke and he said he was actually finishing up a study on the cervical lengths, and it was completed right before he left. So we don't have anything to compare my cervical lengths with from my pregnancy with Luke.

I just keep standing on the verse we've gotten to know, HABAKKUK 2:3 "These things I plan wont happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, they time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!"

I know that it was no coincidence that we got this verse spoken to us during this pregnancy and the fact that it is '2 3'.  The verse that I read today was another good reminder, 

Hebrews 4:12
The Message (MSG)

12-13God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it—no matter what. "

The devotional today was on worry. I know that worry is straight from the enemy, after all, worry about something doesn't change what will or will not happen. I just have to say "Lord, give me Your Perfect Peace. Remind me that You overcame sin and death on the Cross, and the same power that it took to raise Christ from the dead is in me through Your Holy Spirit, remove fear, doubt and worry from my mind. Let me focus on you and what you are doing through my testimony with my pregnancy with Arwyn and what you will do through her life. Remind me that with You ALL things are possible and You came so that we may have LIFE and have it more abundantly! I know that by your stripes we are healed. Help me to be STILL and know that You are God! I praise you for your faithfulness and your unconditional love, You involvement in directing our lives and giving us a plan with Hope and a bright future. Help me to use all to glorify You! In Your precious Son's Holy Name, AMEN!"

You are faithful,


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Yesterday I had ancitipated 2 things about today: 1) I most likely would have to take Luke to the doctor for Pink Eye, 2) I would be nervous as today is my marker 23.3 week marker. Both were accurate. I see this latest affliction of Luke's to be both annoying, but also a bit of a distraction for today.

One of today's verses was Isaiah 40:7 "True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade,but our God's Word stands firm and forever." I thought that a very appropriate verse for today as was the actual devotional, as it is titled, "One beautiful Moment". Describing how the common wave crashing to the shore is unique when photographed, so too are we unique to the Father.  The devotional said ..."God uses another gallery to display His glory—humans. We too are made out of something ordinary—dust (Gen. 2:7). But to us He added an extraordinary ingredient—His very own breath (v.7). "
 It talked of the brevitaty of life yet how beautiful each is to the Lord, created for specifically that moment.....that "Photographer's flash" to show the world what He has done and will do in us and through us. It said "We fulfill our purpose when we serve our Creator."

Lord, remind me that You are the Creator of life. You give and you take away. Lord remind me that You are our Comforter, our Provider, our Future, our Joy and our Peace. Help me to enjoy the day today with Luke as we tend to his eyes. Give us a glimpse of You today through a life, a creation, a moment. Remind us that you are always with us.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Approaching "THAT" week

So I am now 22 weeks. When I went for my check up last week, everything was stable with my cervix. I continue to be annoyed by this prurigo rash, and at nights it can be unbearable, but I will endure. As long as Arwyn is healthy, and full term, I will scratch. As this week nears the gestational week when Layah came, my nerves are a bit on edge. I imagine that might also not help the rash. I know that things went smoothly and uneventful with my pregnancy with Luke, and will do the same for Arwyn.

In the continued series at church, "Running with the Giants" he spoke on Joseph a couple of weeks ago and all the set backs that could have been cause for Joseph to say, "I give up. I'm done", but he didn't. He kept on. It took him 40 years to get to God's plan and promise for him, but he made it, with a grateful heart, he was not bitter or vengeful towards his past or his brothers. Pastor Chris gave an awesome verse that in hearing it, I thought, "wow, that's good". As I went back and read it several times, it spoke to me of our journey with Tobi, losing Layah, anticipating Luke, and now Arwyn. The verse is

Habakkuk 2:3 "These things I plan wont happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair for these things will surely come to pass. Just e patient! They will not be overdue a single day!"

This was another confirmation to me that the vision the Lord revealed to me in the weeks before Layah was born and that the Lord spoke to my spirit in the month following, July 2008 after Layah passed away, that this was not a vision of Layah but of another daughter to come. I was just overwhelmed at His hand in it all. Also, if you go back and look a few months posts back, the '23' it is again, in this verse.

Matt has come a long way in our almost 10 years of marriage, in his maturity and his faith and walk with the Lord. We've been through many trials, unrelated to our children, and the Lord continues to show Matt that his struggles, his battles, will be used to glorify His name one day. He will use Matt to encourage other in the same struggles and spiritual battles. Matt prayed out loud for the first time last week, and got choked up as he did it. It was amazing. To hear him say, "Make me more like Christ. Change me....." He seemed to feel child-like with his words, but I assured him afterwards that they were from his heart, and that was what matters. After all, Jesus seemed to appreciate the children and their faith in Him. Matt has begun to use his daily cards that have a verse on the front and back-geared towards men- to write them down and then write out his prayer before speaking it. I've been encouraged by this, but know the enemy will not let go easily. I have told Matt that if he gets comfortable and starts getting out of that routine, that is when he will fall back in to old routines and old habits. Matt knows what all is at stake in this battle, his health, our marriage, our children, everything, so I know he is determined to get through it, and I am determined to help encourage him through it. I am confident he will, seeing what he's overcome in the past.

