Board Member’s Story

Posted on Nov 28, 2012

Immediately the obstetrician knew something was very wrong. The tiny baby girl he had just delivered was now purple and still.  His surgical team went into emergency life-saving mode.  The seconds seemed like hours. Through CPR they were able to restart little Sarah’s heart. They gave her oxygen to fill her tiny lungs, and slowly, the purple color began to fade. During the next 30 days in the hospital, the staff would have to restart little Sarah’s heart several more times. It was the beginning of a long cold winter in Idaho for the Moss family.

Sarah was diagnosed with Central Sleep Apnea and Bradycardia, a combination of illnesses that affect premature infants. Central sleep apnea is breathing that is disrupted regularly during sleep because of the way the brain functions. It is not that the baby cannot breathe (which is true in obstructive sleep apnea); the brain does not tell her muscles to breathe. In infants, central sleep apnea produces pauses in breathing that can last 20 seconds.

Fortunately for Sarah, a pediatrician who was on call, not normally Sarah’s doctor, observed that her breathing would stop every time she ate. He recommended that Sarah be placed on a feeding tube. This change greatly reduced the heart-stopping episodes. Since she continued to have some episodes, it was necessary for little Sarah to wear a Brady Monitor for the next 15 months of her life.

Today the Moss Family lives here in Southwest Florida. Their daughter Sarah has recovered from her childhood illness with flying colors. Sarah Moss is a thriving 13 year old, attending Edison Collegiate High School in Fort Myers. Her mother Nancy Moss said in a recent interview, “We will never forget those scary months when Sarah was an infant, but it just makes us all the more thankful when we see Sarah doing so well now. She excels in academics and as well as sports. Sarah is an accomplished equestrian. This year in Orlando, Sarah qualified to compete in the semi-finals of the World Barrel Racing Youth Division Competition. She was one of the 1700 semi-finalists selected from 300,000 youth worldwide. Sarah and her family were pleased with her performance while there, but had no expectations of competing in the finals. Ms. Moss said, “We were ecstatic when the call came in that the semi-finalists had been narrowed to 150 finalists, and that Sarah was one of them! Then Sarah went on to place 8th in the worldwide competition. We could not be more proud of her.” Sarah is a student at Edison Collegiate High School in Fort Myers. Aware of her plight as an infant, Sarah is very grateful to be here. She wants to be able to give back by becoming a Neonatologist. She plans to attend Texas A& M University for her undergraduate studies, where she can prepare for her medical career, while being able to take advantage of the school’s riding programs.

Nancy Moss recently joined the board of Healthy Start of Southwest Florida. Ms. Moss said that she felt drawn to the mission of Healthy Start which provides services to pregnant women and to babies with health issues, like Sarah.