Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies Hosts TWO-riffic Birthday Bash for Tiniest NICU Graduate
Guest List Includes Fellow Micro-preemies All Born at 22 Weeks
Orlando, FL (May 10, 2022) – Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies hosted a special birthday party to bring together a group of children who share something miraculous in common – they were each born at the hospital when their mother was only 22 weeks pregnant.
The guest of honor was Diana Peguero, one of the smallest, most premature babies in the world to survive. She turns two years old today, May 10. Diana was considered a "micro-preemie," weighing just 350 grams (12 ounces) and nine inches long when she was born at 22 weeks at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer on Mother’s Day of 2020. She spent six months in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before she was strong enough to go home.
To commemorate Diana turning two in 2022, it seemed only fitting to invite several of the hospital’s other 22-weekers to celebrate. Many of the families of these NICU graduates (ranging from six months to three years old) have connected online through NICU support groups but had yet to meet in person. This special event not only gave them the opportunity to bond over their shared experiences, but also the chance to reconnect with many of the NICU team members who helped save their children’s lives.
“I was so excited to connect with other NICU moms and parents of preemies at Diana’s party. It’s extremely rare for a 22-weeker to survive and thrive, so it’s really amazing to have conversations with parents that have been through the same thing that you have,” said Jomary Tavarez, Diana’s mother.
Babies born at 22 weeks’ gestation have a near-impossible chance of survival, but Orlando Health Winnie Palmer is home to one of the only NICUs nationwide capable of caring for babies born this prematurely, thanks to its clinical expertise and advancements in technology. The hospital also has the unique benefit of being physically connected to a pediatric hospital, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which is home to numerous subspecialists who provide collaborative care for these complex cases.
“We had to develop new protocols just for Diana because of how tiny she was and how frail her skin was,” said Thais Queliz, MD, neonatologist at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer. “We’re now using those protocols on more mature babies. So while we did help her, Diana is actually helping other babies born after her as well.”
Each of the parents in attendance at Diana’s party were asked to sign a NICU journal that would be donated to the families with micro-preemies currently in the hospital’s NICU. Many of the guests wrote encouraging notes and messages of hope to those who are facing a journey they know all too well.
More than 1,400 babies are cared for in Orlando Health Winnie Palmer’s NICU every year and more than 50,000 babies have been successfully treated since the unit opened in 1975. To learn more about the life-saving care this team provides, visit winniepalmerhospital.com/nicu.