Move over "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," this music-loving couple's newborn daughter has the coolest lullabies around.

By Melissa Mills
August 24, 2020
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After being air-lifted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, parents Maggie Beedles and Chris Feaster—along with their newborn daughter, Willie—had only one question: “Is there a piano here we could play?”

That's right, the music-loving couple—indeed, they made a steady playlist of Carole King, Paul Simon, and Grateful Dead for their youngest daughter—requested a piano to serenade baby Willie, who was born on July 21—her parents' fifteenth wedding anniversary—with complications due to diabetes. It didn't seem possible at first, but the nurses and music therapy staff made some magic happen so the dad could sing "Brokedown Palace" to his little one.

"The Child Life department, which provides for quality of life for the patients here and has a library, teen room, sibling playroom, school room, etc. found a way to loan us one of their music therapy pianos," Maggie wrote on Facebook alongside a video of Chris beautifully playing Grateful Dead. "This is an amazing addition to our rich life here at Children’s! This hospital is tremendous!!!"

St. Louis Children's Hospital Child Life expressive arts supervisor Julie Gant, who loaned a keyboard from the hospital's Music Therapy team, made the couple's dreams come true. The best part? It's not just a one-time thing; the piano will remain with Maggie and Chris for the duration of the their stay.

For the couple, who are longtime Grateful Dead fans, the song "The Wheel" has helped to inspire patience and "give Willie all the time she needs to rest and recover from her traumatic birth despite the pressures of life in the city and hospital during a pandemic, and the needs of our other kids and how eager we are for them to meet their sister."

There's no doubting the healing power of music, and that's why the St. Louis music therapy team works with patients on everything from walking to memory recall to self-esteem. With Willie doing better every day—she's now off of all respiratory support, learning to feed, and could be discharged in the coming weeks—Dad's music is definitely making an impact. Here's hoping baby Willie will be home with her parents and three older siblings as soon as possible!

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