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Jackson mother commits her life to her daughter as child’s diagnosis remains unsolved

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 4:49 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - This Surviving Motherhood is very special. That’s because we are highlighting a young woman who is the epitome of what this series is all about.

She’s raising two children under the age of three, and the youngest requires around-the-clock care. Yet she handles the burden with grace and resilience.

“She’s ventilator dependent,” Kechaunna Gaddis said of her daughter, Novah. “She is on it 24/7. She’s on oxygen 24/7. She can’t breathe on her own at all. Like, if she did not have that trach she would be dead.”

“They treat her for seizures,” the 25-year-old continued, describing her daughters treatment. “They treat her for her chronic lung disease which is pulmonary hypertension. They treat her for- they found fluid around her heart two weeks ago.”

Gaddis’ son was not even a toddler when she found out he was going to be a big brother.

“My second child. I was like, ‘I just had a baby not too long ago.’ My son was one. So it was a lot of things going through my head,” she confessed

And this pregnancy was a little different. Gaddis was sicker and a few months in doctors noticed something on the ultrasound.

“I stayed in and out of the hospital. I had to have 4 blood transfusions and when she was in my stomach they saw there was something wrong with her nose. Her nose was real flat.”

Novah was born at six months and even though she was early and small, weighing 3 pounds and 10 ounces, she seemed otherwise healthy. But everything changed.

“After three weeks, everything seemed to go downhill. She started having seizures; couldn’t get off the oxygen. And everything fell apart from there.”

Only a few months old, Novah had to have a tracheotomy so that she could breathe. She also has a GI tube for feedings because she can’t take anything by mouth.

And the tests are endless.

“We did so many genetics tests,” Gaddis stated. “People from out of town in New York. All the genetics people at UMC. We still couldn’t find what’s wrong with her. To this day they still don’t have the right diagnosis for Novah.”

Novah’s care begins at 6 a.m. and continues constantly - 23 hours a day.

“Between 7 and 9 we do her morning meds. She gets medicine to help her lungs and make her lungs open up... and you gotta do her treatments, gotta do CPT on her. Then you get her dressed, we wait for her nurses to come. She has a morning nurse. She has to have a nurse 16 hours a day,” Gaddis revealed.

But sometimes the nurses call out and Gaddis shoulders the burden alone. Novah can’t leave the home without a nurse.

Gaddis can’t even pick her up without unhooking and rehooking her from all her tubes.

Novah turns one on Monday, July 19, and she’s having a birthday parade at 2:30 p.m. at New Jerusalem Church.

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