When Tony Brake traveled out of town each week as a field service engineer, he wished more than anything he could return quickly to his newborn son Elijah. But once his paid days off were depleted, Tony found it nearly impossible to visit Elijah -- a patient in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital -- as frequently as he liked.
Though hundreds of miles away, Tony was able to do something that would not have been possible a few months ago. When Tony got a break from work, he could find comfort and relief as he logged onto his iPhone to see Elijah on his screen, lying peacefully in the NICU.
With the innovative NicView camera system now installed in each of NHRMC’s 49 NICU bed spaces, Tony can log into a secure network at the touch of a button and see Elijah in real-time.
Elijah’s mother Quinn Byars has had the opportunity to be present during the majority of her baby’s care. But she has logged onto NicView during quick trips home to do laundry or to grab a bite to eat. And she appreciates how the system has helped Tony stay connected with Elijah.
“It has been so nice. As Elijah has been taken off different machines as he progresses, we have all been able to see the transition," Quinn said. "Even when we are not here, we get to celebrate those milestones.”
Quinn says their experience at NHRMC’s NICU has been wonderful, and this new technology has made it top-notch.
Elijah’s grandparents who live in the Raleigh area are also taking full advantage of the new NicView system, according to Quinn. “It connects the whole family, and it’s been such a blessing. It has allowed us to feel secure.”
Not only are parents and grandparents impacted by the new camera system, but also siblings. Parents J.P. and Natalie Altman recently gave birth to their fourth son, Elias, at NHRMC. Born prematurely, Elias was anticipated to be in the NICU for more than a month, and the Altmans' other three sons, ages 8, 6, and 4 were eager to bond with their baby brother.
“Our young sons at home are so excited and wish they could be at hospital with their new baby brother every minute," J.P said. "The system allows them to see Elias virtually until he can come home, and it really helps them connect without actually being there."
The three boys have added the use of NicView to their nightly routine as they all pile onto a bed in their pajamas and open the laptop to see their baby brother once more before bedtime. They spend a few minutes watching the photos stream in before wishing Elias a good night and sweet dreams.
J.P. and Natalie live in Leland and are constantly making time-consuming trips back and forth to take care of the other boys.
“It’s a shock to know your newborn is going to be here for weeks and even months, and with our other sons at home, both of us can’t always be at the hospital,” J.P. said.
Thanks to the funds raised by the NHRMC Foundation for the new camera system, other families of NICU infants will be able to find the same security and reassurance throughout their experience.
For more information on the NHRMC Foundation, visit nhrmcfoundation.org