Ava: “our Cross C7 poster child”

Ava: “our Cross C7 poster child”

That is a direct quote from the surgeons today.  They were grinning ear to ear when they saw Ava do her stuff!  I was relieved, as well as excited, to see their reactions.  

I have been wondering if the progress is really supposed to be this slow, and if the potential still exists to get lots of function.  They erased all doubt. 

Ava was all smiles all day. She cooperated and we had a fun day —  just the two of us. 

She never once asked for my phone or the iPad.  She caught a 15 minute nap from the hospital to the airport but otherwise has been a trooper for the past 16 hours and we only have one flight to go.  

We made it half-way to the chapel after her appointment before I broke down in tears of thanksgiving.

Her head doctor here in Cincinnati is retiring in August.  We had figured going into this that there was no way he would stick around to see Ava through anyhow.  His co-surgeon, Dr. Schwentger is super as well, so we feel we are still in good hands.  I received a ton of great advice and feedback from the therapist.  We go back in about 6 months, but it is up to us really. 

Dr. Yakuboff and Ava = winning combination

Dr. Yakuboff stated in a very fatherly tone near the end of our 15-minute appointment that “this takes time.  It requires patience.”   I needed that.  

I am also uplifted simply by spending time in a children’s hospital.  Everybody has a story. Kids are resilient and they brighten my day. 

Ava rarely is willing to pray but after her third round of juice and snack (3rd flight of the day) she announced, “I am going to pray now.  Thank you God, for my appointment.  The Lord is my strength.  Amen.”   

Gratitude and praise.  That’s exactly what I was thinking. 

Taking in Tess 

Taking in Tess 

We got goats!!!  (I added one extra exclamation point because Joe is just so…excited!)

The momma’s name is Tess.   The two littles are not yet named. They are from my good college friend, Morgan, who goes all over the country showing goats by her farm’s name, Haycreek.  Tess didn’t have quite the udder to meet Morgan’s high standards so when I inquired about goats, it all fell into place pretty easily. 

Poor Joe.   He isn’t into owning a funny farm but goats make such a wonderful project for kids.  So do chickens.  Did I mention we have chickens???

We are having a great summer. Here’s an update on Ava’s progress:

We were initially told to hope for some shoulder function by 6 months and bicep function/elbow-bending by 9 months. She RACED ahead of that by hitting those marks at about 4.5 months and 7.5 months. However, progress in building enough strength to overcome gravity has been really slow.  Way slower than I expected.  She still cannot lift her arm to 90 degrees like a clothesline — probably closer to 60 degrees.  On a great day, while using her stimulating machine when we do therapy with her laying on the couch, she needs just a tiny bit of help to bring her hand from her thigh to her mouth. She has a long way to go to be able to bend her elbow while standing up fighting gravity. 

I have been trying to come up with creative ways for her to use her arm. She can be open to my suggestions sometimes, like this morning while playing at a Fun Day hosted by our 4-H club.

Yet we continue to work really hard.  She does physical therapy once a week right now and then Joe or I help her the other 6 days at home through her repetitions. She has occupational therapy, speech therapy and music therapy also once per week. Her schedule is crazy but I try as hard as I can to protect her childhood. 

We need a pic of Violet.  She hasn’t been sleeping well at all for a few weeks….I gave in at 4 a.m. today and we got some serious snuggle time😀

Ava and I are off to Cincinnati on Tuesday!! We leave Sioux Falls at 5:00 a.m. and get back around 10:00 p.m., I think.  It will be a big day.  I have been praying that they are confident in the track she is following and that no additional surgeries/treatments are needed for now.  I have a long list of questions circling in my mind to ask them.  Sometimes I think they call me the Crazy Minnesota Mom behind my back.  I think I am way more into the “how and why” of it all than most parents.  That’s just how I tick.  God chose me to be Ava’s mom and I am her best advocate.  Just doing my job. 

Joe gets the ‘privilege’ of overseeing goat, calf and chicken chores while Ava and I travel.  Good thing we will only be gone for a day.  Good thing he loves me.  Because I don’t think he loves the goats.