Good night's and Thank you's!

Long and tiring day. Friends and family have reached out and shown up on our door step to support us! Just checked in on baby Ave and all is the same. She is still pretty pale and paralyzed from the surgery(no moving around little one) and they are backing off some meds. Now we wait as she heals,heals and heals! The game plan is to get her rested so we can try to ween off (the monster) Ecmo again. But I guess it has allowed us to see her all of this time. We are excited for tuesday to get here because at 10:30 she will be 3 weeks old!! Kaitlyn will love to give her a mini birthday cake...and I will buy the hats! Good night and God bless-Shane

Early morning

My phone rang in the family room at 6:30am after a few hours of sleep. The last time I touched Avery was at about 2:30am. It was Dr. Garcia again(she has been around Ave since 8:00am yesterday!) She said that Avery was administered lots of blood/clotting products all night long, but whatever they put in she would pretty much lose to blood loss. Dr. Jaquis and team were brought back in and at about 7:30 he opened her chest. They said that if it was uncontrollable bleeding, they would take her off life support. But it was actually a tear where the cannula was inserted into her heart. They stitched it up and Dr. Jaquis said to let Avery rest and we will take it a couple of hours at a time. We called in our wonderful social worker named Hillary who helped us find our lodging to sort through things and help with Kaitlyn if we have to face the inevitable. We also prayed with the Chaplin in our family room. Now we wait again on this roller coaster of emotions. I will continue to try and post all day as long as I can think straight.-Shane

Long night...

We were not at home long and received an emergency call from Dr. Garcia. She said that Avery was really sick and to come as fast as possible. When we arrived DR. Jaquis and the team were putting Avery back on Ecmo. We were dazed and confused. Dr. Garcia brought us into a room and said they could not help her blood pressure and had administered every type of drug to help her vitals...but her poor little body had taken too much of a beating from the heart surgery. We had to make a decision about Ecmo and how many more days of drugs we would pump into her. We cried and told ourselves that she had suffered enough and to let God lead us to the next step. Since they had already started the cannula's into the heart they proceeded and we discussed everything and called friends and family. Kaitlyn was fast asleep and a good friend was with her at the house.The thought of telling her about Avery broke our heart. The next half hour felt like days and many emotions ran through us.The team finished the Ecmo circuit and we spoke with Dr. Jaquis as they cleaned Avery up. His plan was to let Avery rest on Ecmo and hopefully she would not have a stroke or any brain bleeds. He repeated what he told us back in February, before we would really know how painful this all would be, that he never wanted to do something TO our child, but rather FOR our child. And now I wait in the family room after sending Carissa and the grandmas home to rest. This next 24 to 48 hours will lay out His plan for our precious little girl, the sweet name that everyone knows on this floor, Avery Mae Keirsey. Please pray for her to be at peace, no matter what the outcome.-Shane


Done With Surgery

Avery is out of surgery and back in her room. She was in surgery for about 5 hours. We got updates every hour from one of the surgical assistants, but we have not spoken directly with Dr. Jaquiss yet. He should be in shortly.

Avery is off of ECMO and appears to be doing ok for now. They will be watching her very closely for the next couple of days. We are exhausted and ready to get back to the house and relax a little. Thanks so much for all your prayers.


Needing BIG Prayers Today

We have had a lot of things going on so far today. We trialed off of ECMO today at 9am. Avery did very well and was off for almost an hour. There were about five doctors in the room assessing her during her trial off. Dr. Jaquiss, the lead heart surgeon, thinks that she is capable of coming off ECMO but does not think she will survive long without some surgical intervention. So long story short, she will have surgery to open up blood flow in her heart. She is already in the OR and surgery will probably begin around 1:15pm. It could take 3-5 hours to complete and I will try to update as the afternoon progresses.

This is a very scary time for all of us. It is unclear exactly how she will respond to this surgery, but Dr. Jaquiss believes that this is the best option at this point. He is pleased with how well the hernia surgery went and is optimistic that this heart surgery will give her a chance at survival. Still so much unknown...keep all the thoughts and prayers coming. Avery has achieved some major milestones so far and we are hoping that trend will continue.

