(JAMAICA STAR) — In 2017, registered nurse Stacy Ann Burnett-Brissett launched a ‘graduation project’ for premature babies at the Spanish Town Hospital.
The nursery at the hospital shows a collage of pictures depicting the adorable babies decked out in graduation gowns and hats. Burnett-Brissett, who has worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the hospital for years, called the project Tiny Yet Mighty, and has been getting lots of positive feedback on social media page Premnation 2017, where she shares photographs of some of the little ones who ‘graduated’ from the nursery.
“They all fought really hard and we lost some of them, and that really saddened us so I wanted to find a way to celebrate them. I told myself I was going to graduate them, so I purchased a doll’s outfit online and I dressed up the first baby and everyone was excited, and the mother was so elated and that warmed my heart,” she said.
Burnett-Brissett, who has worked at the hospital for 21 years, has graduated dozens of premature babies, but says she is extremely proud of her 2019 ‘valedictorian’, whose weight was just 0.69kg (about 1.5 lb) at birth. The baby girl, named Lovena-Belle, was born at 26 weeks and spent 109 days in the NICU.
“Like the others, she is our little solider who fought really hard for her life. She just never gave up. She is now growing really nice and is even singing the national anthem. She is very loveable,” she said. Burnett-Brissett says the collage also serves as motivation when staff are feeling overwhelmed, and provides hope for parents that their child/children will survive. Her connection to the babies doesn’t stop once they leave the hospital.
“When I just started, I just wanted to take pictures. But now it is more than that because these little babies sometimes get in ‘trouble’ after they are released from the hospital. Sometimes they will get sick and, unfortunately, some of them will die. Sometimes they are not putting on the required weight that they need because sometimes the mothers just cannot afford the feedings,” she said. “Breast is recommended but they also need the formula to gain wait. In recent times, I purchased the formula from my pockets for one of the babies.”