“With music, one’s whole future life is brightened. This is such a treasure in life that it helps us over many troubles and difficulties. Music is nourishment, a comforting elixir. Music multiplies all that is beautiful and of value in life.” Zoltan Kodaly
For Denise and Bob Foyle, this could not be truer than in the story of their darling daughter Bryn. Bryn was a triplet who came 4 months early, born at a mere 23 weeks and 6 days gestation. Bryn’s siblings, Jack and Cate, survived just 5 days before passing. Despite being the smallest of the triplets at just 1 pound 3 ounces, dropping to only 13 ounces on her third day of life; Bryn continued to fight for 3 weeks at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Bryn was then transferred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she endured an emergency surgery for a ruptured bowel that was causing her to go septic and plummeting her survival rate to less than 5%. After another abdominal surgery, a laser eye surgery and a third abdominal surgery to reconnect her bowel and put in a feeding tube, Bryn finally left the hospital at 6 pounds and 5.5 months old.
During Bryn’s stay at the hospital, Denise requested music therapy for her daughter. The same physiological effects that came from skin to skin time with Bryn’s parents were also present during music therapy. The monitors showcased her heart rate lowering and her respirations easing. A program called Sounds of Love allowed Bob and Denise to record their voices singing songs, reading Bible verses and telling stories, which could then be played in Bryn’s incubator at night to provide comfort for baby and parents.
Once released to come home, it was imperative that Bryn be kept safe from germs, which meant limited visitors and only short trips to the doctor. During this time, Bryn’s aunt and uncles gifted her with some Raffi CD’s and videos. Denise noticed Bryn would turn her head toward the music and tended to be most calm when music was playing. Denise knew that music had to continue to be a part of Bryn’s life so she signed her up for WeJoySing when she was about 13 months old. Though Bryn was not walking yet, she would show her excitement in kicks, wiggles and a smile of pure joy while just pulling in the parking lot because she knew what was in store!
“One of the more miraculous things we saw was, like most preemies, she had a minor speech delay initially; so, she was in speech therapy with Help Me Grow in our home. What we found was she learned to sing before she learned to talk!” Denise recounts that Bryn had a few words like ‘momma’, ‘dadda’, ‘ball’, ‘doggy’ and was not yet able to form sentences, but she could sing the verses to Pony Boy and Dinah Won’t You Blow Your Horn! “I found that so fascinating! My husband and I are not musical, but she has always been able to find the beat and bounce in time!”
Denise is certain that Bryn’s progress in speech and language development were aided by her time in WeJoySing classes. Bryn’s social skills blossomed as she met children in her classes saying, “they met as one-year-old babies, and now they’re four and a half and still play together.” Denise also noted that even though attention span is something that children born pre-maturely tend to struggle with, she enjoyed watching the attention span of her daughter grow year by year.
While Denise was not shy about sharing Bryn’s story, she noted that she never felt judgement from the WeJoySing community and instead felt a connection with the other mothers. “I didn’t get out a lot while she was little, so it was nice to have a weekly something to do with her to look forward to. And to have the words at home so we could do the songs and finger plays!” Bryn’s instructor, Mrs. Karen, listened intently to Denise when she explained Bryn’s weakened immune system. She was always very careful to sanitize the instruments, give reminders about the sick kid policies and genuinely cared for Bryn’s well-being; so much so that she will still follow-up with Denise to inquire about Bryn!
As Kodaly stated, the treasure that is music has certainly brightened the life of Bryn and her family and WeJoySing classes are here to brighten yours as well. We invite you to come to WeJoySing and together we will multiply all that is beautiful in your life!
Musical Blessings & Miracles,