Friday, November 12, 2010

God's Plan to use Layah's life being fulfilled

I'm gonna try to express in words how fulfilling my day was yesterday. It was a special day, being Veterans Day, but it was a very surreal day for me. Several weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to go up to the new RNICU at the new Women and Children's Center at UAB. Amy Nix Banaszk went to visit a friend of Amy's that recently had a micro preemie boy, Brooks, who was born at 26 weeks. Brooks is doing awesome, but an amazing thing for me was the unit itself.As soon as we entered I immediately remembered, as I saw the wall, the tile that Tobi had put his hand print on, the day before I went into labor with Layah, at the 2008 RNICU reunion that was held at the Bartow Arena. Also, remembering back to Tobi (108 days) and Layah's time (6 days) in the RNICU I was struck by how quiet it was when I first entered. It seemed like normal hospital floor. There was no, big open room with babies lined up around the room, right next to each other. No, ever baby had his or her own "room". It's like a semi private room. The family can sleep on a pull out couch right next to the baby, watch TV, (even wear ear buds to stay quiet), rock the baby in a reclining rocker, or utilize the mini fridge in each unit! WOW! I just was in awe. The communication system between the nurses and staff was amazing, it was basically like a voice activated microphone they could wear around there neck and if they were being called by another nurse, they could answer without touching it-keeping their hands sterile. It was quit impressive. So, just being able to visit this new unit was very neat. I didn't have a chance to find Tobi's hand print, but I knew I'd be back and would be able to get a tour.

So yesterday,after I dropped my precious Luke off at Bright Horizons, I went by the cemetery to change out Layah's flag and leave her an artificial white mum arrangement. The sky was a gorgeous blue. As I changed out the flag and stepped back to take a picture, the wind blew the flag...a sweet little "Layah" moment. I knew that it was already the start to a great day. I got down to UAB for the Patient Family Centered Care Team meeting. It ended up being a bit overwhelming because I was in this huge conference with high-back, black leather chairs around this conference table, surrounded by doctors, and men and women in business suits, some of these folks were very high up the totem-pole at UAB Hospital. I later realized that that this meeting was intended to incorporate us, the patients and families, serviced by UAB, to help define the standard of patient care that will be evolving over the next 10-15 years. I chimed in at one point to make sure that Jordan, the Assistant VP at UAB, I didn't know yet what my role was to be but my heart and passion is for the women with high risk pregnancies, but particularly the RNICU babies and their families. I think there will be many opportunities for me, my ministries and just the Lord to do His work through this committee I will be a part of. It's very promising.

Then, my parent panel meeting was to be at 3;15. I got there early, and of course chatted up Kristi, the bereavement nurse, and Kristin, the MOD nurse, before the training session was to begin. Rachael, my dear friend who lost her son Isaac (see early posts), to Trisomy 16, after only 18 minutes of life with him, December 13, 2007. I was so thrilled she came and shared her story to these nurses, clergymen and women, medical examiners, and even military personnel that came through this bereavement training. It was very purifying and healing to me. I spoke first and just gave them a little history of Tobi and then Layah's life and death and my grief process to follow. Rachael and I both talked the full 2 hours. It was great. We cried along the way, the listeners cried, but I think that we definitely made an impression of how these people could help those that they will encounter that will face death of a loved one or themselves. Several of them came up to us after it was over and mentioned how much they appreciated us coming and how it was great that I mentioned to them not to wash the belongings of the families who have experienced a loss. Many of them never thought about it, and would do so from now on. I was drained emotionally afterwards, but one of the sweet nurses that was there in the training and had been in the NICU when Layah was there but never actually kept her, had heard me say I wanted to go back and find Tobi's hand print, so she asked me if I wanted to come down to the nursery with her to find it, since she had to clock out anyway. So we did, and chatted along the way. I got to hear that another one of the moms, whose last quad, Canon, had died a week after Layah died, had recently given birth to an almost full term baby. I was thrilled to hear it! She did guide me around and we found Tobi's hand print. It was right where it should be, in one of the several family gathering rooms-which is not a waiting room, but a room where families can hang out, watch TV, eat supper around the table, kids do home work, etc. It's just a great place for these RNICU families to be able to relax when they are not in the room with the baby. Lisa, the nurse that gave me the tour, told me she had heard me mention the Foot Prints Ministry and she was interested to help. So, she gave me her email address. I'm looking forward to getting UAB on the role of hospitals we're able to provide care packages to for the families. Although the needs are different for the families there, with many of the families being teenage or unwed moms, I know we can stil provide a lot of prayer and support.

