August 22, 2003 – February 5, 2007
Memorial Video of Ava: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYPVU4UoTe8&feature=related
Our most cherished and adored daughter, Ava, made her entrance on August 22, 2003 and flew to Heaven on February 05, 2007 at the age of 3.
Most people wait for their daughters for nine months. I waited for Ava my whole life. I have always been a girly girl. I adore my boys, it goes without saying, but I was desperate for a girl. It's a good thing she did come along third time around...I would have never stopped making babies until I got a pink one.
When the scan man told me she was a she I went into stunned silence before getting a little bit panicked..I told him not to make such a claim unless he was truly certain, that there was no doubt that she really was a girl. He said "either she is or he's a strange looking boy".
I immediately went shopping. I did not stop smiling for weeks. I ordered her cot linen from the USA and hand painted her furniture for months. I spent many moments just sitting on the floor in her room, folding her things and dreaming about finally meeting my little girl.
I went into labour on my due date and my sister Angie came as an extra support person. It was a fantastic labour and she was delivered in water into her Daddy's arms (there was a last minute squabble between her Aunt and her dad over who would lift her out!)
She was an incredibly easy baby and I often said the transition from two to three children was barely noticeable. She fitted in perfectly and the boys adored her. Between Grandad, Daddy, myself and the boys she was never short of a cuddle.
Around two and a half, she started to really show her personality. She loved to dance to the Wiggles and Grandad's keyboard music. She loved kindy and they loved her..She couldn't wait to meet up with her best friend Kiralee and was always sitting in a teachers lap when we'd collect her.
By the time she was three, we'd joke that she ruled the house. I'd tell her Dad "You're too soft on Ava..she gets away with everything" and he'd sheepishly agree.
As much as I adored shopping for her and dressing her up, we'd have squabbles over what she'd wear. If I dared try to put her in anything other than pink it'd always end in tears. Once, for some strange reason, I thought a black cardigan would be a good thing and when I took it out of the bag, she emphatically announced "Oh that's not mine"!! The very few times I insisted she wear something, she'd just wait until my back was turned, run back into her room and change. She'd come back out looking so smug..I could never find the energy for a second round!
Her hair was another issue all together.. I'd jokingly tell her "I only had you so I could play with hair accessories" but much to my horror, she hated them. I'd try my very best to distract her whilst slipping a clip in but she was too smart..her hand would go straight up and rip out whatever I'd popped in..along with clumps of hair.
I also loved to put her in knee high socks but I only got away with that for a few months before she realized she could push them down and turn them into leg warmers. I'm sure she did it just to spite me. In the last few months, she decided there was nothing better than licensed clothing, usually the polyester variety, so we ended up with half the cupboard filled with taffeta princess dresses and Barbie skirts. Her favorite ensemble was a combination of those frocks and swimming costumes..usually a few at once. It's testament to how much I love her that after all of my planning of a beautiful wardrobe, I let her get around like that!!
She loved anything girly - nail polish and lip gloss especially. So often I'd find my new gloss hiding in some obscure location..It was not safe to let her loose in my bathroom! If she saw me doing my makeup she'd plead and plead "Lips Mummy? Lips?" until I'd relent and let her have a bit of gloss which she'd then proudly show off to her Dad.
Reading back over she sounds like a mini diva but she really wasn't. Ava was so very sweet and so affectionate. She would always say to me "Mummy, iloveyousomuch" like it was one long word and I would say back "No, i love YOU so much" and she would giggle and say it back to me..I'd recently started saying to her "Can I tell you a whisper" and she'd crawl up and put her ear to my mouth while I said "I love you".
She was not a sulky child - even if she was really cranky over something, it would take nothing to get her smiling again. If one of the boys got something, she would cross her arms and say "Hmph. Not fair" and stomp away but we'd only have to say something silly and she'd giggle. If something naughty had occurred and we'd say "Who did this??" she'd ALWAYS answer with "Buca did it"...She couldn't say Luca when she was smaller and then Buca just stuck. Poor Buca, he always got the blame.
She was also notorious for stealing whatever her Dad was eating..She'd come along looking so very innocent and perch up beside him asking "What you eating?" and then "Can I have some?" with her eyebrows raised. He could never say no and she'd manage to swindle most of what he had - she loved smoked salmon and blueberries! She also loved to swim in the pool and would pest most days to get her Dad to take her in where she'd cling on like a koala the whole time. She had gotten a floatie recently and just loved that she could venture off on her own away from Daddy and play with the boys.
She was like so many 3.5 year old girls...She loved pink, fairies, ballerinas (she'd been asking to start classes over the Christmas holidays) and all things sparkly. She loved her room to be tidy and at bed time I'd always have to put everything away while she lay on the bed pointing and dictating where things should go. I'd often read Pat the Bunny, Guess How Much I Love You or a nursery rhyme book before we'd say goodnight. I could never leave without her calling out for "one more cuddle", six times over. She was such a good girl at bedtime but pretty grumpy in the mornings, her crazy curls covering her scowl for the first ten minutes of the day! She would always cheer up once Dora the Explorer was on which was every morning without fail. She adored all things Dora.
