A month ago, on September 14th at 9:22am, Ava Lillian Chopp was born…. Yes I know it seems crazy (at least it does to her parents), but today is Ava’s 1 month Birthday! Wow time has flown by!! I still vividly remember that day and all of the emotions Jen and I were experiencing. As many of you know the joy of having a child can not really be explained through words, but because she was 13 weeks early and without amniotic fluid for over 3 weeks, that pure joy was mixed with uncertainty and questions….
How were her lungs?
She was on a ventilator for 12 hours, then C-Pap for a couple days, then nasal canula until Day 6 when she was breathing on her own for 16 days. Since then, Ava has been back on the canula, to help support her overall growth. Today she was only needing 28% air flow (room air flow is 21%).
How was her brain?
Ava has passed both of her brain scans and had NO BLEEDS and the cyst that was in the first scan was not on the second (or too small to detect).
Why were her feet and legs so swollen?
We do not know the exact reason for her swollen feet (picture below). But more than likely because of the lack of fluid and contractions, Ava’s feet/legs were probably being compressed. Both her legs and feet have had 0 issues since birth.
How much does she weigh (1lb. 10oz)….and what are the possible complications associated with being that small?
Weight was never the biggest concern, it was more how her organs were functioning. Usually weight is an indicator to how developed the organs are, but in Ava’s case we believe the steroids really helped and her organs were ahead of her weight (as you read above). Since birth Ava has gained 1lb. 2oz. and is now up to 2lb. 12oz. She is also now up to 24ml of milk every 3 hours.
Why is she so red in color?
This is a very normal thing with preemies. Ava had high levels of bilirubin and had to be under phototherapy lights for a couple days (picture below). The lights helped and after a couple of days, she never needed the phototherapy again.
What happened in the operating room and why did it take so long to put her breathing tube in?
This was one of the scariest moments of my life…In general after they delivered Ava, we didn’t really know how she was doing. The only update we got was that “she was really small.” Then Jen’s doctor asked for an update and the doctors and nurses working on Ava did not respond. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, they called me over to see Ava…. She was PERFECT! They also brought her over to see Jen and she was able to give her a kiss on the head…PRECIOUS! The doctor told us later that it was the most difficult intubation he had ever done, but he was not overly concerned because she was basically breathing on her own and they could have gone right to CPAP if need be. Thankfully they were able to intubate and Ava got one dose of surfactant before the ET tube was pulled out.
And in general…. is Ava going to be ok? Healthy?
While we still do not completely know the answer to this question, we do know that Ava is a VERY strong little girl and a fighter. She has come so far already and we are confident that she will live a normal and healthy life. We also know that we have the best support system anyone could ask for around us. From our family, friends, co-workers, hospital staff, and everyone we have interacted with through this process… We simply are so lucky to have you all and do not know how we would have handled this situation without you. Thank you for everything you have done for our family and especially thank you for your prayers… Ava is truly a MIRACLE!
Below are a couple pictures showing Ava in her first couple of days, and then a couple from the past couple days…. Wow, she has come so far!!! Thank you all again.
Ava, Jen, and Evan