After I left the tour of the RNICU, I managed to go straight to the FPM meeting at St. Marks in Vestavia, by 6pm. Lurenda was getting stuff out right as I was about to start looking for someone to ask where to go in. The meeting was great. I really connected with Abby Nichloas, who lost twin boys a few years ago due to premature labor. We spent a few minutes praying for several of the boys we know that were recently born extremely early and the Prickett family who lost their little 9 month old, Olivia, to unknown causes when she didn't wake up a week ago. There were so many connections that we had in common, Abby and me. I'm really looking forward to continuing getting to know her. I think we're gonna be great friends, we are both go getter's.

Well, we had Tobi's soccer party tonight at Jump Zone, and I went down the slide a few times with Luke, did some back handsprings, and toe touches in the inflatables, so I'm pooped-beside my Tina's turbo class! I'm gonna try to do a devotional tomorrow.

Faithfully His,

Mika

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chris McClarney - Your Love Never Fails

Lyrics:
Nothing can seperate,
Even if I ran away,
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
But, You have new mercy for me every day,
Your love never fails.
Chorus:
You stay the same through the ages,
Your love never changes,
There may be pain in the night,
but joy comes in the morning.
And when the oceans rage,
I dont have to be afraid,
Because I know that
You love me.
Your love never fails
The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone here in the open seas
Cause Your love never fails.
The chasm was far too wide,
I never thought I'd reach the other side.
But Your love never fails.
Thank You Jesus, Thank You Jesus, Oh!
Bridge:
You make all things work together for my good!
I love this song, so please check it out on YouTube. It reminds me so much of trials I've been through in my life. His LOVE NEVER FAILS and it's so true. All things, everything from my parents' divorce before I was 2 to losing Layah, everything works TOGETHER for my good.
Faithfully His,
Mika

Friday, October 15, 2010

NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBERANCE

Today is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, October 15th. Tonight at 7pm, (it might have to be a bit later at our house because we'll be at Tobi's soccer practice), we'll light a candle to join the 'wave of light' in Rememberance. I'm about to cry as I type this, just remembering how empy I felt after Layah died, before our precious, precious Luke came to us. I know there are many moms that are not so fortunate, and many have experienced many losses, like my dear friend Amber. There are so many just like us.

My dear co worker and friend Tina, who is also a 'drill sargent' Turbo Kick instructor that helpped whip me into shape after my return to work after Layah, and here over the past month or so since I stopped pumping at work. Anyway, she is a very strong, kick-booty woman, however, her dad is very ill and may pass away soon. He's 68 and has had several heart attacks, stints, and bypasses. They have him on a vent, which they removed yesterday morning, but had to put him back on last night. She has seemed very "together" as she has continued to teach class tuesday, wednesday and thursday, but I can tell she is using it to disguise her worry and pain. My heart is heavy for her, because although losing a parent is not like losing a child, any loss will be difficult and extremely painful, especially if you, like I know I am, are a daddy's girl, and I'm pretty sure she is.

I cant imagine losing my dad. I gave him a book not long ago, called Letters from a Skeptic, which is a book of letters from a father to a son, who is a professor of Apologetics, defendeing the Christian faith. The father is not an atheist but he knows more of what he doesnt believe that what he does believe. Over the next 3 years, through many 'battles' of the mind, the father eventually becomes a believer, his eternity forever changed, and he died but a year or so later. I so want my dad to pick up the book. I know that all God's Word is 'active and living and sharper than any double edged sword', and I pray so much that the words on the page will come alive and penetrate his shell of deception and lies that Satan has trapped him in for the past 50+ years. I want so much for him to be changed, for that place in all of us that seeks Truth, to be reached and that my dad would be drawn to repentance and see how we all need a Savior. I dont know if the book will be the key, but I know that the Lord will continue to draw him in and one day,( "I stand at the door and knock, and if any man should open it, I will come in and dine with him and he with me." Revelations 3:20 ) he will be unable to ignore the knocking on his heart, and he will open it and let Him in.

