LODI, Calif. — They're the cutest graduation class you've ever seen.
Proud parents walked their babies down Adventist Health Lodi Memorial’s cafeteria as their kids "graduated" from the neonatal intensive care unit.
Delighted daddies and smiling mamas proudly carried their tiny diploma holders, complete with cap and gown, Wednesday.
The commencement ceremony celebrated the hospital's higher level of care at the NICU.
"Has been a long time dream of ours to have a level II NICU so that we could keep moms and babies together in our community," said Maternal Child Department Director Valeria Stump.
Hospital administrations say before December 2018, babies born before 38 weeks who needed an IV, antibiotics or had blood sugar issues were sent to different hospitals and further away from the homes of many of their families.
"We would have been so far away from him and that, as parents, that’s really hard," said mother Hieu Singh.
Now, parents are able to be right by their baby’s side.
Administrators added that all of the NICU staff received specialized training at the University of California, Davis to care for preemie babies.