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Many Happy Returns

Elias will never remember all the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who took care of him for the first five months of his life, but his parents Gabriela and Rogelio Ramirez will never forget them.

The family attended the 39th Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Reunion (NICU) on June 11 to meet up with the nurses who cared for him at UCSF Benioff Oakland. Over 600 NICU graduates and their parents came together to celebrate with members of their care team and other families with NICU graduates. Party-goers enjoyed carnival-style fun, including a bounce house, balloon animals, face painting, arts and crafts, and more.

“We got to see some of his nurses,” Gabriela says. “They were surprised to see how big he was—they couldn’t believe it was him.”

At birth, Elias weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces and had multiple medical complications, requiring surgeries on his intestines and eyes. Now the healthy 11-month-old weighs 17 pounds, loves playing with toys, and babbles all the time.

“The doctors said it was a miracle he was alive,” Gabriela says. “We know that we have our baby thanks to them, and it’s such a big blessing.”