Tips and Resources for Taking Care of Premature Babies from a Local Pediatrician

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November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, a time for families nationwide/in Jackson County to think about the health of expectant mothers and babies, and about how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. 

According to the March of Dimes, Mississippi has the highest rates of premature births in the U.S. at 13.6%. March of Dimes notes Jackson County is at 10.4%, which is still higher than the national average. Having multiple births also increases the chance of prematurity. March of Dimes also mentions that close to 60 percent of all twins and more than 90 percent of triplets are born prematurely (before 37 weeks). 

Dr. Yolanda Gutierrez of Pascagoula’s Pediatric Care Center is one of the leading and most caring pediatricians on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. After completing her rotations through general medicine, Dr. Gutierrez discovered her passion for working with children and thus completed her internship and residency at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. Over her 25 years in private practice, Dr. Gutierrez has worked with a number of premature babies as her patients. Gutierrez shares some helpful insights on common myths and tips she gives to parents on premature babies and their care.

Myth #1: “Premature babies are the same as average-sized ones- they’re just smaller” 

Many people believe a premature baby can behave the same way an average-sized baby can. They think because they were born early that you just have to be more gentle with them. This is not the case at all. Care for premature babies is much more precise and strict than that of a non-premature infant. 

“Premature babies are born with immature lungs and come out with a number of different problems that have to be addressed not only immediately, but also long term”, says Gutierrez. 

Premature babies are also prone to developing infections because their immune system is not fully developed. 

Myth #2: “Premature babies can be fed like an average child” 

When your baby is first born, the healthcare team may give them fluids and nutrition through an intravenous (IV line) if they are extremely premature or have breathing difficulties. Alternatively, the doctors may decide that they are mature enough to take milk through a small tube that is passed through the nose into the stomach. Breast milk is the best choice for your baby. 

It is important for milk feeds to be introduced in a timely way – not too quickly but not too slowly – and your doctor will have the expertise to decide this. This progression must be very gradual because premature babies – especially those born at 34 weeks or less – are slow to cope with milk that goes into their stomachs and have more problems with absorbing nutrients. “It’s important to advise these parents on correct feeding and determining how much is too much and what exactly is the right amount for their child”, says Dr. Gutierrez. 

Myth #3: “It’s safe for premature babies to be around other people and out in public”

Parents of premature newborns face even more worries about their baby’s health. Due to immature immune systems that haven’t completely developed, preemies have an increased risk of catching viruses that may be nothing more than a nuisance for us, but can be potentially life threatening to them. Some of these risks can be avoided by understanding when it’s safe to head out with your baby or invite visitors over, and when it’s best to stay inside and away from the crowds. 

“They can’t be around other sick kids or adults”, says Gutierrez. “Viral illnesses are a top concern with premature infants and that is one of the main reasons why our clinic has 2 waiting rooms- one for babies and one for general”, she said. “Parents can trust that they don’t have to risk their babies getting sick from other children in the clinic”, said Gutierrez. 

Overall, it’s important for women to take care of their health and nutrition while carrying their child. “Diabetes, high-blood pressure, smoking, drinking and doing drugs are all factors that increase the risk of an early delivery and premature birth”, said Gutierrez. 

The Pediatric Care Center supports local organizations and groups within the community for premature babies. Gutierrez mentions how the clinic often donates to the March of Dimes and participates in fundraising events to help spread awareness and inform the community on premature babies. 

“The care we offer for the parent and child is state of the art in terms of excellent care”, she said. “It’s given with a lot of compassion. All of our staff love these children and have a passion for helping them”, said Gutierrez. The Pediatric Care Center truly believes that it takes a village to raise a child and parents need the combined teamwork of the family and the child’s pediatric clinic. “We want our parents to trust us when it comes to helping raise their children and make them feel like we are also a part of their family”, she said. 

For more information on the Pediatric Care Center, visit their website at pediatriccarectr.net.

 

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Mayfield Family Shares Story of Miracles for Prematurity Awareness Month

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Hanna and Matt Mayfield are familiar faces in Pascagoula, Mississippi. With Matt co-owning ‘Goula’s famous, Tay’s BBQ a lot of people recognize the family name and their deliciously famous menu items. However, they are also known for their survival story of their two little miracles.

November 17 is recognized as World Prematurity Day and serves as the focus of the March of Dimes’ Prematurity Awareness Month observance each year. The Mayfield family relates to this day as they recall the miraculous story of the birth of their premature twin daughters.

In October of 2011, Hanna Mayfield was taken into emergency c-section at USA’s Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. Mayfield says there was no explanation as to why she went into labor so early, but prepared to face the reality of giving birth to premature twins. She was only 5 months pregnant at the time, barely mid-way through her 2nd trimester. 

Bowen and Taylor were born at 22 weeks and 5 days and were considered to be ‘micro-premies’- weighing even smaller than a typical premature baby. Bowen weighed 1 pound and Taylor 15.3 ounces. “Their lungs weren’t working like they were supposed to- it was a lot of treatment and things to keep an eye on every hour, every few hours”, says Mayfield. 

But the family decided to remain positive with lots of prayer and trust in the top-rated NICU center at Children’s and Women’s. “Every one of the doctors and nurses at the hospital are angels”, she said. “Being able to do their job with a smile on their face, while helping these parents is incredible”, says Mayfield. In fact, USA’s NICU center is one of the only local hospitals to give babies born before 24 weeks a chance to survive by putting them on a ventilator. “If we lived in any other city, we may have not been accepted into a hospital to keep our babies alive”, she said. The babies remained in the NICU for the next few months, with Taylor having additional complications and surgeries which kept her there for a total of 7 months. 

