CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Heartland is now home to the newest cutting edge technology for moms and babies facing long hospitals stays when the little ones need special intensive care.
The first couple to use the new webcam system called "Nicview" are still staying at Southeast Health's newly renovated Neonatal unit for moms and babies.
"I wear that camera out," said Justin Williams as he looks in on his baby girl from a his cell phone. He's probably logging on the most, as well as his family across the country who can't stop watching little Ameila's progress through the 24/7 webcam system.
"When I'm not here and I get a break I'm probably logging on 50 times a day," laughed Justin. "That's a bunch."
The baby girl was born at just four pounds, eight weeks early. She was born July 5.
"I was really surprised at the timing her being my first baby," mom, Alizabeth Williams said. "I was like we might need to go get this checked out."
"I was scared," Justin said. "We were grilling that day and we were getting ready to go watch the fireworks and a few hours later we had a baby."
Alizabeth and baby would face weeks in the hospital in Cape Girardeau while dad knew he'd have to go back to work at the cotton gin miles away near their hometown of Holcomb.
"It would be a lot harder if we hadn't had the camera," Justin said.
He uses a password and logs on through his phone or any computer.
"I have family and they're watching her all the time in Mississippi," he said.
"He'll text me constantly when I'm rarely not in here," Alizabeth said. "He's always watching what she's doing. Our families can't get enough of it. My brother's cutting cotton and he's on it all the time."
Doctors like Neonatologist Dr. Paul Caruso say it's a highlight where some families face months in the N.I.C.U. unit. They say the anytime, anywhere connection relieves a lot of their stress and that in turn helps babies in need of special care grow healthy faster.
"It does wonderful things for the families and even better things for the babies because they thrive," Dr. Paul Caruso said.
In fact, Dr. Caruso says this little one is quite the fighter and will be just fine.
"We're really blessed," Alizabeth said.
The Southeast Health Auxiliary provided the funding for the cameras to the new unit after doctors stressed how beneficial they could be.
Saint Francis Medical Center will soon have the cameras and hospitals in southern Illinois and Kentucky are looking into getting them. The cameras are already installed at St. Jude in Memphis.
Mom and baby could go home to dad as soon as July 31. Justin says he can't wait to take a nap in the recliner with his little girl and give his phone a rest.