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 Kieran 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: “It is a massive milestone for us and Noah.
“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”.
Noah’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 mum said even being sick or swallowing a drop of rain could be enough to kill him.
Jade said: “When he was born he looked like he had no jaw at all.
“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 chocked, went purple and stopped breathing for between 10 and 30 seconds. We were blue-lighted to the hospital.
“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. 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 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.
“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.
“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 mum Jade and dad Kieran, who is in college, trying to “live a normal life” before having the metal taken out of his face next month.