Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday Ava!

Hello Ava followers! I can't believe Ava turns 8 today.... where has the time gone? I know many of you have been with us from our very first days. My first blogging happened on Carepages. (And still do!) So much has happened in her life! We knew of Ava's diaphragmatic hernia when she was just 19 weeks gestation. Doctor here in Iowa gave us literally no hope. (Odd fact... there was no surgeon at Iowa Children's Hospital at the time of Ava's birth.) We were so glad God led us to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I remember telling Brian that I was going to do everything in my ability to try and save her. I knew that half of all babies born with CDH passed away. We prayed so much for her. We had so much support from family and friends. When we decided to move our family 16 plus hours from our home that we were trusting God and that there was no way we could even look back and wished we could have done more. We did all the right things. CHOP was leading the research in diaphragmatic hernia care. It wasn't a fluke that He gave us the top surgeon in the world. No it was God's plan for Ava's life!

It always shakes me when her birthday rolls around. Last night tears came to my eyes just thinking about the struggle that we faced... and the pain and tolerance Ava endured.

I always take pictures of the girls on her birthday. Here are a few we took this morning. She's our little Miracle!

Thanks for all your love, prayers and support!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cold... we don't like you!

Good morning Ava fans! So Ava wasn't even in school a full week when she got a cold. (Her symptoms started Thursday.... runny nose, and scratchy throat. Then Sunday she started coughing. A LOT!) I took her to the doctor on Monday. She had a really bad ear infection but the doctor said her lungs sounded clear. I started her Prednisone as soon as the coughing began as her lung doctor suggests plus albuterol treatments or inhalers. She didn't improve much and stayed home Monday and Tuesday from school... all the while coughing and coughing. Last night she complained that her lungs felt tight and that it hurt to breathe. I always feel so bad for her as I don't know this feeling and can not relate. I kept her in her "sick" bed. (Her bed in our room she sleeps in when she isn't feeling well.) I hooked up the monitor and her oxygen levels were okay all night. She ranged from 94-98. She did have a few night coughing spells but overall she did much better last night than the nights before.

So we discussed school yesterday and I asked her if we could try to send her back tomorrow and see how she would do. It was like a foreign language to her. We always keep her home until she gets better... however I'm afraid as she gets older and 2nd grade moves much faster that she will fall behind very quickly. I went in this morning and talked to her teacher and gave her "the list" of things to look out for and to have her call me if any concerns arise.

My fear is that already being down with a cold she will pick up something else. I just want to see her get better and do well in school. This is just a trial run. If it doesn't work we will have to go back to keeping her home until the cold passes. She can tell me now how she is feeling so that is comforting. I told her I would pick her up for lunch and get in a breathing treatment. She was glad to hear that.

Please pray that this all works out and she gets over this cold. It seems the longer she is out of school the worse it is to get her to go back. She is a lot stronger than she used to be!

Here is Ava doing a breathing treatment. We switch off with treatments and inhalers as she is getting older. Last night she was watching a movie on my laptop and didn't want to hold it so therefore the mask was her friend!

Thanks for thinking of us.

~The Helmick

Friday, August 22, 2014

More Pictures!

Hello Ava followers! I know how much you all love pictures. There was an awesome photographer at the Make A Wish reunion last Saturday so I thought I'd share her pictures with you all. We rarely ever get a family picture because... well I'm always the one behind the camera. So a tripod is the last thing from my mind. I was so happy to have these wonderful pictures of our family!

Brandy Goldenberg Photography in West Des Moines captured the images her facebook page

 Thanks again to Brandy Goldenberg Photography! We love these pictures!

Ava's first week of school went really well. Today though she woke to complain of a sore throat. I'm hoping she doesn't get a cold. She asked if she could stay home from school but her dad urged her to go and promised we would take her to lunch... her choice! She got home from school and was glad she went. 

Thanks for all your thoughts, support and prayers! We love you all. Ava's birthday is coming FAST. In just 9 short days she will be 8! So happy/glad/relieved that it isn't 8 years ago now.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Make a Wish Reunion and Back to School!

Hello Ava family and friends! We went to the Iowa Make a Wish reunion a few days ago. Our family had a great time. First there was a picnic. The kids could participate in wiffle ball, bean bag toss and face painting. Kona Ice was there for the kids. Texas Roadhouse catered a delicious meal. After the picnic we were given suite passes to the Iowa Cubs game across the street. Wow was that ever nice!

Here are a few pictures of the picnic and game.

Cubbie came to our suite to say hello. What a fun evening!

Thanks again to the Make a Wish of Iowa for making our family feel special yet once again!

Back to School

I think Ava was ready to go back to school today. It's always a little never wracking for me. It is still a bit difficult for me with all her medical history. I will admit it gets easier with time. I met her teacher and right away knew she was a perfect fit for Ava.

So we will see how her day goes. It seemed like a little easier transition since she just got out of summer school for her to jump back in. Last year I think she cried a lit after I left so I'm hoping for no tears this year. 

Thanks again for checking in with Ava. We have been so blessed!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bike accident + Ava = Emergency Room Visit

Good Afternoon family and friends! Yes you read that right. Last night Ava and Emeline were riding their bikes. (Remember Ava just learned to ride a bike by herself a few months ago.) She was going pretty fast and fell hard. Emeline being the loving sister she is carried her on her back all the way home. Thankfully they were only a few blocks from our house. When she came through the door I heard, "Mom Ava is hurt." I hate hearing those words.

Ava started crying hysterically and that made me very nervous. Her right knee was very bloody and her hands were scrapped and very swollen. The more I looked at her the more scraps I saw. I was very concerned as she was crying uncontrollably. I gave her ibuprofen and asked if she could take a couple deep breathes. She wasn't able to. She started coughing and choking. I was starting to feel scared for her. I was starting to feel a little light headed trying to figure this all out. I told her that if she couldn't take a deep breath and try to relax I would have to leave her with Emme and go outside. I felt as though I was going to pass out. She didn't want me to leave so she started to settle down. I then with Emme's help rinsed off her knee. It was multiple scraps but nothing too deep. However she couldn't walk on her leg. I asked her what hurt the worst. She said her fingers. She cut her three middle fingers pretty bad and they were swollen almost twice their size. Brian had come in and I told him what had happened and that I thought she should go to the emergency room for a couple xrays as she couldn't bend her knee or her fingers on her left hand. We packed her up in the Suburban and headed to the ER. She was doing a little better by now and was no longer crying.

When we went to the hospital we could see it was going to be a LONG wait. All the chairs were full. It wasn't something I was expecting. So after an hour and a half we finally saw a doctor. We went over what had happened and her health history. I could tell he was surprised that this little girl had been through so much. He pulled on her leg to check her knee and thought it wasn't broken. Her fingers he was concerned with so he ordered a few x rays.

Here is a few pictures we took while we were waiting. She was very cold, thus all the blankets.

We waited again for another several hours to find out the results... no broken bones!! I was so glad and relieved to hear this! The doctor told Ava she would be sore for a few days and to take some pain medicine to help with that. They also wrapped her fingers as they were sprained. Ava was so happy to be able to leave the hospital. I was too!!

We sure would appreciate some healing prayers for her. She's a tough little bird! She seems to think she is all grown up. She went to school today and did well. I sent Emme along to help her with anything she may need. She was thankful to have her big sister there today.

She came home and took a nap. That is NOT like little Ava. Her body needs extra rest. Thanks for all your love, prayers and support. They are greatly appreciated!

Again I thank God for these "normal" everyday scraps and bruises... she's an overcoming in all sense of the word!