After Dakeya Habersham gave birth to her son Elijah six weeks early, the reality of having a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) during the COVID-19 pandemic had quickly set in.
Habersham was familiar with premature protocols as she is an experienced labor and delivery nurse at Baptist Health. “I knew being six weeks early meant Elijah would automatically be in the NICU. I wasn’t prepared for him having to be intubated and staying for five weeks,” said Habersham.
As the pandemic progressed, Baptist Health began to implement visitation regulations for patients in the hospital as a safety precaution to reduce the risk of transmission. Unfortunately for families in situations similar to Habersham, this would also mean that only one parent was allowed to visit baby Elijah per day.
Thankfully, NICUs at certain Baptist Health facilities are equipped with technology that allows parents and family to remotely monitor their little one when they are away from the hospital. The Angel Eye system uses a camera placed at the baby’s bedside as it provides live-stream footage that can be accessed by a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
“NICU visitation was very different but having the Angel Eye was amazing,” said Habersham. “Because I am breastfeeding, we couldn’t take turns visiting Elijah. It was hard on my husband, but the Angel Eye cameras helped him cope. It was a game-changer for all of our family. Everyone could log in, from our 6-year-old daughter to grandparents. We were so grateful for these cameras.”
Since Jonathan, Habersham’s husband, had been on deployment for their first child’s birth, he was particularly excited to hold Elijah after weeks of virtual monitoring. Though the moment had been bittersweet for Habersham after she realized she would not be able to witness her husband hold Elijah for the first time. “The nurse pointed the camera towards him in the room so I could see that moment, and I cried with the happiest tears,” said Habersham.
During the last phase of Elijah’s stay at Baptist Health, he was transferred to a room that lacked the Angel Eye technology. “Even as a Labor & Delivery nurse, I didn’t realize not all rooms had them. We were so excited that we were one step closer to going home, but equally as devastated that we wouldn’t be able to see him when we were away from the hospital. Mothers are already at risk for postpartum, and then you add COVID-19 in 一 Angel Eyes makes such a difference,” said Habersham.
For three weeks, the family was unable to monitor Elijah virtually. Habersham knew that the Baptist Health team would take excellent care of Elijah in her absence, but that didn’t ease the feeling of anxiety she felt after having her newborn placed into a room without monitors. “While the Angel Eyes are funded through donors and are a privilege, it does feel like they need to be a necessity. Parents have got to be able to see their babies.”
At Baptist Health, we understand the burden for families unable to be with loved ones during their hospital stay. That’s why we need your help. By making a small donation towards the purchase of Angel Eye equipment software, you can make a substantial difference in the lives of families like the Habershams.