28/06/2018 09:17 BST | Updated 28/06/2018 09:17 BST

How The Parents Of Premature Twins Are Helping Others Feel Connected To Babies In Intensive Care

'We know how it feels when you can’t be with your baby and you’re worrying all the time.'

Premature babies often have to spend their first days away from their parents, being cared for in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

Not being able to see your newborn can be a heartbreaking experience, but for Danielle Currie and Derrick McNaught, from Glasgow, Scotland, this difficult time was made a little easier because they were able to be updated on their twin babies’ progress through a specialised video system.

Sofia Grace and Grahame were born 16 weeks prematurely on 11 December 2017. Both were transferred to the neonatal unit at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow. The team there sent Currie and McNaught video clips of their babies every night. Grahame died after 11 days, but Sofia spent a total of 164 days in the hospital before being allowed home.

“Videos make the journey of being in NICU that little bit easier,” said Danielle. “We got to see Sofia doing things for the first time like when she had her first bottle and there was one where her eyes were open and it was one of the first times we’d seen it.

“It was nice to show the videos to our family too, so they could see how she was doing. We also have videos of Grahame that we can keep forever and look back on.” 

Baby Sofia in the NICU. 

The video messages were sent to Danielle and Derrick using an NHS-approved system called vCreate, which is intended to minimise separation anxiety in parents of sick and premature babies in neonatal units. The system comes at no cost to the NHS, neonatal units, or parents. Instead, hospitals are guided to help find a charity or corporate sponsor who is willing to fund the system.

Baby Sofia in the NICU. 

Danielle and Derrick knew early on that they wanted to do something to help support other parents who found themselves separated from their babies. The couple set up a crowdfunding page to raise money to purchase new iPads for the nurses at Glasgow Children’s Hospital to use to send video updates to parents.

“The videos made such a difference to us. We know how it feels when you can’t be with your baby and you’re worrying all the time, so we wanted to help more parents feel reassured when they’re away from NICU,” said Danielle. “The nurses would make fun videos sometimes and add music, so it would really cheer us up.”

Danielle and Derrick with baby Sofia. 

The couple managed to raise £2,051 for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, which will give the unit five new iPads. “It felt wonderful when we reached our target of £2,000,” Danielle said. “We’re so proud. It’s our way of saying thank you and giving something back to all the amazing staff who cared for our babies, and who we love.”

Baby Sofia. 

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