Love to all- Carissa


Doing Better

As of this morning, Avery is better. Her belly is softer and not bleeding as much. She is still peeing good which suggests her kidney function is good. The plan as of today is to start to ween her ECMO and do a trial off tomorrow sometime. When we left this morning she was responding well to a breathing treatment that will hopefully help her lungs expand. The team caring for Avery continues to stay positive and focused on getting our little girl stronger.

All of this is so hour to hour and day to day. Everything changes in an instant and we are all riding the waves.



Trying to Stay Calm

Well we had an eventful start to the day. I have been told over and over to expect setbacks and I knew that they were coming, but it doesn't make things any easier. Yesterday was tough with the trial off ECMO not really going very well and now today with this bleeding issue...we are worn out. All of the issues that Avery has going on are just so complicated and they all work against each other to some extent. If one thing goes wrong, there are so many other factors that become more challenging. It's all just so scary.

As a parent, I feel so helpless. There is nothing I can do and nothing I can say...all we can do is touch her hands and tell her we love her but somehow that just doesn't feel like enough.

For now she is doing ok I guess. Shane and I will meet with the attending this afternoon to discuss the next couple days. I will let all of you know how that goes.


Wednesday Morning Update

Shane and Carissa got an early morning phone call that Avery was not doing well.

She was having some "compartement bleeding" and had not peed in 10 hours. The doctors decided to do a surgical procedure to open Avery up and relieve some pressure. They were unable to go through her original incision because of the gortex patch that was placed under it. So, they made a new incision and inserted a silo. Her condition improved and she began peeing right away. They have also reduced her Heparin as much as possible, as it's a blood thinner and they want her bleeding to be controlled.

As you can imagine, that was not a very fun way to start their day, but they are relieved because of the immediate turn around.

Please, keep Avery in your prayers. She is bound to hit a few bumps on the road to recovery.

I will update if I hear anything else...otherwise Shane and Carissa will update later, I am sure.

P.S. She did not come off of ECMO yesterday, but was trialed off for a while. They are going to give her a couple of more days to rest and try it again.


Oh So Close

Reports this morning continue to be good for Avery Mae. Everyone is cautious as decisions are made, but overall we are getting closer to thinking about getting Avery off of ECMO. Her ECMO setting is down to what the team considers "idle". We will possibly do a trial run off of ECMO this afternoon. I am anxious and scared, but trying to be patient. It may take several trials before she is actually taken off completely. I know that Avery is in charge and so I am trying to just stay calm.

I am still trying to heal. I am moving slowly but getting things done for the most part. My mom is still with us, and her help has been a life saver. I will let you all know as soon as we get a better idea of how Avery responds to the adjustments to ECMO.



Special Monday

Avery continues to show stamina and progress. She is down to 60 on her Ecmo unit down from 95, which is really exciting. The tech said they can only drop to 50 because that is the idle speed. Dr. Seib said we will try to have her on her own for a bit in a couple of days to see what she can handle. The REALLY big news is that her catheter came out today and rather than risk a scratch from putting it back in, she is free peeing! So Carissa and I were allowed to change one diaper each...Wooooo Hooooo!She was very peaceful all day and we are resting up for the decisions that are to be made over the next couple of days. Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day!


Still Quiet

Just to give all the waiting eyes an update, Avery continues to remain stable and quiet. The team taking care of her has had to actually increase her medication in order to keep her still and quiet. Apparently she really wants to get off her back and wiggle! The team is continuing to ween the ECMO circuit and turn up the ventilator. So far, Avery is tolerating this well. I spoke briefly with one of the surgeons who operated on Avery's hernia...he seemed very pleased with her progression and seemed optimistic about getting her off of ECMO. I hang on every word they say and today he said, "WHEN she gets off of ECMO" rather than "IF she gets off of ECMO". All in all, we are taking each day slowly and trying to let our little girl rest. It is so hard...all I want to do is kiss her and pick her up...hopefully soon.

We enjoyed visits from dear friends and family today. The love and support we have received continues to carry us to the next day...thank you friends. Kaitlyn is back with us for a couple days...I am so happy to see her. I am so torn between my two girls. KK is thrilled to see us and her sister. It's so fun!

Our time in Little Rock continues to be full of blessings...especially the house that we are staying in...thank you Pulaski Heights Baptist Church! I expect that in the next couple days we will continue to ween the ECMO circuit and keep take each day slowly. We will continue to pass on information as it comes!



Memorial Day Memories...

