Saturday, September 26, 2009

We remember

I just wanted to post that today was the 40 week due date for Layah, as well as my precious grandfather's birth\death date. We remember. Thank you Lord for both of these precious lives You created.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Approaching our special days

It's so surreal to believe that this time next week, we'll have our precious miracle, Luke Jeremiah Shelfer here with us. It's such a difference compared to our sorrows last year, as we approached the 40 week due date that Layah would have had, September 26th. It's so ironic that as I am now 38.1 weeks, we are so ready for him to be here, and for 8 months, all we wanted was for him to stay in! I've not been sleeping well, for several reasons, but in all honesty, it's because I will wake up and think, "I haven't felt him move" and then after I use the bathroom I spend several minutes "waking him up" to get him to move, before I go back to sleep and the cycle continues about 2 hours later. Each time, I praise God for this life.

October 15th is the Remembrance Day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss and I'd like for you to check out a video on Youtube it's very touching to me and I hope many of you will do this for me, another friend or loved one, or at least think of us on that day. My mom gave me a poem, that a co worker of hers, who had lost a child, had given her a copy of when a friend of my mom's daughter passed away. I changed it to "she" for my personal reasons:

God's Loan

I'll lend to you for a little time a child of mine He said,
For you to love thee while she lives and mourn for when she's dead.
She may be six or seven years or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call her back, take care of her for Me?
She'll bring her charms to gladden you and should her stay be brief,
You'll have these precious memories, as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise she will stay, since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I've looked this whole world over in search for teachers true,
And in the crowds that throng life's land, I have selected you.
Now will you give her all your love nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to take her back again?
It seems to me, I heard them say, Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joys thy child will bring, the risk of grief will run.
We'll shelter her with tenderness, we'll love her while we may,
And for the happiness we've known forever, grateful stay.
And should the angels call for her, much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.
Author unknown

I thought about the title and how true it is for all of us parents. Our children do not belong to us, they are loaned to us. As I looked at Robyn's video of Remembrance, I saw related videos, that were just as touching, and sad other families had made themselves of their own loss. Even now, my heart breaks at times, remembering that Layah is gone. Our hearts, many times, have a "mind" of their own. We know our children who have passed are in His arms, and safe, and better than we are, but our hearts cannot connect with this understanding, nor that we will be together again. It's only for parents that cling to the Holy Spirit, and the precious Savior that this connection can be made. I could not imagine trying to "understand" the death of Layah, without my faith, and comfort that only came from my Heavenly Father. Here is one more video, I've shared before, but want those of you who haven't seen it to watch it. The mom is my age and lives in TN with her daughter Sellers, and daughter Emmertte. Their middle daughter, Copeland, passed away after 8 days. She died on September 26th 2007 from a condition called Trisomy 16, which is chromosomal defect that is not compatible with life, and most babies do not make it to term and die in utero. She showed the world that she would live beyond all expectations and complete her purpose. Their singer\songwriter friend wrote this song for her, which I ball every time I hear. The words were so overwhelming (and still are) when I was going through the most difficult time of grief for Layah.

I know that the Lord's plan is so much better, in the whole picture, than I could ever create. I know I would not be the person I am today had I not been through all the things I have over the past 30 years. Lord, help me to always trust your way, and not to decide to do things my way. Give me wisdom and discernment. Remind me that there is nothing that is impossible for you. Show me how to love others the way that You love them. Break my heart for the things that break yours and use me to make a difference with all the expereinces I've had.
Faithfully His,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A baby to be born and a brother's life "reborn"

