Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blessed with Sons & OB update

So, today I have my weekly OB appointment, now with Joey Biggio, (I'll be calling him Joey in my blog). I'm excited just to see what growth Luke's had in 1 weeks. His been bouncing around in there, so I know he's still got lots of growing to do. I read a passage today about children, that many of you are familiar with, but this passage seemed to be particularly about sons.

Psalm 127:3-5 " Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate."

I thought about that word, heritage, and thought some of the definitions were interesting, (side note: of course, I don't know exactly what Hebrew word, or Greek word was used in this particular passage, but the word heritage is listed in the NIV) . One of the meanings was, "Property that is or can be inherited; an inheritance.", another said, "Something that is passed down from preceding generations". As I thought about it, I was reminded that our sons and daughters are not ours. They are the property of our Heavenly Father, "inherited" by us. Because of my upbringing, I know the vital importance of having a man of God, as an earthly father. He is to be the head, the leader, the protector, and the provider of our home. So, reading the part about arrows in the hand of a warrior, I reflected on the fact that as parents, we are suppose to direct our sons into the favor of God and man. We must "aim" them at the example of our Savior, and eventually, let it go. If we have lined up the "arrow" with the target, focus, and have practiced, the arrow is most likely to hit the "mark", to me ,the mark of being a man that has been taught the ways of our God, Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it".

I also went and looked up, the phrase, "...whose quiver is full", and it is a term regarding when bow hunting, the arrows are carried in a tubular item called a "quiver". I had always thought that a "quiver" meant 5, but as I read about this phrase, a "quiver full" would be as many arrows as can fit in that particular quiver. I don't know why this interests me, but I guess in some ways, I felt that I may never have a "quiver full" if 5 was the magic number. (I should have know, God wouldn't have specified a number, but that was in my crazy brain). So, I know, the Lord will bless and provide, biologically, or through adoption, as many as He determines, will give us a full "quiver".

So, at my appointment today, it was planned for me to have the standard glucose testing next week. Now, if I came back as having gestational diabetes, or any kind of issues metabolizing glucose, we'd have some serious problems. I told Joey, that and said, "if that happened, you'd have to write another case study to publish", kidding of course. For those of you who haven't read prior blog posts, I have a metabolic myopathy called CPT2, (yes you can google it), which is an autosomal recessive gene-every child my parents had together would have it. My brother and I both have it. I am in the minority because this deficiency is 80% male. We are to have 70% carbohydrate diets, and low fat, (although that part I don't always stick too). Our bodies have a more difficult time breaking down fats and proteins as stored energy, and at times, due to certain triggers like fasting, extreme temperatures, viruses, vomiting\dehydration, over exercising or over activity, lack of sleep, or even just stress, can cause our bodies to use the muscle tissue as fuel instead of fats and proteins that are stored in the body. This is extremely painful, when a "crisis" (what we call the episodes of the muscle breakdown, the medical term is rhabdomyolysis) happens, as your body is literally eating its own muscles for fuel. The urine can turn black, like tea or worse, coffee, which means the kidneys are over worked and can no longer filter the muscle tissue-which causes the discoloration. This can lead to kidney failure, temporary or permanent. My brother had temporary kidney failure as a teenager, fortunately, I have been able to avoid that, even having some severe crisis with hospitalization. So, anyway, my body, would probably not survive long without sugar.

During my apt I asked Joey about how long we will continue to measure my cervical length by ultrasound. He said that this apt, at 24.6 would most likely be it. The reason being, because at this point, if I started having any shortening of it, or other complications, I would just be put on bed rest. So we checked and the cervix was measuring 3.92 cm, (normal is b\t 3.5-4). Luke gave us some good shots of his feet, and I measured 25.5, so this indicates Luke is already a big baby! I asked Joey about the goal, in weeks, for us to get to. Obviously we want to get as far as we can. He was under the impression that my c-section with Tobi was the normal lower uterine (horizontal incision in the uterus) kind, based on what he was seeing in my chart. However, Dr. Ramsey and I had always thought that I had a classical section-which are more dangerous because of more blood loss, and the incision is made vertical, in the upper part of the uterus. The reason for this type of section is based on Tobi being breech at 26 weeks and in the birth canal. Joey said that I could technically go to 39 weeks with Luke if I had the lower uterine section. Well, you know me, I got home and pulled some medical records from Layah's birth, and the case study I mentioned was published, and both indicated I had a classical section. Therefore, I would NOT be able to go past 36 weeks because of the risk of uterine rupture if I was to go in to full-blown, active labor. So, I ordered the operative report myself, for that day, 090802, when Tobi was born, to make sure. I don't want any chances on how far I can go. If I am right, and I will have another classical section at 36 weeks, I will have an amniocentisis to make sure Luke's lungs are ready for the outside world. Obviously I would love to go to 40 weeks, but with my body, that is not possible. So, all is well. Please continue to pray for me through this journey of faith.

