MADISON (WKOW)-- Mothers at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary's Hospital will soon have special cameras to help them stay in touch with their premature babies when they're away from the hospital.
It's all thanks to a special Giving Tuesday fund raising event organized by the St. Mary's Foundation.
"It's because parents have to go home sometimes. They have to keep their jobs, they have to take care of other matters and can't be by their baby's side all the time," Executive Director Sandy Lampman says.
These 20 "Angel Eye" cameras will allow mothers the ability to access a 24-hour video stream of their child by using their smart phone or tablet. Mothers will also be able to use this new technology to talk to their premature babies from anywhere in the world.
"I would be on there all the time," mother Melissa Paul says. "I would probably just leave it up 24 hours a day so I could just look over and see her."
Melissa Paul's daughter Elisia was born eight days ago. She was born six weeks early and has been at the St. Mary's NICU ever since. She barely leaves the building, because she's concerned about her daughter.
"We live in Portage," Paul explains. "The further that we drove away, like every mile that you were a little bit further, it was just a little bit harder."
Paul was also a premature baby herself. She and her twin brother Josh were treated at the very same NICU at St. Mary's Hospital 30 years ago.
"There are two nurses here still that took care of me when I was here," Paul says.
Both nurses helped Paul and her brother while their mother June Paul was forced to stay at a different hospital in Columbus while both kids were being treated at St. Mary's.
"I would say that was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life," June explains. "It was two weeks, about a week and a half before I was able to see them again."
Eventually June was able to meet up with her children at St. Mary's Hospital, but says those first few days were very difficult for her. She's happy to hear about the Angel Eye program coming to St. Mary's Hospital and its ability to help mothers like her daughter Melissa.
"I think being able to see your child from a distance if you have to be separated from your child is a marvelous gift to give people," June Paul explains.
A gift that will help mothers of premature babies who are going through the same struggles her daughter Melissa is currently going through.
"I'm here because I don't want to leave her," Melissa explains. "If other mothers had something like this, it would help out so much."
The St. Mary's Foundation was able to raise enough money on Giving Tuesday to purchase these 20 Angel Eye cameras, but members are still collecting donations. The left over money will go towards additional equipment at the St. Mary's NICU.
Members say they are hoping to buy a transportation device that will help medical professionals transport premature babies from one facility to another.
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