North Shore Medical Center Celebrates With Former Patients

By Claudia DoCampo
|  Sunday, May 4, 2014  |  Updated 6:20 PM EDT
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North Shore Medical Center hosted a party for children who were once preemies at the hospital's neo-natal intensive care unit. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo has the story.

North Shore Medical Center hosted a party for children who were once preemies at the hospital's neo-natal intensive care unit. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo has the story.

North Shore Medical Center hosted a superhero-themed party for children who were once preemies at the hospital's neo-natal intensive care unit.

The party, held Sunday, celebrates the lives of the children who were born early, and with a lower chance of survival than other babies.

Many of the now-healthy children were touch-and-go at first.

"The day after she was born, not only was she a preemie, but she had intestinal surgery, so the doctors had to take out a few pieces of her intestine and put it back together and she spent three weeks in the hospital," mother Jennifer Rivera said about daughter Angelina Ricardo.

But a year and a half later, Angelina is doing just fine.

"She's a special baby," Rivera said.

The parents said they are thankful to the staff of the neo-natal intensive care unit for taking such good care of their children.

"With our first baby it was kind of hard," father Jesus Alvarez said. "She spent two months at the NICU and we love the NICU, they were supportive with everything."

Daughter Mia Alvarez, born eight weeks before her due date, is now healthy at 9-months-old.

Many of the NICU's doctors and nurses joined the parents and former patients for Sunday's celebration.

"It's very frustrating when babies cannot make it," said Dr. Otto Aldana. "But we understand that some babies are very small to be able to survive. But at the same time it's very gratifying to see that some babies that have been going through so much are here and they are having a normal development."

These experts say that even though new technological and pharmaceutical advances are helping more babies survive, pre-natal care is still key.

"Prenatal care is vital for a family that is expecting a baby," nurse manager Natalie Valderrama said.

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