Sunday, April 29, 2012

Baby Prep & Ava Update

I'm so sorry for the absence of communication in the last couple weeks. Maybe the lack of posts recently is sign of what's to come after the wee one arrives in just a few weeks, though I hope not. I'm back to that place where more writing or computer time isn't super high on my list because of all the writing I'm doing for school. And let me tell you, the coming week isn't going to let up at all. But next week will! I have one paper due on Thursday of this week and my big research proposal due a week from tomorrow. Then I'm free from the grips of this formal education until September. I'm aching to get to that place of free time and far less responsibility. I'll be able to get everything ready for the baby, spend more time with Ella, and nap every day if I feel like it. Wonderful. But it's still one week away.

Princess Ella at church this morning (no wonder she likes the kids' rooms!)

I did get to spend a little time on baby goodness today. Pete was on call at the hospital all day, so Ella helped me go through a bin of gender-neutral baby items and put a couple things up in what is eventually going to be the baby's room/workout room. It's just been the workout room till now, but I can't completely get rid of the equipment in there. Hello, post baby is a vital time for workout room accessibility, right? We'll figure out any challenges when the time comes, but for now we're going with it.

Ella was adorable with each item we took out of the baby bin. "Ooohhhhh, so cuuuuute!" she would say with every single piece. Even the plain, white Onsies drew the reaction. It makes me excited to see her  when the little one does arrive.

Ella & Ava putting on a living room concert on Saturday

I've had many people ask how Ava is doing following the surgery a week & a half ago to remove the tumor from her brain. The surgery itself didn't go quite as planned. The had hoped to do a biopsy on the tumor during the surgery and then proceed to remove the entire thing, but after the first biopsy results weren't clear, they stopped the surgery. Ava was in the hospital in Minneapolis for a few days after that and then returned to Duluth. This past Wednesday, they met with the doctors for the complete biopsy results where it was made known that the tumor is not cancerous. Praise the Lord! Though it is not cancerous, it is still in a very difficult location and may take multiple surgeries over the next few years or longer to completely remove or keep in check. Ava's family spent the remainder of the week and this past weekend in Duluth.

Saturday morning, Miss Ava joined us at our house for a little playdate with Ella. Though the girls loved playing together, coloring, and having snacks, Ava was much quieter than usual. I don't doubt that it has a lot to do with everything she's gone through in the last few weeks. She's also on medications that effect her mood. We cuddled on the couch reading books and looking at pictures of baby animals on Pinterest. She even asked if I wanted to see her "mark." That's what she calls the long incision behind her ear where they did the first surgery. I'm amazed that they didn't have to cut any of her hair, which covers the mark very well. What a brave little girl. She's already gone through so much with this.

And there is more to come. Tomorrow (Monday), Ava will be going through another surgery. The doctors will try to remove as much of the tumor as they safely can. Ava's mom, Janell, has asked specifically for prayer for the head doctor, Dr. Dan. Also, please be praying that the surgery will not negatively impact any of her motor functions and that she will heal quickly. Ava's third birthday is in 11 days. She's very excited, so please pray she will be well enough to celebrate on her big day.

It hurts my heart to know that Ella's best friend is going through something so incredibly difficult. I love watching the girls play and never imagined something like this would burst into their young lives. Ella knows that Ava has an "owie" on her head and asks to pray for her many times a day. She often asks where Ava is, what she's doing, and if she's feeling better. I'm always able to stay positive about such questions, except after Ava leaves our house. That's when it's the hardest for me. I know that Jesus is carrying Ava & her family through all of this, but why does it even have to exist? It makes me long for a time and a place where there will be no sickness or tears. We have that hope. Without it, I would be a crying lump on the floor. So thank you, Jesus.

I will continue to post updates on Ava's progress, but you can read what Janell has to say by visiting Ava's Caring Bridge page. Janell writes honestly and beautifully on the site nearly every day. Just click here and sign in with your email address.

cousin Maira, Ava, Ella & cousin Malena on Saturday

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers. Every single one is heard.

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