NEW YORK --A little girl who's proven she can beat the odds hit a very special milestone, her first birthday!
Tamaya Berry of Valhalla, New York, came in to the world at only 25 weeks. She weighed just 9 ounces.
Thursday, it was more than birthday party; it was a celebration of a tiny life that has already left a huge imprint on the hearts of many at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.
Born premature last April, Tamaya Berry weighed only 9 ounces when her mother was forced into labor due to an existing medical condition.
Almost the size of a Barbie doll, doctors say she was the tiniest baby admitted to their neonatal intensive care unit.
"When I first saw her after I came from St. Luke's I cried, but then her heart was beating, she was screaming, she was crying, she was doing everything a normal baby would do, but she was just so tiny," said Dominique Fevrier, Tamaya's mother.
Named after legendary poet Maya Angelou, Tamaya not only rose but exceeded their expectations, overcoming one challenge after another during her six-month stay.
She was eventually released weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces.
"We really compliment the nursing staff in particular because of their compassion and sensitivity because they're truly at the bedside every moment of the day and they really get bonded to the families," said Dr. Edmund LaGamma, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.
"I just had to put my trust in God and just put it in his hands and know that he was going to bring her out of it," Dominique said.
"Just happy she here and we thank all the nurses and everybody that did their part in helping my baby stay alive," said Tyquan Berry, Tamaya's father.
Now celebrating the first of many birthdays to come, Tamaya's family says they'll be forever grateful for to the doctors and nurses who now feel like a second family.
"She has a lot of support and a lot of love around her," Dominique said.
"We've grown together and she's here, she's here," Tyquan said.