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Hundreds return for NICU reunion

Posted: June 14, 2014 9:28 p.m.
Updated: June 14, 2014 9:28 p.m.
NICU graduate Milos Healey, 9 months, is held up by his mother Jara of Saugus. NICU graduate Milos Healey, 9 months, is held up by his mother Jara of Saugus.
NICU graduate Milos Healey, 9 months, is held up by his mother Jara of Saugus.

In an event that was equal parts graduation ceremony and birthday party, families gathered Saturday at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital for the neonatal intensive care unit’s two-year reunion.

The Kim and Steven Ullman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, provides necessary care to the hospital’s tiniest patients — newborns who need assistance after birth.

“All of us in the NICU get attached to our babies, we spend a lot of time caring for them, loving them and then they leave,” said Sherry Zamudio, a NICU nurse. “And we want to know what happens after they leave, so every year we throw a little birthday party for them.”

Zamudio said there have been approximately 324 NICU babies since the NICU opened in June 2012, and that about 100 babies and their families were expected to attend Saturday’s event.

The parents that attended Saturday’s celebration said they were equal parts thankful and grateful for the care their children received in the NICU.

“When you plan on having a baby, you never think about having that baby stay behind in the hospital,” said parent Jenny Donovan-Williams. “And to have such a wonderful group of people here to make that process a little bit easier was just amazing.”

For Kim and Steven Ullman, the NICU has a personal meaning. Their granddaughter experienced complications when she was born and had to be transported away from Henry Mayo.

“So when we heard the hospital was considering putting in a NICU and having a drive, we had to get involved,” Steven Ullman said Saturday.

“It was an easy decision,” added Kim Ullman.

Though many doctors and nurses attended Saturday’s celebration, it was the words of another “doctor” — Dr. Seuss — that made up the motto of the event: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“It’s a beautiful experience and we just love these babies so much,” Zamudio said. “They’re part of our family, they really are. They’re part of our hearts forever.”


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