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Meet the Burtnyks: Finding connection in St. B's NICU

Baby Annie Burtnyk “was teeny tiny” when she was born premature at 28 weeks weighing just 1 pound ten ounces. 

Annie’s stay in the NICU lasted 88 days. Mom Kelly Burtnyk and her husband Corey couldn’t always be with their baby girl back in December of 2021. vCreate Diaries, a secure video app that allows neonatal staff to record and upload video clips and photos, was a big help to the family. 

“It was a long time, and even though we were there every day it was so hard to leave because we couldn’t stay with her overnight,” Burtnyk said. 

Thanks to vCreate Diaries Burtnyk was able to go home and get the sleep she needed knowing her baby was in good hands. 

“It was really nice to get those photos and reassurances from the nurses during the night, reminders that our baby is okay even though she couldn’t be home with us.” 

She said her favourite photo was the one she received that first Christmas after giving birth. 

“We were at home and when we woke up we saw that we had photos of Annie that the nurses had taken in front of a Christmas back drop,” said Burtynky. 

“It was special because it was one of the first times we had seen her whole face, because she was intubated for a while, on CPAP to keep her breathing, so we had never really seen her without any tubes covering her little face.” 

“They took the picture quickly without the CPAP mask and that was the best vCreate moment for us, the nurses were just wonderful.” 

The service has been a huge success thanks to funding by the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation. More than 200 families like the Burtnyks have benefited since vCreate Diaries launched in December of 2021. 

Annie is now a busy and thriving toddler. 

“She’s fantastic, she’s still tiny but healthy has a big personality,” said Burtynk with a laugh. 

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