Suzette Casais calls her twins — who were born at 29 weeks, with one weighing 1 pound, 12 ounces, and the other, 3 pounds— superheroes.
So for the annual Halloween costume contest at the Center for Women & Infants’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Miami Hospital, choosing the perfect outfit was easy.
Finding something small enough — not so much.
“It was nurse who suggested Build-A Bear Workshop,” she said.
She took the nurse’s advice and managed to find super tiny, stuffed teddy bear-sized Superwoman and Superman outfits for her babies. Emily, who was the smaller of the two, is now 3 pounds, 9 ounces, and her brother, Matthew, is 5 pounds, 2 ounces.
“Emily definitely set the tone for the family,” said Casais, who lives in South Miami-Dade. “She beat the odds. She is Superwoman.”
The tiny twin superheroes in their decorated cribs were the winners in the costume contest. Other winners included a super-small Shrek and a teensy tiny Stars Wars character.
Dr. Jorge Perez, medical director for the NICU, said the Halloween contest is meant to bring some cheer and hope to the families of babies who were born premature or critically ill. More than 1,000 premature or critically ill infants are treated at the center in a given year.
“Of all their tribulations that they go through during their stay, if we can just crack a smile for a second of this day, then it's well worth the exercise,” he said.
Families choose costumes for their little ones based on their personalities. Among those represented: a mini Minnie Mouse, an itty-bitty Big Bad Wolf and a petite pumpkin.
Casais said the Halloween festivities put everyone in good spirits.
“The NICU can be pretty depressing,” she said. “This was really a treat.”