Faithfully His,


Friday, June 19, 2009

OB update

I went to my last appointment with my precious, dear Dr. Ramsey, that I've seen almost 8 years. I was afraid I would cry the whole appointment, but I did not. I had decided to bring him an 8x10 picture frame of our family for him to change out each year, when I send him a new one. I also gave his 2 small children, water toys, since they will have a pool at Daddy's new house. I gave him a card-which he stopped reading as big tears filled his eyes. I've said before, but this man has been so much a part of our family. He always has made me feel as though I was his only patient. I have never felt rushed, or an inconvenience to him. He's always been available for me, even giving me his cell phone. How many doctors will give a patient his/her personal cell phone, and actually mean for them to use it, if they need something? We will definitely stay in touch. He gave me all his contact info in San Antonio, TX and we plan to communicate by email, regularly. The doctor that I will see now, Joey Biggio, is equally skilled. He has a big heart, and has a wonderful bed-side manner. I will never forget being back in the hospital after Tobi was born, as I had an abscess develop in my uterus, from the emergency c-section. The abscess was much more painful than even the recovery from the c-section. I had a high fever, and just felt rotten. He would come in my room, almost daily, even if he did not have rounds, and would say, "how ya feelin'? Can I get you a coke or candy bar? How's Tobi doin'?" and he genuinely meant every word. Several of my close friends have been seen by him in the MFM clinic at UAB and they too agree with what a wonderful man he is. So, Dr. Ramsey's "place" will never be taken, Dr. Biggio is also uniquely amazing.

So, since Dr. Ramsey was no longer an official UAB employee, he couldn't really "see me" as a patient, signing off on orders, etc. So, as we said our goodbyes and hugged, he told me that Joey would also see me today. So, we went down to the U\S room, and in he came, always smiling and extremely friendly. I could tell of his friendship with Pat, when I asked Joey about him leaving. Joey took over the U/S from the tech after a few minutes. He was measuring the cervix length, checking the fluid level, and little Luke's growth. Everything looked beautiful. Check out the picture of Luke, where he had his leg, fully extended above his head. He's in the pike position and it looks as though he's touching his toes! He's either gonna be a punt kicker, a gymnast, a diver, involved in martial arts, or who knows, but something that involves a lot of flexibility-like his daddy and mommy! Dr. Biggio said that Luke is in the top 75% of his weight "class" at this point, weighing a whopping 1 lb and 9 0z! At this growth rate, it's a good think I'm scheduled for a section, as he may come out 8 lbs! I was thrilled everything went so well, of course we were not surprised, as we serve a faithful God.

So keep praying- they are working. I feel at peace. I have not had anymore anxiety attacks, although today I did have a bit of a spell, where I was about to pass out. I was at the Amen Corner, so the sweet man, went and got me a bottled water, while I sat on a couch they have in there, and fanned myself. I had that happen with Tobi too. I had eaten and had some coke earlier, so I think it was just from the heat- 105 heat index. I felt better and came back to work. No problems since. Just continue to pray for Luke's safety in my womb. Pray that I will continue to do so well and have no complications, and that I will not have to spend anytime on bed rest.

Matt's 30th birthday coincides with Father's Day this year, (what are the chances of that?!). I wasn't gonna throw a party, but I did get a cake ordered from Edgar's Bakery, they are custom making with the "Superman" symbol on it. He watches Batman and Superman every day, seriously! I'd much rather it be that than the other possibilities. So, I'm gonna get some action figures (Tobi will inherit afterwards) to put on the cake as well. I wanted it to say, "You're old but you are still a super dad and super husband" but there wouldn't be room, since we had to get Happy 30th birthday and Father's Day Matt! all on there. I have ordered a recliner that should come in about 2 weeks. He knows about it, an it's kinda for both of us so when Luke gets here, we can crash in the chair too. I cant believe we met and started dating at 19, and we're both about to turn 30!!

