You wouldn’t know it by seeing him today, but Noah spent almost his entire first year in hospitals, fighting for his life. He and his siblings Emma and Ashton were born prematurely at 24 weeks at the Foothills Hospital weighing only 1 lb. and taken straight to the NICU to be intubated. Sadly, Ashton passed away from a brain hemorrhage at three days old, on Mother’s Day. While his parents grieved his loss, they tried to stay hopeful for their other two babies still fighting for their lives. Thankfully, after 146 days in the NICU, Emma was able to go home. But Noah needed additional time and care, particularly because his right side of his heart was enlarged and overworked, from his lungs working so hard. Doctors also discovered he had a patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, a congenital heart defect in which the opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart fails to close after birth. At 2 months old, weighing only 2 lbs. he underwent heart surgery in the Foothills NICU to close that opening, in the same room where his brother passed away. With that procedure, he could be extubated, but he still required help with his breathing.
He spent five months at the Foothills NICU before transferring to the Alberta Children’s Hospital for a hernia surgery and then a stay in the Peter Lougheed NICU. He returned to the Children’s, this time to Unit 2. He was only there for hours before he had to be rushed to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for high blood gas levels. He was not releasing enough carbon dioxide. With Josh at work, Amy and Emma visited Noah every day. Amy sat by his side praying, wishing she could do anything to help him, and wondering what he would grow up to be, while Emma bounced in her exersaucer on the floor. All Amy could do was put her trust in his team. She was grateful for the volunteers who cuddled Noah when she wasn’t there or Emma so she could have one on one time with Noah. Dr. Simon Parsons came up with a plan to give Noah 14L of oxygen through CPAP to help medicate his lungs and his pulmonary hypertension in his heart and after, he was well enough to be moved to Unit 2 for a month and a half then finally went home on oxygen just before his first birthday! Because a vocal cord nerve was damaged during his heart surgery, he was fed through a feeding tube for two years. Today he is a goofy, hockey-playing seven year old. He has regular follow ups with Dr. Vorhies in Cardiology, Dr. Anselmo with the Pulmonary Clinic, who have known him since he was a baby, Dr. Astle in the Vision Clinic and Dr. Yunker in ENT for ear tubes and his paralyzed vocal cord. He loves coming back to the hospital!
Amy is so thankful to have the hospital, with the best of the best, at their doorstep. It played a major role in saving Noah’s life, is a place where he thrived and will be his lifeline as he grows.
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