Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Ava!

Ava is 5

Hello Ava fans! I first want to say, “Thank You” to all our devoted followers. The blog has hit over 100,000 views since October 2008. It is with your love and support I continue to write and share Ava’s story. I also wanted to mention her carepage (this was my first Ava blog) has over 3000 visitors. (This means 3000 people have read Ava’s carepage.) She has almost 6300 messages of love, encouragement and strength coming straight from you all. I’m floored by your love and support. So I say again, “THANK YOU”. I hope Ava inspires you. I’d be honored if you’d leave a brief message of how you found out about Ava and when you started following her blog or carepage. I’ve been sharing our CDH story, Ava’s entire life. I never knew that keeping a journal would turn out to be so big for us.

If you’d like to read Ava’s entire story you can find it here on the blog. Just scroll to the top and under the title you can click on “Ava’s Story”. If you are a carepage follower you can read it here. I started a blog for CDH parents. If you are a CDH Mom or Dad and you want to share your child’s story please send me a message. I’d love to add your story to the blog in our “Featured CDH Child” section.

SO yep Ava turned 5 today. I made a very short video of the highlights of today. Hope you enjoy!

I did get a little emotional today. I thought to myself, “Things could be a lot different right now.” I always go back through and watch her birthday tribute videos I’ve created. I still can’t believe she survived this nasty birth defect. She was brought into our lives to make us stronger. She seems to teach me something new everyday. I’ll say this again, “I’m proud to be her Mommy!”
Enough talk here is some pictures of Ava’s day…
Ava and Mommy
Ava and Mommy

Balloon by the water copy


Ava's 5

Her special birthday bow and dress I made especially for her big day!


She really is quite the little lady. Her smile lights up the entire room.

Birthday Cake


Her excitement is contagious and makes you laugh! She asked who used the funnies in the newspaper to wrap her presents. She thought that was so funny!



Had to give you one more shot of her and her Scooby Cake. Brian’s Sister made this for Ava. “Thanks again Marsha for again making her exactly what her heart wanted!”

She's 5

Oh yes and if you are wondering… Preschool is going great. She loves everything about that place. I’m thrilled she has made many new friends. She is a social butterfly. She has this energy that people are drawn to.

Also another update, my Sister Rachel’s fiancee Doug is doing well with his kidney transplant. Thanks for the prayers!

Okay signing off. We love Ava’s supporters. Keep reading and praying for our little girl and I promise God will send a special blessing your way.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Ava’s 1st Day of Preschool!

1st Day of Preschool-2

I made Ava this special bag so she’d feel my love! Also made the headband and capri pants… just because!

1st Day of Preschool-1

Hello friends! Today was Ava’s 1st day of Preschool. She did awesome. I’ve been telling her for a month now how much fun she is going to have and how many friends she’s going to make. It was true!

As we got closer to her school this morning I looked back at Ava. She was deep in thought. We got out of the car and we went to the play ground as we were a tad bit early. Suddenly the bell ran and we headed for the “blue” preschool door. I watched as parents were taking their children in… many had stepped inside. She seemed confident as she got in line to receive her name tag.

1st Day of Preschool-5

Here as she was… her FIRST day of Preschool! She has accomplished SO much.

1st Day of Preschool-4

Ava waiting patient to put her bag away in her “cubbie”.

1st Day of Preschool-6

Hanging up her coat. She insisted she needed a jacket. It was about 70 degrees here in Iowa this morning!

1st Day of Preschool-7

I’m so proud of Ava. As soon as she got her things organized I knew it was time to say goodbye. I looked around as one boy was being comforted by his Mother. He was crying and didn’t want her to leave. I was wondering to myself if he would scare Ava and make her think of us parting and be sad. Somehow she read my mind. I bent down and gave her a quick hug. She looked me straight in the eye. It was as if time stood still… “Have fun my sweet Ava and Mommy will be back soon” I said. She pulled me close and gave me a quick kiss on the lips. Then said something that made me leaving her all okay… “I love you Mommy.” WOW it was exactly what I needed. I think she knew it was going to be tougher on me than on her. She was ready. This was the perfect timing!

I’d been feeling kind of anxious the last few days. She’s been through so much and this Mommy wants to protect her forever. I know that it is time for her to fly! I know God gave me a peace today that I’ve felt through out her CDH journey. It is a comfort that only He can give.

Picking her up was another special treat. She ran right into my arms. She didn’t stop talking about how much fun she’d had. AND she is now ‘okay’ with boys :) This was something new we had to discuss with her when we went to Open House on Friday. She didn’t know if she really wanted to be ‘friends’ with boys in her class. She excitedly told me that she only played with the boys as the girls were not much fun. Yes I have a pretty silly outgoing girl on my hands!

Here’s a few pictures of Open House on Friday.

Open House-1

Open House-2

Open House-3

She LOVED their “Science Center”.

Open house 4

Here is Ava with one of her teachers… “MOON SAND” is Ava’s favorite!

Open House 5

Ava washing her hands… something this preschool is very known for, keeping germs down!

Open House 6

Here is a glimpse into Messiah Preschool.