Today I had my (next to last) OB appointment with my MFM family. I left work feeling a little ill, but I think I was just a little hypoglycemic, cause I felt better after I'd had some coke and peanuts on the way. My BP was a little high compared to what it usually is, 112\8? but nothing they were alarmed by. Joey was in the OR so I didn't get to see him today. I got my "letter" to take with me to triage at 5:30 am in the event that Luke gets taken on October 1st, a week from Thursday. We're praying he'll come on his own before then. I want Joey to deliver him and be with us during that special time, but I also want it to just "happen" and not to have this scheduled. You'd think with it always happening in an emergency situation, that I'd want it scheduled, but I guess I want the chance to get to actually call my husband and say, "it's time. I'll meet you at the hospital" and it not be an emergency. I know the Lord will let it happen when it's safest and the best for Luke and me. Dr. Patterson, (one of the only females) saw me today. I've never met her before, but she a lovely, young African American doctor. I though she looked my age! She was super sweet and checked me at my request. She said I was dilated 3.75 cm and very soft, so that's good. We're making progress. She said that there was no problem with us doing "extra activities" that some have said can cause a woman to go into labor, so that's pretty cool. Veronica, my dear sweet nurse that's been with us for the past 8 years, said that she though Luke weighed at least 6 lbs, so I'm anxious to know what he weighs. That's about all for the update. Tomorrow would be a great day since 23's are huge for our family. Here's the reason why:

My mom's birthday is May 23, my dad's is June 23, my brother's is January 23, my brother's wife's is Feb 23. I was suppose to be born on July 25th and my parents thought I might come 2 days early, well I wasn't, but I was born at 1:23 in the AM. My BCBSAL employee number has 23 at the end. My ssn has 23 in it. The first house we bought was at exit 231. The house we live at now has 23 in the address. I was married and had Tobi at 23. Tobi weighed 2 lbs 3 oz, (not a good one, but nevertheless), and again not good, but Layah came at 23 weeks. So, if he came tomorrow, that'd be cool.

Also, Layah's 40 week due date is on the 26th as well as that is the day for when my precious Papa, who Layah's buried next to was born and died, on his 80th birthday. So the 26th would be special. Also, my precious nurse I mentioned, her birthday is the 25th, and Dr. Ramsey, who was with us for 8 years and put the cerclage in, "up to my tonsils", his birthday is September 30th, so that would be awesome if he came then too. We have lots of special days that eh could arrive.

My dear friend Amber, who's had 3 losses, had surgery to remove a cyst, and we are now just praying that this procedure will have cleared the way-literally- for her fertility. I pray that this will be her season of life. My friend Johanna, who lost twins back in march at 18 weeks, is having a medical procedure tomorrow to make sure her reproductive system is clear of any blockage, and I guess tumors or tissue, so I pray the same for her. I know how badly she wants to be a mother.

Today I read this verse,

"2 Corinthians 10:1-5
By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I thought about this verse because it's so true. We followers of Christ do not live by standards of this world. That's obvious by what is considered acceptable in society today which are in direct conflict with God's inspired Word. Just because the world may now consider this to be "tolerant", sin is sin, good is good, evil is evil. At the same time that our society continues to lower the line, or the standard, the enemy is constantly waging war against God's children. We are not fighting a war of flesh and blood, but a war that is invisible to the human eye, but so clear to the receptive spirit a believer may have. While this war does have it share of casualties, as I think Layah is one of many, we have been given "divine power to demolish strong holds", and I interpret that as what the enemy intended for evil, and our destruction, physically, spiritually and relationally, God has given us the power to take hold of that and use it for His glory and our benefit, on earth and in heaven. When life, at many times, feels so out of control, this verse is comforting to me that He has given us power here on earth to direct many parts of our life, as long as we are humble and acknowledge that this divine control is only allowed by Him.

