The hospital traditionally celebrates its first baby of the year with a shower of gifts. This year, hospital officials decided to share the bounty with Life Choices, a pregnancy support center at 575 Mall Blvd., Suite L1.
Judy Boehmler, the hospital's marketing director, said the hospital is scaling back on the number of gifts going to one particular child and finding a way to benefit more people.
While the number of gifts might be smaller, the luxury factor is definitely strong this year.
"We tried to find items that (the new mothers) didn't have yet or might not buy themselves," said Carie Ward, director of the hospital's maternal and newborn department.
The hospital's first baby of the year will receive a $180 Sweet Peace swing that has multiple settings to rock the baby as if it were in its mother's arms. The swing's sound system can recreate sounds from the womb, play its own pre-recorded music or access tunes on an iPod.
The first baby also will receive a diaper bag with lotions and disposable diapers, a bath set, a medical supplies kit for babies, Shaklee non-toxic household cleaner and five cases of Enfamil baby formula.
To win the prize package, the baby must be born at Dyersburg Regional Medical Center on its own time. Babies are not eligible if labor is induced or a Caesarian section is scheduled, Ward said.
The hospital plans to give a DVD video camera and a flat-screen color video monitoring system to Life Choices. "We thought it would be nice to include someone who didn't have a lot," Ward said. She added that many of the mothers participating in Life Choices classes are young.
Laura Waite, Life Choices client services manager, said she plans to use the video camera and the monitoring system as incentives to encourage education and increase attendance. Since its inception, Life Choices has provided nine-week parenting classes. Soon, the organization plans to start offering a 10-week abstinence class. Waite said the items will either be awarded in a drawing among class members or given to the participant with the best attendance record.
The abstinence class is expected to start in January or February and is designed primarily for clients who've already been sexually active. National statistics show that 70 percent of those seeking help at a pregnancy center are return clients, Waite said. Hopefully, she said, the abstinence classes will reduce the number of return clients in the Dyersburg clinic.
The total prize package is valued between $1,000 and $1,500. It was made possible through donations by the hospital, Chief Nursing Officer Sallie Adkins, Chief Financial Officer Terri Warren, the Obstetrics Department Flower Fund, Enfamil, Doris Davis of Shaklee Products and other anonymous donors.