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Hope and healing at Phoenix Children's Hospital

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 20:59:34-04

You pray your baby is healthy. But, sadly, that's not always the case. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit focuses on saving the life of a newborn baby. 

But, special state-of-the-art technology at Phoenix Children's Hospital is designed to heal mom and dad.

Devastating, terrifying, exhausting. Three words that describe what it's like when your baby's sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

"I was already nervous I was going to lose her from the get go," remembers Shuana Alexander.

Her baby, Sydney was just hours old when she was rushed into surgery.  Shauna didn't get to hold her when she was born. Doctors knew something was wrong with Sydney's heart.

"All we could see is that the right side was getting bigger and bigger from that overflow," says Shauna.

A baby born with a broken heart, while mom and dad's hearts were breaking.

"The first heart surgery wasn't so good. She coded after that one," says Shauna. "One of the first nurses who I met here looked me straight in the eyes and said, Mom, you take care of yourself. I said, ok! She said, go home, sleep tonight. I did. And I felt perfectly fine doing so because I had the cameras."

She's talking about this: tiny lenses hovering over tiny cribs capturing every move, every moment, live, on a secure feed that mom and dad can access online from the comfort of their own home.

"We had the camera on all night. Every time I would wake up, there's my Sydne," says Shauna. "We would literally watch her until we would come back."

And they're not alone. A quick peek around the NICU and you'll see red lights aglow indicating someone, somewhere is watching, wishing and praying over a little life forced to fight far too soon.

"Whenever I would decide to leave, and not until late, I would go on the camera and see her crying," says Shauna. "Within a few minutes someone's already in there picking her up, rocking her."

It's overwhelming comfort at a hospital that's designed to calm every mother's insurmountable worry.  

Shauna says the nurses and staff will ask, "How's she doing? How big is she? It's a family. You're a family here."

Sydney is doing well. She'll have to have another surgery in a few months and, then, again when she's about 4 years old.