Tyson Hugh Hooper

Tyson Hugh Hooper
Our son, Tyson Hugh Hooper, was born with coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic arch, and a transitional avsd. His first open heart surgery reconstructed his aorta and was on day 9 of life. His second open heart repair was not anticipated to be needed until two or three years of age. Ty had other plans. We spent the vast majority of his first 3 months of life at Vanderbilt as he went into heart failure and was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. As a result, the medical team concluded that he needed the repair much sooner than usually recommended, and at just shy of 3 months old Ty underwent his second life saving open heart surgery. God has already worked so many miracles in Ty's life and the life of our family and we know he is using our story. Because of this, we are grateful for Ty's special heart and feel beyond blessed that God chose us to travel this road. We ask for prayers as Ty continues to heal. We are praying for a full recovery and life without restrictions for Ty. We are praying for God to use our family and Ty for His glory.

Thank you to each and every person who supports us through prayer, giving, or just by loving on our family! We are humbled and blessed by all of the ways the Lord is providing for us and know that he is using Ty and his story to do great things!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 1...

I couldn't believe the day my baby turned one week old!  How could time fly by so fast!  I was going to be so good about documenting everything and posting on the blog and taking pictures!  Turns out it's harder to balance all that and enjoy soaking it up too!  Time is flying by, and our little angel will be THREE weeks old in just a couple short days, but I still wanted to document week 1...

At the one week mark we started seeing those bright eyes more often!  We can already tell she's growing so fast!  Her eyes are still dark gray, and we can't wait to see if they turn blue or brown!! 

 Ava Grace discovered her love-hate relationship with her swing!  She loves it, but she hates that it makes her fall asleep! lol  She already fights sleep because she doesn't want to miss anything!

Her first week, she did lots of napping in her Moses basket.  We can already tell that she's going to outgrow it quickly, but for now it's a very convenient place her for to nap during the day when we are all in the living room!
The only hitch is that she's still a side-sleeper and the bumper in the basket makes us a little nervous, so we make sure to keep a really close eye on her when she's in there!  :-)  She likes to stare at the polk-a-dots though! 

We also broke out the play mat!  She has really enjoyed laying on it!  We caught a little smile in the above shot - she's been smiling more and more - but we're pretty sure it's involuntary and associated with gas bubbles! lol
The play mat makes a good place to naps too!  She's not too picky, when she finally crashes, she'll nap just about anywhere!  ;-)

Ava Grace is such a good baby!  She almost never cries.  She doesn't mind being laid down awake to "play" most of the time, but she LOVES to be held!  She's just the most precious think and we are so thankful to have her in our lives!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just a few days old...

From:  Ava Grace

I was so excited to get to come home from the hospital.  Daddy couldn't get me out of there fast enough - he was so ready to take me home.  I think my Mommy was a little scared to take me home... she wanted to stick around at the hospital where there were nurses ready to help with anything.  She didn't need to worry much 'cause the very next day...

...we were back at the hospital!  :-)  Not in a bad way though.  I was a little jaundice and so Grandmommy had to take me and Mommy to my pediatrician while Daddy took my big sister to her cheerleading.  When we got done at the pediatricians we had to go to the hospital to have my labs done.  Thankfully, my levels weren't high enough to require action - just lost of eating and going potty to clear me up and then back to check it again on Monday!  The picture above is me on the way to the pediatrician's office... I hadn't discovered my strong dislike of the car seat yet.  ;-)

I did, however, get a chance to discover my strong dislike of bath time!  Oh my word!  It's freezing when you're all wet with no clothes on!  I was starting to think my family was a little crazy!

But then I got some extra snuggle time in my favorite spot and that made it okay!  This is Daddy's special spot for me... and when I get upset, Mommy hands me off and I get all snuggled down in Daddy's arm and it calms me right down every time!  I think every little girl needs a special snuggle spot like mine!

 See?  Here I am again in my special spot!  And check out my outfit - it says Daddy's Cutie... I thought that was pretty appropriate!

When I am not snuggling during the day, I love to be in my Moses Basket!  This way I get to be right in the mix with everyone... even if I'm taking a cat nap.  Oh, and if you are wondering how I got on my side, rest assured that I did it all by myself!  Mommy and Daddy are determined to lay me on my back, but I much prefer my side!  Mommy says I'm her little side-sleeper, and she's right!

