KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Coronavirus has changed everything, including who is allowed inside the hospital to see a new baby.

When a baby is born prematurely, that can turn into a long wait for extended family. St. Luke’s is using a new device that helps families stay in touch during the most precious of times.

“It was terrifying. My water broke early April, I wasn’t sure why, but it did and I came to St. Luke’s on the Plaza and admitted me and told me I wouldn’t be able to leave until she was born,” baby Phoenix’s mother Zanetta Sanders said.

Phoenix was born on April 18th but wasn’t due until August 15th! She weighed just one pound, three ounces.

“I only got to see her maybe 30 seconds after they pulled her out of me. She was taken straight to the NICU so I didn’t get that first time bonding experience that moms get when they carry full-term so it was very terrifying,” Sanders said.

With such a long stay in the NICU, Sanders can’t always be at her baby’s bedside and a device called Angel Eye is helping her see Phoenix even when she’s miles away.

“Just helps relieve stress whenever mom is up in the middle the night pumping, she can just get on the app she can see her baby and not only does that help with milk supply, it can help with postpartum depression. It can just relieve any stress that she’s feeling at that moment,” neonatal nurse Brittney Roe said.

Doctors at St. Luke’s hadn’t planned to start using Angel Eye until later in the year, but the pandemic pushed that timeframe up out of necessity. The devices are left on 24/7.

Phoenix still hasn’t met her 10-year-old brother, her grandparents or other family members. Sanders says the camera has been a gift for them too. More than anything, she says it’s made her feel close to her baby when she couldn’t be.

“With the Angel Eye I was able to at least look at her, watch her grow if I couldn’t be up here even the nurses sometimes can tell when I’m out and they’ll just give me a thumbs up to let me know she’s doing just fine which is so heartwarming so fulfilling,” Sanders said.

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