This is the story of Noah Phelps’ journey from the sickest kid in the PICU to becoming an active toddler at home.
Noah’s story comes to us through Sarah Phelps, his mother, and Walter Reeder, BS RRT, the Pulmonary Education Specialist at CHOA (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). As Sarah tells it, “we found out that Noah had a rather large omphalocele when I was pregnant … that means that he had a sac on the outside of his belly that had a lot of intestines and half of his stomach and liver, but we didn’t know that anything was going to be wrong with his lungs. When he was born, we were very happy that he didn’t have to be on a ventilator.” They stayed in the NICU for about 2 months related to the feeding problems before taking him home. Then the breathing problems started. “We quickly found out that we couldn’t hardly do anything with him as a normal baby. I couldn’t change his diaper. I couldn’t give him a bath. Anything that would make him cry or get upset, he would lose his breath and he would turn dusky, his lips would turn blue. I just couldn’t treat him like a normal baby.” They returned to the hospital once and got a nasal cannula with some oxygen thinking that would be enough.
The days went by but he was not improving. Sarah recalls, “The crying episodes would leave him so exhausted. I finally took a video and I sent it to our local pediatrician and he said, “You need to call 911 right now.” Later when she discussed the incident with the pediatrician, he told her, “I really thought Noah was going to die. That’s how bad he looked.””