If you read this, please pray for my dear friend, Tina and her dad.

Faithfully His,

Mika

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ALIVE AGAIN

I heard this song this morning as I read a praise report on a Caring bridge page I follow of a young woman with 2 small girls and husband who has been fighting a rare cancer and just found out she's in remission. As I listened to the song and read the post, I just became overwhelmed. The words are below, so you'll see my connection to the posting.
I've heard about a lot of death lately. A co worker of Matt's that just lost her twin sister to a (likely avoidable car accident) tragedy from not wearing a seat belt, to a fellow cyclist of my dad's group who lost their 6 month old little girl, Elise to a defective heart\lung problem, to another co worker of Matt's, (who'd just lost her husband to a massive heart attack a month or so ago) lost her dad also to a heart attack on Sunday. It's just been everywhere around, more so than usual, lately. Then there is October 15th, the day we take time at 7pm to remember all of our precious children that were taken as infants, to our Heavenly Father. We just went to the Walk To Remember, ('we' meaning I met my dear friend Amber Moore who most recently experienced her third baby going to heaven too soon), which is held annually at the Botanical Gardens here in Birminbham, and although it was a memorial of all our babies who were gone too soon, I didn't feel the devastation, the horrible, aching grief like I felt 2 years ago when I went. I did cry and miss Layah, but I felt peace, and the love for her was what overwhelmed inside me, not that painful wave of sorrow. There was an unexpected speaker, as the planned speaker- a man- may have gotten the times mixed up since it was an hour earlier than the previous years, but it ended up being better than what I think this gentleman could've prepared to say. The speaker was one of the ladies involved in the walk and she had lost a son, after 2 healthy children, 32 years ago to a stillborn birth. She spoke from the heart and it was just real. Just like my sweet Granny who lost my mom's baby brother in the early 40's due to the croup at just 2 years old, the loss is still there, the love is still their for that child, so her voice broke a little as she told her story. I imagine we'll always have that, a little bit of emptiness as we talk of our children awaiting us in heaven, no matter if it's a year gone by or 20 years gone by.
I have so much more to catch up on, but briefly, I've made it my mission to get a March of Dimes licenses plate for the state of Alabama. The Birmingham chapter has not been as motivated as I would have expected. I have a guy that works here at BCBS that got the Alabama Child Caring Foundation tags completed a couple of years ago for uninsured children. He prepared me for the lengthy process, the challenges, and the strict state requirements I'll be faced with. I must have a mediator through the MOD in order to speak to the committee that we'll purpose our cause too. I've been told that 'it's been taken to her boss' by the Birmingham chapter contact, but if I don't hear back from her within 30 days, I'm gonna contact a different chapter. I want this done by 2013!
Also, I pumped my last time on Tuesday (today is Thursday). It was a little sad, but I'm still nursing Luke at night before I put him to bed, and early in the morning when he begins to stir. That bond has been so dear to me since although I pumped for 15 months with Tobi, he was just to weak to nurse so I never got to enjoy that experience like I have with Luke. It's unlike any other bond that can be created between mother and child, besides all of the obvious medical benefits. One of the main reasons I had to stop pumping is because as I've gradually reduced the times of day I have been pumping since Luke turned 1, I noticed pretty suddenly, that my breasts implants dont feel the same, or look the same, to me as they did before I got pregnant with Luke. I went to see Dr. Johnson yesterday and he said it could be just pregnancy related effects on the body, or it could be the implants. After I contacted my friend (who I leave unnamed) who I also referred to him and she breast fed after her implants, she felt the same way, that since her milk dried up, her implants didnt feel or look the same either, so it may be a defected batch of imlants, which are still under warranty and I would not have to come out of pocket the full amount if I had to have them redone. The only bad thing is if we want to have another child, do I want to chance it of having to have them redone a 3rd time if it's pregnancy effects and not the implants? proably not. We'll see what happens when I go back after I'm completely dry.
Now that I have a bit more time throughout the day, I will try to be better about updating this blog with my thoughts and devotionals. I NEED it so much! I will post a devotion very soon.
Faithfully His,
Mika
Matt Maher's "Alive Again"

I woke up in darkness
Surrounded by silence
Oh where, oh where have I gone?
I woke to reality
Losing its grip on me
Oh where, where have I gone?
'Cause I can see the light
Before I see the sunrise
You called and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I'm breathing in and breathing out
I'm alive again
You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I'm breathing in and breathing out I'm alive again
Late have I loved
YouYou waited for me, I searched for
YouWhat took me so long?
I was looking outside
As if Love would ever want to hideI'm finding
I was wrong'
Cause I feel the wind
Before it hits my skin
'Cause I want
You,Yes I want You
I need You, and I'll do
Whatever I have to just to get through
'Cause I love You,
Yeah I love You

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

more pictures..i promise to post my thoughts soon!