Here's my first "real" visit to the pediatrician!  I checked out healthy as could be with some good weight gain and everything!  They made me be naked there too - brrr!!  Thank goodness for Daddy and his warm snuggles!

Whew!  All this in just one short week was a lot!  I am taking my world in every day and already learning so many new things!  I have also met so many special people!  It tires me out just thinking about it!  I better catch another nap...

...hopefully I can find my thumb again.  I have a hard time keeping my paci in my mouth, but I sure do enjoy it... oh, but when I can get my thumb... that's good stuff!  I had my hands in my face in all of Mommy's ultrasounds, but I can't seem to get my fingers where I want them!  This is the only time I was able to get it to all work together, but I'll keep practicing!

See y'all soon!

Ava Grace Hooper

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lots of firsts...

Ava Grace's first couple of days held lots of firsts for her...

First official photo shoot! 

 Firs hearing test - passed!

First time putting on real clothes - whew - that was a worrisome workout for Mommy!  Good thing Daddy changes clothes and diapers at lightening speed! lol

First visit with Megan and Web... and... 

...first visit with Lauren too! 

Meeting big sis for the first time!
Lily said, "I like her!  Let's keep her!" LOL
They are already big buddies! 

Her first couple days included lots of bonding time with Mommy and Daddy, of course!

We also learned for the first time that her face was not bruised during delivery as we first thought.  After a clean up in the nursery and a good night's sleep, we found out that she has a birthmark on her face.  It's a port wine stain that is most likely JUST a birthmark, but on rare occasions can be associated with a couple of syndromes.  We'll be checking into that soon and also the procedure to have it removed by laser at some point.  In the mean time, we call it her extra sweet spot and she gets LOTS of extra kisses on that very sweet face!

We sure do love our little monkey!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meeting Ava Grace

It's hard to believe that a week has passed since we met our sweet Ava Grace.  It's hard to express this feeling - although I am sure all you mommies out there relate!  I feel like she was just in my belly yesterday and now she's already a week old!  I wish time would stand still!  This explains why I haven't blogged yet... I have been recovering and soaking up every moment, but now I want to share with you the story of Ava Grace's arrival!

Last Tuesday, January 10th, I had a regularly scheduled OB appointment.  As you know, I had been on bed rest and Dr. Hamrang was seeing me every 4 or 5 days for ultrasounds and to check our progress.  Although progress was slow... and I mean S-L-O-W... Ava Grace was growing like crazy in her warm little hot tub in my belly!  On Tuesday, we found me still at only 1 cm and she still hadn't dropped much - her station was -3 (stations start at -5 which is totally up in my belly, to 0 which is in the middle of my pelvis, and all the way to 5 which is crowning).  My ultrasound Tuesday estimated that Ava Grace would weigh over 8 lbs, though.  With this consideration, even thought my doctor considered me "just on the edge of inducible," she decided it was better to take her.  Imagine our surprise when the nurse came back and said, "Do y'all have plans for tomorrow?  How'd you like to have this baby?"  We were thrilled!  Excited!  Nervous!  The whole bit!  My induction was scheduled for Wednesday, January 11, 2012.  We went to the hospital to pre-register and then out for a steak dinner - my last meal!  :-)

After trying to get a good night's sleep we got up to a VERY rainy morning!  We took one last belly shot (26 lbs total weight gain... I was shooting for 25 or less, so I was pretty satisfied) and headed for the hospital.

After arriving at the hospital at 5:30 AM they wasted no time in trying to get my labor started!  They began IV fluids, an antibiotic drip, and pitocin.  Every 15 minutes they upped the pitocin and my body responded with mild contractions.  By 9:30 Dr. Hamrang had been by to check me and break my water.  I stayed at 1.5 cm and my contractions picked up.  Although I considered them painful, doctor Hamrang said I had still not achieved active labor.  I asked for my epidural and continued to crank up the pitocin.  I must pause here and say, THANK YOU LORD for epidurals!  There are no words for how wonderful that thing is!  It hurt like fire going in, but it was so worth it!  It was around 2 or 3 in the afternoon before I achieved active labor, but by that point I couldn't feel a thing.  Unfortunately my body still wasn't responding too well - I was still sitting around 80% and 2 cm and still station -2... s-l-o-w going!  Around 5:00 we still weren't making much progress and by 6:00 we were only at 5 cm and Dr. Hamrang began to think about a c-section.  She told me she would give me one more hour and if I didn't make drastic change in that hour, she was going to go ahead and take her.  Around 7 I started feeling pressure and by 7:15 Dr. Hamrang came in to check me!  She lifted the sheet and said, "Wow, there she is, I can see her!"  I had gone from 5cm and not much else to 10cm, 100%, and station 3 in just an hour and we were ready to push! Once she decided to come, she came fast and at 7:55 we met our Ava Grace!

