We use cookies to provide you with the best possible online experience. Read more

Helping rewrite the future. Now. And for generations to come.

Erin and Brett’s story

Following the happy news that Erin and Brett were expecting twins, Erin endured a complicated and difficult pregnancy that involved many visits to specialists who were located more than an hour drive away. The twins were born prematurely and needed to stay in hospital for weeks.

It was heartbreaking for Erin and Brett leaving their new babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) when Erin was discharged from hospital. There were lots of tears driving that hour home from hospital the first time. They just wanted to turn around and go back to their babies.

The NICview camera, a special webcam, is set up on all NICU cribs. NICview allowed Erin and Brett to use their phones to log in and watch over their boys when they couldn’t be with them. It made a world of difference being able to see them from miles away.

The Charitable Foundation provided grants totalling almost $240,000 to fund the installation of the NICview webcam system at John Hunter Children’s Hospital. It is mounted on the NICU cribs, and helps families bond with their baby relieving anxiety and stress caused by separation.


  


Erin: It was definitely a tough pregnancy. Lots of hospital visits, doctors, obstetrician visits. 

Brett: Lots of time off work. Back and forth to doctors’ appointments and stuff like that. 

Erin: We live up in Cessnock in the Hunter Valley so, you know, it’s an hour’s drive for us to come down here and our obstetricians and doctors are down this way. 

So I’d been admitted to hospital with other complications and it escalated quiet quickly once I was in hospital. They didn’t believe I was in labour, I didn’t believe I was in labour. So we weren’t prepared at all were we? 

Brett: Not at all. 

Erin: We went into theatre and they told us that we wouldn’t see our babies. That they would be whisked off to NICU straight away. And I, we were ok with that. We just wanted the best care for them. 

Come Sunday, come the discharging up here… it was really hard wasn’t it? 

Brett: Yep Erin: Yeah, it was really tough. But it’s probably the most disturbing, distraught feeling I’ve ever had. 

But I just kept reminding myself – the girls are fantastic here in NICU and they’re in the best care they could be in. And that I had to go home, we had to go home and look after ourselves to come back and be the best parents we can be here. 

We can’t pick them up of a night it’s, yeah it’s tough isn’t it? Really tough, lots of tears. There is a lot of tears. 

Yeah it was very distressing wasn’t it? To get in the car and drive that hour home. 

Brett: Over an hour, yeah. 

Erin: It was, um, you just wanted to turn around and go back, the whole way, even when we got home. 

Brett: Especially with Erin having the rough pregnancy, all the way through.  

Erin: Yeah, so the NICview cameras have been sanity for me and for Brett. Obviously I’m getting up of a night to express milk for them and brining it down here.  

And I can get up and have a look at them before we go to bed, we check how they’re doing. And get up in the morning and check again. It’s just, you can’t hold them but you can see them and you can see that they are ok. For me, it has stopped me from going completely mad.

NICview allowed us to log in and watch over our baby boys when we couldn’t be with them. It made a world of difference being able to see them from miles away.

Erin, mother and NICview user

The journey

Erin and Brett from Cessnock, NSW were delighted when they found out they were expecting twins. It was a particularly tough pregnancy for Erin with many hospital visits and trips to the obstetrician, which being an hour’s drive from home resulted in a lot of time off work. At 31 weeks, Erin was admitted to hospital with complications and the twins were delivered prematurely and were immediately transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

John Hunter Children’s Hospital is the major neonatal centre for the Hunter, New England and Mid North Coast regions and provides support to many regional families, many of whom similar to Erin and Brett live many hours away.

When Erin was discharged from hospital and returned home the new parents found it to be a very distressing and emotional time as the twins required more time in NICU to grow and get stronger. Knowing they had to get in the car and drive home, an hour away from their precious babies, was incredibly hard. While Erin and Brett knew their children were in the very best of care with the experienced NICU staff, it was difficult being separated from the twins.


It was heartbreaking to leave our babies behind when I was discharged from hospital. There were lots of tears driving that hour home. We just wanted to turn around and go back
- Erin, mother and NICview user .

With the help of NICview, Erin and Brett were able to log in and watch their babies from home. NICview is a special webcam set up on all NICU cribs. Families can use their personal devices such as a mobile phone to securely long in and watch their babies from miles away. For Erin and Brett, this connection to their twins was immeasurable. They were able to watch over them at all times of the day and night—it made a world of difference just being able to see them.

About NICview

John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, NSW is one of three children’s hospitals in NSW. The hospital’s NICU is part of the NSW network of neonatal units and services the Hunter, New England, and Mid North Coast regions of NSW. The families that often use NICU can live up to several hours away.When parents are discharged from hospital but their babies are required to stay in NICU it can be very distressing for them to be separated from their baby. NICview is a special webcam, which is placed in the NICU cribs. The cameras can connect to any device such as a mobile phone or tablet so families can watch over their baby from miles away.

The Charitable Foundation has provided almost $240,000 to the John Hunter Children’s Hospital Kids Club for the installation of NICview camera system on every crib at John Hunter Children’s Hospital NICU. Up to 1,200 families rely on NICview each year, making it a vital piece of technology for families to log in from home and connect with their babies.

Helping others

  • staff volunteering Watching over them Erin & Brett could watch over their baby twins from miles away.
  • mobile app Every crib Every NICU crib now has a NICview camera at John Hunter Children’s Hospital.
  • npbs icon Helping regional families Each year over 1,200 families connect with their babies using the NICview cameras.
  • Funding Icon We funded Almost $240,000 to fund the installation of NICview at John Hunter Children’s Hospital