Ava’s Shower and 1st Halloween!

Good afternoon everyone. So sorry for the delay in posts, it has simply been a crazy week. First of all, we wanted to let you know that last Friday, Ava had her eye exam that was mentioned in the last post. You guessed it – our little superstar passed with flying colors! There were no signs of abnormality, however the eye doctor will check her again in another week to compare the two exams and see her progress. The docs in the NICU are simply incredible and we have so much to thank them for. As far as other tests go, Ava will have a hearing test at some point, but it will be closer to her time that she comes home. She will also have to pass a car seat test as well before being discharged.

Ava’s baby shower was on Sunday, along with Evan’s and Pam’s birthdays [my mom]. We celebrated all three events together and were just absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of all of our friends and family. The Pink-o-ween theme turned out fabulous – a huge thank you to both grandmas, Pam and Marlene, along with Aunt Kathy, Aunt Linda, Mary Lou, Mary, Heather, Jim, Mark [we love the Ava sign you made! Precious! …photo below], The Bridgewater crew, and many others for making the shower such a perfect celebration of Ava. Pictures are below that shows just some of the hard work. After the shower was all over, we went to visit Ava and told her over and over how many many people care so much about her. The Ava / Daddy photo on his birthday is below as well and you can just see the love written all over his face. All of your support has again strengthened us through Ava’s journey. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you have done for us.

Throughout this week, our little girl has grown so much. Currently, she is at 1660 grams, which is 3 lbs, 10.5 ounces! We just can’t believe how much she is growing and continues to do well. Since our last post, Ava did have another dose of lasix, a diuretic to assist with fluid retention. She had 6 doses of that and it definitely seemed to help with her oxygen levels and breathing. Ava was in the mid to high 20s for oxygen levels in the past, and in the last few days has moved down to the low 20s and at some feedings, has not even needed to be turned up. This is a great accomplishment, as Ava seems to be grasping the suck, swallow, and breathe combination that is so difficult for some preemies to master. The next goal is of course to slowly turn her down and have her require less oxygen, and go back to breathing on her own. She is currently at 21%, which is room air.

Speaking of feeding, another huge accomplishment is 6 BOTTLES! As you remember, Ava has been taking full bottles for about a week and a half now, but not many in a row. She might take a full bottle, then take half of the next feeding, and maybe none of the following feeding and will get fed through her feeding tube. It just tires her out quite a bit. As of 1pm today, she has taken 6 full bottles in a row! Wow, we were surprised, as 30 mL is a lot for our little angel. It seems like she is on her way to mastering the bottles now. : )

On the topic of celebrating, Ava celebrated her first Halloween! We were lucky enough to find out about a nonprofit organization called Project Sweet Peas [which is pretty ironic because of our son Gerard and his nickname being our Sweet Pea, for those of you that do not know] – that supports families with children in the NICU. Check them out on Facebook. Anyway, they actually made Ava a costume and sent it to us!! How amazing is that?! I was able to choose her costume to be a ballerina; I figured I should choose what I want her to be before she has a say. : ) Check out her little slippers as well, which were part of the package, called Baby Barefoot Sandals by LoLoMakes [http://www.etsy.com/shop/lolomakes]. Adorable! Thank you so much to Project Sweet Peas for making it and sending. See the photos below!

With that, happy Friday and happy week 34 for Ava. I can’t believe I would be 34 weeks pregnant with her if I was still carrying her. What a tough little girl. She continues to amaze us and simply brighten our day so much. Remember, every day is a blessing! Hope everyone had a great Halloween and were able to have some fun. Based on Ava’s smile, she sure did.

Jen, Evan and Ava



















Ava finishes her first FULL bottle!

Ava is now 6 weeks old! Fridays are always such a great day: One, because it is the weekend and Two, because Ava gets a week older!!! And even though she is already 6 weeks old, she is still 7 weeks before here due date (December 14th). Really makes you think about the miracle of life.

The biggest update for Ava is that she took her FIRST FULL BOTTLE!!! Jen was feeding Ava and it was incredible to watch Ava figure out how to suck on the bottle, swallow the milk, and remember to breath. Plus have enough energy to do that all. Before this feeding with Jen, the most milk Ava had taken was 18mL… then it was like BOOM and Ava took ALL 28mL!!! So cool that Jen and I were there for her first full bottle. After that Ava took 3 more full bottles….seems like she is really catching on. Such a cute little girl!!!

Ava is now up to 3lb. 3oz. and today she gets her eyes checked, which is a big test. As I have said before, preemies eyes sometimes are not fully developed and can require surgery. So hopefully the test comes back fine and we do not have to go down that road. A couple other updates are that Ava got taken off of her caffeine dose because she has had very few episodes (where she forgets to breath and HeartRate goes down). She did get put back on a small course of diuretic (Only 6 doses over 3 days) to flush out any excess fluids in her body. And her diaper rash is getting better. Finally she is still on the nasal cannula at 23 – 28% air flow.

Big weekend ahead, because we have Ava’s first party (her Baby Shower) and it is my Birthday on Sunday. Also, a big sports weekend with the Tigers, Wolverines, and Lions all having big games. Hope each of you have a great weekend and thank you for all the support.

Evan, Jen, and Ava