On a seperate topic, my dear brother had a near death drowning yesterday and it really shook him to the core. We've been through a lot, growing up with physical limitations and challenges that kids of divorced parents face, and then all that we've endured as a family with Tobi's early birth and Layah's short life and death. We are very close, and I could tell in my brother's voice over the phone, several hours after the event, that this had changed him. We have always grown up in the "wilderness" with my dad, hiking, biking, canoeing, all of it. My brother had gone down the creek on an intertube behind his house in Trussville many times, but yesterday, alone, and not wearing a life jacket, he quickly became a vulnerable and helpless "object" to the power of the rushing water. He said he was pulled under close to a rock twice and saw his life flash before his eyes. He said of course it felt like forever, but it was just a couple of minutes. He described seeing all of us, his family, having to be notified by a coroner that his body had been found, and also thinking, "I'm too young to die", as well as about his wife and 3 children. He is convinced, as well as I, that the Lord pulled him from the water, and I have no doubt in that. When he got to a rock that he could climb on top of, he screamed and cried out to the Lord, in just thanksgiving for life. I feel that the Lord allows some situations we put ourselves in, in our life, to sometimes be a powerful tool in reminding us how fragile life is, and how quickly it can be gone. My brother knows death very well, as he's a "harvester" for the Alabama Organ Center, and obtains bone and tissue donations when someone dies. He sees death daily, but yet this was the event that was used to give him an awakening. I know that the Lord has already used Derok to share his testimony, his experience with others, with boldness and confidence, knowing it was not luck, nor his physically fitness, or youth, or swimming ability that pulled him from the water. It was God, cleansing Derok in a way from things that may have clouded his mind, and blurred things that God wanted to reveal to Derok that he'd not see without a powerful experience like this. I'm so thankful that he was spared and the Lord has given him a passion and a boldness now, that wasn't there before, to share his faith in a way that simply says what I always come back to as the simple "great commission", I don't know what happened, but once I was blind and now I see." Basically, it just is what it is. Derok had that occurrence. So each of you that read this, be reminded today just how precious your life is, and is to others. It could be gone in the blink of an eye, and what can we leave as a legacy to our families and others?

Faithfully His,


Thursday, September 17, 2009


These were done by a friend of mine who was so kind to do this after she was going to offer her professional services when Layah was born to log her journey through the hospital and that never happened. We stayed in touch and she was such a blessing to do these photos for us. It's so surreal to be this big, but we knew and know God is faithful. It has music with it, so turn up the volume. Enjoy!

Today I was reading about comfort. The verse was 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort which produces in your patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort....We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."

It reminded me that each of us that are followers of Christ, when we go through "fire and water" it may not always be an attack of the enemy, but also, it be allowed that through those trials, our Heavenly Father's devine plan to reach the unreachable would be fulfilled. The devotional I read mentioned that we are not comforted to be comfortable-although we will be for a time- but that we may become comforters. There are many that suffer as we have, and we are to also share our comfort that we received through our suffering. I'm not saying we have to like it, be happy about it, or even agree with the method, but the results are what are most important. If we can hang on to our faith and relationship with the loving Father, He will use the trials and tribulations for His glory, and at times, to bless us.

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about Layah. As I said before, I'm more so reminded, lately, that our family is "missing one" here on earth. I will always grieve for her, maybe not as I have mourned, but my heart will always be just a little empty where she came and shared her life with us for but a moment then was gone. It will never be the same. I will never be the same. As I feel Luke move about, which I obviously never got to feel this much with Layah or Tobi, I am just constantly reminded of the beauty of life, creation, the Creator. I will never, and have never understood how a mother could feel this life in her, and then harm or abuse him\her, or just not appreciate what a precious gift bringing life into this world is. I feel so blessed that Luke remains safely in my womb. I'd only prayed so far as to get to 36 weeks, and here we are at 37! He is so faithful. No matter the economy, president, health care (or lack of), He will always be in control, and He will always provide.

Faithfully His,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

just some pictures of our family

Christmas, December 2008

Barnum & Bailey Circus January 2008

Christmas 2006

Family Picture for Christmas 2006

Easter 2006

Day out with Thomas 2006

Christmas in the hospital 2005

Tobi's first Halloween. He was a dinosaur, costume purchased at Build a Bear
October 2002

Tobi's beenie baby picture like Layah's. He was
2lbs and 3 oz and 14 inches long

My precious husband and I on our wedding day

This is Tobi shortly after he was born.

Monday, September 14, 2009

36.4 & counting and the question "Is this your first?"

