RGV families encouraged to attend first NICU reunion in four years

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It may be one of the most heartwarming scenes — the sight of the medical staff who nursed babies to health while in a neonatal intensive care unit embracing and being reunited with those children and their families.

Tears of joy are often shed, and thank yous are common.

Expect the same Saturday when DHR Health Women’s Hospital is once again hosting its annual NICU reunion after a four-year hiatus.

Throughout the event, doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff will be joined by families to celebrate the life and milestones of the children who were born prematurely and cared for at the DHR Health NICU.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday at the DHR Health Bariatric and Metabolic Institute parking lot, located at 5500 Raphael Drive in Edinburg.

The hospital is inviting all families whose children were treated in the NICU to attend the event and meet the healthcare staff who helped care for their children during a critical time.

“The NICU reunion is an opportunity for us to come together to celebrate the journeys of our little fighters who continue to inspire us,” Marissa Castañeda, senior executive vice president at DHR Health, said in a news release.

The NICU at DHR Health Women’s Hospital has 63 beds and cares for more than 1,200 babies annually, according to the release.

Sophie Belle Portillo, now 9 years old, spent over 90 days in the NICU after being born following just 24 weeks of pregnancy.

“It was the best experience in the world but I would never wish it on anyone, but we are so thankful to have been at the NICU at DHR Health,” Denise Portillo, Sophie Belle’s mother, said in the release. “The doctors, nurses, and staff took such good care of our daughter.”

Dr. Dyno Honrubia, who along with Dr. Emil Milano and Dr. Jyothi Swarup make up the doctors on staff in the NICU, provided an assuring voice for families who have children in these units.

“We understand that many parents feel anxious when their baby is first admitted to the NICU. It may feel unsettling or even scary. But rest assured, we do our best to provide emotional support for the family while taking care of the infant’s medical needs,” Honrubia said in the release.