Searching for ways to give back to new mothers, fathers, and families at the REX Women’s Center, UNC REX postpartum nurse, Meghan Presnell, RN, teamed up with eleven co-workers to create an album of lullabies.
Meghan Presnell’s love for music always thrived in her heart. At the age of 20, she launched a career as a country music singer in Nashville, Tennessee. For two and half years, she and her band wrote, produced, and performed their own music together.
Upon her engagement to her now husband, she decided to start a new life and career in North Carolina.
“I found a love for nursing – I’m passionate about women and children’s health and those were the type of patients I wanted to work with,” says Presnell, who graduated from the University of North Carolina.
Presnell, who was born at UNC REX, knew exactly where she wanted to start her new career as a health professional.
Over the past three years of working at the hospital, Presnell witnessed and cherished many unique moments at the REX Women’s Center.
“We see births ever day in the work that we do, but we have to step back and remember, for the women we serve, that this is one of the biggest highlights of their lives,” says Presnell.
Searching for ways to celebrate new mothers, fathers, and family members at the birthing center, Presnell thought about collaborating with her fellow co-workers to create a music album.
“We wanted to show families at UNC REX that we are also thankful to be a part of the most incredible part of their life,” Presnell says, who was one of the leading coordinators of the lullaby project. “What better way to give back than by giving them the gift of song!”
After suggesting the project to her nursing managers, Wanda Adams, RN, and Tanya Creek,RN, the pair immediately latched onto the idea and connected Presnell with staff leadership.
This Mother’s Day, families and medical staff will hear the first-ever lullaby album, ‘What a Busy Day,’ sung by UNC REX co-workers and volunteers.
According to one project member, Laurie Cain, RN, the album will be beneficial for life at home and at work.
“With the hearing screening program, babies are screened on their first day of life and they have to be very calm in order to get through the test successfully,” Cain says, a child birth educator and infant massage instructor.
“To lull the infants to sleep, I sometimes sing lullabies. Now, I use new material we learned from the project, like the Braum’s lullaby and it works great!” Cain continues.
Though a majority of the singers and instrumentalists carry strong backgrounds in music, this project taught the group’s piano player Chris Morris new aspects about studio production.
“Because we were recording these songs in layers, it was an experience that I wasn’t quite used to at first,” says Morris, a child passenger safety technician at UNC REX. “Since then, if I listen to a song now, I have a better understanding of how music is created,” Morris continues.
The group had to review more than 100 songs in order to find seven that worked well with the project’s theme and were affordable to obtain due to licensing rights. Once the song choices were finalized in February, the album’s producer John Carlson began rehearsing with the group. Towards the end of April, several days were spent in the studio to record, mix, and master.
Presnell, Morris, and Cain believe this album is a solid representation of how an employee-driven initiative can spawn into a meaningful work of art.
“I described this album once as a love project and that’s what it is – you had to love it and be invested in it. It took up a lot of time and you have to love it to do that and I think you’ll hear it in the finished product.”
Produced by: John William Carlson and Blue Yonder Media
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by: Bunker Sound Productions
You can purchase your copy in the REX Gift Shop for only $5. All proceeds from the sales of this CD go to the REX Healthcare Foundation to support the Women’s and Children’s fund. You can also order a CD by sending an email request or by calling 919-784-4424.
Ear infections are a common winter ailment and tend to occur more often in children than adults. Colds can spread easily among youngsters. Then ear infections are more likely to occur. Symptoms may pop up two to seven days after the start of a cold or upper respiratory infection.
What triggers ear infections?
Inflammation and infection of the middle ear is the most common type of ear infection. Medically referred to as acute otitis media, a middle ear infection is typically short in duration, yet painful, and often seen in babies and young children. It occurs due to fluid buildup behind the eardrum when the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle of each ear to the back of the throat, becomes blocked. These passages are shorter and more horizontal in young children, making fluid drainage more difficult. Fluid trapped in the ear is an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Also, children’s immune systems aren’t entirely developed, making them more prone to infection.