Nothing major to report from the weekend crew at ACH. We had lunch at hospital with Mimi and a friend. Avery had a few more SVT's last night, but they kept it under control. They also turned on the oscillator for her lungs and went down on her Ecmo circuit a couple of notches...great news! I saw Dr. Seib in the cafe' and he had good things to say about her progress. We have friends and family coming to visit tomorrow and other than that we are really trying to let her rest her little eyes and lungs. We saw her stitches from the CDH repair for the first time(pic above) and I don't think she will ever be able to tell she had surgery when she gets to her "bikini" years!! All in all we are staying positive and continuing to lean on each other. Thanks to all and have a blessed Memorial Weekend.


A Bit of Good News

I just spoke with Shane and he seemed pretty encouraged by some news he had gotten from a Neonatologist. It seems like everyone is quite pleasantly surprised by Avery's endurance and strength.

Her ECMO support has been weaned down to a moderate level, so she is doing quite a bit of work on her own. She is still battling pulmonary hypertension, but that is pretty much the norm for babies with CDH.

The doctor said he has only seen one other baby survive under the circumstances that Avery has, but he is quite optimistic about her strength and says they plan to take things one day at a time. There is talk of trying to take her off of ECMO in three days to a week.

So, it's good news today. Avery is kickin' butt and takin' names!!! Bless her sweet, little heart.

Keep up the prayers!


Day 10

Today was a good day for Avery Mae. She has been stable for the most part and resting comfortably. As far as I know, she has not had any other issues with her rapid heart rate so that is good. One of the doctors put another IV in her femoral artery so that there is another way to get meds into her little body. The doctor said it would be faster and much needed when the time comes to get her off of ECMO. I felt encouraged that they are beginning to think about preparing her to be off ECMO as that will be the true test of how the lungs and heart will do on their own.

As far as we are concerned, we have been doing our own little separate things today. Shane spent some time driving around and also went to Walgreens to develop some pics of Avery and the family. I went to the mall briefly to get out of the waiting room and the two grandmas went to see Angels and Demons. Hopefully tonight and tomorrow will be uneventful.

Until tomorrow-Carissa

Many Thanks

This morning is a new day and both Shane and I got some rest overnight. I wanted to just take a moment to give some direct thank you's to the many friends and family members that have been supporting us through this extremely tough time. We are so grateful to each of you have given in his/her own special way.

We have many friends in Fayetteville that are faithfully taking care of some of the things we hold dear and I want to thank you for all the work you are doing. I know my daughter is happy, my dog gets a walk, and the flowers in my yard are watered. I think of you all every night and am eternally grateful for all you have given.

As for those of you who are here with us, we have no words to express the gifts you give. All of the support from Tradehome Shoes... thank you for allowing my husband to sit by my side with no questions asked. Everyone in Dr. Wendel's office, each of you precious ECMO technicians that keep our daughter as safe as possible, all the friends that have helped translate the medical portion of this journey, every single nurse and physician that has been a part of Avery's journey, our family members who have sacrificed their days to sit with us...and many many more who have sent prayers and thoughts our way. Please know that you help in more ways than you could ever imagine.

As for Avery, this morning she is still doing well. The team has made some adjustments to one of her IV's in hopes that it may decrease the occurance of her rapid heart rate. She still looks good and appears to be readjusting to her newly placed organs. We are getting close to the 24 hour mark of surgery so we will continue to wait and practice patience.

Again, please feel our appreciation and gratitude!




As promised, I am here with the detailed update...

As Carissa said, the surgery went well. Avery came through it like the champ that she is.

However, the news that Shane and Carissa got after the surgery was not as good as expected. Matter of fact, it was just the opposite.

Avery's stomach, intestines, spleen and part of her liver were in her chest cavity and were moved back down. The hole in her diaphragm was too large to be closed with the muscle, so they had to use a gortex patch. She has a pretty good some visible left lung, which is good. They didn't address her right lung at the time. They were unable to completely close her belly, so they placed a patch across the gap that will grow with her as she grows.

Avery's heart struggled quite a bit during the surgery. She went into SVT (which is, a technical term for a very rapid heart rate) during surgery and they had trouble getting it back to a normal level. Shane said that her heart beat got as high as 247 beats per minute. However, at last report it had gone down.

Avery is experiencing some swelling and oozing (bleeding), but those things are both to be expected after surgery.