First, I will update you on how the cerclage removal procedure went, if you didn't already know. I am now 36.4 weeks today. I am so glad my husband was there to hold my hand. I have had a lot of physical pain in my life, having this muscle myopathy, CPT2 that can result in extreme muscle pain due to damage caused by the body breaking down muscle tissue rather than stored fat for energy, having had debilitating migraines for 11 years, having had an emergency c-section with Tobi, and then an abscess in my uterus 2 weeks later, then the cerclage being put in....all of this very painful, but I have been able to get pain medication to get some relief. Well, Tuesday, I did not expect it to be anymore painful than a normal pelvic exam-boy was I wrong. The first stitch was painful, but I gritted my teeth, squeezed Matt's hands, and tried to breath through it, then it was out, however, the top one, which was the one that Dr. Ramsey wanted to get in as high, and tight as he could, just about sent me over the edge. Joey stopped and one point to get me to use the bathroom to empty my bladder, and at that point, he should have said, "lets just do this in triage so you wont be in so much pain, but he did not. So, I was in tears and climbing the wall, as he moved my cervix all around trying to get to that top stitch. My husband said it hurt him just standing there with me, knowing how badly I was in pain. He finally got it out, and then I had to just lay there for a bit, to recover. Joey said I would have some spotting and contractions, but not to be alarmed. I will NEVER have that done in the office again. I did not have any spotting, but I did have some contractions. I've continued to have them, very mild and very sporadic.

So, after the procedure, I knew, as bad as I felt, I still needed to take the van to be checked and get the tires rotated, as our AC went out in it on Labor Day. I was not feeling well, so after being there an hour, and the van not even been taken back yet, I called and my mother in law came and got me and took me to her house to rest. They live less than a mile from the Firestone. They wanted to charge us $1700 to replace our A\C compressor, and that wasn't gonna happen. Thankfully, the guy in Tuscaloosa we bought both cars from, (Troy's Honda if you ever need a great deal on a car, and reasonably priced repairs) said since it was only 4 years old, and we got it from him, he'd do it for $550, so Matt took it down there early Saturday morning and it was fixed! I did not want to bring Luke home in a hot van.

So Tobi had his celebration for his birthday at school that Tuesday, and Matt took him to Taekwondo that night. It's hard to believe it's been 7 years. wow! I did not want Luke coming on Tobi's birthday, and that was honored. Then on Friday, September 11th, as I listened to the tributes to the victims, heroes, and their families from the terrorist attacks in 2001, I just cried and cried. Then I prayed, "Lord, please don't let Luke come today. I don't want his birthday to be a day of tragedy that is so sad". I know that many already had that day as a birthday, but I just didn't want it for Luke. My dear Dr. Ramsey, who moved to San Antonio, TX sent me a facebook friend request, and I was tickled. I noticed his birthday is September 30th, and I thought, wouldn't that be awesome, if Luke could come that day? Joey said he'd take Luke on the 1st if he'd not come on his own by then, so I think I'll tell him tomorrow, to take him on the 30th if he doesn't come by then. So, that's the update as far as my status. Luke's still "baking in the oven" and I'm as big as a house and loving every minute of it. One of my best friends told me when she was asked by a mutual friend of ours how I was, "she looks like she swallowed one of those exercise balls"! I just laughed. That was funny but true. We are ready for him when he comes. The only thing left, which is not a MUST is to get the ceiling fans installed in his and Tobi's room, which is suppose to be done on Tuesday of this week.

Now for my devotional. We didn't get a chance to go to church yesterday since I woke up with a headache, and I will watch it sometime today. I read a devotional this morning, and here was the verse,

