WakeMed launches streaming system to keep parents connected to newborns

YOUNGSVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Chase and Ashley Crabtree, of Youngsville, welcomed twins Allie and Cole last week. The babies were born three months early and are at WakeMed's neonatal intensive care unit.

"They're doing really, really good, honestly, for their gestational week," said Ashley.

WakeMed just launched the streaming camera system NicView, to help keep families like the Crabtrees connected to their newborns.
"We feel really lucky that we can provide an avenue for people to be engaged with the new baby and to celebrate the new life in the family," said Mallory Magelli McKeown, WakeMed Manager of Family Navigation.

The twins will be able to go to their Youngsville home in June. Until then, the Crabtrees can watch them anytime they can't be at the hospital, thanks to NicView.

Ashley Crabtree describes what it was like using the service.

"The biggest peace and relief that I've ever felt because, leaving them yesterday was super, super hard but honestly being able to log in whenever we want and just to get a peek at their sweet little face is immediate relief as a mom," she said. "So we are super, super grateful for that."

There are usually between 38 and 41 babies at WakeMed's NICU in Raleigh every day.

They'll have 60 cameras throughout their three WakeMed hospitals.

"At the Raleigh campus, there's 19 that are currently functional," said Sharon Hershkowitz, WakeMed NICU Program Coordinator. "As we have more families come, we're able to get them set up with the service."

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only two people can visit babies at WakeMed's NICU. This service means loved ones can also log in and see the twins.

"Because, of course, everybody wants to know when they can come to visit the babies," said Chase. "But unfortunately, due to COVID, that's just not possible. So having that camera has been a lifesaver."

The service is free and optional for parents and available 24/7.

Implementing the service costs about $140,000 and was funded by the WakeMed Foundation.
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