MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The first baby to be born at Jackson Memorial Hospital in 2012 didn’t come into the world in perfect health but doctors there have already taken the first steps to heal her.
Born with a cleft lip and palate, Kimberly Suarez arrived at 12:15 a.m., on January 1, after her mother, Ana Johana Irias, went into labor following a traumatic ordeal on New Year’s Eve.
Irias was waiting to use and ATM in Miami when a man on a bicycle drove by and snatched her gold necklace. Irias chased the robber, but lost him after he jumped over a fence.
While talking with police to report the theft, Irias began having labor pains. She was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she delivered a 6 pound, 6 ounce baby girl. The baby, who was due on January 19, arrived three weeks early.
Kimberly’s cleft lip and palate was detected by medical staff performing an ultrasound in the Jackson emergency room.
As Irias recovered in the hospital, her husband returned to their apartment and discovered that it had been ransacked and burglarized. Thieves stole Christmas presents belonging to the couple’s other children along with electronics and Irias’ purse, which contained the family’s rent money.
“I tried my best to give my daughter a good Christmas, financially I didn’t have too much for her and everything’s gone in a flash,” Irias cried shortly after the burglary.
Irias was also worried about Kimberly’s deformity.
“I did feel like, ‘Oh my God this is going to be big for her, this is going to be stressful for her,'” Irias said.
On April 5, University of Miami/Jackson plastic surgeon Seth Thaller performed the first round surgery to correct Kimberly’s cleft lip.
After some healing, and another surgery to repair her cleft palate in approximately eight months, doctors say Kimberly’s smile will be as bright as her eyes.
“She may have a little scar, she should grow up to be a totally normal adult,” said Dr. Thaller.
Irias is grateful, and says that smile takes her troubles away.
“I’m just happy I have my daughter,” Irias said.
A cleft palate is caused by abnormal facial development that affects the lip and palate. Approximately, 1 in 700 children are born with a cleft lip and/or a cleft palate in the United States.