Sarah Trotter Bobo uses one word to describe her daughter: FIGHTER.
When she was born, Nora Jane Bobo weighed only 2 pounds, 9 ounces. Doctors described her as a micro preemie, a baby born before the 26th week of pregnancy. Her mother says she had to deliver early at 30 weeks because she had preeclampsia that turned into HELLP syndrome, which is rare but can be life-threatening. Immediately after Nora Jane’s birth, she was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UAB. Doctors later discovered Nora Jane was aspirating on all her feeding options, and she failed every test in the swallow study they conducted. She was transferred to Children’s of Alabama for further testing.
“She has a G-tube because she can’t take anything by mouth,” Sarah said. “She has obstructive sleep apnea, lymphatic malformation in cheeks, dysphagia and a narrow airway.” Doctors also diagnosed Nora Jane with congenital ptosis of the right eye.
Sarah recalls the time after Nora Jane’s birth as scary. She says that for a new mom, it was a lot to process. However, she says she couldn’t have done it without Children’s staff and doctors. While hospitalized, Nora Jane spent most of her time in the NICU at Children’s. Her mother says the staff always informed her about what they were doing or about to do.
“We are just so thankful,” Sarah said. “Every single person we’ve met at Children’s, every nurse, every tech, every doctor, they have all been so helpful. I couldn’t be more thankful that we ended up where we are.” Sarah says one of her daughter’s biggest supporters is her pulmonologist, Dr. Guillermo Beltran.
“Both Nora Jane and her mom, Sarah, are fighters,” said Dr. Beltran. “Sarah is a first-time mother who has done a wonderful job taking care of Nora Jane, keeping up with her multiple appointments, and looking into all the therapies indicated for her. I am glad Nora Jane has Sarah and Sarah as Nora Jane.”
Sarah says her daughter has made substantial progress over the past few months; she is now eight months old and weighs more than 15 pounds. She says her daughter has been weaned off oxygen entirely and is being introduced slowly to baby puree. She calls her an inspiration for her family and an angel sent by her father.
“My father died in 2020, and we say every day that he sent her to us because he knew we needed her,” Sarah said.
Nora Jane and her mother return to Children’s several times monthly for clinic visits. Sarah says if you see them in the hallways, you will recognize her because she will be the baby constantly smiling.
“She is just the happiest baby,” Sarah said. “She’s been through so much; she continues to go through so much, but she’s smiling through the whole thing.”