I will be going to see Joey on Wednesday, the 24th, so I' will update you again soon. If anything grand happens on Matt's birthday, Sunday, I'll post again.

Faithfully His,


Monday, June 15, 2009

Life's Journey HOME

This past weekend was very challenging. The gestation at which Layah was born, 23.3 was on Saturday, so getting past that day was another weight off my shoulders. Now we have to get past 26.5 -when Tobi came- which will be the first week of July. My mom and I went to my first baby shower since Layah passed away, and it was for a baby girl. It was for my dear friend, Rachel, who lost her son, Isaac, the December before Layah. She's the one whose husband, Thomas, and my mother-in-law met at the cemetery, (our children are buried about 20 feet apart). Rachel is due to have, Annabella Karen, July 13. Going to the shower, I was anxious, nervous, excited, filled with many emotions. My biggest fear was that someone would ask, "how do you and Rachel know each other". I couldn't say, "we met through the cemetery where our babies are buried". Thank my sweet, Heavenly Father, no one asked. It was funny, I actually won the only shower game we did, "baby lotto". There were about 20 folks there, so me and one other lady got a Starbucks gift card! How ironic? So, Rachel is 34 weeks, one month shy of the 38 weeks she was when she gave birth to Isaac, who went to heaven after only 18 minutes of his precious life. During the shower, as I looked at her beautiful pregnant belly, I thought,she was probably even bigger, physically, when she had Isaac. She had to endure from 16-38 weeks, knowing they'd probably not be bringing him home. They couldn't decorate the nursery, have a shower, or just enjoy getting bigger and bigger each week, with life in her. It thrilled me to see her so happy, as she opened her gifts, and glowed with the excitement of a mother anticipating the arrival of her daughter, very soon. We stayed for the whole thing, and as we left, she hugged me and whispered, "I know what a big deal this was for you to come". I couldn't say it back, but I wanted to say the same for her. This was the joy and celebration she never got to experience with Isaac in her belly. I am so looking forward to having a shower-this time, before my son gets here!

The title of the devotional I read today was Eternal Spring . The author reflected on youth and growing older, physicall and spiritually. He reminded us that in our youth, we have physical strength and beauty. We are happily occupied with our routines & relationships. We may not long for our true, eternal home until we realize our old age. But as time passes on, as we lose our physical strength and beauty and lose loved ones to sickness and old age, the things that once we lived for, are still important of course, but the longing and urning for our heavenly home becomes closer to our heart's desires. We must live each day, grateful for the blessing God has given us, but also live knowing that this is our temporary home. We are aliens to this world and will one day go home. It reminded me of that song, by Jason Ingram, I previously entered on my post. The song was how her (the little girl is was written for) life, although too short to us impacted us and others. The chorus is

"That your days here changed everything. You're missed here and will always be. But you left here, the greatest gift of all, Cause our hearts ache for home."

Another thing I read reminded me that even in these troubling economic times, when the things that once seemed certain are no longer, those of us that are still blessed to be employed should remember how grateful to be.
Colossians 3:15, 22 "...Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. AND BE THANKFUL. .....And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him....22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever, you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, NOT FOR MEN, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving...."
We have to be productive, efficient, accurate, going above and beyond, early rather than late, etc..... all the characteristics of an employee that a company benefits tremendously in having. BUT, this verse reminds us that besides doing all our duties and obligations we are required to meet expectations, we are to do EVERYTHING-speaking of work right now- as a servant to the Lord, knowing He can see, even when our boss or co workers may not.

Lord, remind me of the constant goal- your words, "Well done my good and faithful servant". Continue to equip me in this life for all that I will face. Remind me, with your presence, that I will not face it alone. Forgive me when I disappoint you, and help me to use those mistakes to grow closer to You Help me glorify Your Name in every word and deed. Help me to shine your light in all I do, and every area of my life, home, and work. Thank you for being our anchor through everything, big and small. Thank you for Your Son becoming a servant, so that we might be made equal in the eyes of the Father, washed white as snow. Give my precious daughter my love.

