The first baby born at Jackson Memorial Hospital in 2012 returned to the hospital complex for a second surgery to close her cleft palate Tuesday.
Kimberly Amparo Suarez's first surgery repaired her cleft lip.
The latest one at Holtz Children’s Hospital started the process of closing her wide cleft palate and closed about half of it, said Dr. Seth Thaller of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
It's been a slow process to correct the birth defect, but the family has been patient.
"Thank God that my daughter’s still healthy,” said mother Ana Johana Irias. “She's getting healthier and she's getting stronger."
She gave birth to Kimberly at 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2012, following a difficult series of events.
On New Year’s Eve, a teenager snatched Irias’ chain as she waited to use an ATM. Irias followed him in her car, but he got away on his bike.
Then, as she was in hospital after giving birth, thieves broke into Irias’ home, ransacking the place and stealing many of the family's possessions, including her other children’s Christmas gifts.
"And then to get robbed right before I go home, I was like wow, OK, anything else?" Irias recalled.
Perhaps the toughest obstacle, though, was dealing with some of the reactions from those who are ignorant to her daughter’s condition.
"People look at it like oh my God, what happened to her?” Irias said. “Some lady one day came up to me, she was like, did she fell and broke her lip or something?”
Kimberly may need two more surgeries, but Irias is now looking at a brighter future for her child. And she said she can finally laugh at some of the obstacles 2012 brought.
"Mom’s going to have that story every year at Christmas, probably, to tell – you don’t know what happened when you were born, you know?” she said, laughing.
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