Born on August 30, 2016, weighing 1 pound 8 ounces, Baby Ava McKayla was delivered 16 weeks early at Wellstar's Kennestone Hospital with a small chance of survival. She was born right at the cusp of when a Doctor would consider a premature baby a viable one.
Thanks to the amazing care she has continually received in the NICU at Kennestone Hospital Baby Ava slowly began to thrive. All of the nurses knew that Ava was a fighter, often calling her "feisty." Three months later though Alicia received a call advising that Ava would be transported to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egelston due to concerns of eye disease, which is only one of the many complications babies born at her gestation may go through. Once at Egelston, Mom went from thinking this would be a short visit to her daughter needing surgery on her intestines within 24 hours. Not at all what Mom or Dad were expecting, but Miss Ava has somehow survived and, to date, has been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit since her birth over 10 months ago -- the longest surviving NICU resident they've cared for, meaning that she actually outgrew the unit.
While being the eldest of preemies in NICU, she was simply too fragile to be moved to the pediatric NICU. Ava became "one of their own" within the hospital in a very short time. It broke all of their heart's to see Ava at such a sickly state when she was so lively and happy all of the time prior to April's surgery. They never gave up on her though, especially Dr. Williams, the best Doctor Mom states she has ever met.
Throughout this past year Baby Ava has undergone 4 surgeries, with the last one almost taking her life. The week before the surgery, little Ava had started making attempts to begin "talking" and blowing "bubbles," and then she underwent what they hoped was her last surgery, but apparently it was too much for her. She lost too much blood due to scar tissue that was found while doing what was supposed to be a simple procedure. She could not maintain her own stats or oxygen saturations and was in a tremendous amount of pain. Even moving her big toe was too much work for Miss Ava so the staff placed her in a medically induced coma and was put on life support with a 1-5% chance of survival.
Throughout Ava's difficult and heart-wrenching journey, her mom, Alicia, not only lived in constant fear of losing her baby and her job, but was dividing her time between work, raising her two other girls, regular trips to the hospital, and running her household all while moving from one home and into a new one to make room for her daughter. And unbelieveably, Alicia did lose her job for not being in on time every single day, never being more than 5-6 minutes behind.
The good news: After almost a year of living under this tremendous burden, Baby Ava may be going home. It is truly a God-send that she has survived. Her mother and sisters are too happy for words.
But while everyone is celebrating, Alicia is secretly wondering how in the world she is going to continue to support her girls while affording the extra expenses that this homecoming and the next year will require. Ava is too delicate to go to a daycare setting and is required to stay at home to take care of her medical needs. Ava's Dad, Michael, has been a marching force for his daughter, a strong advocate, supportive of Mom, Alicia, throughout. He was at the hospital night after night praying for a miracle for his little girl every time the hospital called. Michael has helped Alicia as much as he can, but the expenses are too much. He has also has two younger children, London 11 and Gavin 7, at home and juggles the same daily routine of trying to get everything done without enough hours in a day to do so. While in the midst of praying and fighting for Ava, Michael and his family have several loved ones including his last Grandfather just a few short weeks ago. Although separated, Mom and Dad are equally there for Ava. They have a good relationship and Alicia feels it is important for everyone to know this because there are so many father's who are not there. She says that his children are his whole world, which is the exact same way Alicia feels about her children. There is nothing but love for Ava, who comes from a very loving and caring family.
We hope you can find it in your heart to contribute to the medical and living expenses as Baby Ava settles into her little family's home for the first time ever. I know that Alicia would not ask herself, and never has so, that is why I started this campaign for her. Baby clothes, diapers, formula, back to school stuff for her other children --all these things cost money that is already stretched so thin.
Give what you can, say a prayer for Ava and her family, and know how much your help is appreciated. xo
- Lakiesha Harris
- Staci Mcchesney
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