1st baby of 2012 undergoes surgery

Baby has cleft palate operation

Published On: Apr 17 2012 01:06:32 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2012 06:26:30 PM EDT
Kimberly Suarez
MIAMI -

The first baby born this year at Jackson Memorial Hospital has received surgery to correct her cleft palate and lip, and that's just one of the challenges facing her family. 

Kimberly Amparo Suarez was born in the early minutes of Jan. 1 after her mother, Ana Johana Irias, went into labor early. 

Irias was using an ATM in Miami on New Year's Eve when someone rode by on a bicycle and snatched a gold chain from her neck. Irias ran after the thief, but lost him. The stress put her into the hospital, and she gave birth just after midnight. 

Kimberly was born with a cleft palate and lip. One in 700 newborns is born with the condition, in which they have the anatomy of a lip but the features are not positioned normally. 

Now, Kimberly has undergone plastic surgery at Holtz Children's Hospital to correct it.

Irias said she loves her daughter the way she was born, but she wanted her to have the surgery so she does not have to deal with any teasing or stress. 

"I really, in a way, didn't really care if she stayed like that or not," Irias said. "At one point, you know, when she was born, I did feel bad. I did feel like, oh my god, this is going to be big for her. This is going to be stressful for her. But at the end, after days passed by, and now that she's normal, I kind of actually miss her the way she was before." 

While Irias was recovering from Kimberly's birth, someone broke into the family's home and stole all their Christmas presents. They never got most of the items back. 

Irias said she and her baby are doing very well today. Kimberly will undergo one more procedure and may have some scars, but the effects of the cleft palate and lip will be corrected.