The Other Side (Part 2)

We got to the hospital at 8:00 am (EST) this morning and Ava’d been fasting since 4:30 am (yes – mom got up at 4:30 EST to give her a bottle).

I was exhausted before we even started the day, and Ava was none too impressed with her surgically imposed hunger-strike either.

We got her robed up in the admitting area, and then, as usual, there seems to be a lot of hurry up and wait.

By 10:30 she was ready to go in and Dr. Phillips came and got us from the waiting area. Brian went in with her to anesthesia (again) and came out looking very pale (again). I didn’t ask how it went because quite frankly – I didn’t want to know. I was having enough difficulty swallowing my latte.

And so the wait begins. We give them our cell phones and they tell us they’ll call us if they hear anything. They also mentioned it could be as long as 7 hours.

They were right.

For the next seven hours I walked five hallways, visited four washrooms, and made friends with 13 people who’s names I couldn’t possibly recall.

But my phone didn’t ring.

I can assure you, that was the longest seven hours I’ve ever spent in my whole, entire life.

By 5 pm I left the second waiting area and headed out the atrium hallway. As I was staring down into the lobby I said a little prayer and laid my head in my hands. As I stood back up I saw a smiling face in front of me.

Dr. Phillips.

He said, she’s good Melissa. She did just fine. She needed a transfusion, but she came through okay and we’re going to put her in ICU tonight just to be on the safe side.

Again – I can’t really explain how it feels when you hear those words from a doctor about a loved one, but the whole world seems to sit still for a second while a slow exhale escapes in some far away place.

I also can’t really get into much more detail tonight because to be honest, I’m emotionally beyond depleted. Instead – I’ll just post some pictures.

She was having a lot of pain tonight, but I asked them to give her some more morphine and try some formula before we left.

She drank it like a trooper and, when we left, she was snuggling monk and whimpering quietly. I know the worst is yet to come for swelling, but the scariest part is behind us.

As a parent, knowing you can’t help with a child’s pain is a terrible feeling. But as a parent, knowing that same short-term pain will benefit long-term self-esteem seems to make it just a little bit easier.

Thanks for reading. The relief is still washing over me. We’re ON THE OTHER SIDE.

PS. The tubes are under her skin to minimize fluid build up (there is one across the top of her forehead and one in the back). They will be pulled out in the next few days.


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52 Responses to The Other Side (Part 2)

  1. Amy says:

    Wow, you guys did it! Ava looks great already. She is so strong and so are you and Brian. Try and get some rest and know that she is in the best hands possible.
    We are thinking of you always,
    Amy, Mike, Sam and Will

  2. Loretta C says:

    Sending Ava, you, and Brian lots of love and light… There is a beautiful light within you for sharing this journey and an energy in Ava that has and will light up the lives of so many.

  3. Nicole Richard says:

    7 hours!! Ohh my gosh Melissa. I can not even imagine that kind of worry. I am lost for words… she is so beautiful….prayers for you all.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks Nicole! Hope you enjoyed Hawaii. I’m hoping that’s us next year… The pictures looked beautiful. Thanks again. Your comments have been really kind and appreciated.

  4. Tara says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart! The photos of your sweet Ava and her process and for Keeping us all in the loop as I’ve been meaning to contact you again. I couldn’t imagine what you’ve all been through. If you need anything pls let me know. My love and light is with you all. She is amazing, such a bright light of strength and courage like her Mama. Maybe when she’s better the kids and I could make a special trip to to meet Ms. Ava. 🙂

    Love and light to you all.
    Tara xo

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks Tara – whenever you can, you’re always welcome. I’d love that. We’d have a wonderful time drinking tea, talking spirituality and sharing in a long and growing friendship. Hugs to your beautiful babies. xoxo

  5. Verina says:

    Hey guys, I had no idea Ava was undergoing this surgery, I have Jayds and Julian so I know what it’s like when your babies are sick. Jayden was in hospital for 2 weeks at 15 months for severe pneumonia and were easily the worst 2 weeks of our lives. I can only imagine what you and Brian are going through. Please know our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with you guys..Ava’s a blessing, hang in there…xxVerina, Terry, Jayds & Julian.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks Verina for your message. I just hope more people can learn about craniosynostosis. There are actually two other babies in the hospital with the same thing right now (Crouzons and Pfieffer’s Syndrome). Glad your boys are doing well. We hope to see you soon. Love Melissa, Brian and Ava.

  6. Kelly Martin says:

    Way to go beautiful Ava! Hang in there all three of you. Xxoo. Let us know when you are back.

  7. Margit Sander says:

    Dear Melissa,

    My thoughts were with you when I went to bed last night. I can’t tell you how happy I am for you all that the surgery went well! Your account made me all teary-eyed.

    Just imagine one day, Ava will tell her friends that supposedly she had this strange condition as a little kid and she had to have surgery, but she doesn’t really remember anything about it, just this little red car that looked kind of neat. My Mom says, it took seven hours. And her friends will say, ‘Really? Wow. What did you have?’ And she’ll say – ‘I don’t know, something about the shape of my head I think. Called something with a crane.’ ‘What, your head looked like a crane? Ava… you say the strangest things sometimes. Lets go. We’re late.’

    You’ve done this part, the rest will follow.

    Margit xx

    ps. I’m pregnant, you know. But psst 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      CONGRATS Margit!! Oh my goodness… can’t wait to get more updates. And thanks for your support… you’re a very sweet soul. Maybe some day our paths will cross again in some international destination with babies in tow. xoxo

  8. Benita Ha says:

    Thanks for posting this Melissa. Started to tear up just imagining what you must be going through. Although not a mother myself, any loved one, especially your child where youmust feel this way, 7 hours… excruciating, to say the least.

    Margit is right. As you know, I has serious hip surgery when I was Ava’s age and was in a brace for a year after that. I can’t recall a thing and all I have is a scar and pictures to prove that something like that even occurred. There were some difficulties I found out, now that I’m an adult about what they went through with even getting the surgery done. What I do know is that my parents love me, beyond words. Ava will know the same.

    Thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Ava, you and Brian. xoxo

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks B. You’re always such a consistently spiritual and supportive and beautiful friend. Hope you’re doing well. We’ll have tea as soon as we’re back and welcome a new chapter together.

  9. Sarah says:

    I was thinking of you yesterday, sending my prayers to you. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to wait 7 hours, which probably felt like an eternity. I had a big smile on my face though when the doc said the surgery went well! Ava is an amazing, strong and beautiful little girl, she is such a blessing 🙂 Keep us posted with how her recovery goes, I’m sure she’ll be giggling and having fun before you know it! I’m looking forward to having another visit with you and her when you’re back.
    xo Love Sarah and Andy

  10. Tarina Palmer says:

    Children have an amazing power to get through things. In keeping with her name, Ava looks full of life and appears to have gotten through this challenge with grace. Over time, new memories will gradually replace these painful ones. Each of you will have memories of what you have been through individually, as a couple and as a family.

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.


  11. Ashlyn says:

    Oh Melissa,

    I saw this post and I just sobbed. It brought back so many memories of everything we went through with Leland. You guys are so strong and got through it twice 🙂 What a little trooper she is. You guys strength is truly inspiring! I am so happy to hear that she is doing well, and that you and Brian are doing well too. I will be thinking of you guys!!

    Big Hugs XoXo,

    Ashlyn & Leland

  12. Kate says:

    Wow, the pictures have such a powerful message of perseverance and strength! I am SO happy that you are ‘on the other side’ of your journey and can now release a huge sigh of relief and begin the process of healing.

    My thoughts and prayers remain with you, Ava, and Brian

    Kate (mahoney)

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