Noah, who just turned 1, has already undergone eight grueling operations in his short life.
A baby boy who became the first in the world to undergo a miracle face operation has celebrated dutas delivery his first birthday against the odds.
Noah Connell was born with a number of facial deformities that prevent the lower portion of his face from growing properly and causes him to have trouble breathing.
Even swallowing his own saliva could be enough to kill Noah, who has had metal “scaffolding” inserted into his face in the hope of moving his jaw forward.
He has an underdeveloped jaw, small neck, floppy airway, a cleft palate and part of his spine missing.
But the determined tot has celebrated his first birthday with parents Jade Gordon, 19, and Kieran Connell, 17, despite undergoing eight grueling operations in his short life.
Noah’s mother didn’t know she was pregnant until stomach pains turned out to be labor. Doctors immediately noticed that the infant looked like he was missing part of his jaw.
“It is a massive milestone for us and Noah,” Gordon, from Glasglow, said. “We were told on numerous occasions that Noah wasn’t going to make it. For anyone, their baby reaching one is a big deal, but it was a bit bigger for us because we have had so many hurdles to overcome.”
“He had a birthday party with all our friends and family at a soft play area and then went to Blair Drummond Safari Park, who set up a special visit for us,” she said. “It was really emotional, it’s amazing how much he has come on in the last year.”
Noah’s arrival into the world was a massive shock to his parents as Gordon didn’t know she was pregnant until stomach pains turned out to be labor.
Doctors quickly knew something was wrong with Noah, who was born “looking like he had no jaw”.
Noaha��s condition is so severe that he cannot eat or drink because of the effect on his airway.
He is fed through a gastro tube and he can only have 620ml of a high-calorie solution every day to help him pile weight on and grow.
His mom said even being sick or swallowing a drop of rain could be enough to kill him.
“When he was born he looked like he had no jaw at all,” Gordon said. “He can’t eat or drink. Even one drop of rain could be fatal for him. And we spend hours giving him a bath because it’s so dangerous.”
“Last weekend Noah was sick and choked, went purple and stopped breathing for between 10 and 30 seconds. We were blue-lighted to the hospital,” she said. “It’s scary but it’s just our normal – he is a happy wee boy.”
“I don’t know how to feed a baby or make a bottle up,” the first-time mom said. “But dealing with tubes and wires are all normal to us because we don’t know any other way. We hope in the future he will be able to eat and walk.”
Noah’s life-saving surgery, on March 8, involved inserting metal rods to secure the bones in his tiny face, and help him breathe.
The surgery, called mandibular jaw distraction, involved breaking his jaw in two places and inserting metal rods to straighten his face and push his tongue forward.
It is hoped to reduce his chances of choking.
For three weeks after the surgery the new parents had to learn to turn the screws in the metalwork a�� a process that had to be done with exact precision.
“Since his surgery, his jaw has moved forward 4cm which should loosen up his airways,” Gordon, who cares full-time for Noah, said. “The surgery has worked as well as it can do just now and the movement in Noah’s jaw is a big improvement.”
“We asked the doctors if we could see pictures from other surgeries like the one Noah was going to have, but they said they couldn’t,” she said. “We couldn’t believe it when they said Noah would be the first baby in the world to have the operation. It was daunting to hear that but we trusted them.”
Noah is home with Gordon and college-student Connell, trying to “live a normal life” before having the metal taken out of his face next month.