Angela Cote was ready for her daughter to be born in late February 2018. But at 25 weeks and six days, her daughter Aava arrived. Being born at 1 lb, 10 oz, Aava was considered a micro-premie and, due to circumstance, a fighter.
Angela and her significant other were discharged the day before Thanksgiving, four days after Aava was born.
“After you’re discharged, which is just a few days after you give birth, you feel more disconnected to your child than anybody should ever have to feel,” said Angela. “We just had to work for that bond and the camera helped.”
The camera she’s referring to was connected to the Aava’s bassinette. Family members can check in on their newborns via a secure portal at any time. This was not only helpful to keep connected, but it turns out, it also aided in Aava’s survival.
Because of Aava’s earlier than expected arrival and her extended time of more than four months in the Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Angela wasn’t able to develop a breast milk supply immediately. When Angela was not able to be by Aava’s side, she could see her through the camera, building a deeper connection and allowing her to pump. At one point, Aava became ill. She needed milk to avoid dehydration, but the breast milk at the NICU was frozen and they were unable to get the specialized formula quickly enough. Angela was able to go in to a separate room, pump, and provide her daughter with the hydration she needed.
“Had we not had that camera to continue to bond, I may not have been able to do that. And in that instance, we may have lost her,” shared Angela.
The cameras also allowed Angela and her significant other to spend Christmas day connected with Aava, as they had both developed colds and could not be by her side.
“Being her first Christmas, it was challenging and emotional for us to not be there. We were able to watch her and be a part of bath night, we were able to see her wear her first outfit that week,” said Angela. “The cameras allowed us to be there for those big moments when we couldn’t physically be.”
Today, Aava is a happy and healthy baby girl. She celebrated her first birthday on Nov. 18, 2019, and currently sits up on her own, scoots around, and has said her first word: da-da.
“She’s truly a little miracle who has overcome every obstacle that she was faced with a smile,” said Angela.
A donation to the Baystate Health Foundation can help to purchase more extended-stay nursery cameras to keep families connect with their newborns. Make your gift today.