Lord, please continue to keep Arwyn safe in my womb. Keep my womb safe for her and there to be no 'incompetence' or anything prematurely. I know you are the Giver of Life, and know that You will be glorified by Arwyn's life with us. I pray that you will use our testimony to encourage others as they walk through grief. Although it is a tough road, and one we as humans were never intended to experience, You are there, using it to refine us, purify us, mold us into the person that most resembles Christ, all the while showing us who You are: Comforter, Healer, Friend, Counselor, Abba, Savior, Shepherd, etc. Losing Layah was the most difficult trial of my life, yet I would go through it again, to have the precious son, Luke, and Arwyn to come, and to know You the way I know You. You revealed your faithfulness and you keep Your promises. Please give Matt a clean heart, and renewed spirit....restore to him the JOY of his salvation. Give him a sensitive spirit to hear your voice through prayer and your Word. Give him a passion and thirst to read your word and study it. Make it come alive to him, the weapon of a double-edged sword of truth he needs to fight the enemy. Give him the drive and desire to connect with others through a small group. Draw him to the men's Catalyst conference next month with Derok and bless him abundantly for being faithful to attend and be changed. Give Matt the wisdom and discernment to see temptation and the enemy's snare ahead of time, so that the way out You provide will be his only choice. Thank you for giving Matt a heart like David. Thank you for using those "messed up" like Moses, and David, and Paul, and the others who didn't start out exactly as we'd considered 'righteous', but who through trials and running after You with all their hearts, were changed into Godly men and women whose words are inspired and used to encourage us through this race we call life. I praise You for your sacrificial love for us and the depth of love we cannot yet fathom You have for us. Give us a glimpse through your creation around us so that we will always be reminded of your heart for us. In Jesus name. Amen

You are faithful,


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby Arwyn update and thoughts

I wanted to update this blog sooner, but just had things come up. I did manage to get that powerful song posted, "As for Me and My House" that I pray over our family.

So yesterday I went for my check up, another ultrasound to check the cervical length. My blood work from February 6th was good, which confirmed the prurigo gestationis rash that continues to annoy me and drive me crazy at times, but is not harmful to her. The cervical length was good, and hadn't changed since my appointment a few weeks ago. I did have a migraine, but the weather has been all over the place lately, so although they've improved and lessened-so I'm not having them daily- I'm still having them. I asked Dr. Davis something that ironically I've never asked before, but several of us have had this question: Why does it take a loss before a woman is diagnosed with IC, incompetent cervix? Basically, I learned a great deal. Not all women have the same length cervix, even before a pregnancy. Some women have a naturally shorter cervix, but have no trouble with preterm labor or dilating too soon. With this pregnancy, upon my first visit this month, they were unable to get a length on the cervix, (this was about 16 weeks) because that quadrant had not been developed enough on the ultrasound to get the information-yet a week later, they were. Dr. Davis said that in the future, they may use the time of checking the baby's anatomy for also checking the cervical lengths. This is still rather late to me because most women will have the anatomy (when they also can find out the sex of the baby) around 18-20 weeks, and if your cervix is shortening and a cerclage is needed, there is an increased risk of putting it in at that point. Plus, for some women, they can be helped just with the progesterone therapy, without a cerclage. There's no exact science. It's 'easier' to know how to plan if there is a history'.....Dr. Davis explained. I don't like it, but I understand more.

I try not to post a lot about some personal things going on with others in my family just because I don't know who will read this, but my heart has been very heavy for my brother and so I want to journal this so when we look back on this time in his life, he'll know the Lord walked along with him the whole way through this trial. He's been dealing with trying to get through his Physicians Assistant program in school, while going through a divorce that he never wanted, but now must make sure is settled fairly and in the best interest of the children. He still loves his ex but she will take no responsibility for her part in the marriage failing and blames it entirely on him, yet there is a high probability that she's been having an affair of some sort while he was at school and once he came back home. He tried to make things right with her,even still,  but she had no interest in going to individual or marital counseling, and shut down anything he did to try and work things out. She's never had an example of what a Godly relationship between a man and woman is like, and how it works, is successful and healthy. So in that aspect, I see why she's so confused. She's not been told 'no' for most of her life, being an only child, and from a look over the past 10 years, a lifestyle of things and 'keeping up with the Jones' ' is what she has influencing her decisions, not trying to keep her family together at all cost. I'm afraid too many times in a marriage, one of the parties feels they don't 'love' the other spouse anymore, or have 'fallen out of love', but love is not an emotion or a feeling, as those do change, but it is a decision, a choice one makes when vows are taken and a covenant is made.  I know that Derok  made his share of mistakes in the marriage, and he knows it too,  but I know that he's learned from them, been forgiven from them and will make a wonderful husband one day, to someone that I know will be a Godly woman, after His heart, who will respect Derok, honor him, encourage him, support his hopes and dreams, have concern for him and his well being and just being the wife I don't think she every was. Marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person-both ways, and it requires WORK to make a marriage work. It's something you must decide to be willing to work at for the rest of your life. I want Derok to be at peace and know that he can still love his ex because she gave him 3 wonderful, special children, but it needs to end there. I know he is on his way, but still struggling. Lord give Him your presence and your comfort as he must continue to make tough decisions and press on to finish school. I know you are Faithful, and I want him, like Abraham, to experience it so many times as well, that there comes a point where its not just a matter of faith any longer, but unwaivering trust that no matter what, Your way is better than ours, your thoughts higher than ours and it will all be to our benefit and your glory!

