One of the most striking images that came out of Hurricane Sandy's October 29th surge was that of NYU Langone personnel evacuating babies from their NICU and maternity ward after their backup generator failed, not to mention that video showing one NICU nurse manually pumping air into an infant's lungs circulated as a true heroic symbol. One year later, NYU Langone is up-and-running, and the babies staff members evacuated have celebrated their first birthdays; yesterday, the hospital held an adorable birthday party for their teeny former charges, and parents and staff members reminisced on the surge night's frightening events.

20 infants from the NICU, PICU and CCVCU (cardiac congenital care unit) were evacuated on the night of the 29th, with staffers, medical students, doctors and nurses helping carry young patients and their mothers down 9 to 13 flights of stairs. For Daria Shurba, whose daughter Maria was born just hours before the hurricane struck, it was a race against time. "[Maria] was three days late," Shurba said. "I was praying she would make it out before the hurricane came." Luckily, Shurba gave birth just before noon, though once the hospital lost power, both mother and daughter had to be transported elsewhere. "Around 2 a.m. we started going down from the 13th floor to the lobby," Shurba said. "This was an amazing scene to me. The coordination from the NYU personnel was admiring. You guys really deserve a gold medal for this." She added, "We felt safe."

Helen Chang gave birth to daughter Ayla at close to 4 p.m., just a few hours before the storm came. When they were evacuated, NYU staffers and med students helped transport her out of the hospital. "They had six men carry me down the sled, and at that point I was like, maybe I can walk by myself," Chang said. "But no, they had to carry me all the way to the ambulance. The nurse was carrying [Ayla] and following us right behind." And even home wasn't a viable option for Chang, husband Robert Paz and the new baby; after spending three days in a different hospital, the three were unable to return to their powerless Tribeca apartment. "We couldn't go home until a week later," Chang said.

Some mothers found themselves giving birth in the dark, with staffers wielding flashlights and glowsticks in the delivery room. "The power went out about an hour before I had to start pushing," Dawn Charmatz, who gave birth to daughter Juliana at around 10 p.m., said. "Once they pulled out the flashlights and started cracking glowsticks, I realized I was going to have her in the dark."

And Kim Landman and Charles Rosenbaum, whose daughter Alice was born on the 28th, stayed in the maternity ward until the morning of the 30th. "It was scary. My husband didn't think so, but I did. At first they kept saying, we're not evacuating, we're not evacuating," Landman said. But by 9 p.m., the power had started to fail. "We kept hearing it all night, out on the stairs. All the chaos," Landman said. "They finally got to us at like 3 a.m., because we were fine. First they went to the patients that needed help. And by the time they got to us we decided it would make more sense for us to just stay and go home the next morning rather than go to another hospital."

Though Landman, Rosenbaum and newborn Alice didn't make it to their Chelsea apartment right away. "We had friends who lived on the Upper West Side, and we went to stay with them for four days. They just came and picked us up in their car."

But while many new mothers were with their children during the evacuation, some, like Luz Martinez, had to wait anxiously for news from the hospital about their infants in the NICU. Martinez's daughter was born premature on October 6th, and she was still in the NICU on the night of October 29th; Martinez meanwhile was at home on Roosevelt Island. "We had no clue where she was going," Martinez, who described the night as a "nightmare," said. "We had no communication with anyone at the hospital because all the lines were down. We tried to get here to the hospital but we couldn't because all the bridges were closed."

They finally made it to Emma on the following day, and the infant was transferred to Mount Sinai. "She made it okay," Martinez said. "There she is. She's good, she's healthy. She's come a long way."

For the new parents, the night of the 29th was a hazy, chaotic series of hours; for the NYU doctors and nurses that assisted them, though, that night was one of the defining moments of their careers. PICU senior staff nurse Michelle Federwisch oversaw a number of young charges that night, and described it as "one of my proudest moments in nursing, and one of the scariest in my life. "We lost power before anybody else did, I had just finished my shift of 12 hours and we lost power," she said. "We had a full PICU, and my patients, both their parents weren't able to be there during the day, they needed to be with their other children and in their homes taking care of other things. I talked to them several times during the day and told them, 'This is the safest place you can be, don't worry about anything.' I found myself eating my words and felt awful later."

But Federwisch helped get her patients out of the PICU, and they were transferred successfully to other hospitals.

Residents and nurses say the hospital, which reopened a few months after the storm, has been boning up on evacuation procedures and emergency responses in the recent months. "We've created this new utilities building where the generators and the steel pumps and everything is on the 7th or 8th floor, so it's high above sea-level," Dr. William Schweizer, the senior physician on call that night, said. And the staff is more ready than ever to help get patients out of the hospital, having been trained thoroughly on the emergency med sleds staffers used to get patients down flights of stairs. "I certainly think psychologically we're very prepared. We've always done lots of preparation training, but now we all see real value in using those emergency sleds," he said.

And Nurse Practitioner and midwife Donna Quinn, who was called into the hospital when they heard the storm was coming, says she saw the doctors and nurses at their primal best. "When the power went out, everyone went back to the basics of medical skills," she said. And the storm taught her which tools come in most handy: "My son started medical school, and you usually give them a stethoscope to start," she said. "I gave him a headlamp."