She had a rough trip through the birth canal and came out so smooshed!  She came through my pelvis at an angle and had a crazy looking, sideways cone head, a smooshed ear, and what we thought was a big bruise on her face (more on that later), but we didn't care - we still thought she was the most beautiful little girl we'd ever seen and knew she was perfect in every way!

She weighed in at 7 lb 6 oz and 20 inches long!  Her Daddy was the best coach ever - he was there for my every need and helped during labor by holding my very numb leg and feeding me ice!  My mom assisted on the other side with my other very numb leg!  Both were as excited as I was to meet our sweet girl, and I do mean sweet!  Even after her rough trip into this world, she didn't even cry!  It scared her dad and I to death, but they assured us she was pink and perfect!  Her apgar was a 9  and she was just happy to be with us and so alert!  After a clean up and some bonding time, we brought in grandparents to meet the new addition!

Here are Ava Grace and Papaw (my daddy) meeting for the first time!  Yes, she is taking it all in and making eye contact - she stayed awake and alert like this for a couple of hours after her birth and never cried the whole time!

Mimi (Chris' mom) was next, and then..

her Pap (Chris' dad).

Grandmommy was my delivery room assistant and photographer, so she had already "met" Ava Grace upon arrival, but hadn't actually held her until this picture was taken.  I know these two will be inseperable!

So that's the story of how our sweet girl arrived.  It was a very big  and special day.  There really are not words I can type here to convey our feelings, but rest assured we are thrilled and head over heels in love with this tiny little person.

Thank you, Lord, for choosing us to be her parents - we feel blessed beyond measure and overcome with joy and love.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I have struggled with the need to post this for several days.  It's been a struggle because I know that there are no words that can do justice to the gratitude I feel, but I am burdened with the  need to try.  As most of you already know, in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, my doctor put me on bed rest because my blood pressure wasn't as stable as she wanted it to be.  Although I have litterally had the "perfect" pregnancy by her definition - perfect labs, perfect weight gain, perfect growth and health throughout, she wanted to be aggressively cautious, which I appreciate, but it couldn't have come at a worse time.  During the last three weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and help.  I literally don't know what we would have done without the help that a few people brought.

My Mama.
The most generous person I know.  She gives and gives and gives.  She gives her heart, her service, her love.  She came to the rescue when it was time to move in to our new home and I was stuck on the couch!  She cleaned, scrubbing on her hands and knees.  She lifted boxes, unpacked boxes, organized, and put things away.  She worked tirelessly and without breaks to make my new house feel like a home.  And then?  She went back to work for a few days, waited for my sister to arrive, and then returned with my sister to do more of the same for the majority of her Christmas "break!"  She did what I was unable to do, but needed to do so badly.  From cleaning and putting away to shopping and stocking the pantry.  She did it all.  I was amazined, in awe, and overcome with gratitude that I still can't adequately express.  So grateful that to this moment, as I type, it brings tears to my eyes!

My sister.
(I love this picture of her being "glam" at my wedding, lol)
I only get to see her about once a year when she is able to make a trip down from her home in Montana.  She only gets quality time with her family here once, maybe twice a year.  Moments are precious with her.  And what did she do?  About as soon as she hit the state of Tennessee, she loaded up with mom to join the work of settling me into my new home.  When she should have been on vacation and catching up with family she hadn't seen since April, she was here, in our new home mopping floors and putting away laundry.  She too cleaned, unpacked, shopped, everything!  She'll never know how special that was to me and how much I appreciate her sacrifice of time and rest and her love and her efforts in those days leading up to New Years Eve.

My Daddy.
He drove.  He drove back and forth from Chattanooga to Murfreesboro, to our new home and back again.  He drove all over the midstate loading and unloading furniture, belongings from our house and town house, and packing and unpacking.  He worked non-stop.  And in the middle of all that took time out to take Chris' car to the repair shop so that it would pass emissions and to the emissons testing for us!  He found us a steal of a deal on a dryer, drove me to it (our old one was gas and our new home is electric) and then paid for it himself.  He gave of himself, his time, his money and helped us in too many ways to count!  He is the most selfless person I know.