You are Faithful,


Friday, February 17, 2012


So I had to go see the OB before my 'scheduled' next appointment on the 28th because of a 'rash' that continued to progress. At first, it started on my legs and then bottoms of my feet, then onto my belly. It was more like tiny bumps that looked like bug bites and itched like crazy. I knew it wasnt bites as no one else in the house had any skin issues and I had not been outside to be bitten. I am not typically one to look online for medical diagnoses, but I just thought I'd check to see if any other pregnant woman had similar issues, wondering if maybe it was caused by hormones. I found several pregnancy skin problems that could occur and the one that most closely matched all my symptoms was called prurigo gestationis. It is not harmful, but rather annoying and the only treatment of course is topical hydrocortisone creme and antihistamines. It resolves after delivery. There was one that was concerning, that didnt match my symptoms as closely, but since my mom has autoimmune hepatitis, I wanted to make sure it was ruled out with the blood test to check my liver functions. I'm confident it is the prurigo, but its best to be thorough. So I got to the clinic and when Dr. Davis came in, I showed him the spots and he too agreed with my diagnosis. He did say he'd go ahead and check the bloodwork and since cervical lengths werent able to be measured on the last visit, we'd do that ultrasound again along with the ultrasound for the baby's anatomy-the sex! So, we did that one first, and she asked me as she had the device over the exact spot, "Do you wanna know what it is?" and I said, "I already do! It's a girl!" And she said yup. She took several pictures of that view, I'm guessing to be sure. All the measurements were perfect. It always amazes me that of all that she described, the cerebelum, the aortic valve, the super vena cava, kidneys, checking for cleft lip, etc. all that has developed in just 17.3 weeks! How can people have abortions with all of this being so clearly visible and medically documented as fact?! I even said to the tech, not knowing her views, but finding it hard to believe most ultrasound techs would be anything but pro life seeing what all they see in the earliest stages of pregnancy, "I think there would be a lot less abortions if patients were shown an ultrasound before they agreed to  procedures", and she agreed.

My heart was overjoyed. I just said to the Lord, in my heart, as the tech continued her measurements, "Thank You God for your faithfulness". If you are just beginning to read this blog, or missed this part, before Layah was born so early, I had begun to have complications, I had a vision. I am convinced it was nothing less than a Word from God, shown to me. I have only had this happen about 4 times in my walk with the Lord, so I knew, it was Him. I couldnt sleep one night and began to feel fear, dispair, terror, despression, just a lot of really dark emotions. I began to just pray and as I prayed, I felt Him reveal images like clips from a movie to me of a life. I heard a cry, a loud, healthy-lung cry that we'd never experienced before because Tobi had been so early. I went into the baby's room, and picked her up to nurse her. Then  my vision changed to me holding up this beautiful little girl. I still see her in my head now. She was blonde, with big dark brown eyes, like mine,  a darker complection that Tobi or Matt, more like mine, with big chubby cheeks and two tiny white teeth on the bottom that I could see as she giggled at me. When  I saw this, I felt Peace. Everything was gonna be fine. Things were gonna work out. This little girl was healthy, and happy.

So as I was approached my return back to work after being on maternity leave from my pregnancy with Layah, and her passing, I was having a day of grief that was just a place of desperation and the same time anger. I wasnt angry at God in the disrespectful sense, but just frustration. I remember being in the living room and just crying out to Him, out "Why?! Why would you show me that beautiful and healthy baby girl if you were gonna allow her to die and we were to never have her? Why?!" And every time I tell or write this, I tear up, but just as a father consoles his child, He spoke to my spirit and said, "I never said that was Layah." I just completely fell to the ground in that moment, humbled, just completely overwhelmed at all of it. When we got pregnant with Luke, I'd assumed that it was her, but the Lord had a boy planned for us first, a crystal, blue-eyed, toe-headed, fair skin boy. But this time, this time was different. From the beginning, I knew. Since we werent trying to get pregnant but because  of circumstances, (the IUD was in the cervix and not the uterus, and having to have a culposcopy due to an abnormal papsmear, and it only taking 1 month from the time the IUD was removed to get pregnant), it was all God. We have had her named since after Layah passed away, and I've posted it before. Arwyn Hope Shelfer. Arwyn, which is after Lord of the Rings Liv Tyler's character, meaning "noble maiden" and Hope, since Layah's middle name was Faith and also using it from the Jeremiah 29:11-13  verse "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. " Matt and I disagree about the spelling of Arwyn (I like Arwyn and he likes Arwen) but that will eventually be decided. Our entire family is exstatic and so thrilled to see what the Lord has planned for us, as are we.