Avery, Shane and Carissa need your prayers and love now more than ever. They were told this afternoon that Avery's chances of survival are very small. She has a lot of odds stacked against her.

But, we know that God is the only one that knows the plans for Avery's life. Plans that no doctor could possibly know. Avery is holding her own and no one is giving up, but as you can imagine the news was devastating.

The next 24-48 hours are expected to be rough for Avery, so please be in prayer for her. Please be in prayer for Shane and Carissa...for their strength and peace of mind.

She's Out

Details to come later, but I just wanted to let you know that Avery is out of surgery and the first thing out of the surgeons mouth was "everything went well". I guess that is a good sign seeing as surgeons don't usually spew BS. We are all doing ok...just dealing with the news in our own ways. The next 24-48 hours are expected to be rough for little miss thang...I promise that Bethany will update with all the details later tonight. We appreciate all the love you have all been sending. Avery has accomplished a lot in her eight days and we sure hope she sticks with that trend.

Love to all- Carissa

It's About That Time

Surgery is scheduled for 3:30pm. I will update as soon as I hear anything.

Please be praying!

Today's the Day!

Avery had a great night! No clotting. No bleeding.

The platelets have arrived!

The surgery is scheduled for this afternoon.

Be praying!


The Waiting Game

Well, I just got word that the surgery has been delayed again, but this time it's not due to anything of concern with Avery.

I guess the hospital is out of platelets for Avery's blood type and they are expecting more to arrive tomorrow from Missouri or Texas.

So, they will wait a little longer...

Proud Mommy & Daddy

Big Day!!!

I just got an email from Shane...

He said that if all goes as planned, Avery will have her CDH repair surgery later today!!

The doctor did an echo of her heart and said that hole is still there, but the good news is that she does not have pulmonary stenosis, which is the narrowing of things that...shouldn't be narrow. (Hey, I'm not a doctor!) I think basically what it means is that there is good blood flow between Avery's heart and lungs.

They are changing her ECMO cicuit again (which she has done well with in the past) and giving her some steroids in preparation for her surgery this afternoon.

Also, today is Avery's one week birthday!!! Happy Birthday, sweet girl!!!!

Please, pray for Avery, her doctors and her parents this afternoon. I'm sure all will be fine. This is a BIG step in the right direction!!!

Shane wanted me to pass along the address of the house where they are staying...

The Fields Centre
Attn: Keirsey Family
4000 Woodlawn
Little Rock, AR 72205


Almost a week! Energizer Baby!


I just got an email from the Keirseys...

The doctors have decided to hold off on the surgery for now.

Avery is still have some bleeding and they feel that the surgery would be too risky at this point. They believe that they may not be able to do the surgery until Avery is off of ECMO, but they don't believe she is strong enough at this point to hold her own without it. The doctors are discussing options.

Carissa said that basically they are "between a rock and a hard place."

Please pray for Avery, for the doctors who are making big decisions and for Shane and Carissa. I will update as soon as hear anything else.


Hope for tommorrow!

Well here we are on our sixth day since baby Avery graced our presence. We had a pretty good day with all sorts of visitors and sweet gifts for Avery Mae! She had a bout with low blood pressure again and on and off heparin, but all in all she is still stable. At one point when I was in with the cardiologist, as we discussed her chest leak, he said that Avery had a strong enough heart to pump against the flow of ecmo! Good news!I also forgot that tomorrow is CDH prayer and awareness day...coincidentally Avery's surgery day! We will have more prayers on this day for CDH awareness than any other. God really does work in mysterious ways. Other than losing my camera sd card and not being able to get my old Honda out of park, we are feeling very blessed. Looking forward to and a little scared for her surgery tomorrow, but when that is over they can assess her organ placement. Then we move to the next step of weening her off the ecmo machine. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. As I sat with Avery today, an Angel One heli was taking off causing vibrations and she quivered and opened both eyes almost all the way! Simple pleasures.Thanks again, Shane father to Kaitlyn Mac and Avery Mae.


Mommy's and Daddy's love going into day 6!

Day 5

Well, this is my first time to post since Avery has been born. Shane and Bethany have been doing a great job of keeping everyone posted on the ongoings around here. Quite honestly, I have been running around like a crazy person all week long. I have not had much down time so I have not had a chance to post on here. So let me just officially say, thank you to all of you for your continuous support. We are taking each day as it comes, and actually feeling positive for the most part.