I will give you a verse today that I read. It's a Psalm
Psalm 19:1-6 (New Living Translation)
Psalm 19
A psalm of David.
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.The skies display his craftsmanship. 2Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. 3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.[a] 4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. 5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. 6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.
My precious Luke is a proclamation of His glory. All His creation is perfect. Layah was perfect-and is perfect. He makes no mistakes. Period.

Faithfully,
Mika



Saturday, October 2, 2010

'Love Is Here' by Tenth Avenue North

This song is one on this blog, and for some reason, I just thought about it. When I looked for the video on 'YouTube'. I found this version set to The Passion movie. It's very powerful. I wept as it just reminded me the depth of His love for us, what he chose to endur for us. It's a bit graphic at times, but afterall, that's how it happened when Jesus was beaten and tortured a horrific death.

Luke's 1st BIRTHDAY 2ND SET

he is such a joy, I cant even tell you....

of course you knew there'd be something Star Wars...from his Aunt Bebe


this was his first touch of the cake, kinda squishy....

such a beautiful baby boy, (cousin Cooper beside him, Dad in the back)


yes, it's Darth Vader vs Luke Skywalker, on their appropriate symbols! Thanks to Publix




Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PICTURES FROM LUKE'S PARTY 1ST SET

TOBI & LUKE 09\25\10

THE AFTERMATH...NOT BAD.


MY PRECIOUS FRIEND RACHEL WHO HAS A LITTLE BOY, ISAAC, BURIED ABOUT 25 FEET FROM OUR SWEET LAYAH. I COULDNT HAVE MADE IF AFTER LAYAH DIED WITHOUT HER.


MY 2 BEST FRIENDS IN LIFE. I CANT BELIEVE I'VE BEEN BEST FRIENDS WITH JOY FOR OVER 20 YEARS, AND GINGER 15! I LOVE THESE GIRLS MORE THAN THEY WILL EVER KNOW.



LUKE'S SWEET OUTFIT MY BFF GINGER MADE ME FOR HIS BIRTHDAY



LUKE'S 1ST BIRTHDAY!!

I can hardly believe that it's already here-Luke's first birthday. I replayed in my head the weekend before his birth many times over the past few days, since Luke was born Monday morning at 2:58am. My heart is so full. Thinking back over the past 2 years, it, at times feels like that was a different me. I mean I'd never want to go through anything like losing Layah again, but at the same time, if the Lord told me," you'll never have Luke, if you dont experience this tragic loss first so that you may fulfill my purpose for you in ministering to others who have walked this path," of course I would do it for him. He is the best baby, and I dont just say that because he's mine. He has hardly every cried except when he really truely needs something. He's such a laid back, easy going child. I know that the Lord has greatness for him, just as he does for Tobi. Here was the devotional that I found today:


The same God that spoke the earth into existence is the God that loves me and my family and has a plan for us. Wow!

Faithfully His,

Mika

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Golden Birthday!!

Tobias Gabriel Shelfer, 09\08\02, 2 lbs 3 oz, 14" long. This picture was the first time we met.
Wow! I mean, I can hardly believe that Tobi is 8 years old today! Just remembering the emotions of that early Sunday morning, terror, pain, worry, panic, fear....all bad, however, once I got to see Tobi, all 2 lbs 3 oz of his tiny 14" long little, skinned-squirrel-looking body, I fell in love and knew I would do anything to move heaven and earth to save him. They are supposed to be the weakest, whimpy little white boys, but he was and is so strong, such a fighter. I'll never forget that night when he was a little over a week old and he took a turn for the worse and a female fellow called about 1am and said that he was not doing well and we may have to come down to the hospital, but they were gonna try to put him on a different type ventilator, an osscilator, to see if that would help. Of course I could not sleep after that. I kept the devotional from that night, and put it in Tobi's time capsule. It was on September 18th, 2002, and the verse was

