MADISON, Wis. – A new music therapy program at Meriter Hospital is bringing comfort and normalcy to parents and their babies.
Chase and Brittany O’Brien never thought they’d have a baby, let alone have it stay at the neonatal intensive care unit for more than a month, but when their baby Phillip was born at 29 weeks, they had no other choice.
“The hardest thing is going home every night not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow,” said Chase O’Brien.
Through it all, the O’Briens have leaned on the healing power of music.
“I always found comfort listening to music, so I wanted to make sure that I incorporated that into Phillip’s life,” Brittany O’Brien said.
The hospital is doing the same by bringing in a music therapist to sing with Chase, Brittany and Phillip.
“There’s research that shows music can reduce stress,” said Carly Ramthun, the music therapist in the NICU. “That’s seen in reducing their heart rate, improving their breathing rate and their oxygen saturation, so basically they’re slowing down their breathing and improving how much air they’re getting, so they’re getting deeper breaths with music.”
Not only does it help with vitals, but it gives families a chance to bond, Ramthun said.
“Sometimes parents can lose their identity as the role of the parent,” she said. “So I come in to empower them to see that you’re the only one that can do this for your child.”
Welp, that happened. ? The music therapist in Meriter’s NICU aims to relax babies to lower their heart rate, hopefully getting them home faster. It might have worked too well here… #News3Now pic.twitter.com/sZLdhVZxEL
— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) September 18, 2019
Though every moment brings more of the unexpected, like all parents, the O’Briens are learning that can be OK.
“It helps me be more accepting of what happened, even though it wasn’t the ideal situation, it still turned out pretty well,” Chase O’Brien said.
The music therapy program is a pilot that’s set to expire at the end of the year, but if parents like what it does for their babies, Meriter may adopt it permanently.
Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.