Nearly a week after undergoing his third heart surgery, 6-month-old Noah Connally was allowed to go home to his family Tuesday.
The little boy joined his parents and four older sisters after the risky surgery at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
“He is absolutely a miracle,” mother Niccole Connally said. “Today, I feel like our life finally begins because he survived, and all five of my children are this side of heaven.”
While his mother was still pregnant, last year, Noah was diagnosed with rare hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning he essentially has only half a heart. About 960 U.S. babies -- or one in 4,344 -- are born with the condition every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
His first surgery occurred while he was still in utero, at 28 weeks. His second surgery — which was done open-heart — was within a week of his birth.
The third surgery, on March 2, took place to restore proper blood flow and oxygen to Noah’s body, bypassing his heart and instead using gravity to move blood to his lungs, said cardiac intensive care specialist Dr. Francis Kim.
Another surgery will be needed in three to four years, when Noah’s heart gets bigger.
The Connallys’ congregation, Calvary Church Santa Ana, has helped raise money for Noah’s care, and a website was launched to bring attention to his story. Noah's journey is on Facebook and Instagram as well.
Noah’s parents are both public school teachers, but their insurance does not fully cover his specialized in-home care, according to nonprofit Novitas Organization, which was helping the family with media coverage.