Montana Health News

Jan 8, 2013 9:05 PM by Stan Parker - MTN News

New cameras in Billings NICU soothe parent's nerves

BILLINGS - After Kori Keller lost her two-day-old baby girl Ramsey a year ago, the inside of a neonatal intensive care unit was the last place she wanted to be.

But in December, the Kellers once again found themselves in the NICU unit of St. Vincent Healthcare. This time, wondering if their new baby boy Bauer would make it.

"After losing a daughter just a year ago, in the NICU, so we had high anxiety," Keller said, "knowing his delivery would be high-risk. And that he was going to be in the NICU, a place we hoped never to grace the walls of. "

It was Dec. 20, and little Bauer joined the world at 9:50 a.m. five weeks early. Kori remained in surgery for several hours afterwards. She finally woke up at noon and wasn't able to leave the recovery room until 3 p.m.

Doctors describe those critical hours of separation as a time wrought with anxiety and fear. But thanks to a new use of technology, Keller had a different experience.

As soon as she woke up, her nurse directed her to a monitor next to her, where she could see little Bauer. She could see the hands of nurses and her husband taking care of her new baby boy.

"It makes your heart feel so much better to be able to see him," Keller said. "Even at night when I knew he was right next door in the NICU and safe, to be able to pop open the screen and see him, and seeing his little heart beating, and the nurse's hands coming in and out, settled my heart tremendously."

Bauer remained in the NICU for nine days before getting to go home with his parents. Now, the Kellers will tell you with a smile, he's doing great. And he still hasn't even reached is due date yet.

The camera system is called the Nicview Webcam System, and St. Vincent staff said that the Kellers were the first family to use the technology.

Doctors said they adopted the technology after hearing from many families what sort of anxiety takes hold in those hours when high-risk newborns are separated from their parents.

As St. Vincent Chaplain Bret Miller reflected, "Technology can be a great tool in keeping family what family is: connected."

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