Ava's Story

Ava just hours after birth before her shunt surgery.

Ava was born via c-section with a condition known as congenital hydrocephalus. She had a programmable ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP shunt) placed when she was 4 days old at the Medical University of South Carolina.

I found out about Ava's condition at a routine 36 week check up. The doctor said that she wanted to take a quick look to see how big my baby was, so she squeezed me in for an ultrasound. Unlike most other parents who typically find out at their 20 week anatomy check, Ava's fluid on her brain didn't show up until well into the pregnancy.

Ava was born in October 2010 and came out kicking and screaming! Her initial complications were minor an consisted of needing a little oxygen and help maintaining her temperature. By the time her surgery happened, she had mastered those though. After surgery she had some eating issues which caused her to lose a bit of weight. She ended up having a NG tube for about two days until she quit being so stubborn and started to eat. She was born at 8lbs even and left the hospital 2 weeks later at 6lbs 14oz and rising. It was the toughest two weeks of my life.

An MRI at birth concluded that Ava's hydrocephalus was caused by a stroke she had in utero. The cause of the stroke is unknown to this day and will likely remain that way. 

Ava's different obstacles include Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Nystagmus, Strabismus, hypertonia and signs of mild hemiplegia on her left side. She is hitting most milestones either on time or just slightly behind the average child, and with therapy sessions weekly she amazes us even more everyday!

Ava is a true blessing. She loves to laugh at me, follow her brother's every move and get into everything she is not supposed to. She has amazed everyone since hearing of her diagnosis and has beat many odds so far. I hope and I pray daily that she continues on this path.