Monday, February 13, 2012


I had my first progesterone shot Saturday, in the beginnings of a migraine and not sure if it was medication I took or the shot, but afterwards, I felt better, so maybe it was a little of both. So Derok, Sophi and I went to Winter Jam Saturday night. The main acts were to start at 6pm, the pre show started at 5pm. We got there at 5:40 and had to sit in the nose-bleed section on the fanned steps! Thank God we had our big coats to sit on to keep us cushioned and Derok let me use his to lean against. About halfway through the night, this family from Kenya had apparently noticed me treking to the bathroom several times and told me that they were giving up their seats for us. So for the main events Sanctus Real and Skillet we were comftorable. The shows were awesome and I know Derok thouroughly enjoyed it. Skillet particularly has a way of reaching teens as well as crossing into secular music to influence all ages of that market.

As I listen to a Christian radio station out of Michigan that is commercial free and online, I heard this song by Britt Nicole called "All This Time" and I was just struck by the words:

I remember the moment

I remember the pain

I was only a girl

But I grew up that day

Tears were falling

I know You saw me

Hiding there in my bedroom

So alone

I was doing my best

Trying to be strong

No one to turn to

That's when I met You

All this time

From the first tear cry

To today's sunrise

And every single moment between

You were there

You were always there

It was You and I

You've been walking with me all this time

Ever since that day

it's been clear to me

That no matter what comes

You will never leave

I know You're for me

And You're restoring

Every heartache and failure

Every broken dream

You're the God who sees

The God who rescued me

This is my story

This is my story

I hear these people asking me

How do I know what I believe?

Well I'm not the same me

And I saw the proof I need

I felt Love I felt Your grace

You stole my heart that day

Youve been walkin with me all this time

All this time

From the first tear cry

To today's sunrise

And every single moment between

You were there

You were always there

It was You and I

You've been walking with me all this time

We all need to be reminded that no matter what, He's always there and always has been there.

He is Faithful,


Monday, February 6, 2012

Update: 16 weeks

So today was my scheduled OB visit, but first I had to take Luke to the pediatrician for this junk he cant seem to beat. Mom took him to see Dr. Hodges just a month ago, the week after I had the cerclage put in, and he was on antibiotics for 10 days, but either he caught something else, or it's viral. So, after his appointment, he came with Mom and me to my appointment. I was a little surprised when the nurse told me "she" said to get undressed waist down and she'll be in,in a minute." "She"? I'm supposed to see Dr. Davis, and only Dr. Davis. Apparently, that didn't get relayed to the scheduling folks for this particular appointment. It was Dr. K (I'll leave it at that just in case). I don't care for her at all. Our personalities are just very different, but she always just seems very rushed. She didn't even ask me how I was feeling, if I had any problems, if I was concerned about anything, or had any questions for her. She told me she would check my cervix with an exam, and then we'd go check the cervical lengths by ultrasound-along with the baby's sex. I said, I thought it was too early for us to tell for sure, and she said no. We can check it. So Mom and I were pleasantly surprised, as I did not expect to get to find out until the next appointment. So we were excited. Then she said that at my next visit, I'd have the quad screening  and something else-I blocked out whatever else she said because I specifically remember telling my dear nurse that I would NOT be having any of the screenings for birth defects, chromosome problems or anything like that, as I did not need the added stress of that on top of an already high risk pregnancy, since that would not change our response and our love for this life, plus there is such a high false positive chance, it's not reliable in my mind. So, she rushes me out, and we wait to be called to head to the ultrasound room. A tech comes to get me and says "you know this is not gonna be a 'fun' ultrasound". So I said," okay that's fine. " I knew what she meant. It wouldn't be an 'on the stomach' type of ultrasound, which didn't bother me. So we begin with the ultrasound and she's measuring the cervix-as I assume since I cant tell what's what on the screen. I see the baby to the far left of the screen, but can only see the head, and little arm and hand occasionally, and did get a great view of a little open and close fist action at one point. We did see the spine, but we couldn't really view the womb much since she was doing the ultrasound, solely for the cervical lengths. So she says "okay you want me to help you sit up?" And mom and I both begin to say that we thought that I was gonna get to see the sex, when she dismissively says that we could've only seen that if the baby had been butt down in the view of the womb we could see and that didn't happen-which she really didn't take but maybe 60 seconds total. I was not happy. Dr. K didn't say, "well there's a chance you could find out if the baby happens to be butt down in the view of the cervix centered ultrasound, but that's probably not likely". No, she was very matter of fact that it would be viewable. Then the tech gave me my patient sheet and said I was ready to leave. I said, "So, is Dr. K gonna call me or what?" I am the type of patient that needs information and needs to know details. Don't do a specific test to determine the length of my cervix, which is a crucial detail in why I am high risk, and then tell me to leave! I'm sure if she'd been alarmed at what she'd seen, she'd gone to get get Dr. K, but still. She could have at least come back and said, "Mrs. Shelfer, everything looks great. The cervix in a normal pregnant woman of your gestation 'x' and yours is 'x'....we're pleased with it and will continue to check it." or something! So after being rushed in and out, and being excited only to be disappointed, I was not a happy patient checking out. The receptionist said that they wanted to see me back in 2 weeks. I questioned if Dr. Davis would be there that week, very, irritated and annoyed. She said no, but sensing my agitation, she told me that the next time that I come to clinic and sign in, on my patient sheet, to write really big at the top, "Dr. Davis ONLY" so that they know, upon my check out, to only schedule me with him. She let me know that Dr. Davis would be in clinic the following week, February 28th,  when I will be 19 weeks. I would have preferred to go back sooner, but whatever, I want to make sure that I see Dr.Davis each time, so I'll wait the extra week. Mom and I went by the compounding pharmacy on urMEU when I had to go get checked last Saturday night.

