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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Trying Times: Ava's Kidney Update - Part 4

(If you are just now learning about Ava's kidney condition and want filled in more, here's Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

The day we have mentally and emotionally been preparing ourselves for has finally come and gone, and I can admit that it is such a relief to have it all behind us. With that being said, I will fill you in with what went on the day of her surgery up until now....

On Monday, January 30, 2012 we (including my parents, bless their hearts) loaded ourselves and our luggage into our vehicles and drove for several hours north until finally reaching our destination at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We arrived almost exactly on time for her registration, which was lucky for us considering all the travel delays along the way. Once the registration process was complete, Ava was then called back to have her vitals measured and for a change of clothes. We were then put into a separate waiting area, where she could play intermittently in between different medical consults (i.e. with the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, etc). Below are a few shots we took while waiting for her surgery to begin. (I apologize for the quality - these were taken with either my camera phone or our point-and-shoot).

Once the pre-surgical consults were finalized, Ava was then given what they called "happy juice" that allowed her to relax and wind down, also preventing her from becoming anxious, frightened, or uncooperative for what was soon to come. Here's a shot of her just after receiving the drink. You'll notice daddy's in proper attire to escort her to the OR.

Shortly after Ava was given the calming liquid, she and daddy walked down to the OR, and the rest of us headed to the surgical waiting room only to wait and pray. Jeremiah appeared almost five minutes after us, reassuring us that she was in good hands and fell asleep like an angel. The surgery lasted just over four hours. All the while, the doctor had his nurses updating us on her progress. Thankfully, we always received great news. The surgeon mentioned during the consult that his intentions were to perform a robot-assisted laparoscopy but if there was a need to open her up, he would have to do so. We would only know in the end if this was the case.

I am so very thankful my parents were able to come with us. They were true blessings to have there for emotional support and much needed assistance with Audrey. I think she wore all four of us out! She was a definite sweetheart, but a sweetheart with loads of energy. She recently learned how to walk just over a week ago, but still isn't quite stable yet to walk all around independently. So, having to carry her (because she can only take the stroller for so long) or assist her in walking can be very exhausting. How cute is this pic below of Granda reading Audrey a story while we were waiting for Ava's surgery to end?!

Just after 4:30pm, Ava's surgeon came in to get us from the waiting room. He took us into a private consult room to discuss her status. Great news... she did excellently and didn't have to be opened up! Once she would begin waking up, we could go into the recovery room to see her. She was definitely scared and crying when we saw her, but after mommy, daddy, and blankie were brought in, she was almost immediately calmer. Ava's new boo-boos consist of four small incisions on her abdominal region, one of which is on her belly button. It is definitely difficult as a parent to see what our precious daughter had to have done to her, but we know that the superficial scars that will fade over time were meant to be made in order to save the life of her kidney and reduce the effects the blocked ureter was ultimately causing on her body.

That night we slept in the hospital. Daddy, mommy, and Audrey stayed in the same room as Ava. Granda and Nanny had a room in the Ronald McDonald house within the hospital, close by in case Audrey and I needed a different location for the night. We did, however, end up staying the entire night with Ava. Other than a couple of times being awoken by a nurse or the one time Ava was nauseous and vomiting, we all slept pretty good considering. Below is a picture of her the day after surgery.

Early afternoon one day post surgery, Ava had been progressing so well that her medical team felt she was ready to go home. We were so glad!

At home she was very careful, completely aware of her new "boo boos". She would ask us to pick something up for her, knowing the bending over was still off limits. We would also assist her up and down the stairs. She mostly stayed on the sofa, lying on her soft pillow and watching her favorite movies and cartoons. When she did get up to walk around or play, she was very cautious. She appeared to be recovering well despite a very poor appetite. At this point she was taking in a pretty decent amount of liquids.

Thursday morning, however, brought bad news. Ava woke up dry heaving with inconsistent vomiting. She also appeared to be very dehydrated as she hadn't taken in much fluids through the night or early morning. Plus, her diaper from all night was completely dry. When she did finally have a wet diaper, it was completely filled with concentrated blood. We were told she would have blood in her urine for a while after surgery because of the disruption placed on the kidney, but it was clear after this diaper change that she was not getting enough liquids in her body to dilute the blood that was being expelled. Not entirely sure of what to do, I called UPMC and was advised to take her to Ava's PPC (primary care physician), who then advised us to go immediately to the ER.

Daddy met us there since he was back at work that day. After five hours in the ER, a quick IV, and anti-nausea medicine, Ava was soon back to her playful, smiling self. Hallelujah! Since then she has been rapidly progressing. Her appetite is almost back to normal. She can now bend over and walk independently up and down the stairs. She also hasn't complained of her belly hurting for a couple days now, which has allowed us to ease up on her pain meds.

I am so very thankful prayers have been answered, and Ava's kidney will now be completely healthy. She will continue to be monitored for several years to come, but for the most part, the long awaited height of surgery has joyfully come to an end. She can go on with her youth as a healthy, beautiful little girl.

Thank you all for your precious thoughts and prayers. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who have gratefully provided much welcomed emotional and physical support.

Blessings to you all,


  1. So glad to hear that is behind you! I'll say a prayer for continued recovery for your little girl!

    1. Thanks Lorie! That's very sweet of you.

    2. I so blessed to have Breena as my wife! She is so talented. I love my girls so much.
      They are all so sweet!

    3. Thanks honey bunch! We are truly blessed to have you! Love you!

  2. So glad things went so well and she is feeling better. What an answer to prayer.

  3. Wow! What a journey your family has been through! I'm glad to hear everything is relatively back to normal now! Hope everything stays that way!

  4. So glad your daughter is doing well!


  5. So glad everything is going well! I don't know how you do it mama, this post brought me to tears!

  6. The best thing is that it's all behind you now. I will pray for the continued health of your precious little girl.

  7. Hey! They say if you already use GFC on Blogger, you will be able to keep it on your blog, and I think your followers as well. Sophie

  8. Oh, I didn't realize she had a kidney condition. So glad the surgery went well!


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