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Former NICU Mom Opens Hair Salon to Pamper and Comfort Other NICU Parents at Hospital

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Postpartum is a strange time for most parents, especially first-time moms who have to learn how to care for a new baby as well as adapt to the changes they’re going through physically, mentally and emotionally.

That experience is made even more extreme when the baby ends up in the NICU. A time that is supposed to be spent resting, recovering and snuggling is suddenly turned into a time of deep uncertainty.

Sarah Pulley of Carmel, Indiana, knows the feeling well. Her own daughter, Amelia, spent months in the NICU after contracting a virus shortly after her birth four years ago.

Amelia was born premature as well, which complicated matters, and her mother became very familiar with the NICU operations after the four months Amelia spent hospitalized.

“When Amelia contracted a virus, she was transferred to Riley Children’s Health,” Pulley told “Today.”

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“We’re very familiar with those walls.”

The experience became a part of her, and she wanted to help others who had similar experiences. She became a milk donor, donating life-giving meals to the littlest, most at-risk NICU patients.

“Other NICU moms shared the stress of pumping on top of dealing with their child’s medical issues and the stress of the NICU experience,” Pulley said, according to a post by The Milk Bank. “I saw how much of a difference breast milk meant to Amelia and I knew it was an important source of her immunity.”

But she wanted to do more. Last year she reached out to give back by volunteering to help set up the Ronald McDonald House Family Room “Beauty Bar” at Riley Children’s Health.

Not only did she have a heart for NICU families, she had a unique skill set that she could use to serve those families. Pulley is the owner of Three Seventeen Hair Design, and she knows all about the power of pampering and giving people a boost of confidence through their hair.

“I am insanely excited to be helping put together this space!” Pulley posted on her salon page in September 2021. “The Ronald McDonald House is opening another family room within the hospital just for NICU parents to go.

“This space is going to be so special, it will have a salon area for moms to come and get their hair shampooed and styled (which is the piece that I’m helping with) a nap pod, a massage chair, coffee, places to simply sit, and also space to eat.

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“After living in the NICU with Amelia I truly understand how magical of a space this is going to be!

“A huge shout out to my Dad for going with me today to put together the chair Adam and I bought, an even bigger shout out to RMH for providing such a spectacular space, and another giant shout out to Moroccanoil (and @andrea_cosmoprof )for donating shampoo, conditioner, and styling products to help us treat these women!”

Pulley asked for other stylists to volunteer their time and talents, too, and in September they began offering shampoo and style services.

“We shampoo, blow dry and give scalp massages on the second Wednesday of each month,” she explained.

“You completely lose all sense of yourself when you have a baby in the NICU,” she added. “My first mom completely relaxed in the chair; she just closed her eyes and breathed. My second was completely exhausted.

“There’s something about the connection between moms and the power of touch.”

Pulley knows better than most what these parents are feeling and has encouraging words to share with them as she provides them with a bit of much-needed rest and recovery.

“There is hope in my story because my daughter is thriving,” she said. “We made it.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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