Sarah Pulley, a former NICU mom herself, understands how caregivers tend to neglect themselves and need extra attention sometimes.
It is stressful for parents if their newborn child ends up in NICU. They are scared and exhausted and at times find themselves struggling to cope. A mom, who is also a salon owner, is doing her part to care for parents who may be going through a hard time. Sarah Pulley, a former NICU mom, knows the place by heart, according to TODAY. A few years ago, her daughter Amelia was born prematurely and spent four months in the neonatal intensive care units of two different Indianapolis hospitals. Recalling her own experience in the NICU, Pulley said, "You completely lose all sense of yourself when you have a baby in the NICU." Speaking of the (then) Ronald McDonald House in Riley Children's Health children's hospital, Pulley said, "We’re very familiar with those walls."
A newly-opened hair salon inside the maternity ward at Riley Hospital for Children is serving as an oasis for many weary NICU parents and caregivers staying nearby. @JaleaBrooks https://t.co/nVK4fz2jz3— WTHR.com (@WTHRcom) October 5, 2022
Ronald McDonald House Family Room is a program run by the international nonprofit Ronald McDonald House Charities. Three programs are provided by the nonprofit: lodging near hospitals for families of sick children, family rooms inside hospitals where people may eat or shower, and mobile programs that deliver healthcare services to eligible areas. Pulley, who benefited from the program said that it was "an unreal blessing to us. Every time I was handed a hot meal, I had tears in my eyes. Being able to have a space (within the hospital) to grab a few minutes to myself and sip a cup of coffee made a bigger difference than I could have imagined," per Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Adam Lowe, a marketing and communications manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana, said, "Most of the moms who give birth there have high-risk pregnancies or babies who need immediate medical support." Explaining that situations such as these in hospitals can take a toll on both emotions and finances of parents, Pulley said, "When a family can be provided with meals and a place to rest at no cost, it takes away what can be a huge stressor."
Now, four years later, the 34-year-old is a volunteer in the very same program that once helped her. Riley Children's Health intended to create a hair salon in one of the facility's two family rooms and as a salon owner Pulley had adept experience managing a salon. She said, "I knew this could be special." She offered to manage the project. The salon will be pampering new mothers who are staying in Riley Children’s Maternity Tower.
Parents can unwind in a HydroMassage chair, take a nap in a nap pod, and munch on fruit and granola bars inside the area. Pulley gave a chair from her salon, Three Seventeen Hair Design, got in touch with her distributor who promised to give away $150 worth of free hair care goods and offered her hair styling abilities. Additionally, Pulley goes above and beyond to provide free hair styling services for exhausted dads and postpartum moms. She said, "We shampoo, blow dry and give scalp massages on the second Wednesday of each month."
Pulley understands that “caregivers need extra special attention at times. When your child is in the NICU, we as caregivers tend to neglect ourselves.” Something as simple as a hair washing can help a person feel relaxed and they can feel more human. She said that her "first mom" took a breath and completely relaxed in the chair while the "second was completely exhausted.” Her third guest's child had difficulties like her daughter and she instantly connected with her. Pulley recalled, "She had an emergency C-section and she was so thankful. Our experiences were very similar." She wants all parents with a child to know that "You've got this." She added, "There’s something about the connection between moms and the power of touch." Pulley believes in hope and seeing her daughter thrive she knows, "We made it."