ORLANDO, Fla. -- Babies born too early are often hospitalized for weeks or months in specialized neonatal intensive care units or NICUs. Now, a cutting-edge system is helping the tiniest patients thrive in an environment- much like the one they just left.
Little Remi Jolliff came into the world at 24 weeks, and five days. Three-and-a-half months before she was due.
"She was coming out whether we were ready or not," Jessica Jolliff, Remi's mom, said.
Remi weighed just one pound, six ounces.
Dad Christopher Jolliff shared, "Just complete devastation."
NICU nurse manager Michael O'Brien at AdventHealth has cared for hundreds of preemies over 25 years. AdventHealth in Orlando is now the first in the country to test an innovative system that in some ways simulates a mother's womb. It's a high-tech isolette, called Babyleo. These tiny babies have no fat at all to keep them warm.
O'Brien said, "There's a little device that lays on the baby's skin. It's like a thermometer. A little sticker goes over it keeping it on the baby's skin, and it goes into the isolette."
That way a computer system constantly monitors the baby's temperature, keeping him at 98.6 by automatically turning on and off warmers in the crib. The Babyleo also gently mists sterile water to adjust the humidity.
O'Brien said, "Remember the premature baby was floating in amniotic fluid inside the mom and the skin is not ready to be out in the dry, dry air."
The Jolliffs take comfort knowing Remi is getting specialized care. It takes away some of the trauma from her early delivery.
"Think of it as they just couldn't wait to meet you. That's what we tell ourselves. Yep. She was just so excited to meet her mom and dad. She couldn't wait," said Jessica and Christopher Jolliff.
Before the Babyleo, NICU nurses would have to manually adjust warmers in the isolettes to ensure preemies stayed at normal body temperature. Little Remi Jolliff is scheduled to remain in the NICU until the beginning of February, when she was originally due.
Health Watch: Babyleo helps the tiniest patients