So I pray, Lord, help me to be thankful for the little blessings, remind me that you are in control and no matter when things don't go my way, You have it all worked out and in my best interest. Remind me that You just blessed us with Matt's AWESOME promotion at work that will be a great financial help to us, and that I shouldnt sweat the small stuff. :)

He is Faithful!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A mother's love

John 19:26-27

The Message (MSG)
24-27While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus' mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.

Yesterday, in conversation with Matt, he said we needed to watch The Passion. We've had it since it came out, but haven't watched it, or rather for me, haven't been able to watch it. When we watched it at the theater, I cried so intensely, so physically, that I had to take migraine medication afterwards because of all the pressure from trying to hold back the whales of emotion that wanted to explode from me. Secondary to being a follower of Christ, as a mother, just imagining my son, (at the time of the movie's debut, my only son who was our miracle, the one that wasn't suppose to make it but had and was thriving), being tortured, humiliated, harassed, dehumanized, just all of the repulsive evil that was done to Jesus that day, imagining that being done to my son as I watched? My heart could hardly take it for Mary.

As I looked up a song on YouTube that I had just heard for the first time, (which I will post the video later), I saw another song from this same Christian band, one that I already have on my IPod, set to scenes from The Passion of the Christ in 2 different videos. One of them had this scene, which I've included a picture from, a picture of the son, Jesus, to Mary. The "man son" Jesus that loved his mom, and in this scene, built something for her, a table, from his bare hands. How precious are those pieces of artwork that I get from daycare or school that are of my boys' tiny hands, seeing them get bigger with each craft. I imagine Mary loved anything Jesus created or built for her, and of course it was every way. But can you imagine, knowing-which I think she may have known-knowing those precious hands that made tiny wooden toys, or a mixing bowl, or anything that Jesus made with his hands, would be the same hands that would be nailed to a cross? Did she know? What if you knew that those tiny hand prints that make a reindeer, or a bunny rabbit, those tiny hands of your precious son would one day be stripped from you so gruesomely...... for people, some that even hated him, even the very ones that tortured him? Did he tell her or was it already in her heart, just as her womb was supernaturally blessed with God was that also revealed to her? I don't know, and one day, as I have many questions for Mary, mother of Jesus, I will ask her. I do wonder how she grieved for those 3 days he was in the tomb,  while He was taking back from sin and death all that was stolen.  I wonder what those that took Mary home and stayed with her must have talked about, as we humans always try and draw a 'logical' conclusion to something tragic or horrible, or were they aware of this being the plan all along? I imagine there was some knowing, and some that was left between only the Father and Son, and the rest they had to rely on faith, in Him.

We will watch The Passion of the Christ. It most likely will have to be after this precious gift of life is born, as I don't think I could physically handle it. I'd watched just about 15 seconds of one of the videos, and could hardly stand to see my Lord, my Savior, going through what He endured-for me. So, I will try daily, to show Him just how grateful and appreciative I am for His sacrifice....and appreciate His mother's.  

He is faithful,


Monday, January 23, 2012

Building 429 - Where I Belong - Lyrics

"Welcome Home"
This video is a song that I feel I connect very well with, especially today. Today, January 23rd, 2012 my precious, only sibling's birthday, was also the day where there was severe destruction from a tornado in the city of Center Point, where we grew up and spent the first 20+ years of our life. The sites that were hit were right in the center of the area that we frequented so often, where we went to the grocery store,  the fast food restaurant where I worked my senior year of high school,  the bank where I went to cash my checks, where we went to get a bite to eat, much of that is destroyed now. The school where we went the elementary, junior high and high school, located all together, the elementary only a few feet from the rest of the school has now most likely changed forever. When I'd heard that they were tearing down our high school, Erwin High School, and rebuilding a high school called Center Point High, it was very sad to me. We've only been gone since 1997, 15 years. I wanted to be able to take my children on day trips at some point and just show them where I grew up. Now, I'm afraid that I'll never get that opportunity, or it will be so radically different, there wont be much that I even remember being there.

