Baby Noelle, the “miracle baby” featured in a Buckley Report earlier this year, is facing a new battle.
After spending months in the NICU, Noelle’s parents were finally able to take the baby home earlier this year.
When you see where she began, weighing only 12 ounces at birth, you can see why people call her a miracle.
She has increased her weight by 800%, though Noelle has feet so tiny they still seem doll-like.
“Considering most babies are born bigger than 6-pounds, 4-ounches, and we’re 7 months old, we’re behind. But, developmentally, she’s doing well,” said Jill Aguiar.
However, Noelle returned to the hospital in late June. She had pulmonary hypertension, a relatively common problem for premature babies.
“Because they have lung tissue that is not fully mature, it’s difficult for blood to get through the lungs to the other side and go to the left side of the heart. And, how your heart works – it’s just a muscle – and any muscle that has to work harder than normal can eventually struggle and fail and her heart was nearing that point,” said Dr. Derek Williams of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Both Jill and Tom knew the severity of the diagnosis.
“Tom prayed and said, if this is the time God has given us with her, then we’re grateful for that and it’s a blessing to us,” said Jill. “We never expected to have even one day with her, so, every day is a gift.”
But as appeared to be the case in the weeks after Noelle was born, the most potent medicine seems to be the fight in her own heart.
“She is tiny, I mean, she doesn’t have a lot of weight on her. It’s interested to see a little girl like her so strong,” said Jill.
After nearly three weeks in the hospital, the medical team told the family that Noelle was strong enough to go home. However, even at home, Noelle is constantly tethered to equipment that monitors her blood oxygen and heart rate.
“For years down the road – 10 years down the road – we’ll be looking at various different challenges. But, looking back to where we’ve come, those challenges aren’t too much for us,” Jill said.
Jill said when Noelle smiles, it makes all of the struggle worth it.
“Every IV, every blood stick, every surgery. That smile erases it all away.”
Jill continues to post updates to her blog to update family and friends.