On Thursday, April 28, nurses, parents, and family members gathered to celebrate the one year anniversary of little Tamaya Berry’s birth. Born at only 25 weeks last April, baby Berry weighed only 9 ounces when she arrived at the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
Berry spent six months at the hospital overcoming many health challenges due to her low birth weight and extreme prematurity. After fighting through obstacles like Pulmonary Hypertension and Rhinovirus infection, she graduated from the Regional NICU in October 2015, weighing 7 pounds and 12 ounces.
One year later, the lobby of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital was filled with pink foil balloons, camera crews, and the sound of instrumental Disney music. Guests awaited Berry’s arrival chatter in excitement, sharing stories of the special birthday girl, and her brave family.
“I’m excited, I’m elated!” said Yvonne Handforth, Berry’s grandmother awaiting her first granddaughter’s entrance. “She’s a gift from the Lord that we are taking care of, and we’re very happy she’s here.”
When Berry arrived with her parents and little brother, the crowd burst in excitement. Dressed in a blue-white striped dress, glittery stockings, and a set of Minnie Mouse ears, she curiously looked around. Her smile quickly lit up the lobby as she began clapping to the crowd.
Before cutting the cake, special guests were given the opportunity to express some words to the birthday girl. Edmund La Gamma, MD, Chief of Newborn Medicine described the medical processes that aided the development of her immature lungs. He congratulated the hospital and her family’s efforts that provided support and resources that allowed Berry to flourish despite being the lightest child to have been taken care of in the facility. La Gamma said Tamaya is easily one of the happiest and brightest children he has seen in years.
Sue Malfa, RN and Nurse Manager at Regional NICU at the hospital, admired the strength of Berry’s mom through all six months of Berry’s stay at the hospital.
“She was never afraid,” Malfa said. “She watched Tamaya grow minute by minute with patience.”
The last person to approach the stand was Berry’s mother, Dominique Fevrier, carrying Berry in her arms. “I just wanted to thank all the nurses, physicians, the staff and doctors, everybody, because she was always taken care of,” said Ferier. “There was never a moment through this journey that I didn’t know what was going on, I always felt supported. She’ll be walking soon to come back and see you.”
Berry blew out her glittery number one candle and proceeded to giggle and bounce at the reaction of her guests. The event concluded with vanilla cake, pictures, and many hugs from RN’s and teary-eyed guests.