Then I remember, all of this, is not our final home. Even where we live now, is not our 'home'. This is just a place we are passing through, just as we didn't stay in Center Point forever, we wont stay here forever. We must remember that tornado and other weather disasters, economic collapse, war, the wicked getting away from justice without consequence, the innocence of our children being taken away, our children and loved ones dying, none of this was the plan. This was never how He planned it for us. Sin caused all disorder and chaos on this earth.  So we cannot expect to find heaven on earth. He gives us His word to assure us, to guide us, to comfort us, to reprimand us, to love us, to bless us.  He even tells us this life will be difficult,

John 16:33

New International Version (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

but we believers have everlasting Hope! This isnt it! Not even close! I just love this song, particularly the part that says, "Take this world and give me Jesus...." because afterall, He's really all we need.

Yesterday the message pastor Chris delivered was about anger. He said something profound that really spoke to my spirit of a quote that one of his church leaders has spoken to him before. He said, "the man on his face will never fall. He can only go up". Pastor Chris was discussing how we are the cause of the anger, not the traffic, the failing economy, the miserable job, etc, but 'I' am responsible for it. He talked about daily dying to ourselves, our flesh, and the world and just surrendering it all back to Him, just as we did when we first became a follower of Christ. That really stuck with me. I agreed with him that many times, once we become a believer, we slowly, and sometimes, unaware, allow the control of our lives to be pulled back from Him, and we begin to try and live our ways, behind the label of a Christian. I think he included himself in this, as we all should be. We must, DAILY, take up our cross and follow Him. We must surrender, daily, our families, our children, our jobs, our marriages, our homes, our finances, our relationships, our health, our future, everything, both big and small and just remind Him, as well as ourselves that He is who we desire to follow and have in control, as things in this world are so out of control. I love the saying, " I do not know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future." That's it. If we give Him all fo us daily, and we humble ourselves, on our faces, just showing Him that He is Lord, the rest of the day, no matter what comes, can only go 'up'. So, I was challenged, and I hope to start out my days everyday that way, acknowledging that I serve a risen King, a Lord that loves me more than I can ever understand this side of eternity, a God that is more merciful and gracious than any of us deserve, a Father that sent His only Son, and had to turn His back away from Him has He hung on the cross, to finish what was the plan of hope to redeem us, a friend that was both fully God and fully man that can understand everything and anything I've ever been through or will ever go through. I dont wanna ever lose sight of who He truely is to me. So until I am 'home'. I say, '....take this world and give me Jesus."

He is faithful.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Side tracked

So this morning I was ready to head back to work after having a 4 day weekend, post surgery on Friday. The boys and I got up, as usual, then as I went to get Luke's shoes, I went to the restroom and there was blood. Not a huge amount, but enough to scare me, as it was bright red blood. So, I called, the MEU, (Maternal Evaluation Unit), and described what I saw, so they told me to just come in to be checked. So I called mom and she would come and take Luke to school  and I got Tobi off to the bus stop and then headed to the hospital. As I text out the prayer request, I was scared, very scared. We prayed in the car as we waited for the bus, and then as the text of prayers being sent up came in, I felt at peace. I felt calm, and that everything was gonna be fine. So, during rush hour, I drove, quite peacefully, to the hospital. I got in and had a great, sweet nurse, Lindsay. She was reassuring and nice. The resident, Dr. Chappell, did a speculum exam and said that everything looked fine. He could see where one of the sutures was oozing, but wasn't actively bleeding. He said that the cervix looked good, was closed and there was no sign of shortening from what he could tell on his exam. So he consulted with his bosses, and then returned to say, the bleeding should not be concerning, but most likely due to irritation and that he would discuss everything with the 'big boss' and then return. Dr. Brumfield, one of the MFM doctors came in herself and inquired as to my level of physical activity since the surgical procedure. So, I told her of doing nothing the day of surgery, Friday, nothing, Saturday or Sunday, however on Monday, yesterday, we took the boys to bowl. It didn't seem like a lot of activity, but considering, I guess it was. She said that the twisting motion, even thought it was just my arm strength being used, could have caused the irritation to that suture. She said to just rest over the next week, and try to avoid upright standing as much as possible, since the weight can add stress to the sutures. She said that I should be able to increase my physical activity after a week, of course, "physical activity" will just be chores, going to the grocery store and Wal-Mart, and going to work, not my Turbo, weights, or Zumba....that's it. I have a follow up apt on Thursday, with Dr. Davis. Since I'm 13 weeks, 1 day, I will discuss when he will get me the prescription for my progesterone shots, since those will begin at 16 weeks.

So today, having had this little side trip in this pregnancy's journey, I was comforted when I read the One Year Bible passage in Proverbs. 

Proverbs 3:24-26 " No need to panic over alarms or surprises,
or predictions that doomsday's just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he'll keep you safe and sound. "

This verse was EXACTLY what I needed today. Thank you Lord for all your wisdom and comfort.

