Under a Mother's Careful Watch: New Cameras Help Parents Log On

Parents of newborns in the intensive care unit at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield are logging on to see their babies if they can't be present.

Thanks to new cameras, a mother who had health complications and stuck in one hospital was able to monitor her baby when it was transported.

Baby Craig Jr. was born Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

"This is Craig Jr. He was born a little bit early with a little hole in his lung that was letting air outside his lungs," Jessica Watkins, Craig Jr.'s Mother, said.

Craig Jr. was transported to St. Joseph's ICE while his mom healed from her placental eruption and C-section.

"It's nerve wracking to have a baby to begin with," Watkins said. "And then to have a baby born with something wrong."

Watkins said being separated right after giving birth is nerve wracking.

"I wanted to meet him, touch him, smell him, anything," Watkins said. "You don't know if he's OK, what their doing, who's touching him. You don't know; That's emotional to deal with."

But thanks to an extra eye, little baby Craig Jr. stayed under his mother's watch the entire time.

"The only real mothering I got to do in those first few days was through the camera," Watkins said.

The Children's Miracle Network funded-camera sits above the baby in the unit. The parents get a login and password. They then can share the link with anyone they want to monitor their baby 24/7.

"If mom and dad can't bond with their infant right away, it works great," Nurse Samantha Mathwich said. "Previously, we've tried to send a photo or do something like that. This was just even better that they can view their baby live."

Seeing a baby on video versus a photo helps Watkins also establish a milk supply easier.

"People always recommend using a picture while you're pumping for your baby," Watkins said. "I got one better because I can watch him live on the camera."

Just in their first month installed, December 2013, more than a thousand people logged on to see their newest members of their families, making post-birth that much easier for the family and of course mom.

"I can't imagine not having the camera," Watkins said. "I would have been calling, calling, calling."

So instead of calling, baby Craig Jr. will be awaiting good health either under his mom's actual eye or lens.

"We wait, and we watch," Watkins said.

The camera doesn't cost the family anything. St. Joseph's in Marshfield has 12 cameras right now, but nurses hope to have all 24 installed by the end of the month.

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