Psalms 46 NIV " God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress . Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought to the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shield s with fire. BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I will be exalted amoung the nations, I will be exalted in the earth . The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. "

Here is the devotional from that day:

"In the fall of 2001, a thunderous storm blew accross Lake Michigan for 36 hours straight. Sustained winds of 60 miles per hour, with gusts much stronger, whipped up the highest waves in 15 years. One frothing roller after another, some up to 18 feet high crashed over the breakwaters and pounded the shore with great fury.
The writer of Psalm 46 must have experienced a sustained spiritual and emotional crisis like the incessant pounding of a giant storm, for he wrote of troubled waters and roaring seas. He also mentioned the quaking of the mountains.
That may describe how life iin this world feels to you right now. If so, continue on to verse 4, which tells of a quiet river that delights and refreshes the people of God. Its cool, peaceful waters flow continually as a never-ending source of joy and blessing.

This psalm describes God as our refuge and strength. We have no need to fear, even when the nations of the world are angry and pounding one another with their tools of war, for "the Lord of hosts is with us".
Let the Lord quiet the storms in your heart. For He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"


Give me a spirit of peace, dear Lord,

Midst the storms and the temests the roll,

That I may find rest and quiet within,

A calm buried deep in my soul.


God does not shield us from life's storms; he shelters us in life's storms


The peace and comfort that I was overcome with as I read that devotional cannot be explained in words. I am so thankful that through all of our tradgedies, the Lord has always made His presence known. He has continued to be faithful and looking back on Tobi's 108 days in the NICU, I know that He just wanted me to "be still" and let Him work things out in Tobi's body.

Thank You Father God, for your precious gift of life through Tobi. I do not deserve such a blessing. I am so humble that you thought of me to be his mom. I have always tried my best to never take him for granted. I pray you will help us to raise him to be in favor with You and favor with man. I pray that he will draw many to you with his story of miraculous life!


Faithfully His,


Mika


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Afters - Light Up The Sky


My dear brother tuned me into this song. The first time I heard it, I wept. There are so many dear friends of mine, Amber, Johanna, and girls I know of, Kim, and Christie, and Allison, who have lost a child\children. When I heard this, I just thought, "there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God"...Here are the lyrics:
When I'm feeling all alone and so far to go,
The signs are nowhere on this road guiding me home,
When the night is closing in,
It's falling on my skin,
Oh God will you come close
Light, light, light up the sky
Light up the sky to show me you are with me,
I, I, I cant deny
I cant deny,
Oh, I cant deny that you are right here with me.
You've opened my eyes, so I can see you all around me.
Light, light, light up the sky
Light up the sky to show me you are with me.
When the stars are hiding in the clouds
I don't feel them shining
When I cant see beyond my doubt
The silver lining
When I've almost reached the end
Like a flood you're rushing in
Love is rushing in
Light, light, light up the sky
Light up the sky to show me you are with me
I, I, I cant deny
Oh, I cant deny that you are right here with me
You've opened my eyes so I can see you all around me
Light, light, light up the sky
Light up the sky to show me you are with me
So I run straight to your arms
You're the bright and morning Sun,
To show Your love, there's nothing You wont do
repeat chorus

I was so touched, and moved by this song. My brother had told me of his young professor, 37, that took his life last week, and I thought how tragic, how so sad because He's right here, right there, all around us. He loves us more than we can fathom. Here's a verse that Pastor Chris mentioned a few weeks ago, Psalms 71:20 NIV "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth, you will again bring me up" in another version, it says, "You got me when I was an unformed youth, God, taught me everything I know. Now I'm telling the world of your wonders; I'll keep at it til I'm old and gray. God, don't walk off and leave me until I get out the news, of your strong right arm to this world, news of your power to the world yet to come, Your famous and righteous ways, Oh God!" There's so much pain and suffering here, but as I heard Sherrie Burgess say the other day, God continues to teach me that this world is going to let us down and disappoint us and show us how imperfect it is, and that's true.
Tomorrow the boys are having surgery. Luke is having his ear tubes put in, and Tobi is having the blood vessels in his nose cauterized and they'll check for polyps, hopefully to stop the excessive nose bleeds he's been having over the past year. I know it's minor surgery for both, but being put to sleep is still dangerous. Lord, you are in control and I trust You. They are in your hands, as they were first Yours. Tobi has only been back to school since last Thursday and so it would be a week tomorrow. I'll be getting Luke's birthday party ready, Tobi's after that, planning Kelly's bridal shower at work, while trying to get the house ready to paint and plan to have a yard sale...I'm gonna be busy! I'm still crazy about my Twilight Saga and listen to the books most days while I'm working away, as it seems to keep me at my desk working more efficiently! Well, I know it's been a while since I've posted an entry so my next will be of picks. I still cant get video going!

