Neonatal ICU Graduates Reunite in The Woodlands During Festival Celebration

By: Amanda Rech
| Published 01/03/2024


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- everal dozen graduates from the Richard A. Rivas, MD, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) attended the NICU Reunion with their families at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. The hospital staff eagerly welcomed back many of the families it came to know over extended stays for premature and/or medically fragile infants. During their baby’s, or even multiple babies’, specialized treatment in NICU, it was always about more than just medical care. A caring team of professionals helped parents with breastfeeding, bonding and on their journey home with their soon-to-be graduates. Parents need confidence in their abilities, siblings were introduced to the newest family additions and families benefited from knowing where to get the specialized follow-up care needed for long-term success.

Affiliated neonatologists David Weisoly, DO; Amie Ballard, MD (also named 2023 Physician of the Year) and Tabasam Roohey, MD were on hand to meet up with families, as were NICU staff led by Children’s Services Director Elizabeth Kutchback, MBA, RN, BSN, RNC-NIC; Children’s Services Manager Missy Hanes, RN, BSN, CPN; and Assistant Manager Courtney Krumins, RN, BSN, RNC-NIC. Attendees were encouraged to wear a costume and once at the festival, were able to enjoy a train ride around a looped driveway, tours of the Children’s Memorial Hermann pediatric transport ambulance, carnival games, arts and crafts like stickering mini pumpkins and refreshments including snow cones. Kiddos also enjoyed the large playground in the hospital’s Wolf Park and playground, live DJ music, plus socializing with other NICU graduates and families. Also present at the event were the March of Dimes, Mothers of Multiples, All Ears and Pets with a Mission.

A brief program included a welcome by Dr. Ballard, a testimonial and a wrap up by Dr. Weisoly. During the NICU testimonial, mom LaTroya Woolridge, a Louisiana transplant from Spring, shared how her husband, Arthur, was out of town, when she suddenly went into labor at only 24 weeks. Their daughter, Amara, was born weighing just 1 pound and 3 ounces, but after a lot of waiting, her twin brother decided not to come into the world at the same time. The Woolridge Family had what is called a delayed interval delivery, something that happens in less than 1 in 1,000 twin births. Their son, Arthur III, was born at 26 weeks-gestation (exactly 2 weeks later) weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces. Amara spent 108 days in the NICU compared to 89 days spent by Arthur. Both are now healthy first graders, but are unique twins in that they not only have two different birthdays, but were also born under different U.S. Presidents and have different zodiac signs. LaTroya’s message at the NICU Reunion was one of initial surprise and fear, but she shared that in their NICU journey they were inspired by others and found hope, strength and positivity among an amazing network of medical professionals and families. The Woolridges and others in attendance refer to the large photos decorating the NICU, those of graduates at play, alongside a smaller photo of each of them back when they were NICU patients. These colorful photos inspire many families and encourage them that there is indeed hope for their little ones too. The NICU Reunion allows graduate families and hospital staff to have a memorable experience, together.

If you are a graduate of the NICU at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands and would like to be included in future NICU Reunions and other related functions, please contact

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