As of today, Avery is still stable and doing well. She is opening her eyes, moving around, and pooping and peeing...just like her father :>). She is doing all the things a little baby should be doing. Last night we had dinner with some dear friends and it was so nice to get out and have some social time. We laughed (I drank wine..hehe) and just had a really relaxing time. When we got back to the hospital, we went to say goodnight to Avery. I was sooooo tired and drained and probably feeling the wine, but I really wanted to tell Avery goodnight. When we went in she was moving a lot and opening her eyes and I just burst into tears. It is almost harder to see her awake. She wanted to make noice and cry and I never wanted to hear a baby cry so bad in my life. The nurse said she had been rooting a lot and all I wanted to do is pull her out of that bed and nurse her. It killed me!!!! I felt so helpless. It was like I couldn't give her what she wanted. Anyways, today I feel better and it was good to have a hard cry. Shane and I went back to the house and just cried and held each other. Sometimes uncontrollable crying is good for the soul.

Today we will again be surrounded by friends. We hope to make a trip to Target and maybe Old Navy to grab some necessaties and make a little sign for Baby Ave! Thanks to everyone again...to be continued.


As for our "FREE" house, We will serve the LORD!!

A Day of Blessings

I have gotten three text messages from Shane today...

One said that they got to change a poopy diaper! That is good for two reasons...the first one being, that when your child is in the hospital you can do very little to feel like a "real" parent. You get excited about things like...well...poopy diapers. The second reason that it's a blessing is that it means Avery's digestive system is functioning properly.

Another of Shane's texts said that Avery has been moving around and even opening her eyes!!! How exciting is that to see her eyes for the first time??? Also, due to the bleeding that Avery was having a couple days ago, the doctors took her off of Heparin (which is a blood thinner that is very important for babies on ECMO so they don't clot), but due to her improved condition, they are putting her back on it. That is good, too. It lessens her chances of complications from ECMO.

Last, but not least, Shane and Carissa have been given a place to stay...a house not far from the hospital...free of charge. I just teared up writing that. God is so good. He really is so, so good.

CDH repair surgery is scheduled for first thing Monday morning if all goes as planned.

So, needless to say the Keirsey's are having a very blessed day and lovin' every minute of it!!! Keep the prayers coming!!


These are more pleasant pics!!!

Thursday Afternoon

Hi guys! I just got a phone call from Shane and I could tell immediatley by his voice that today was a MUCH better day!!

He said they found a leaky vein somewhere in Avery's chest. It was causing her to bleed quite a bit and that's why they couldn't get her blood pressure up. So, they went in and repaired it and since then her blood pressure is up to a good level and she has started peeing again!!!! Praise God!

Shane said she is much less swollen and is just having an all around good day. He took some new pictures that I'm sure he will post later. For now, he and Carissa are strolling around down by the river in Little Rock and getting some fresh air.

The new plan for her CDH repair surgery is that it will take place on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Thank you, on Shane and Carissa's behalf, for all your support and prayers.


Rest up for the big day AMK!!

Wednesday Night

I just spoke with Shane and the news tonight is somewhat discouraging, but by no means, hopeless.

The doctors have to decided to postpone Avery's surgery for 24 hours. Her blood pressure is low, her platelets are a little out of whack and she is swollen due to poor kidney function, which they believe is a result of her low blood pressure.

She is being put on two new anti-biotics because they feel as though she may have an infection, but so far all of her blood cultures have come back negative.

Carissa, Kaitlyn and their families were able to spend the day at the hospital and were able to get in some quality time with Avery. Carissa is back at the hotel for the night to get some much needed rest, while Shane is spending the night at the hospital to keep a close eye on Avery.

Please continue to pray for Avery...that her little body is storng enough to fight all that is laid out before her. I will update tomorrow.

Wednesday Afternoon Update

Hi, guys! It's Bethany again. Shane and I have been taking turns updating the blog.

I just got an email from Shane and Carissa so I am here to update you on the day's events.

Avery is stable and Carissa was discharged from UAMS today!! Great news!!

Carissa said Avery's platelets and blood pressure are a little low, but are being adjusted. As of now, the plan is to go ahead with the CDH repair surgery around noon tomorrow. Shane and Carissa are obviously nervous about it, but are happy to be moving forward.