Now for a little humor....laughter is always my opinion, especiallly when it involves your children. Once home and resting, mom came over to check on me and I am sure make sure I was resting. We noticed  neither of our toilets were working!  Both of the 2 bathrooms we have, had stopped up toilets. I knew Tobi's was stopped up because his little OCD habit of wiping with wipes and not toilet paper had resulted in him flushing the wipes rather than putting them in the trash. He's usually pretty good about remembering to put them in the trash, and I'll come by and retrieve it. However, the last time he 'went', he says there was no trash bag in the he flushed them.  So, I attempted to unstop the toilet, and after retching and gaging, I finally said, "forget it!". The toilet in the master bath had been giving us fits . Sometimes it would flush, and sometimes it would not. Matt and his dad had attempted to fix it, but we know most handy men are not computer techs.  So, I got out the business card of the plumber who had done major work at Nana and Papa's, and gave him a call, Robert Polk. He was so nice and understanding and I'm sure in some ways felt sorry for a pregnant mommy of 2 boys and wife had no potties! He said he'd be over this afternoon. In our chit chat, we discovered his oldest daughter and Tobi are in the same grade at the same school, small world.  First, he worked and worked on our toilet and then after a little 'tough love' with the auger, he said, "Ah ha! here's the culprit!".....and there it was..... an orange sized plastic giraffe! Yup, my sweet Luke had flushed the toy down the potty. Tobi had done this also, when he was 3, while Dad and I were in West Virginia snowboarding for a much needed 'mini mommy vacation', since Tobi was so sick back in those days and was constantly in and out of the hospital and I just needed a few days to recharge. Matt called one of the nights I was away and when I asked how things were, he said, "every thing's fine, but I think we need to call a plumber cause Tobi flushed a toy down the drain and I think it was Darth Vader".  Of course I'm thinking, "really? I cant be gone a few days without the house falling? But it was fine, Matt handled it, and when I got home and asked Tobi about it, I said, "Did you flush Darth Vader down the toilet?" and he said, "yes." So I said, Why?" and he said, "cause I wanted him to go to heaven!"  I'm guessing, my miracle son knew that we must be 'cleansed of our sins' to go to heaven, and he hadn't quite got the concept of Jesus' sacrifice, so he thought he'd 'cleanse' Darth Vader in the potty, sending him to heaven, saving him from the 'dark side'! It was funny. ....expensive, but funny. I still have that receipt and Tobi ended up getting another Darth Vader.
He is Faithful,


Sunday, January 15, 2012

HOLY (BY Matt Redman)

This song is another one that just draws you into His presence, His power, His LOVE! I weep every time I hear it, just knowing that He IS Holy, but yet loves each of us so much, He couldnt stand to be apart from us for eternity, so made a way, to allow us to be redeemed, pure and blameless in His presence-through His perfect, fully God, and fully man, son. Wow...... Just listen, and see what it says to you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Surgery Day

So today, Friday, January 13, 2012 was the day of surgery. The boys spent the night with mom. We got up and got to the hospital right before 6:30. The new Women's and Children's Hospital at UAB is so nice and easy to get around in. We parked right in front of the ambulance entrance and once checked in at the registration desk, we made our way to labor and delivery on the 3rd floor. We only sat down for a moment when they called me back. I changed, gave urine, and then answered a millions questions. Matt was brought back and then the 2 nurses attempted to get an IV in me. The first nurse was not successful, but the sweet nurse, Alice, from Kenya, was. I had a pelvic exam to check for infection and that was fine. Then anesthesia and OB both came in and asked another million questions. Dr. Davis stopped by and in his soothing voice, said we'd hopefully be done by lunch. The preadmit nurse told me later, "don't hold your breath on that sweet heart..." which made me nervous, considering the bad migraine I got last time for waiting so long after fasting and not having any caffeine. I began to get a headache, and then right around 8:15am, they came to get me. We walked down the hall to the OR and I got on the table, to prepare for the spinal. The sweet nurse, Ashley, and I chit chatted. I started getting upset as we talked about Layah, as they saw my flower tattoo, and I talked about her. I'm not sure why I started crying, but I know some of it was just nerves. The spinal was a breeze, especially considering my pain tolerance to tattoos! The procedure started and although I was fully conscious and could hear and see, (but I couldn't see what they were doing due to the cover up sheet hung in front of my face), I couldn't feel anything but pulling and tugging. I started getting worried that my bottom would wake up, and then I started worrying about some of the risks from the procedure, (particularly the 'your water sac could get punctured, but its not likely). I know Satan was just trying to bully me. I think maybe the headache was a 'blessing' because the pain distracted my thought. They gave me medication for my headache, and before I knew it, it was over. I was taken to recovery, and had a wonderful nurse, Lisa. She was very empathetic, as she too has migraines. She could tell on my face, that I was very uncomfortable. She got me some morphine. that helped to break up the migraine's attack. I was finally able to get some coke and some peanut butter and graham crackers. Matt was so great and very helpful. I tried to go the bathroom, the first time, with no success, although my legs were like jelly, I could feel them, but my bladder muscles were not yet awake. So, we returned to recovery to wait a little longer. Finally, I was able to go. Once we got back to recovery, Kristy Benefield, the bereavement nurse that I'm so close to, had been located and she along with the chaplain came for a visit. She got to see my memorial tattoo's recoloring, and wanted me to share the story behind it with Matt, the chaplain. So of course I did, and then told her about the '23' due date, along with all the others. We left and were on our way home by 12:30. I was not feeling well, in route, and once Matt stopped to get us some Burger King, I had to run to the bathroom and throw up. Once I did, I felt better. We got home and ate lunch and then I went to rest. Mom came over and did lots of ironing for me. Nana went and got Tobi from school and then Matt went to pick up Luke from Bright Horizons. Then my dear friends, Heather and Tina, had gotten us O'Charley's, which was my request when asked what we would like, so heather brought our food by about 6?15 along with a sweet card from Tina and her girls. So our day went much better than expected, although I did have the migraine.  So we now schedule the follow up appointment and continue to check baby to make sure everything is continuing to go as planned.