Faithfully His,


Mika

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pictures-no video yet

at Wal-Mart, he can just sleep anwhere!!

Tobi at his private swim lessons at the "Y"


What a sweet, sleeping baby!

At Mimi's ,pulling up on this antique rocking chair that was mine



Luke and Tobi, passed out in Mommy & Daddy's bed

Monday, July 26, 2010

finally another entry!!

So I got my new camera several weeks ago and now that my husband bought me a laptop for my birthday, I'm gonna try to get better about updating this blog. I'm gonna see if i can add a short bit of video I took of Luke about a week or so ago saying "Mama"....it's so sweet. We noticed in the video, even though it wasn't focused for whatever reason, that his left eye was turning in. I though all Tobi's vision problems were from him being so premature, but apparently, it's on my side of the family, since my nephew, Cason, has had serious vision issues as well, and he'll be 2 in December. So we have an apt with Dr. Metz next Wednesday.

I ended up taking Tobi to the ENT last Tuesday, July 27th, cause his horrible nose bleeds were getting worse. He'd had 4, heavy bleeds the Thurs before with Nana & Papa, and since Nana is a nurse, she agreed it'd be a good idea to get him checked out since our assessment that they were related to the BP problems he'd had since he was 2 were not longer present. I also had mentioned it to the school nurse when I registered him and she was glad that I made an apt because of how often Tobi had to go see her for nose bleeds. I went ahead and picked Luke up early so that I'd not have to go back by there after Tobi's apt. He'd been running a fever and that seemed to be his only symptom. I thought it might be teething, but I didn't think it would get as high as it was for that. As the nurse practitioner got all of Tobi's info, I asked her to look in Luke's ears since he had 102 fever and I'd given him some Motrin while we'd been waiting to see the doc. She said that I needed to get him registered as he had an ear infection. So, it was decided that Tobi would have his blood vessels cauterized with the silver nitrate that was used to remove the overgrowth of tissue around Tobi's g-tube when he had it. Dr. Hill said he'll also check for polyps in Tobi's sinuses. Although I think it's a bit soon, they're gonna go ahead and put tubes in Luke's ears. He's only had 3 infections but I guess they want to be proactive. They are gonna be done on the same day, August 19th at TCHA since both boys will have to have anesthesia precautions.


My dear friend Amber has been doing really well considering. I'm very proud of her. I cannot imagine, nor do I want to, going through what we've gone through, 3 times. She's going back to work Monday. I had to take a lot longer off after Layah died. The devotional's verses today on Our Daily Bread web site reminded me of something. It's John 20:19-29. What stuck out to me was the last verse, " Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not see and yet believed." I thought about how it's very easy to have faith when there's no turmoil, tragedy, or trial one is facing, but when any of these occur, that's when faith is refined and purified. Now don't get me wrong, I don't WANT to go through any problems, or EVER face a tragedy like we experienced with Layah, but I do know that my God used that to draw me closer so that He doesn't have to "yell", 'I'm always with you' because my face is resting on His chest, feeling His peace and assurance.

