CHAPEL HILL, NC (WNCN) — The holidays can be a tough time for many families — especially for those with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.
UNC Children's Hospital just launched a new program called “Family Time” and it allows parents to see their baby on a live video feed around the clock.
Gina Turner couldn't bring her baby boy home this Christmas.
“He was born at 26 weeks gestation, so it was a pretty scary time for us,” Turner said.
Turner also has a toddler son, so she can't be with her baby boy Nico all the time.
“I have a 3-year-old son is not able to come to the NICU because of flu season, so they limit the age of children, so he's not even seen his baby brother yet so we can log on at night, read him stories,” Turner said.
UNC Children's Hospital is one of the first hospitals in the state to install live streaming cameras at every bed in their NICU.
It allows family members to use their tablet, their computer, or their cell phone to see their baby in real time.
New dad Dylan Locklear also has a son in the NICU.
He travels for work so he isn't able to be by his son's bedside as much as he'd like to.
“Real excited for one, because I hadn't seen him in a while and I was able to tell on the camera how much he had grown, so, that was a pretty cool experience,” Locklear said. “It's a stress reliever especially being away from him as much as I am to check on him.”
Both families will not be able to physically spend the holidays with their baby boys.
“It's been a very tough 71 days here and I can't be here all the time, but when he smiles like that I won't miss those moments,” said Turner.
“They're gonna broadcast him on the television through the camera system so that's a great idea as far as he might not be there physically to enjoy the party with the rest of the family, but we'll be able to see him and check him out so he'll be with us in spirit,” said Locklear.
Nurses with UNC Children's Hospital say they're excited to offer this program to military families deployed overseas, although they have not had any deployed parents try the “Family Time” program, yet.