HE is Faithful!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I saw this photo after I was looking for one to put out here like the one that we saw Sunday, but this one was powerful to me, His Promises even during a 'storm'.

So this weekend, January 8th, we started 21 days of prayer and fasting. I have decided to fast TV, and social media, particularly Facebook. It wasn't as hard as I'd anticipated. Saturday though, was a migraine day, and there was some issues at the pharmacy with my Prodrin and the day supply, so I wasn't able to get it filled, but Nana was to the rescue. Praise God. Sunday, the service was on addiction, which in all reality, is idolatry, putting something, someone, above  the place of God in your life. We all have those areas whether it be eating, shopping, alcohol, football, work, etc, that take too much of our lives and are not in the right place, or shouldnt be in our life at all. So this time of 21 days of prayer and fasting is to reflect on that.  According to scripture, in order to overcome the addiction, that that hinders us  we must first remove 1) unbelief and 2) being perverse, which is what Matthew 17: 14-18 says "When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 'Lord have mercy on my son, ' he said. 'He has seizures and is suffering greatly. ......I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn't heal him. ' 'O unbelieving  and perverse generation, ' Jesus replied, 'how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me. " Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy and he was healed from that moment." So  the Lord was saying, in order for us to be free from this 'addiction' we have to be connected to Him, in a close relationship with Him, praying 'without ceasing', the way we are  supposed to be- just talking to Him throughout the day. Second,  we are perverse because we are too connected to the world, and must disconnect, which is the fasting's purpose. So our goal is to get closer to the Lord and disconnect from the world in a specific way for each of us.

As I read some of the Bible in a Year, and was still reading in Genesis about Abraham. I got to the story of Lott, his nephew, and the dialog where Abraham and God went back and forth, discussing the number of righteous people required for the Lord to spare the city of Sodom. It started with 50 and as it went back and forth, Abraham got to 10. This to me was just a glimpse of how much God so wants to spare this Earth his wrath. After all his word says in I Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. " So he told Abraham that if there were just 10 righteous in Sodom, he would spare the city, but there were not.  Think about it. He knew this, but  yet continued to banter with Abraham in order to show His mercy and that He is slow to simply destroy rebellious people. Since our Heavenly Father,  is never changing, He still has a heart now for ALL of His creation to be drawn to repentence, and to turn from their wicked ways, and return back to Him.

So during the Griefshare small group Sunday, Michelle,  who lost her mom suddenly this past year, read a page from the book, No Wonder They Call Him Savior, and the passage was this

 "Seeing God like this does wonders for our own suffering (as it was talking about Jesus in pain in the garden). God was never more human than at this hour. God was never nearer to us than when he hurt. The Incarnation was never so fulfilled as in the garden.

As a result, time spend in the fog of pain could be God's greatest git. It could be the hour that we finally see our Maker. If it is true that in suffering God is most like man, maybe in our suffering we can see God like never before.

The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the cloeset you'll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a pierced one. "

Wow! I wept as I read that. That's what its all about,  the person that we become through suffering, the changes that are made in our character, our spirit, enduring tragedy or loss of any kind. As we wait for the healing, the transformation in us is God's plan. I don't think the tragedy or the loss or circumstance was necessarily His design, but in a fallen creation, He will use what the enemy has intended for evil and destruction, to bring about life, eternally. After the group, Luke and I drove over to a donation drop off and although it was gone for the day, we did have a reason for driving over there. Up in the sky, among the dark clouds, was a beautiful, fully colored rainbow, almost a full half circle. I instantly said, "Thank You Lord", as I felt it was a little "God-wink" saying, "Mika, I got this. " in regards to this precious life inside me. He is faithful in ALL things!

Verse for today that went right along with His promises, Genesis 24:40 "40 “He replied, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success..."

 HE WILL make our journey to bring life into the world a SUCCESS!!
Faithfully His,