Little Ava is princess of parents' wedding day; flower girl celebrates her long recovery from surgery.
Byline: NAOMI CORRIGAN email@example.com @naomicorrigan
A LITTLE girl born with a rare skull condition celebrated her recovery by being "a princess" at her parents' wedding.
Aged just 18 months, Ingleby Barwick tot Ava Carlin had her skull broken and rebuilt from the bottom of her forehead to the back of her head.
The youngster had been born with a rare skull condition called craniosynostosis which, in serious cases, can lead to brain damage.
She spent just four days in hospital after her major surgery but the swelling took a long time to go down.
Her parents - administrator Jenna 31, and company director Matty, 35, had wanted to wait until she was well enough before they tied the knot.
And it was worth wait as, in April this year, Ava proved herself the perfect flower girl as she walked down the aisle at Le Petit Chateau in Otterburn with her big brother Luca, ahead of her proud mum.
"She was absolutely amazing," said Jenna.
"She says, 'When me and mummy got married we were both princesses.'" Ava was born in December 2015 with craniosynostosis, which stops a baby's skull from developing as it should.
Jenna first raised concerns after giving birth. But it took a while for the condition to be diagnosed.
"I realised her face wasn't symmetrical," said Jenna.
"Her eye shapes were different and her nostrils were a different size " she said.
"I questioned it with the paediatricians and the nurses and they said it wasn't anything I needed to be concerned about and just said she had been squashed in the womb."
But Ava later showed signs of torticollis - tilting of the head - and Jenna was adamant her daughter needed help.
A health visitor referred the newborn to a physiotherapist who fortunately had experience of craniosynostosis and she advised that Ava be checked for the condition.
The youngster was then referred by the GP for tests which confirmed her parents' fears.
And in June 2017, she underwent the nine-and-a-half-hour operation at Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital to rebuild her skull.
Now aged three, Ava still has check-ups but is thriving.
"She's doing really well," said Jenna. "She's very cheeky and likes to be the boss.
"But she always wants to make you laugh and be happy."
Ava's stitches after her surgery
Ava Carvin, 18 months, was a flower girl at her parents' wedding
Ava recovering after her surgery
Ava with mum Jenna and dad Matty and brother Luca