Contributing factors to the development of ear infections include:
colds and sinus infections
mucus and saliva buildup during teething
other irritants, including secondhand tobacco smoke
What to look for
Babies and young children may not be able to tell you they’re suffering from ear pain, so these key signs can help you identify an ear infection:
rubbing or tugging the ear
irritability and more frequent crying
clear fluid draining from the ear
Many ear infections will heal without treatment; however, a visit to your child’s pediatrician can help to determine the severity of the infection and outline a treatment. Rather than over-prescribing antibiotics for ear infections, many doctors may first advise a watch-and-see approach along with a pain reliever to ease your child’s pain.
You can also help reduce discomfort by:
placing a warm compress over the ear
encouraging plenty of rest to help the body fight infection
offering babies and young children plenty of fluids; chewing gum may help older children
When additional treatment is needed
If an ear infection lingers longer than three days or you notice pus or blood draining from your child’s ear, see your doctor. These may be indications of a ruptured eardrum.
Sheri Taylor RN BSN IBCLC CIMI is a Lactation Specialist at Rex Healthcare. She has been a nurse for over 30 years caring for babies and their families. She has been a certified lactation consultant for over 20 years. She and her husband Ken have 2 adult children and one beautiful granddaughter.
As I talk with new families each day, I often hear from new fathers and new grandparents: “There is no way for me to help Mom with the baby. Mom is breastfeeding.”
Nothing could be further from the truth! New moms and babies need the support of their families and friends not only to be successful, but also to feel successful with their breastfeeding experience.
There are lots of ways to make things go more smoothly for mom and baby. Whether you are a new dad, grandparent, family member, or friend, you want to show you care and are excited about the new baby. Here are some possible suggestions on ways you can show support:
Keep Mom and Baby together. Everyone loves to hold babies, and babies love to be held too. But remember that the new baby needs to be with the new mom and dad so they can learn to be comfortable with their new bundle of joy. Ask before picking up the baby, and remember to wash your hands. If the baby begins to show hunger cues such as trying to suck on anything close to his face, by smacking his lips, or by turning towards his mother, give the baby to Mom so she can breastfeed. You may want to offer to give the parents and baby privacy to breastfeed and plan to come back at a later time.
Sheri and her granddaughter, Elaine
Offer to watch the baby while Mom and Dad sleep. This is a great way to be able to admire the cute new baby while sleep-deprived parents catch up on rest. When the baby wakes up, go ahead and change the baby’s diaper and take the baby to Mom. When Baby is finished eating, start over with the baby-watching. (It’s so much fun.)
Help Mom get comfortable. Often moms find it difficult to get comfortable when they are nursing. Helping Mom with a footstool, extra support pillows, or blanket rolls. Also keep water or other fluids available for Mom. Most moms are very thirsty when they are breastfeeding.
Bring treats for the parents. Call or text Mom/Dad and find out if you can bring them anything. Treats like fresh fruit, breakfast bars, juice boxes, or even Mom’s favorite milks shake are great treats for a nursing mom who is beginning to get hungry or thirsty. If the family is already home from the hospital, offer to bring a meal. Having things prepared and ready to heat in the microwave is a blessing for new families. The last thing they may think about is feeding themselves when mom is so busy with feeding the baby.
Sheri’s son, Ben with his daughter, Elaine
Remember to be encouraging. Every parent wants things to be perfect for their new bundle of joy. Saying things like, “you look so comfortable with your baby” or “your baby looks so content” speak volumes to new parents – especially moms. Remember new babies do eat frequently and they will often cry to communicate to their parents. Avoid questioning baby’s appetite or mom’s milk supply. Mom is probably already questioning these things herself.
Offer to babysit older children so Mom and Dad can have uninterrupted time with the new baby. Get the older children involved in household chores to help mom.
Ask mom what she needs! Many mothers are so used to doing things on their own that it is hard to ask for assistance. Asking Mom what you can do for her will often make her feel more comfortable receiving assistance and support.
Sheri and her son Ben at the hospital with their family’s new arrival, Elaine
Enjoy having a new baby as a part of your family, extended family, and network of friends. Show you care by supporting mom’s choice to breastfeed her baby. Your support can make the adjustment to having a new baby much easier.
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Happy Breastfeeding Month! Subscribe to the Rex Pregnancy Newsletter today if you are expecting or have a family member who is expecting!
The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for the professional consultation of a physician or qualified healthcare provider. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding a health or medical condition, please contact your physician or appropriately licensed health care professional.