Romans 5 1-5
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

The writer of the devotional lost his daughter at 17 in a car accident. He knows the pain of losing a child, a loved one. He talked about the verse that mentions "...but we rejoice in our sufferings..." which is a very helpless feeling, however, because of the peace with God through Jesus, we are not hopeless, but yet are equipped with this perseverance and character and love to share with others. It's been a bit difficult with strangers asking, "when are you due? is this your first?" or the one that really gets me when I say no that it's not my first is, "how many do you have?" I will never deny Layah, so I say, "this is number 3". Most of the time it ends there, but here lately people have said, are they boys or girls? Of course I say, "we have one boy and one girl" and that's it, but just being constantly reminded that Layah is not with us, is painful, but I know that this will continue to refine and shape the daughter in Christ I am to be to glorify my King. Satan constantly tries to remind me that they found out what was wrong, too late for Layah, but I have to speak back, that this is all for His glory. Her life was complete and her purpose has been and is continuing to be fulfilled. I ask that you would continue to pray for my dear friends, Johanna, Amber, and Allison. Amber is having surgery today on her cyst "Clyde" she's named. I pray that this procedure will be used to enhance her fertility and allow her to get pregnant very easily, and that she will have a full-term, healthy pregnancy that she so deserves. I ask that you would continue to pray for peace and healing for Allison, as she continues to walk the roughest part of grief for her son who was passed away in her womb at 38 weeks. She's been battling the lies of the enemy and really struggling. I pray you would stand in agreement with me that she will be overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit's peace and comfort and the enemy will turn away from the attack on her, knowing she is protected by the precious blood of Jesus. Johanna and I ha vent talked much lately, but I know she is still hurting and mourning her precious twin boys she lost at 18 weeks back in March. I know these women are dreading the upcoming holidays and all the celebration they entail, so please keep them in your prayers as they struggle to look forward in each of their lives and not behind them.

Faithfully His,


Monday, September 7, 2009

Ceasing the lies, Celebration, and Cerclages

I wanted to share a couple of verses lately that have really spoken to me. The first is, John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy; I have come so that you may have life, and have it to the full." So many times the troubles, trials, and turmoil we face we think it's something we caused, didn't stop, or deserved. I know because I've felt it a lot over the past 7 years with Tobi's extremely premature birth and fight to survive, and then Layah's extremely premature birth and her life here on with us ending so soon. That is a lie from the enemy. Yes, we all have fallen, and screwed up, but God's grace is immeasurable and His mercy inexhaustible. When we acknowledge those times in our lives, He "remembers our sin NO more". He can purposely forget, whereas we cannot, and Satan will try to remind us of our past mistakes. He will try to use it to get us to fall again, in whatever way he can to distance us from our loving Father. He wants nothing more than to separate us from relationships, with our spouses, family members, friends, and our Heavenly Father. If we feel guilt, shame, or unworthy, most times we will become more distant from those that need to know when we are struggling. But Jesus not only came to save us from ourselves, which was enough, salvation was enough. He also came so that this life here on earth would be full and free. Satan has lied to many women that I know, besides myself, that they will never be moms, or that they have failed their children who died, or that they will never have more children. I know this is just an attack of the enemy who knows these moms will raise Godly men and women who will do mighty things for the kingdom. He wants us all to give up. He wants us to give in to these lies and not fulfill God's will. For all of you that know I'm talking about you, He is faithful. He will bring life to your womb. He will bring laughter of children into your homes and hearts. Do NOT let Satan's lies sway your dreams and your hopes. The next verse I read was ,
Romans 8:31-39 "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
There are so many parts of this verse that I was like, "wow". It just confirms what I just spoke of. Through what Christ did for us on the cross, we ARE victorers, and not victims. Nothing can separate us from God's love, and that also means His plans for us. We just have to commit to the process, as painful as it may be.

Tomorrow is going to be an eventful day. Tobi is turning 7 years old tomorrow. It's so hard to believe it's been that long since we woke up and had to rush to UAB to have Tobi within 59 minutes of when the parking ticket was pulled and when they removed Tobi from my womb by c-section, all the fears and terror, a distant memory. To see him so full of life, and whole, is just another confirmation in God's miraculous hands through prayer and medicine. Tobi has been through so much and I know his name was given to him through us by God for a reason, Tobias, "Yahweh is good", and Gabriel, "the messenger". He has great things planned for Tobi, and I cant wait to see it fulfilled. Tomorrow we also have the cerclage removed. I have to admit I'm a bit scared. It's suppose to be done in the office, as long as it is visible to the doc, and is not embedded or going to be difficult to remove, otherwise, they'll take me over to the hospital to remove it. Joey said he's never had a patient who went into labor after having the cerclage removed. I pray that I will not be the exception, as I have been in so many other areas of the medical teams experience. Please pray that Luke will stay in at least 2 more weeks after the stitch is removed, if that is what will continue to keep him healthy. I know the Lord will do what is best for Luke. We are very excited about meeting him soon. Please pray that my fears for him will be calmed, and I will have that peace that passes all understanding that I've felt on those occasions when there should be no sense of peace. Thank you dear friends for your kind words, and uplifted prayers. He hears us and responds.

