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!