PLANO — Jaxon Skaggs, 2, knows his twin sister only from pictures.
Weighing just more than two pounds apiece, Jaxon and his sister Leighton were born at just 28 weeks of gestation. Three weeks after they were born, Leighton suddenly developed a late-onset group B streptococcus infection and died within 48 hours.
It was because so many relatives and friends never got to see Leighton before she passed that her parents started raising money to install cameras in the neonatal ICU of Texas Health Plano.
Webcams will be attached to 10 beds within the next week to allow loved ones to view and speak to their little ones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Parents can share a webcam code with friends and family nationwide so the, too can see the infant.
The goal is to have one camera for each of the 45 beds in the NICU. For every $3,400 given, a camera will be named in their honor and commemorated with a bedside plaque.
"This brings such a relief to them,” said Michelle Kelly, the NICU manager. "We have families in different circumstances ... Families that if the babies are born 16 weeks early, moms have to go back to work. They want to save their maternity leave. They want to be able to see their baby at all times.”
"This project came out of a bad situation for us, but it's not for bad situations,” added Chris Skaggs, Jaxon and Leighton’s father. “It's not just when babies are sick and passing. It's to share the good times because you don't get to do that when you're in the NICU — the first bottle, a diaper change, getting in the swing."
Jaxon spent 74 days in the NICU. Because there are strict rules for who can visit, many of those milestones were missed by family.
The Skaggs hope they won't need the special care of the NICU and its new cameras for Jaxon's little sister Olivia, who is due in December. But, if they do, Leighton's legacy will be watching over her.