In addition to those monumental and seemingly endless hours of hard work and manual labor, so many have helped in other ways...

Chris' parents have shuttled me to and from when Chris had to be at work.  They have delivered me to the doctor's office so that I could be on time and Chris could meet me there.  They have opened their home for us to stay when needed - especially during the days when I would have been home alone and quite a distance from the hospital. 

Our friends Jay and Web who gave up a whole day of their Christmas vacation and used their own vehicles and gas to pack and transport boxes and furniture. 

Our friend Anne, who has driven all the way up here to pick me up and take me to Murfreesboro when needed.  Who has provided meals and a blood pressure monitor when the doctor ordered and a stand-in when my mom couldn't be here by bringing ice cream and magazines - essential for a mommy-to-be on bed rest!

My friend Courtney, who used a cancelled lunch date with another friend of ours to offer to bring me lunch.  She has no clue how much she made my day and how excited I was when she called!!  My first "official" guest in our new home. She drove over from Hendersonville with her little boy, Benjamin, with lunch for an afternoon of visiting and mommy-talk!

So many friends who email, text, and call almost daily checking to see how I am and encouraging me.

I am so blessed.
I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.
I thank God for putting so many loving and special people in my life.

I hope I can be as generous and as much of a blessing to those I love as others have been for me these past few weeks!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas in stages...

This year Christmas seemed to come in stages.  Very slow, spread out stages.  I was hit hard with the Christmas spirit and then knocked on my ... well... you know... when I was put on bed rest the day before we moved!  I still maintain that my blood pressure was up due to all the excitement, but my doctor is very aggressive and maintained that I was to stay on the couch!  This made for some difficulties with a move and major holiday (for which I was not done shopping) in the following days.  So first came the move, then the Christmas shopping (done either without me or with me in a wheel chair, lol), and then Christmas and New Years.  It was certainly a different kind of Christmas, but overall it was fun.

My husband, I can say, did not get a Christmas "break" this year.  He packed our whole house - partly on his own and then with the help of my parents and a couple dear friends.  He took care of me.  He did some cooking, some cleaning, some a lot of unpacking, and some a lot of driving.  In all this he also managed to make it a Very Merry Christmas!

We enjoyed Christmas day (evening) at Chris' parent's house.  We opened gifts and shared good food and good conversation.

The highlight of Christmas is always the kids and we all soaked up some Lily time (here she is seen with her Pap - Chris' Dad).  Lily spent the first half of the break with her mother, so by Christmas day we were itching to love on her and celebrate the season with her laughter in the background!  :-)

We enjoyed Christmas day very much with Chris' family, but I think we were equally excited about going to our new home for the first time with Lily to celebrate Christmas and to see what Santa had left for her!  As has become tradition, Lily fell asleep in the car on the way home and so the 26th became Christmas morning all over again at our house!
 Lily woke up and was ready to see not only what Santa had left for her, but to see her new house as well!  In fact, she wanted to explore the house before she even opened her stocking!  Her tour quickly gave way to opening gifts though and she was nothing short of delighted to find things she had asked for and surprises as well!  Santa brought a stocking that was over flowing with teachery stuff and a HUGE Rice Krispie Treat!
Santa also brought her a flat screen TV for her bedroom!  (with strict instructions that it was to be used with a new DVD player and not cable TV  ;-)  She got Operation and Pretty Pretty Princess - which we have played just about every day it seems.  She unwrapped pillow pets, a new white board and markers, American Girl Doll stuff galore, teaching tools and toys, and all kinds of goodies right down to an M&M dispenser! :-)  It was a very Merry Christmas indeed!

We enjoyed  a few days rest and then got ready for stage 2 of Christmas - New Years Eve!  With me on bedrest, we were unable to travel to see my family this year.  Therefore, my whole family came to us!  It was absolutely wonderful and I was overcome with gratitude for each of them for delaying their holiday and traveling all that way to spend New Years Eve and New Years Day celebrating with us in our new home!

Here sits Bentlee, Ken, Lily, Sarah, and Malcolm waiting to open gifts!  We take turns in my family, going in a circle, opening gifts one at a time, making the fun last!  :-)

We all opened wonderful treasures and played with new toys as we awaited the New Year!  Kenslee got a band in a box from us and loved it!  She provided all the entertainment we needed and stayed up and in good spirits to ring in the new year with us!