Probably more than anything though, she loved her Grandad. He lived next door so he was as much a part of Ava's life as we were. He took her to kindy and picked her up most days. He played with her for hours and spoiled her rotten. No matter how many times I'd ask him to limit the treats, he'd go behind my back and give her chocolates when I wasn't around. She'd started to sleep over quite often - the three children were supposed to take turns but she'd be so heartbroken if it wasn't her turn I'd usually relent. It made her so happy and he was the happiest man on Earth to wake up with her singing "You are my sunshine" to him. They were like two little playmates and I felt so happy that there was another person on Earth that truly loved Ava as much as we do.
The week before the accident, I had been in hospital with kidney surgery. I had been away from Ava before but this time she really missed me..I could hear it in her voice when I spoke to her on the phone. I was so glad to get home on the Wednesday and she was absolutely thrilled to see me. I spent the next few days recovering so didn't get to do a lot with her but by the Saturday I was well enough to spend the whole morning just spending time with her, watching tv and looking through toy catalogues.
At 10.30 am I went next door to Grandads to use the computer over there and she came with me. She sat right beside me while I proofed some photos and at midday Luca asked if we could do some rearranging in his bedroom. I turned the computer off and I took the three children back to my place but on the way Ava started to pest for something she'd left behind. I told her to go get it and then come home again. It's only about 10 meters to his door and we have one big wall around both properties so the kids can roam from one house to the other all day. She went back to Grandads and I went upstairs with the boys and Crayton to being changing the rooms over. We spent an hour there and it did cross my mind a few times that Ava wasn't there helping but I knew she was at Grandads and believed she was watching TV and having lunch, as she did on so many days.
When we came downstairs, Crayton went next door and then I heard him call out to the boys to ask if they knew where Ava was. Immediately I felt alarmed that she wasn't where I'd assumed so I went out the front of our house where Grandad was standing. I said "where's Ava?" and he said "I don't know..she said she was going to the car" and before he could finish his sentence, which was to say "and then to your house", I turned and ran to the car which was only parked a few steps away. I immediately found her inside and I knew instantly that it was very bad. I had seen only a few days previously a story on television about children in hot cars and how little time it takes for serious damage to occur. She had been in the car up to 30 minutes - all the while Grandad thought she had come to my house and I still believed her to be with him. We never park on the driveway normally and the car was normally locked but it had been left unlocked by mistake earlier that day. We believe she had gone in to get lollies and shut the door to hide.
The next thirty minutes were absolutely chaotic while we desperately tried to cool Ava down with water and waited for an ambulance. It seemed to take forever. Ava was still breathing but not conscious and we all felt very, very scared. When the police arrived with the ambulance, it was like a reinforcement that it really was as bad as I thought.
Ava was taken to the local hospital where they put her on life support and cooled her body right down in an attempt to limit brain damage. We simply could not process what had happened and when we were told there was a reasonable chance she could die, our World collapsed. She was taken up to the Mater PICU later that night and placed in an induced coma. We were told she would stay like that for a few days and then they would start to raise her body temperature 1 degree at a time and bring her out of the coma. We had to just wait and see just how much damage she had suffered and I can't describe the agony that we endured wondering just how our little girl would be. We had excellent support from the Mater, they were amazing, but at the end of the day, no-one could tell us whether Ava would live or die and whether she'd be anything like the Ava we knew.
Over the next two days, her statistics improved slightly and we were told there was a good chance she would survive. On Monday we drove down to the Gold Coast to see the boys and Ivy. I was unsure about going home but Angie was going to remain with Ava the whole time and the nursing staff were confident it was fine to leave. Only 2 hours later, while we were home the hospital rang to say she had become unstable. We live an hour from the hospital and whilst frantically driving up the highway, we got a call to say she had suffered a heart attack. I knew in that moment there was no hope and by the time we got to her, she had already passed away.
The coroners report stated that Ava died after suffering extensive brain damage which ultimately stopped her ability to control her blood pressure. She did not suffer a heat attack as the doctors believed at the time.
I'm sure to some people it would sound terrible that we could not be right with Ava through her last hour but to me, it is a direct gift from her that we were not. I only got to see one minute of them working on her and it was unbearable. I thank God and Ava that circumstances turned out the way they did - Ava died with her Aunt Angie holding her, never leaving her side, whispering into her ear and staying calm. I can never thank my sister for what she did for us through that 48 hours and what she did for Ava in her last moments. Angie helped Ava into this World and she guided her out, with absolute love and tenderness. There are no words for what that means to us.
It's so hard to try to imagine a life and a family without Ava. As the months and now years pass, I've pondered long and hard just what made her so amazing. She was a beautiful soul who totally enchanted those who met her. She was confident but not precocious. She was the happiest child who knew she was so loved. She never had an unhappy day or experienced anything other than security, tenderness and affection. Every single day we struggle to fathom what has happened. How could our perfectly normal day in our perfectly happy life could turn so tragically into our very worst nightmare? That we could lose one of our most treasured possessions in the blink of an eye? Our World is completely altered without her, nothing will ever fill the void she has left and our hearts will forever ache with missing her.
My darling baby girl, I love YOU so much.
For further information please visit www.AvasRule.com