Thursday, September 19, 2013

Surgery Visit

Hello Ava friends! Things have been going pretty good for us. Ava’s been loving school and is anxious each day to go. Her little mind is a sponge that soaks everything up. It’s fun to watch her grow, learn and explore. She got her school pictures taken last week. It was my chance to take a few at home before she went to school. She’s growing so much! It won’t be long and she will be as tall as me!

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She’s been complaining that her abdomen hurts her around her belly button area for about a week. I’ve been giving her extra reflux medicines as it seem to go away after she takes the medicine. I never want to just let things be and not know especially with Ava so I called and talked to our AMAZING surgery, nurse practitioner. He was happy to see Ava and help us get to the bottom of this. So this morning we headed up to Iowa City for the appointment. She was weighed, measured, temperature taken and blood pressure checked… all good.

surgery check-up

We then went to get a few x rays of her chest. She’s always so sweet about it and never minds at all.


So her NP is thinking the same thing I was, that it may be reflux so he increased her Prevacid. We are going to give that about a month and are hoping this will help. If not we will be looking into a upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy.

It is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at the interior lining of your esophagus, your stomach, and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum) through a thin, flexible viewing instrument called an endoscope. The tip of the endoscope is inserted through your mouth and then gently moved down your throat into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper gastrointestinal tract).

I hope we don’t have to go this far so please pray for Ava. She will have to be put under for the test. I’m really praying that the medicines will help her and we can avoid this procedure.

As always thanks for checking on Ava. We love that you still care and continue to pray for her!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sore throat


Hello Ava friends. I wanted to quickly do a update. Ava came down with a high temperature on Saturday night. The odd thing is that we went for a hike through Starr’s Cave to see Brian’s deck on Saturday and she was just fine. We walked about 2 hours through the woods. Us girls had a great day. We came home and all was well. She played with the neighbor boy until about 9:00 pm. (I know way too late.)  Ava came inside and went right to bed. I came down to check on her and noticed her arm felt hot. I woke her and took her temperature. It was 102.5. I gave her Tylenol and it came down within about an hour. She had times where she sweat and then had chills. She said her throat hurt really bad.

So Sunday morning I took her to the Quick Care clinic here in our town. The NP tested her for Strep. It was negative. She prescribed her an antibiotic and we were on our way.

Here she was Sunday night. She was so tired she fell asleep in the chair.


I’m not sure if she had a virus or an infections but by Monday she was MUCH better! She went to school today and felt herself. I’m so happy it was nothing more than that.

Thank the Lord she is better!!

A few of our hike pictures.



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday Ava!

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Hello Ava friends! SO who turned 7 yesterday? Ava did!! I can’t believe 7 years ago she came into our lives. Iowa doctors only gave her a 30% chance of surviving her birth defect. She fought so hard, more than anyone I’ve ever known. We stayed by her side and cheered her on!. If you’ve been with us from the beginning you know her strength. We thank God everyday for letting us keep this feisty little lady.

We woke pretty early yesterday to get a jump start on the lower temperatures so we could take a few pictures. The pictures turned out better than I ever imagined. I love that she loves getting her picture taken! The picture above was the very first picture taken of her. I had just given birth to her in this very small surgery room. The doctor held her up so we could see her little face. The first thing I remember thinking is… “They were wrong. She’s not sick. Her color is so good.” She didn’t take a breath or even cry. She just looked at us. The doctor then quickly handed her to a nurse and the nurse headed for the room next to that one. They immediately put her on the ventilator and started suctioning our her stomach and intestines. Brian got that picture (she is holding) when she was about 20 minutes old. Before they took her to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia they took my bed to the door and I got to see her. I knew her fight had begun. We prayed that God would save her. Look what He did!

A few of the pictures…

One of most loved Bible verses. Psalms 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. How perfect is this for Ava?

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A few artsy ones…

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We love this fountain and she asked if she could stick her feet in… Oops a bit more of her feet went in!

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I couldn’t resist this one. I don’t ever think of Ava as an Angel. A friend of mine bought Ava these angel wings a few years back. I think I captured the perfect picture.

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I loved this one as she looked at herself at birth. I wonder what she must be thinking?

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She’s my Sunshine!

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She had an awesome birthday. We had a small party for her last night. Here was her Brave cake. Merida is known as “a fearless beauty” That describes Ava to a Tee! I still can’t believe she is SEVEN! Where has the time gone?


A few pictures from her party. It’s been so hot here in Iowa so naturally her party became a pool party after!!



Pool FUN!



What an AWESOME day. We always look back on her birthday as a reminder that no matter where you start you can finish strong! I know why she’s here… she is meant for bigger things. I can’t wait to see what her life brings. God has done great things in her. I look back over all the surgeries she’s been through and think… WOW! She’s so strong. She loves life and she knows what she wants! I strive to have her spirit.

Ava is loving school and is doing great. We pray she stays healthy and that God protects her. Each morning as I drop her off I tell her what a wonderful day she is going to have and that God has placed a bubble around her so that she will be protected from germs. Positive thinking is a MUST!

Thanks for stopping by. We love that you still think and pray about Ava. She’s quite the little girl!

~Terri Helmick