Personalized lullabies soothe families' stress during long NICU stays | KNKX

Personalized lullabies soothe families' stress during long NICU stays

May 3, 2019



When a child is being cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, parents experience many emotions. They are grateful for the medical interventions that happen in these nurseries, but these situations are inherently stressful. Everything is in limbo.



This is what Danielle and Shannon Turner went through with their daughter, Kassie, at the University of Washington Medical Center. She was born at 28 weeks, weighing just a bit over 2 pounds. Kassie was too small to hold.


“Just delivering a baby and not being able to put  her skin to skin, was just really difficult,” Danielle said.


For Shannon, not having any control and being in a confined environment far away from their home and three other children in Poulsbo was very stressful.


“Because you’re in a box, you’re in a room and you’re living by monitors and by sound, literally,” Shannon said.


The weeks ticked by. Danielle was focused on Kassie, yet still trying to stay connected to her kids at home. Danielle was suspended between these two places, and Shannon was worried about his wife’s mental health.


Then, one day, Danielle called Shannon and asked him if he knew how to write a song.


"And I said, 'no, no I don't,'" Shannon recalled, with a laugh.


Danielle told him about a class she was taking in the hospital. Danielle was learning how to write lullabies from a music therapist named Gayle Cloud.


In this story, we’ll hear how living in this in-between state was made a little more bearable with the help of music.