8 Sleeps

It’s 6 sleeps until we go to Toronto and 8 sleeps until Ava has her surgery. This morning we had a video conference at VGH with Sick Kids Anesthesia Department.

They asked us much the same questions we’ve been asked before…

“Allergies?” “No. Not that I know of.”

“Nausea?” “No.”

“Good tolerance to anesthetic?” “Well I should think so by now.”

They also gave us the risks again… Some scary ones (I’d rather not repeat some of the details regarding infection, hydrocephalus and abnormal swelling), and some new ones.  I didn’t realize that if a young girl has a blood transfusion she risks building antibodies that can detrimentally affect a fetus some day. But then really…. why would I.

They tell us there’s a very good chance Ava will have to have a blood transfusion. With her first surgery they told us that too, and she never needed one. Let’s hope she doesn’t need it this time either.

We went for a dinner with Brian’s family tonight to a Chinese food restaurant (because, it’s business as usual don’t you know…). While we were there a fellow at another table pulled Brian’s sister aside and asked her about Ava’s head. He thought she may have a thyroid problem and was not surprised to hear that she has craniosynostosis. Turns out – he’s a retired physician.

This small exchange actually made me feel very relieved… It confirms our decision to have this surgery, because other people DO in fact notice Ava’s head shape.

It also brings to mind another story that happened a few months ago. We were out with some good friends for dinner and Ava was playing in the back of the restaurant in a play area that has a pretend kitchen. There were several kids there and our friend’s little girl Hanna (who’s about 5) was helping Ava ‘cook some dinner’.

While they were playing another little girl who is about Hanna’s age came up and asked me what was wrong with my baby’s eyes. I didn’t know what to say and sat there for a few seconds trying to come up with an appropriate answer. Beside me a little voice piped up, “Everybody looks different. It’s not polite to stare.”

God bless you Hanna.

The little girl went back to playing and I picked myself up off the frayed carpet.

I didn’t say anything through dinner, but cried the whole way home (and – incidentally – it was the same night we decided to go ahead with the surgery). It wasn’t because I was hurt over a five-year-old’s comment, more I was surprised at the quick response.

Life hands us interesting situations and, if we’re tuned in enough, I believe we get some really remarkable opportunities for understanding. It’s true what they say that nothing happens by chance.

So… it’s not long now and we’ll be boarding the silver bird for Toronto. I still don’t feel like I know the doctors very well, but I know the procedure and I know how strong my little girl is.

Her favorite song right now is “On Top of Old Smoky” and the sillier I am with the sneeze, the harder she giggles. Sometimes she sneezes back and her latest trick is blowing raspberries at the dogs.

Please offer us your prayers and thoughts on April 7th. Ava’s surgery starts at 8 am Eastern Standard Time. It will last approximately six hours.

I may not update this blog between now and April 7th, but I will certainly update it that night.

Thanks friends for your love and support.

PS. Yes. There’s a lump in my throat through this entire post. I’m holding on. Just don’t ask me about it.

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23 Responses to 8 Sleeps

  1. Leeann Wilhelm says:

    At the age off 1 Ava is already teaching tolerance and acceptance…your right nothing happens by chance. Sometimes our biggest life lessons come from the smallest places.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Kate says:

    A little encouragement:

    “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen 28:15)

    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strenghten you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!


  3. jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this very personal and trying experience.
    Ava is so lucky to have such a loving and caring mother as you!
    You, Ava and your family and loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers…
    I will be sending lots of love your way on April 7.
    Love and hugs,

  4. Margit Sander says:

    Dear Melissa and family,

    The fears and doubts associated with a big step like this are surely beyond compare. Children have a gift of saying and asking things very directly. Their honesty can be at times cruel, but also quite revealing. Hanna was this child for you. I wish Ava all the very best for her surgery and for a quick recovery. You’re being very brave, but I’m sure you’ve made the right decision. She seems like a very strong little girl. She’ll master this one!

    And always remember, you’re not alone out there.

    Much love. My thoughts will be with you next week!

  5. Brita Cloghesy-Devereux says:


    I’m so behind the times… I just realized you had a blog and read it this morning. Today you leave for Toronto. I can’t imagine what you are going through. The anticipation, the nervous hope, the fear, the expectation of a better tomorrow..

    Mark & I had all those feelings when we underwent surrogacy surgery in India – but yours is so different because it’s real, it’s happening to your little girl. Ours was only an idea.

    We will be thinking of you today, tomorrow and especially on Thursday. I’m up early, usually around 5am… you’ll be going in at that time (8amEST), so I’ll send as much positive, warm energy as I can!

    You’re incredibly brave – stay strong.
    Take Care

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