Faithfully His,


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tomorrow's marker

As I read God's word this evening, I read a couple of things I wanted to share. One of the verses in today's devotional was 2 Timothy 2:1, 3 "You then my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus....Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ." The devotional reminded me that in heaven, we will no longer experience such difficulties that we have to "endure" here on earth, but there we'll enjoy peace with the Lord. The prayer said,

"Lord, the trials we face at times seem too much to bear. We're grateful, though, for the reminders in Your Word that You will stay by our side and help us endure till You call us home. Amen."

Boy that was for me. I have a dear friend, who has experienced this lost of losing children, I've met in the past few months, and we share a special date in tomorrow, June 11th. Her precious daughter Camryn Grace was born on June 11th, 2008 and passed away the same day. She was born at 22 weeks, also at UAB. We were so close and didnt know it. Tomorrow is the anniversary of when we had Layah's funeral. It's also the anniversary of my mom's little brother, Ronnie, who died in the 40's from the croup. When I read that I was reminded that this is all temporary, especially the heartache and troubles. When my friend and I talked today about tomorrow being the anniversary of her precious, tiny daughter also going to be with the Lord, I told her about my feelings at Layah's grave. I do feel the need to go from time to time, but as I told her, I never feel close to Layah there. As I've expressed before, I feel the closest to her and the Lord, when I'm experiencing praise and worship. She said it's always hard for her to leave her daughter's grave, without her. I know this and she knows this, but mentally, it's hard for our human brains to wrap around the fact that we will be with them again. We would never want to bring them back to us from where they've gone. I read a Psalms that I know was meant for her, and I hope she gets it while she's taking time to remember sweet Camryn Grace. Psalms 90:14 "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Being able to sing for joy and be glad ALL our days, seems impossible. Maybe that's why the Psalmist prayed for it.

I also thought it so God to speak to me the Psalms 139 on the anniversary day that Layah went to be with the Lord, Monday, June 8th. It was as if He was reminding me that there are no accidental children, no mistakes with lives created. Layah's days, and all my dear other friends who have lost her children, were all specifically numbered. His "WORKS are wonderful". The title of the devotional was A Life Remembered, and what's even MORE remarkable, the other verse noted, is 2 Corninthians 1:4 "That we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble , with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God". The verse I read and knew God was sharing with me that He would use this tragedy in our lives to comfort others and minister to those experiencing loss.

The writer described a family who's teenage daughter said "Daddy help me" as her last words, 2 days after she said she didn't feel well. A strep infection took hostage her body on a Thursday, and by Saturday she was gone. The writer was a speaker at the family's church and he too had experienced losing his own teenager daughter a few years before. He told the church that as believers, we have to recognize the sovereignty of God as the Psalms says, every life is exactly the length as God intends. He also told the people present at the service, to NEVER forget the family. Whether it's 2 months or 5 years later, the family will never "get over" losing their daughter, and they will never stop needing Christians who care to remember.
I cry as I type this because I know exactly how that feels. Last week was a bit torturous, a bit peaceful; a bit sad, a bit happy; a bit mourning for a life gone, a bit hoping for new life. I know many were praying for us, but I felt that many had forgotten. Many did not remember our pain, as life "goes on". For those that did and will continue to remember, it means so much to us families who've experienced the loss of a child, when others reach out and remember with us. I want to thank those of you who were praying for us and for those of you who remembered Layah's short life. I'll never forget a dear card I got from a cousin that said she was so grateful and felt so privileged to have gotten to meet Layah. I read many cards after she died, but I was numb, in a bad dream, in a fog and didn't remember a single card I'd gotten. So reading them this anniversary, was reading them for the first time. I'll close with this. The poem in this devotional said,

"When we sustain a heartbreaking loss,
When grief overwhelms our soul,
The Savior who gave us the cross
Reminds us that He's in control"- D. De Haan

That sums it up.

