St. Thomas Midtown Is 1st Mid-State Hospital To Offer 24/7 NICU Video Service

Posted at 11:41 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 00:44:18-04

One in 10 babies are born too early each year. A new, 24/7 video streaming service at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital allows parents to bond with their newborn before they can finally come home.

Heather and Eugene Brown of Nashville have been married for 11 years.

As filmmakers, Eugene joked their jobs kept them busy and time to start a family was running out. 

Last year, it felt like a lot of the stories we were shooting were parents having trouble getting pregnant and we took for granted. We said when we're ready let's do it.

On March 1st, Heather gave birth to twin girls Desirée and Déjà. 

"Desirée weighed three pounds, eleven ounces and Déjà weighed three pounds, one ounce," Heather said. 

The couple did not except to have twins at first let alone their babies born a few weeks early.

Born at 35 weeks, the girls needed to stay in the NICU.

"At first it wasn't a great experience just having to leave and driving home. There were a couple of times where I sat in the car afterwards and I just had tears," Heather said.

"I freaked out because in all the movies the NICU was like these wires, ventilation. That's what I'm picturing," Eugene said.

Their anxieties lessened thanks to a new 24/7 video service offered at the Saint Thomas Midtown.

The hospital added 40 NICView cameras to allow patients and their families to view their baby through a secure, log-in portal.

The NICView cameras are available for newborns in the NICU with parental and provider consent. Each family is given an individual log in, which allows them to view the baby online 24/7.

"This is a great opportunity to tap into technology and give parents access to their newborns so that it eases their worries and concerns and they can check on their baby 24 hours a day," Vice President of Women's and Children's Services Kristen Toth said.

Toth's 9-year-old son was born premature so she said she understands what relief the video system can offer parents.

Heather and Eugene said they were thankful to be able to use the streaming system.

"When we wake up, we can be in bed and just look at our phones and be like OK they're sleeping, she said.

"But the thing is we had to make sure we didn't look at them all the time. If they're crying and they're not dealing with them, we know nurses had another situation that needs their attention. We were never worried, they made us feel so good, all the nurses," Eugene said.

Approximately 500 NICU babies are admitted to Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital each year.