An EA/TEF Update: Oliver’s Story

by Jan 17, 2024Encouragement, Special Needs Parenting0 comments

Kelly Simpson gives an EA/TEF update for Different Dream readers and other EA/TEF parents about her son's progress.

An EA/TEF update on families who told their stories in previous EA/TEF Awareness Months means a lot to our community. Today, busy mom and guest blogger, Kelly Simpson is back with an update on her son Oliver, whom readers met during EA/TEF Awareness Month, 2023. I hope you enjoy hearing about his progress in the past year as much as I did.

Oliver’s Story

  • Normal ultrasounds and no issues caught or seen during pregnancy.
  • Born at 39 weeks.
  • C-section due to coning.
  • Born unable to swallow: OBGYN and Oliver’s doctor on call decided to have Oliver transferred to Norton’s Children’s Hospital in Kentucky.
  • Diagnosed with Tracheoesophageal Fistula (EA/TEF) Type C.
  • EA/TEF repair two days after birth.
  • 19-day stay in the NICU.

Life after the NICU:

  • At 6 weeks Oliver started to have problems swallowing milk. His pediatrician suggested an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. A swallow test confirmed narrowing of the esophagus. Esophageal dilation (stretching of the esophagus) at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and again at 12 weeks.
  • At 6 weeks he was also diagnosed with tracheomalacia or floppy trachea, which leads to extra movement with crying, laughing, or coughing. Most kids sound like a goose, and cough is deep sounding like a bark.
  • At 4 months, he was escorted to Norton’s Children for respiratory distress. He was placed in the ICU for a week with aid from a ventilator.
  • At 6 months old, he had a second ICU stay for a week for respiratory distress, aid from a ventilator.
  • At 10 months old, he had a 4-day ICU stay for respiratory distress.
  • Received an airway clearance vest to help keep his airway clear.
  • Age 3 included multiple cases of pneumonia
  • Age 4 saw multiple cases of pneumonia

An EA/TEF update since last year’s story:

  • Oliver is almost 5 years old.
  • He is healthy and in the 98th percentile for both weight and height. What a blessing!
  • He has not needed an esophageal dilation since he was 12 weeks old.
  • Eats and drinks normally with no restrictions.
  • Does require a little extra water with meals just in case.
  • Loves to run!
  • Starts Kindergarten in the Fall!

What a wonderful EA/TEF update!

By Kelly Simpson

Kelly has lived her whole life in Kentucky. She and her husband, Jeremy, have a four-year-old son, who, born during a deployment, was diagnosed with tracheoesophageal fistula. She has always felt a calling to serve others and is living the dream as an Army wife, middle school teacher, and now, as an encourager to those who are living a dream different than they had planned.


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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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