Today's Health at 6: TLC for sick babies

    5:59 PM, Aug 21, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Medical advancements are saving the lives of sick babies, but the love and care of volunteers at UAMS, are helping get them home to their parents sooner.

    It's a time of extreme joy, yet more fear than most of us can imagine - the birth of a new baby, a very sick baby.

    While medical advancements are making the prognosis for the tiniest and sickest of newborns better than ever before - the brainchild of a nurse at UAMS, and a simple touch, are making a big difference for not only the babies, but their parents as well.

    Emma and Lilam for instance, are two precious little girls - two little girls - born too early.
















    The emotional journey for their parents began early on.
















    "I actually thought we were losing the baby, then we went into the hospital, then we found out, we didn't lose one, we gained one," recalls their mother Misty Myrick.

    They were twins, born two months prematurely. After a month-and-a-half, they are still in the NICU at UAMS.















    Emma and Lila's parents, Grant and Christy Myrick, live more than three hours from Little Rock, but they find comfort through volunteers like Nancy Weber















    "They just seem to snuggle, and they seem to relax when you hold them," says Weber as she looks into the eyes of a tiny baby girl.















    Webber is part of the hospital's TLC program, a network of volunteers whose job it is to rock the babies when their parents can't - to comfort, soothe.

    And for Weber, it means even more...
















    "Well 18 years ago, one of our grandsons was born and weighed a pound and 12 ounces, and he's a healthy 18-year-old now, "she states with a smile. "And this is the least I can do to help parents who can't come to the hospital."

    The TLC program was the brainchild of UAMS nurse, Mary Frances Dooley.

    "They need to know what it feels like to be held. They need that comfort," Says Dooley. "They don't just need to sit in a bed all day. You know, they need someone to hold them, to comfort them."

    Weber hears the babies stop crying as she begins to rock - and feels them relax, begin to cuddle.  But there is science to back up the belief, that her simple touch, quiet whisper, and gentle rock, do so much more.
















    "Research shows that they rest better, that they're respiratory status is more stable, they're heart rate becomes more stable, " Dooley adds. "They have better development, and a lot of times they get to home home earlier."



    Myric feels for them, it will be any time, "We think we're getting real close to going home. So we're real excited about that."












    UAMS is the state's only pediatric hospital, and serves children all over the country - so there are a lot of parents who aren't able to be close to their babies.

    Rright now, 20 TLC volunteers take turns rocking the newborns at UAMS, and Dooley hopes to have more soon. The hospital will begin accepting new applications in September.

































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