Open House 7

I have a great feeling about this School. Please keep the prayers going for Ava. She needs to continue to stay healthy. This is a HUGE step for her and me. We know that with exposing Ava to germs increases the risks of potential problems. However she is ready and we know we with your Prayers and God’s help He will continue to keep her protected.

1st Day of Preschool-3

What a GREAT day! Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Spine Check-up

Good Afternoon everyone. As I mentioned the other day Ava had an appointment with Dr. Weinstein at Iowa Children’s Hospital. He is an Orthopedic doctor. This was our first meeting with him. What a wonderful, loving doctor he truly is! It is neat to see a doctor that LOVES his job. He introduced himself to Ava and I could tell instantly she trusted him.

When we first came in Ava went right back for a full Spine x-ray. Her last Spinal check was done at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia while we were there for her two year CDH appointment and the CHOP fetal reunion in June 2008. She was 22 months old. I had not noticed any problems and her surgeon here in Iowa thought her Spine looked fine. However I like to be very sure. Many times in CDH kids they can get Scoliosis So with that warning I keep my ears, eyes and anything else alerted!

Dr. Weinstein made Ava do several bends and motions with her back. He then told me that her left hip is slightly lower than her right. You can see this in the x-ray below, if you look real close. This makes her right leg a tiny bit shorter. He is not concerned at this point he just wants to keep an eye on it. It isn’t enough of a difference to wear a shoe insert or anything. He wants her to see her in a year. He says overall her spine looks healthy. He sees no scoliosis! VERY good news for this Mama to hear!

Here is her X-rays of today. The first one is the frontal. I’m just noticing how GREAT her diaphragm looks on the left side. Also how big her lung is!!! And as you can see her heart is still a little shifted to the right as it was at birth.


Here is her side view. Again this makes me so happy to see things in their correct spots!


And here is a few pictures I took of her getting the X-rays. She immediately went and climbed up on the table. She didn’t understand that she could actually stand for an x-ray. Normally she lays. She listened to the techs very closely and did exactly as they asked. They all thought she was a doll.


“Head straight ahead Ava.”


She is getting so tall. They measured her today and she was almost 45 inches tall! Her weight 34.4 pounds! :)


Then you know the drill you wait to see if the x-rays are fine… and they were!


My oh My has she grown. Her sister’s were also at the appointment. They were only there for the “Olive Garden” afterwards!


And a few more extra pictures…



And we HAD to see the Hawkeye right? “Go Iowa Hawks!”


Ava couldn’t have ALL the fun so Lexis stepped in to help! Silly girls!


As we drove to eat I noticed I was driving the same road I often drove when I needed a short break from the PICU when Ava was very sick. I instantly felt so blessed and thanked God that second for he had done and is doing to keep Ava healthy. I rolled all the windows down in the Suburban and cranked up Lady Gaga’s song “Edge of Glory” (Ava’s favorite song) and we let the wind blow our hair. What a gorgeous day it was!No that is not probably the best song to thank God to… yet I know she is on the edge of Glory and is hanging on to the moment with us all. God has been good to us. We give Him all the Glory and Praise. He is the Healer!

I’d like to add a prayer request if I could. My Sister’s fiance, Doug is in Iowa City Hospitals right now. He just got his 4th kidney transplant today. Please band together with us and pray that he does well and no complications arise. Our family loves this man and he is the strongest person (besides) Ava I know. He was born with “Prune belly stndrome.” Here is a picture of him and my sister. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they have a long road ahead of them.


If you have not I encourage you to please thank God right now for all he has given you. Thanks again for keeping us close. We thank and love all of Ava’s blog and carepage followers!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


WOW has it really been a month and a half since my last post? Well we are enjoying the Summer. We are trying to stay cool. Ava has been staying healthy. I’m so proud of her. She loves swimming and slides!

Today was just beautiful here in Iowa so I decided it was time for “Sister Pictures”. And did I hit the jack-pot! I’m in love with these pictures :)









Emeline and Ava-2

A few individuals…




Ava only lasts for about 3 pictures and then she is finished. They all did great today.

She goes for an orthopedic check-up this Monday. I want to be certain her spine is growing and not curving too much. I am still quite observant to her medical needs as a CDH child. I MUST be!

Ava will be 5 this month. My mind is thrilled she is doing so well. Five years ago today we were at the New Jersey Ronal McDonald House waiting her arrival. Her future was so uncertain… today we see SO much life in her.

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of Ava today.



I hold onto all my beautiful daughter’s and thank God daily they are mine. I’m still very involved in congenital diaphragmatic hernia and it’s research. I meet by email and face book new expectant Moms and Dads daily. This week has been hard as four CDH babies have passed away from this birth defect. It definitely hits home each time I must be reminded of how truly blessed we are to have Ava with us today. I feel for the families that don’t take their children home. I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. I do know that I was given Ava to help other’s get through this birth defect. I strongly sense a need for answers and for healing. Please say a prayer for the families that have lost their most precious gift… their babies.

Thanks for stopping by and God Bless each and every one of you tonight!