Heather Noelle is five years old and functions developmentally at a four year old level. We brought Heather home at five months and eight pounds. She was born prematurely, and tested positive for cocaine. Heather had a tracheotomy, she was on a heated mist and oxygen 24 hours per day. She was fed through a nasal gastric tube and on a feeding pump. She easily became disorganized and over stimulated. Because of this and all of the medical equipment, it was hard to hold her as much as we so desperately wanted to. I am a firm believer that babies belong in somebody's arms, especially "special needs" babies, to give them all of the emotional support and love they missed from before. As time wore on it became apparent that Heather was not going to learn to walk or crawl. At the age of two, it was finally decided that Heather was strong enough to undergo surgery to rebuild her trachea.
Once the surgeons started the surgery the damage was much more extensive then they were aware of. Heather did well after the surgery, she was only in the hospital for three days and then came home to heal. At the end of the six week healing period, she had another surgery for the surgeons to take a look. All was healing just as it should. It was only three weeks later they were able to remove her tracheotomy and she was put on oxygen through a nasal canula. At this point in time, Heather still did not sit, roll over, crawl or walk, but she had spent her two years of life observing her surroundings and all that everybody did. Her crib was in the living room so that she could be a part of everything. We also hung a mirror on the wall so that she could see everything. Three days after the tracheotomy came out, Heather was sitting and crawling, within days she was walking, then she started running and hasn't stopped. God had healed Heather. All those that knew her and worked with her could see that. Then she took all that observed information she had been gathering by watching us and put it to use. Heather still has developmental delays, ADHD, asthma, and voicing problems. But what a miracle child she is. Heather is involved in dance classes at church and attends dance and Sunday School when her health allows.
We have adopted Heather.
Since the time of surgery above, Heather has matured and grown to a young 14 year old lady becoming Mother's helper. She has a special fondness for babies which has been a real blessing with our newest babies. Even though Heather functions about three to five years below her physical age, she manages to excel in other areas because of her strong determination.
In the near future we will schedule Heather for more surgeries to further correct her vocal cords (presently she either whispers or speaks with a raspy voice) and to lengthen hers hamstrings (overtightened because of the long time in the crib as a baby and sensory integration issues).
Heather is quiet and shy, but always ready to help with younger children. We are truly blessed with Heather.