Not too much to update today. Everyone seems to be doing quite well.

Please pray for Avery tomorrow as she goes through another surgery. Shane and Carissa appreciate all the love and support.

I'm sure one of us (Shane, Carissa or I) will update with news tomorrow.

Avery's day 2!


13 is a lucky number!

Well, we have made it thru a full day, Avery's birthday! We didn't think we would get out of Fayetteville in time, and we did. We conquered the C-section, with some agony on Carissa's part. Our hope that we would hear a wimper out of Avery's frail little body came true as she came into the world! She also transferred from one machine to the next by the talented Angel One Ground Team with the only complications being adjustments and tweaking of valves and knobs. A smooth ride over to ACH seemed effortless! The scary but sometimes misunderstood ECMO was challenging because of Avery's difficult anatomy, but the heart team put their heads together and went straight to the problem area, literally. And as I stayed with Avery for a while tonight, tickling her cute little toes, stroking her tiny warm head, and whispering in her fuzzy little ear. My hopes that she would respond to her Daddy's familiar voice that she has heard over these past months came true! She twitched her eyes and stretched her foot while trying to grasp my finger with her itty bitty hand... and we made history together because it is now May 13th, 2009. As we push thru the night I know now we must win these little battles as a family and take it one hour at a time, or you can just call them "baby steps"! Good night Mae Baby, Love Daddy.

Tuesday Night Update

I just got off the phone with Shane and he filled me in on the events of the rest of the day.

Avery has been successfully placed on ECMO. However, they had to open her chest and place the cannulas directly into her heart instead of going through the veins in her neck, due to her heart condition. Also, because of this new development Avery has been moved to the CVICU and out of NICU. Shane said it's hard for him to see her this way, but he knows these measures are what it takes to save her life.

Since being place on ECMO all of her numbers have stablized and everyone seems happy with how she is fairing this evening.

Carissa will be (hopefully) up and walking in the next few minutes. From what I have heard, discharge is still scheduled for tomorrow if all goes well.

Shane mentioned that Kaitlyn is having a particulary hard time being away from both her parents and understanding why Avery is suddenly consuming all of Shane's time. She is at a hotel with her grandparents, so we know she is in good hands, but please say a prayer for Kaitlyn tonight...that she will be reassured of her parents' love for her and that she will develop an understanding of what is going on with her baby sister. Shane said they are going to try to let Kaitlyn visit Avery tomorrow.

Please, keep the Keirseys in your prayers tonight, as I know you all will.

Pics before ecmo surgery....

Afternoon Update #2

This is Bethany again. I spoke with Carissa on the phone just a few minutes ago and she passed along some new information about Avery.

When Avery got to ACH this afternoon, they did an echo-cardiogram (a fancy test) of her heart. They were trying to determine where to go from this point on. The doctors basically said that they didn't feel Avery could withstand the CDH repair surgery without being on ECMO (a heart/lung bypass machine). However, ECMO is a risky procedure, especially with a heart defect involved. But, after careful consideration, the doctors at ACH have decided to go ahead with the ECMO procedure, which is under way right now.

This will, hopefully, be a time for Avery's heart and lungs to rest and get stronger.

Carissa is feeling well and is planning on getting up and trying to walk within the next couple of hours. If all goes well, she will be discharged in the morning. I know it's so hard for her to be away from Avery. As for tonight, she is planning on some down time with Kaitlyn and her good friends.

Carissa said she will be in touch with me through the evening hours and as soon as I know more I will update the blog.

Hopefully, this will be a quiet, restful night for everyone. Keep the prayers coming!

As many pictures as I can share for now...

Afternoon Update on Avery

Below is Avery's blog button. Please, feel free to add it to your blog. Thank you, Rachel, for making it for the Keirsey family.

Now, for Avery news...
I spoke with Shane just a few minutes ago and he gave me some details. I was writing things down as he was talking to make sure I didn't miss anything on the blog update...

Avery was born a little after 11:00am. When she came out she made a few sounds and tried to cry, which is a good sign. She weighs 5lbs. and 13oz. which is right about what they were told she'd weigh. She is now on the oscillating ventilator, which is a higher frequency than the regular vent. Shane said she was responding well to that. Avery did have to be resuscitated once due to a low heart rate, but Shane said she is more stable now. Her Ph levels are a little lower than they would like for them to be, but her O2 levels are good, which is another good sign. They were told that the CDH itself is a little more severe than they once thought, as there is some bowel above the diaphragm as well.