Faithfully His,


Monday, June 8, 2009

Layah's birthday in heaven

I anticipated what I would experience today, in many ways it was better than how I had actually dreaded it. I know I had so many people praying for us, me and Luke in particular. I told some friends last night about a "scare", or rather a "paranoia episode". So, Saturday night, I was really feeling sad because Layah died on Sunday morning, but was fading most of that Saturday. She passed away early Sunday morning, on the 8th. This week has been VERY challenging. Yesterday, after church, we went to AL Adventure. I laid on the lounge chairs, and would get up from time to time to get myself wet to cool off, or go down the lazy river with Tobi. I had drank 2 bottles of water, and only went to the bathroom once since I didn't want to be walking that much. So, after I had gotten in the water to cool off and sat back down, i started having this feeling like I was leaking. I really felt like my water was leaking. I was terrified, and didn't want to upset Matt, but wanted to leave, immediately. Of course Matt was very upset. I ended up trying to calm him, and just wanted to get to the van. I went to pee before we left the park and went a lot, tee teeing that is. (Sorry this is TMI,but it is my story) I was praying the whole time, and started having that racing heart feeling, I had felt when I had the panic attacks. I slowed my breathing. I was so thankful I'd not had any spotting or cramping or anything, just that tee tee feeling without me thinking I was going. So we got to the van, I changed out of my swimsuit and put some underwear on, and we just sat in the van for a few minutes. I was fine. I think that I really was tee teeing and just didn't realize it because I'd held it for longer than I usually do, and my bathing suit was already wet. Matt was more angry that upset, just in the fact he didn't have any control over the situation, and in many ways, I don't have control over my own body. On our way into the park, Matt had made the remark that he knew how badly I wanted to have a baby girl, and I told him that right now all I'm focused on is getting Luke here safely, but that I always saw myself having 2 boys and a girl, and had always wanted them to be the older big brothers to their sister, but when Layah came, I just figured she'd have 1 older big brother. Anyway, once that scare happened, Matt was saying, "after this, no more kids"....then "I'm gonna get a vasectomy"....I know he was just scared and I doubt very seriously he wants this.
As believers, and I think Matt is still a new believer, this is really a testing time, and much harder than in my pregnancy with Layah, emotionally and mentally. We hadn't lost a baby before her, so there were fears, because of what had happened with Tobi, but we really didn't think it would happen again, having done all the things to reduce a premature birth that's available. We didn't have that true fear of losing a child. This time, getting to those markers, 23 weeks (Thursday) and then 26 weeks, is one of the biggest tests of faith I think I've every experienced. During praise and worship Sunday, I think that God showed me something comforting, (Matt thinks it's what my mind hopes for, but with the few visions I've had before, I believe this one as well). I saw Layah, as the big sister, with her dark hair, as I'd seen here before. She was sitting and playing with Luke. He was a baby in heaven, but could understand what she was saying. She was telling him that he would be coming to live with us, and would not be with her any longer in heaven and that she would not be coming with him. She told him he would live with us and be in our family, but that one day, many years from now, they'd be together again in heaven. She'd watch over him, and told him to watch over his sister that would one day come. Maybe it was "wishful thinking" but since I feel the closest to heaven, Layah, and our heavenly Father, when I'm in His presence during praise and worship, I feel He uses that time to speak to my heart and show me things that I don't receive from Him in other settings.
So today, I asked friends to pray that I would physically, not fall apart. I did not want the stress of my weeping or sobbing, to hurt Luke in any way. I wanted to be able to mourn her, and miss her, but to not fall apart the way I did smelling her things, the other morning. Tobi and I went to the cemetery. My mom was actually on her way out, when she saw us, and turned around to go back with me. I had been crying. I had tried to tell myself, that I didn't have to cry. I didn't need to cry, but that was not so. I did need to cry. My mom brought some tiny pink carnations. We hugged and she reminded me that we'd see her again. I told her I was meeting my "sister" Ginger at the funeral home, (the cemetery is so big, Ginger would not have a clue where Layah's marker is, even though she's been there before). Ginger arrived a little later. I took her back to the grave and we stayed just a few minutes. I had been there long enough, as I dont feel close to Layah there, since I know she is not there. My plan was to let Tobi release the balloon we'd left their on her birthday, but it was deflated, so he was a little disappointed. I assured him we'd be back and I'd let him take a balloon. We had a nice lunch with Ginger and her daughter Elyse, and ran a few errands. On our way home, Tobi and I were talking about what a special day it was, and I told him that we had celebrated Layah's first birthday in heaven. Tobi said the most precious thing. He said, "Mama, do you think Jesus made her a cake?" I just about cried. I told him maybe so. It was so innocent, so pure. Then this evening, mom took Tobi to her church's VBS. I was a bit nervous, because we don't go to that church, it's baptist, (not that that is bad or anything, but it is different than our church and what Tobi's used to), and it was a night. So my mom brought him home and as he came in the bedroom, I asked him if he had fun and he was grinning from ear to ear. He told me that he'd made a bracelet, and then said, "I had a snack. I had pretzels, and I had gummy bears, but I gave the red ones away!" I grabbed him and just tickled him. It was great. The thing is, Tobi has a weird chemical reaction to red dye in foods and beverages with that artificial coloring in it. Matt was apparently the same way, but he literally acts "crazy". He even notices he acts different when he's had something red. So that's what he meant. We try to always keep him away from the red products. So, tomorrow I go back to work. I will miss being off with Tobi, but it will be good to get back to a routine at work, since I was off for 8 weeks this time last year. I want to be back at work.
Please continue to lift me and my family up in your prayers, as we will still struggle with our human emotions and thoughts until we have a sweet little healthy baby boy, Luke Jeremiah Shelfer, in our arms, safely at home.