The New Years Eve slumber party has become quite a tradition and so have matching PJs.  Here are the girls after ringing in the new year!  I'm pretty sure they have the most fun of all of us!  :-)

And for a Christmas miracle (on New Years Eve)...

a family photo!
My mom wanted a photo of all of us... taken on her camera... with a self time... and everyone looked AT the camera (even Kenslee) the FIRST time!  That's right folks, we only had to take ONE picture!  :-)  Now that's a miracle for sure!  ;-)

It was a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR indeed... even if it was a little segmented and unorthodox this year!  Now, we are in our house, the holidays are over, and we are READY for Miss Ava Grace to make her appearance... like now!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blogging makes me happy...

1.  I am in Chris' office at his work and have discovered that blogger isn't blocked - yipee!!  I will be here again tomorrow and I'll be bringing in my pictures so I can blog and catch up with lightening fast internet!  ;-)

2.  All of your comments on my last post made me smile!  I love comments - thank you for still checking in on me even when time between blog posts gets rather lengthy!

3.  We went to the doctor today... we are now at 1 centimeter, 50% effaced (spelling?), and she is at -1 station.  We are getting there!  Dr. Hamrang was out delivering, so I had her PA instead.  She said she didn't want to get in trouble, so she didn't lift the bed rest, but she DID clear me to do some walking (and other activities) that might speed things along!  :-)  She also said Dr. H was on call all weekend, so if anything happens (OH PLEASE LET THINGS GET MOVING), she'll be there!

4.  My sister did a great post about our family Christmas at my house!  I plan to post too, but in the mean time you can check out her blog here!  :-)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pregnant with a captial P!

How Far Along: 39 weeks tomorrow

Size of Baby: BIG... or at least she feels that way!  The ultrasound/computer has her weighing in at over 7 lbs!  Let's hope it's wrong! lol

Total Weight Gain: About 23 lbs

Maternity Clothes: Yep!  Yoga pants at home and maternity jeans when I'm out!  :-)  When this is over all my pants that zip and button are going to take some getting used to! 

Gender: Sweet baby girl!

Movement: OH MY!  She is out of room, but that doesn't stop her!  She keeps her little booty sticking out half the time just under my ribs and she feels like she scratching my insides when she moves her hands.  Whens she kicks and moves, my whole belly moves with her!  My weekly ultrasounds over the past three weeks have revealed her playing with her toes and sucking her thumb! lol

Sleep: Difficult.  I have been taking a nap just about every day though, and that helps!

Symptoms: The usual... heart burn, I have been more tired the past couple weeks, and I bump into stuff and lose my balance a lot! lol.

What I Miss: Not being on "bed rest."  I am trying to follow doctor's orders, but this laying around on my left side got old fast... like within the first hour.  My blood pressure has been consistently wonderful for three weeks, and I think the bed rest thing was just because my BP was up while we were moving, but she says once she puts a patient on bed rest she doesn't lift it until baby comes... so here I am.  :-)  Hoping baby comes... like... today! lol

Cravings: Cereal and sweets. 

Best Moment This Week: We went to the doctor for an ultrasound and check up on Tuesday and found that I was at 1/2 a centimeter and Ava Grace was at -2 station!  Dr. H swept my membranes to prod things along.  We asked about induction and she said when I got to 2 centimeters and Ava Grace got to 0 station we'd talk!  She is letting me come back Friday when I am "officially" 29 weeks to see if we are there yet!  Keeping my fingers crossed!  :-)  My mama went 10 days over and had BIG babies... whew... bless her heart!  I am hoping Dr. H can help me out by getting Ava Grace here before or on her due date, not after, and hopefully less than HUGE! LOL!

What I'm Looking Forward To:  Holding my sweet girl and seeing her tiny little face.  Watching my amazing husband see her for the first time - sometimes I think he is more excited than I am (if that's even possible).  Becoming a family of four.  And... having my body back... at least, part of it any way! lol.  :-) 

Side Note:  Not pregnancy related, but letting everyone know... I am trying to blog!  We have been so busy with the move and holidays!  Plus, our new home is in the country and WE LOVE IT, but that also means we are out of the comcast network and have to use a satellite connection which is faster than dial up, but slower than cable.  If anyone has done this before and has suggestions or a good company to go with, let me know!  I miss my SUPER HIGH SPEED Internet!!  Without it, blogging takes a little more time - especially uploading pictures - and I already have lots of Christmas pics to share and I am about to have LOTS of baby pics to share, so I've got to figure out something soon!!  :-)