Faithfully His,


Friday, September 4, 2009

The final countdown

First a little encouragement and devotional, then update:

"The journeys that we take in life,
Though unexpected they may be,
If we commit to follow Christ,
His work through us the world will see. —Sper"

I read a short verse in Philippians, 1:12-14 "12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[a] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.14Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly." I realized that this was me....what we went through with Tobi, on the verge of death and his long road to being a healthy little boy, meeting Layah and losing her too soon, was all for a greater purpose. He will use any circumstance in our lives to fulfill His plan for us, like I mentioned last post. So many people can see how the relationship I walk with the Lord is very honest and open. I want others to have the freedoms through Christ I have, not for "fire insurance" as some say, but just because He's done so much for me, physically, emotionally, relationally.....SUPERNATURALLY! If you're excited and passionate about something, you express it; you talk about it; you share it with others. No, I'm not perfect, good Lord, if you could hear me mad while I'm driving and surrounded by idiot drivers, (no I don't use profanity, but I'm not asking the Lord to bless them either), among many things, would show you how much I need to be forgiven and given much grace and mercy on a daily basis. He is just such a beautiful Designer and perfect Creator of life. Anything the enemy intends for bad, He can and will-if given the okay by us- to create something beautiful. I hope each of you can experience this.

Wednesday, we had a friend I met online, (that "coincidentally" knows one of my best friends I recently found out), do some professional photography. She is such an amazing photographer. She also is blessing us with a CD of the proofs. I cant wait to share them with you all. This is just a "sneak peak" picture she sent me before she had to go out of town for a family emergency. The pictures were taken at Aldridge Gardens, property that was owned by a family and donated to the city of Hoover if it would be protected and maintained. It's a beautiful scenic place. Thursday, I went to the OB. Joey did a GBS, (Group B strep) culture, which obviously I've never gotten before, having never gotten to this point of 35 weeks. I told him I'd had a few episodes of contracts and was not alarmed. I knew they were not intensifying or getting closer and there was no spotting. The plan is still to take out the cerclage on Tuesday-again for those of you who don't know, Tobi's 7th birthday is this day also! I told him I was a bit nervous about having it removed in the office, considering how unprepared I was for it's placement and how painful it was. He assured me that if it was not going to be simple, they'd take me to L & D to give me drugs to remove it. We have Luke's room ready, bags packed and car seat installed, however, I find out from the fire department here in Alabaster, (the same sweet guys that came to our lovely home the weekend before my 30th birthday when my dear husband about burned our house down cooking some shrimp on the stove and fell asleep!), was installing it, that it's not recommended to keep them more than 6 years....Tobi's was made in 2002, so now we have to buy a new one-that's a pain. I have a plan if my water breaks at work, to drive over to Matt's parents' home, since they live about 2 miles from where I work. Joey said that should be fine for me to drive over there. Luke has the hiccups at least once a day now. I've been assured it's normal and actually healthy, but I feel him having them and think he's being shook so much! Joey said they think that it's actually comforting to them. Ummm, what else, oh! Tobi is loving Taekwondo and has gotten his yellow stripe recently. He will get blue and red before moving up to the yellow belt. Once he has a green belt, he can "spar", which is what he looks forward to most at this point. We are celebrating his birthday tomorrow, here at our home, with just family. I couldn't do a party this year with trying to plan for Luke's arrival. It doesn't matter to Tobi, as long as he gets presents! That's it for now. I've been up since 2am, from contractions early this AM, but again, they didn't progress and were uncomfortable, they weren't what I know they have been before with Tobi and Layah in the throws of labor. I will keep you all updated. I'm looking for ward to a long, relaxing weekend. My "nesting" energy is draining now, so it's a good thing everything is done and I can just be lazy this Labor Day holiday. The only thing I don't want to do this Labor Day, is go into LABOR yet!

Faithfully His,