Baby who re­ceived pi­o­neer­ing face op­er­a­tion cel­e­brates 1st birth­day

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY LOUISE HOUS­TON

A BABY boy who be­came the first in the world to un­dergo a mir­a­cle face op­er­a­tion has cel­e­brated his first birth­day against the odds.

Lit­tle Noah Con­nell was born with a num­ber of fa­cial de­for­mi­ties that mean the lower part of his face doesn’t grow prop­erly and he has 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 K ieran Con­nell, 17 de­spite un­der­go­ing eight gru­elling op­er­a­tions in his short life.

Mum Jade, from Glas­gow, de­scribed Noah’s first birth­day as “a mas­sive mile­stone”.

She 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.

“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 Jade didn’t know she was preg­nant un­til stom­ach pains turned out to be labour.

Doc­tors quickly knew some­thing was wrong with Noah, who was born “looking like he had no jaw”.

His 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 Jade and Kieran had to learn to turn the screws in the met­al­work – a process that had to be done with ex­act pre­ci­sion.

Jade, who cares full time for Noah, said: “Since his surgery, his jaw has moved for­ward 4cm which should loosen up his airways.

“The surgery has worked as well as it can do just now and the move­ment in Noah’s jaw is a big im­prove­ment.”

Baby Noah with mum Jade Gor­don and dad Kieran Con­nell, and be­low, Noah when he was born

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