Faithfully His,


Friday, June 5, 2009

Better Day

Yesterday I went to my OB for my weekly appointment. ( I will tell you about that visit in a minute).I'm going every week probably until 30 weeks. Wednesday night, at church, during my favorite time-praise and worship- I had, what I feel was, a panic attack. I've only had 1 or 2 in my life. I had done a lot more than usual Wednesday, and just with all the emotions of this week, I think it was just my body and hormones reacting. I did not stand and dance and jump during worship, like I normally love to do. Matt and I sat, and about halfway through the 45 minute worship service, I started to feel my heart race, and my chest feel tight, my abdomen feel tight. I felt short of breath, and like I wanted to run somewhere. I started to cry a bit, but since this is typical of me during praise and worship, Matt didn't get concerned, which was good cause I didn't want to scare him. I honestly thought if it continued, I'd need to go to the maternity triage-maternity ER. I was praying and trying to slow my breathing, and eventually was able to calmly tell Matt, I thought we needed to leave, as I was very tired. He was surprised, because we don't normally get to go to church on Wednesday night, since it's out at the Grantsmill campus, and we'd be out kinda late. I hated to leave because Tobi was having so much fun with his group, and he didn't get to play in the inside play tunnel, which is like what they have at Chick-fil-a and Mcdonald's. I promised him we'd come back again so he could. So, anyway, by the time I got to the van by myself, (Matt had come from work, so Tobi rode home with him), I felt better. I began to just tell Satan aloud that he was not going to continue to put fear worry and anxiety in me, and began just thanking the Lord for all that He's done and continues to do with my pregnancy with Luke. I got home, took a bath, and got in the bed. Thursday morning, I started feeling "that feeling" again, and this time was a bit nauseated. I did a lot of the slow breathing and the heart rasing passed, but the nausea didnt until about 1pm, about an hour before my OB apt. I felt fine then. Dr. Ramsey had his little kids with him at my appointment, which he'd told me about before. His son is Tobi's age, and his daughter is 4. I told him of these events and began to cry, just overwhelmed from this week. He told me that if these spells continued, he'd want me on an anxiety medication, at night. I told him I would wait to get a script, after seeing how the next week went. I know I say this often, but I really love this man. He's so much a part of our family, and I know some of the anxiety was the fact he's moving to TX, and I really dont want to be without him, but I know I'll be in good hands with Dr. Biggio, who wrote the case study on my pregnancy with Tobi, with Dr. Ramsey. I thought this was my last appointment with him, but was thrilled to know I have 2 more weeks to see him. Yesterday, he asked his son if he wanted to to do the Doppler, and so he did, and we heard Luke's heart, just a going- music to all expectant moms' ears. Then he said he was going to show them the baby on an U\S, which I was surprised, since I didn't expect to be having another so soon. So he did it, and everything looked great, but he didn't get to confirm Luke's sex because his legs were crossed, but it was obvious with the last U\S he's all boy. Then he said he wanted to look at my cervix on the U\S, and so he was able to, and was even able to measure the cervix's length. It was the same length as it has been, 3cm long. That gave me more peace as well. I asked him about bed rest and if he anticipated that. He said not unless I began to spot, ( a sign that the stitches were being pulled and vessels in this very vascular area, were being ruptured), cramping or contractions. I told him that I worried that even going to the grocery store might be too much walking, and he assured me that it was not. He just didn't want me going walking around the mall, something like that. He said that since I work at a desk, that he felt I could keep working as long as nothing changes. He said that the walking I do, is necessary to avoid blood clots, which I hadn't thought about. So, that's how the appointment went, uneventful and reassuring.