Faithfully His,

Mika


Friday, July 2, 2010

ECLIPSE

So, I hate to admit it, but I have become addicted to the Twilight Saga. I started listening to the books on CD about a month ago and I have not been able to get enough. Matt and I are going to see the newest book released, Eclipse, at the theater tonight. I haven't picked out a movie that I wanted to watch since i was probably single! I feel like a preteen all over again, the way I crushed on the New Kids on the Block, or Luke Perry from 90210. This story is just so romantic, mysterious, action packed, not to mention complete with HOT guys! Anyway, I have felt very anxious to get back to updating my blog so here goes:

I thought the title fitting since that's kinda what happened to my heart the Friday afternoon I started on this blog entry. My dear friend, Amber, who has walked the path of a grieving mother twice before me, now grieves a third time, her precious baby girl, Shiloh Hope, who came at 22 weeks, on the 2nd-she same numeric day of our precious Layah. We all were so sure this baby was going to make it. This pregnancy would be full term, after all, she wasn't even supposed to have been able to get pregnant again. That was a miracle in and of itself. My heart, happy, excited, energized about my date with my "wolf", was darkened by this news that I received through her friend Alison, on facebook. I was in shock. I was angry, devastated, and it wasn't even my child, but why? God, why? How could you not intervene? How could you not keep that baby safely in her protective womb at least for 4-6 more weeks? This fallen world, Earth, is so full of unfairities. The scale of good things for good people and bad things for bad people is so mixed up. My heart continues to ache for her, just trying to fathom the emptiness her arms feel, having this 3rd baby taken from her, along with all her hopes, dreams, and plans for her. I just don't understand.

Then, Saturday, I found out that the associate director at Bright Horizon, Kembra Gordon, drowned at Orange Beach on Friday the 2nd, trying to save a friend's 2 year old. Tradgedy. It's something you can never prepare for, never anticipate how you're going to respond or react to it. All of the teachers' faces at BH were blank, not sure what to say, or if they should even say anything, afraid they might start crying in front of the children. It was obvious how much Kembra meant to all of them. Even Luke's precious teacher, Mrs. Durlyn, who is a sweet, Christian, kindred spirit, had a very unfamiliar look about her. I've never seen her without a smile, always singing and talking to our babies, yet she was quiet. Kembra leaves behind 3 daugthers, the youngest about to be a senior at Spain Park. I heard that Kembra had planned to move to the beach after her youngest graduated. Plans made, that she would have no incling would be so far removed from her future. There's another song that I heard (I hate to say I haven't been listening to much music lately since I've been listening to the books of Twilight, no on Breaking Dawn), but it's called "No Matter What", by Kerri Roberts and it cut so close to home as I heard the words:


I’m running back to your promises one more time,
Lord that’s all I can hold on to,
I gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises you.
Before a heartache can ever touch my life,
it has to go through Your hands,
and even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why,
No matter what,
I’m gonna love You,
no matter what I’m gonna need You,
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not,
I’ll trust you, no matter what, no matter what.
When I’m stuck and there’s nothing else by myself,
I’m just sitting in silence, there’s no way I can make it without Your help,
I wont even try it.
I know You have Your reasons for everything,
so I will keep believing, whatever I might be feeling,
God you are my hope, and you will be my strength,
No matter what,
I’m gonna love You, no matter what I’m gonna need You,
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not,
I’ll trust you, no matter what, no matter what.
Anything I don’t have You can give it to me,
but it’s ok if You don’t,
I’m not here for those things,
the touch of Your love is enough on its own,
no matter what I still love You and I’m gonna need You
No matter what I’m gonna love you,
no matter what I’m gonna need you,
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not ,
I’ll trust You, no matter what, no matter what.
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain,
but if not, I’ll trust you, no matter what no matter what no matter no matter what
I pray that tragedy is held at bay for many, many years in my family's life. I pray that one day, when faced with a difficult situation, I can speak, sing, those words to Him -no matter what.
Faithfully His,
Mika

Friday, May 28, 2010

Well, it's been a bit crazy. This post might be a bit shorter that I'd like, but I have to hit the important events that have occurred lately. First, Johanna, my dear, sweet friend, who I've prayed and prayed for to be a mom, her husband Scott, told her the night before they were suppose to go to Baltimore, he was leaving AND HAD ALREADY FILED FOR DIVORCE!!! She's obviously devastated and has had a hard time lately. The devotional for today was very appropriate,
Psalm 31:1-16 (New International Version)
Psalm 31
In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth. ..... I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. .....But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love " I didn't ever get to meet him, but from what I can tell, they're relationship had it's problems. Johanna told me that they had always had a "volatile" relationship, is how she phrased it. Matt and I have our share of fights, but I'd never say it's "volatile". She's in a very dark place right now. From all she's told me about the days and weeks preceding this discovery, Scott had been a bit sneaky and scheming. My heart breaks for her. She feels that she's just wasted 5 years of her life with him. At first I felt that he'd left because of the baby thoughts consuming Johanna but it doesn't seem to be just that. The whole situation is just bad. He told her that if she didn't make it difficult, he'd take care of her financially! I told her, given her fertility difficulties, she better make him pay for egg harvesting since she knows she'll have to do IVF anyway, if she remarries later on, which I think she would. It sure would have been weird if I had run into him when I went for my follow up appointment with, Juan, the cardiologist in his group.


