Twenty cameras have been installed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Golisano and parents who have babies who need to stay in the NICU for extended periods can request it.
One of the first families to use this program was the Philip-Ledwith family, while their son Emerson was in the NICU for 98 days.
Christine Ledwith’s water broke on August 2nd with pre-term symptoms. During the tests, Emerson’s heart rate kept dropping, and they had to rush her into an emergency C-section.
“Nobody ever thinks they’re going to have a NICU baby,” Ledwith said. “I didn’t know much about the NICU, or premies … I was unsure of how he would survive.”
Emerson was born on August 2nd at 26 weeks. He was only 2 lbs, 3 ounces, and 13.5 inches long.
“An emotional roller coaster,” Ledwith said. “Parents never plan to leave their baby at the hospital. Especially if you can’t hold him — I couldn’t for a week.”
“All you want to do is hold your baby and you can’t,” Ledwith said.
During Ledwith’s three-day stay at the NICU, one of the nurses mentioned that they needed a pilot for the new AngelEyes program. The family jumped on it.
Adam is a teacher during most of the year, but during the summer, he works as a painter. Which made it even harder for him to be there, so he wanted to check in on his son.
“I took a look at him every free moment I had,” Adam said. “(Even during) lunch.”
“It was reassuring that we could check in on (Emerson),” Ledwith said. “(Adam) could see him everyday, see what he was doing.”
It even turned into a full family affair.
“Me and dad would sit on the couch and watch Emerson on the couch,” Harper Philip, Adam’s daughter said. “We would watch him dance.”
Emerson is coming up on six months old, and the family finally gets to hold their son.
“Oh when I first got to hold him, you feel like you’re holding a feather,” Adam said. “He’s just so light. It was so rewarding.”
“He is doing fabulous,” Ledwith said. “We’re just so grateful for how healthy he is now.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Philip family would love to see this program grow.
“AngelEyes would be a fabulous opportunity for any parent that is in the NICU,” Adam said.