Shane and Carissa were encouraged by the positivity of the doctors and are feeling pretty good about things at this point. Shane said, "She's not out of the woods by any means, but things are looking good for now." And praise God for that!!

Shane said he and Carissa got to see Avery and touch her before she was taken to ACH. He said he has lots of pictures that he will most likely post here later today or tonight. He said she has rosy cheeks and looks a lot like her big sister, Kaitlyn.

Carissa is doing well with family and friends by her side and is receiving pain medication as needed.

As of now, Avery is being stablizied at ACH. Shane is on his way to be with Avery as we speak and he said he would let me know when there is more news to report.

I want to thank you all again for your love, support and prayers on behalf of Shane, Carissa, Kaitlyn and Avery. I know it means the world to them.

Welcome Avery!

I got a very short update via text message from Shane just a few minutes ago.

He said that everything is going well and Avery is being transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital from UAMS.

He said he would call me shortly with an update and as soon as I hear from him I will update the blog with that information.

Sounds like everything is going well so far. I know Shane and Carissa appreciate your prayers and support today.


Last Minute Appointments

Hey all. I just wanted to continue to update all of you as much as possible. All the appointments that we had today went really well. I have no doubt that we are in good hands and that Avery will be receiving the best care possible. Other than a few other hospitals in the U.S., Arkansas Children's and UAMS are probably some of the best prepared facilities for CDH and heart defects. I take great comfort in knowing that we are getting the attention we deserve. Every doctor we have met with so far has been nothing less than amazing and I am already overcome with intense gratitude.

As for this evening, we are planning to take it easy. Eat, laugh, and be. Tomorrow, my dear friend Bethany Gillham will be taking over update duty. I will be calling her to give her an idea of what is going on and she will be in turn let all of you know the story. I imagine Shane is going to be distracted and I will be on drugs...not to mention neither of us will have easy immediate access to the Internet.

Dr. Wendel will be ready to deliver Avery around 8:30am. We will all wait patiently for the Neonatalogist to be available before delivery so if he/she is running late, we wait. The neonat team is an integral part of Avery's care so we flex for them!!! Hopefully, Avery will be out and I will be in recovery by noon. Once the cord is cut, it will take an hour or so to stabilize her. Short of any absolute emergencies, the team will bring Avery to me in recovery before she is transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) which means I will get to see and touch her before she leaves. This is a huge relief for me because I was concerned that I might not see her at all. Once she arrives at ACH, it will take another hour or so to gather information about her condition. Shane will follow her to ACH and be there to take care of paperwork and all that mess. He should be able to see her after she is stable. I will remain at UAMS to recover from surgery and then make my way to ACH as quickly as possible. Dr. Wendel is hoping that I can be up and moving 12 hours post surgery and released as quickly as 24 hours post. I will have two lovely ladies at my side all day tomorrow to help me both physically and emotionally recover so that Shane can stay with Avery. I am forever indebted to them for their love and kindness! My mom and dad as well as some of Shane's family are on hand to keep tabs on Kaitlyn. It will be a day of absolute chaos but I have no doubt we will be well supported!

That's it for now...


No helicopter ride...thank the good Lord!

Well, Shane made it through almost four months of work with only a few rough spots and I am now at 39 weeks and 2 days! Most importantly we are in Little Rock and surrounded by family and friends(with more to come). Quick meeting tomorrow with the amazing Dr. Wendel who will actually deliver Avery and a tour of UAMS. We will also meet with Neonatologist and discuss our weekly plan. This will be a difficult week for little Kaitlyn because she is out of her comfort zone. She loves her home, dog, yard, neighbors, but most of all...she was really concerned about not having a (box or ceiling) fan! We did the best we could in the La La La La Quinta with a noise maker alarm clock. I have had consistent contractions so we booked it out of Fayetteville before Avery decided to reschedule our week for us! We check in for delivery at 7:00 a.m. on the 12th. We want to thank everyone for the gifts, thoughts, support and love up until this point. We will keep everyone posted if Avery changes her mind before then! God Bless!