Today I started out with a migraine, but feel better now after taking some medicine. Mom, Tobi and I went and ate at Red Lobster. When I read today's devotional, titled Adopted, I was encouraged even more. I read Colossians 3:1-3 "Since , then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your MINDS on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ , who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." So I know that by being adopted as a child of God, receiving the blessings, power, and favor through Christ, not only do I have the ability to be healed by Christ's victory over the grave, but I also have the authority over fear, worry, depression, etc. through the Holy Spirit.
The other night, I read over all the cards I kept that friends and family had sent to me after Layah died. I don't think I really read them, when I read them before. They were all so touching, so loving. It really felt great to know so many reached out to me, during our loss, even if they couldnt relate and didnt know the "right" words. I feel, at times, that many may never think about Layah, that she's forgotten to many, but today I was reminded, by one of my best friends that was there when Layah died, that she is not forgotten. That although no one can truly feel what I feel, many still do remember and think of her. Over these past few days, I've really thought about the relationships that I've gained since going through Layah's life and death, and these friendships are so precious to me. I look forward to these relationships being life long bonds.
As I say often, please continue to pray for Luke's safety, health, and perfect development, and for my mind and body to be complete, and a safe home for Luke.
I also ask that you pray that I will be able to work until 36 weeks, when we expect Luke to be be taken. I dont want any financial stress. I love you all, and want those of you moms that have lot little ones to know that I'm thinking and praying for you too. I love you all.

Faithfully His,


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We Celebrate Her Life

Obviously it was a bit of an emotional day yesterday, and I was not able to get myself together to post. Today's a little easier, but my heart is still heavy. I lost it a bit yesterday morning as I went through some of her things, her tiny pink handmade hat, her heart beenie bags, (the nurses use to give them boundaries for security) her brush, her tiny blood pressure cuff, and the most difficult was the smell of the baby lotion on some of the stuff, still mixed with her smell. I knew the night she died, that I'd never be able to smell that smell the same ever again. As I went through my remembrance box, I found my pregnancy pictures, my ultrasound pictures, both of our hospital bands, the parking tickets, the DVD of our first action shots of her when we found out we were having a girl. One thing that I also found was the page from the devotional I read May 19th 2008 when I started having problems and had to go to the UAB triage unit in the middle of the night. It was Psalms 71:1-16 "In You, O Lord, I put my trust.....Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually......For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You....15My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day....I will go in the strength of the Lord..." I did not know what was to come, but I feel in some ways, He was trying to prepare my spirit for this event, Layah coming out of my womb and He not intervening-for His reasons- to stop this. That's hard to understand, but I have accepted it. Through the months I've grieved for Layah, I hold dear a song that Jason Ingram, a well-known Christian artist wrote for a family in TN, the mom's nameis Boothe and has a blog. They lost their little girl, Copeland, to Trisomy-16, "coincidentally" a year before the date that Layah was due, September 26th 2007. If you can ever check it out on YouTube, do so. It's a very special video that was made for her funeral. For all the moms who have lost a child, the words are so cleansing, so soothing. I cry every time I hear it or read the words I saved. Here are the words:

“Your Days Here” By Jason Ingram

What is it like to be holding the same arms that hold the universe?
What is like to sleep on the chest of the King over Heaven and Earth?
When you open your eyes and look on the face of the Giver of life, the Author of Grace, did you know...
That your days here changed everything
You're missed here and will always be
But you left here, the greatest gift of all,
Cause our hearts ache for home.
What is I t like to breathe out without having to fight?
What is it like to be robed in perfection, no reason to cry?
When you feel on your face, your Father's kiss, His welcome embrace,
We prayed for this, you should know...
That your days here changed everything
You're missed here and will always be
But you left here, the greatest gift of all,
Cause our hearts ache for home.
So twinkle, twinkle little star, we will keep you in our hearts,
Twinkle, twinkle little star, we will meet you where you are, cause...
Your days here changed everything
You're missed here and will always be
But you left here, the greatest gift of all,
Cause our hearts ache for home.

