MEMORIAL CITY, Texas – The holidays are a time for families to be together. But for those with babies in the NICU, togetherness can be difficult to achieve. A local hospital is using new technology to help.
Memorial Hermann in Memorial City invested in cameras to ease the anxiety of parents who have to return to work, family members who are out of town, even for cases where hurricanes and natural disasters stand between parents and NICU babies.
Mom of baby Colton, Caitlin Mueller, who’s been in the NICU for 95 days, said seeing her baby in the NICU through the Nicview has helped calm her concerns for Colton when she cannot be in the room with him.
“It definitely decreases anxiety because we can see him all the time,” she said. “Before going to bed I can turn on my little laptop and see him and it just makes me feel like I’m kind of there with him.”
Through Hurricane Harvey and now the holidays, there are times when being with him is impossible for the Muellers.
“I was actually here in the hospital during Hurricane Harvey, my husband however, had to go home and then he got flooded because we live in Clear Lake and so he was able to go on the camera and watch him while he was at home,” Mueller said.
Then, due to infection control, Mueller stayed away from the hospital for a couple days through an illness.
“I was actually sick for a day or two and wasn't able to come up here and the camera was great because then I could actually see him and feel kind of at ease because I see him on the camera, he's doing good,” she said.
Candice Triulzi, clinical manager of the NICU at Children’s Memorial Hermann at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, said that has more physical importance on a mom's body than you may realize.
“Being able to visualize your baby when you’re pumping breast milk has a huge impact on breast milk production. So, these cameras have allowed those moms a reason to kind of wake up in the middle of the night, do their breast pumping and also be able to have that interaction with their baby while they're pumping their breast milk,” Triulzi said.
Online or on mobile, Triulzi said the site is secure but parents can share the login with anyone they want.
“We’ve actually had over 20 different countries of people logging in to see our babies here in the NICU. So, I think that is so amazing. It's not only having an impact here in Houston for families but we're having a global impact,” Triulzi said.
Mueller’s family contributes to those logins.
“I have family everywhere, Florida, Austin, Corpus Christi, a couple here in Houston and they’ve all been logging in, looking at him every single day,” Mueller said.
Even when you have permission to access the camera, the nurses will turn it off when they're changing diapers or doing anything else that may require additional privacy.
Also, since kids under a certain age can't visit little brothers and sisters, using the Nicview is the main way Colton's big brother can bond.