Speaking of that visit, let me tell you how it went. I just knew it was going to be a waste of time and money. That I'd get there and be told, "yes, you had a panic attack. There's nothing wrong with your heart, " BUT he came in and said I have a PFO Patent Foramen Ovale, which is a hole in the left and right atria of the heart. A patent foramen ovale (PFO) allows blood to bypass the lungs. A baby's lungs are not used when it grows in the womb, so the hole does not cause problems in an unborn infant. The opening is supposed to close soon after birth, but sometimes it does not. In about 1 out of 3 or 4 people, the opening never closes. So apparently it's pretty common. He thinks it might be related to my migraines. There is some controversy over this idea, but both have supporting arguments. He gave me some beta blockers to take if I experience any of those same symptoms I felt that day. It's a bit scary since there is no real treatment, or no prospect to close it, unless you have a STROKE caused by a blood clot to the BRAIN! So that's comforting.... well, Juan said to make sure to let Dr. Rothrock know about this when I go and see him-in OCTOBER for all my headaches and migraines. So, who would have thought? Of course it would be me!

Luke has had the croup and currently double ear infections. I had to take him today since we are heading to the beach on Memorial Day, Monday. I'm looking forward to being on the beach to celebrate Layah's birthday. It's gonna be a bit emotional and challenging, but being able to see some of God's beauty, knowing how beautiful she was and is, will be very comforting. Sunday, during the Q& A series we've been having, one of the questions someone asked was, why do women have miscarriages or lose babies, and I just lost it as Pastor Chris' father in law explained how he and his family had first hand experience with this twice, with Tammy's sister's babies. It just came upon me like a rushing wave, and caught me off guard. I just felt such a loss, such a part of me missing at that time. My longing and aching heart's memory came flooding back. As I've said before, grief apparently is a life long journey. I will be on it until I meet my precious baby girl. Having Luke and knowing his disposition and what a happy baby he is reminds me how much not only He loves me, but how much sweet Layah loves us, to give up her spot here with us, so that Luke could come. Wow!

Faithfully His,

Mika,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Celebrating New Beginnings

Tonight we are meeting up at Red Lobster with Derok's family to celebrate his new journey in his life to become a physician's assistant. Derok and Christi have sold the house and Christi and the kids will be moving into another house in Trussville. I still do not think Derok has been supported enough through this process of preparing to go to KY for school. There is a lot of stress the whole family has been experiencing as he aproaches this transition. Afterwards, I'm going up to UAB-the new women's and children's part of the hospital to visit Nita and David and their new baby boy, Eli David Terrell. I (and Rick and Bubba) were sure it was a girl, but he surprised many! It's funny cause she may not have known she was pregnant, or got pregnant shortly after, my baby shower last August. Boy what a difference in a year!



In talking to Johanna, having Dana round up the prayer warriors, and in talking with Amber, I think she's on a better page today. Amber can really relate more to Johanna's infertility than I can. Amber actually is celebrating her 36th birthday tomorrow! So, Johanna still has time. Amber said she'd fought infertility for 6 years before getting pregnant. Johanna, I dont think, has been trying quite that long. I'm keeping all the emails she and I shared so when she brings home-probably multiples,- she's gonna look back and realize that His plan has always been better than hers. Johanna said that Scott doesnt talk about his emotions but she said that she can tell when he's really depressed. I pray that they will comfort and encourage one another. When talking to Johanna about her trip to Maryland on the 21st to consult with the doctor she's chosen to have the IVF with, I asked her how she found him. She said that she ran across a blog and this woman had had similar problems and in talking with her by email, she felt very positive about this doctor. I assured Johanna that finding this doctor, was no coincidence. I know He has a plan for her, she just has to know she must trust Him.

Faithfully His,

Mika