We have 2 beautiful calla lily plants in our back yard that I planted when we first moved here 4 years ago, that Matt had given me. They have always been white, but last year, right after Layah was born, (literally the next day), they were pink. This year, they have bloomed again, pink. I think this was a sweet sentiment of our loving Father. So this year, I cut a perfect bloom and took it to her grave. My mom brought some pink roses. My dear mother in law, brought cupcakes and a "Happy First Birthday" balloon, which I've decided to have Tobi let go on Monday, the day Layah went to be with the Lord, as we will be celebrating her first birthday with the King. We let Tobi start the song, and we sang "Happy Birthday" to Layah. Then Tobi blew out the candle. I actually didn't get too upset there at the cemetery. The rest of the day, we did boring stuff, went to Lowe's and got some lunch and then came home to rest. Last night as I just started looking at her pictures, the 2 albums we have of her short life and those taken the early morning hours of Sunday, June 8th, I was overwhelmed. It was all back, the pain ,the longing to hold her and share our lives with her, the devastation of the all came flooding back into my heart. I wept and then stopped a few minutes later. That was it. I took some benadryl to be able to sleep, and for the most part, I did fairly well. Before I drifted off, I thanked the Lord for her birthday and the days we were blessed with her, and thanked Him for the promise of life with baby Luke.

I appreciate so many of you that are dear to my heart, letting me know that you were thinking of me and praying for me this week. That means SO much. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family and friends that are as close as family. Please continue to hold us up this week as we remember our precious, tiny angel.

Faithfully His,


Monday, June 1, 2009

Emotions, emotions, and more emotions...

Today is Monday...the day of the week that Layah came. I decided to work in order to prepare to be off tomorrow until June 9th. I went ahead and went to the dentist on my lunch break, since the original apt was scheduled for tomorrow, and that wasn't gonna happen. I got very upset when I left for the dentist, just remembering the time before last, when I was pregnant with Layah and having problems, and mentioned it to my hygentist who was so sweet. I was able to "stop it" once I got out and into the office for my cleaning today. I was fine even when my sweet dentist, Dr. Deep, asked me how I was feeling, since he'd been told I was pregnant again, and he knew from the last visit that Layah had passed away. It's weird how many times, I can just stop the tears, and move pain to the back of my heart now, at times when I need to. I remember, so vividly, just not being able to stop, not being able to control it. I've thought about her all day today. As I got home from work, the feelings just started pouring out. I didn't imagine that just the anniversary of everything would be so painful, so heartbreaking, so overwhelming. I have some things planned special for her birthday tomorrow. We are going to the cemetery and we have a garden flag we change out for the seasons and holidays. I know it was just a "God thing", but I found one several months after Layah passed, that was a "Happy Birthday" flag. I thought it was kinda strange since I'd never seen one, and it was by itself. We are gonna let Tobi let go of a "Happy !st Birthday" balloon and blow out a birthday candle, and I want him to know that we are celebrating that she is getting to spend her first birthday in heaven, in perfection and with the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. I have lit a white candle a dear friend gave me for Christmas, that I'd decided to use just for this occasion. To describe it as I see it tonight, white, pure, representing life, perfection, holy, and free from the effects of this fallen world, shining when all around is dark-what Christ was and is to us, and now Layah is the same. I've still been worried about Luke, and I know that worry and fear are not of God, so please pray that He will cover me with that peace I felt when Layah was dying. That Peace that passes all understanding. I don't want to be too upset, carrying my precious son.
The devotional today had a verse that I know God wants me to remember, Mark 9:23, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. " I think that he said the first part for a reason, not if you will believe or if you do believe, but if you CAN. It reminds me of times when Tobi says, "Mama can I ...." and I say, "Tobi say, 'Mama, may I....", because when he says can, we know he has the ability, but the may part is if it's allowed. So I feel like He's telling' me that I do have the ability to believe, however difficult to tap into at times it may be. The other part of the devotion that stuck out at me was a little poem:

Faith looks across the storm-it doesn't doubt
Or stop to look at clouds and things without.
Faith does not question why when all His ways
Are hard to understand, but trusts and prays-Anon.

So today, as I prepare for whatever emotions and feelings come, please pray for my heart to feel full, thankful, full of life and assured that He will not take another child from us. Please continue to pray for health, safety and a long life for Luke. Pray that my womb will keep him in.

My dearest friends and family that were with us when we lost our precious Layah, and those dark days for me that followed, thank you for being there, and lifting us up in prayer-it's the only way we could have made it.

Faithfully His,