The challenge of having premature babies doesn’t stop at the hospital. After bringing the girls home, Matt and Hanna were given strict schedules and guidelines to follow to ensure they were being taken care of properly and would remain healthy. Parents of premature babies have to take caution when bringing them home due to their low immune system. “We couldn’t go out in public and they advised against bringing people around our babies”, said Hanna. “They even told us, ‘If you go out to the grocery store and come back, you have to shower and change clothes before you can even hold your baby'”, she said. The family had to be conscious of every move they made to ensure the girls’ health remained in good state. 

After many routine checkups, the girls caught up to their appropriate weight and grew to become wonderfully excelled children. The twins recently celebrated their 6th birthday last month. “They’re healthy, thriving in school, running around and taking dance lessons-perfectly normal little girls”, said Mayfield. “We could have easily had many difficulties with the girls, but we were fortunate they grew up without any problems”, she said. “I think it’s just being aware of germs, being mindful of their low immune systems and sticking to the plan the nurses and doctors give you is the reason for it”, says Hanna. 

According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 10 women will give birth to a premature child. Like the Mayfield family, many women, including those in Jackson County, will face the difficulty of having premature children. “It’s very easy to get down and depressed that you can’t hold your premature baby like an average-sized one”, says Hanna. But she encourages families who are facing this, “Keep your chin up, stay positive, pray and get your prayer warriors around you”, she said. 

For more information on World Prematurity Day or the March of Dimes, visit their website

 

 

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Sunday Gospel Singing returns to Pascagoula Senior Center

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Sunday Gospel Singing Nov 2017

Pascagoula Senior Center partnered with Robby Myrick Music to host Sunday Gospel Singing on October 29th.  The 2:00pm event was a Free Admission community gathering of Gospel Singers, Choir, and Soloists along with a community of devoted followers and fans who love Southern/Traditional Gospel and Church music.

Melani Caver and her dedicated volunteer staff prepared light refreshments and provided excellent hospitality!  All enjoyed mingling with friends and family while listening, and even singing-along with, their favorite Gospel and church music tunes.

IMG_4539-300x300 Sunday Gospel Singing returns to Pascagoula Senior Center

First UMC Men’s Trio

IMG_4539-300x300 Sunday Gospel Singing returns to Pascagoula Senior Center

First UMC Acapella Quartet

IMG_4539-300x300 Sunday Gospel Singing returns to Pascagoula Senior Center

Pascagoula Senior Center Gospel Choir

IMG_4539-300x300 Sunday Gospel Singing returns to Pascagoula Senior Center

Karen Scarbrough – Gospel Singer

 

IMG_4539-300x300 Sunday Gospel Singing returns to Pascagoula Senior Center

Robby Myrick / Buddy Watts / Bob Nusko {BRB} – Gospel Singers

 
IMG_4539-300x300 Sunday Gospel Singing returns to Pascagoula Senior Center

Robby Myrick – Christian Artist and Promoter

Robby Myrick is a native of Laurel Mississippi.  He relocated to Pascagoula in 1969 with his family who have a long history of music performance, church ministry, and songwriting talents.  Look for more exciting Christian music events from these gifted and talented Jackson County artists and performers!

You may reach Robby Myrick Music at (251) 265-3634 or online at www.robbymyrick.com

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Chevron Achieves Gold Recognition for Workplace Health from American Heart Association

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Scientific, evidenced-based instrument rates, recognizes workplace health programs and workforce heart health

(PASCAGOULA, MS) – The 2017 results of the American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Index were announced on October 20th. In Jackson County, MS, the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula was recognized with the Index’s highest rating (Gold) for taking significant steps to build a culture of health in the workplace. The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, created the Index with its CEO Roundtable members, a leadership collaborative of more than 30 CEOs from some of America’s largest companies who are committed to applying evidence-based approaches to improve their employees’ overall health. 

Chevron was recognized by the American Heart Association for excellence in workplace wellness at the first-ever 2017 IMIA/Craft & Technical Solutions Wellness Symposium and took place on Friday, October 27 at 9 a.m. at the Pascagoula Senior Center (1912 Live Oak Ave. Pascagoula, MS 39567). 

The Index uses science-based best practices to evaluate the overall quality and comprehensiveness of their workplace health programs. A unique feature of the Index is that it calculates an average heart health score for employees of participating companies that securely submit aggregate health data.

More than 800 companies completed the Index assessment this year and, of those companies, 67% received either Gold, Silver, or Bronze recognition. Companies receive benchmarking reports, which allow them to identify potential areas of improvement so that they can advance their annual performance and recognition.

“The American Heart Association is building a culture of health and well-being throughout the country, and on behalf of the Association, we congratulate Chevron and thank them for their efforts in cultivating healthier workplaces and communities,” said Ashleigh Gaddy, Jackson County Director for the American Heart Association.

The Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index allows companies to measure the effectiveness of their workplace health programs, as well as the overall heart health of their employees. Unlike other existing organizational scorecards, the Index also scores companies on the heart health of their employees based on Life’s Simple 7® – the Association’s scientifically validated definition of ideal heart health. The key factors contributing to optimal heart health include smoking cessation, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, managing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and keeping blood sugar at a healthy level.

Scientific research shows that improving these seven factors can lead to significant reductions in heart disease, stroke, cancer, and many other health problems. In addition, people who achieve ideal cardiovascular health by age 50 have a significantly lower risk of heart disease and stroke, and live, on average, approximately 10 years longer than people with two or more risk factors. 

The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index assessment is grounded in data-driven science, and a quality improvement framework. According to the Nielsen 2016 Employee Health Survey, robust and comprehensive strategies for well-being are associated with positive impacts on employees’ health.

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Zonta Arts and Crafts Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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The Zonta Club of Pascagoula celebrated their annual Arts and Crafts Festival on Saturday, October 28th. The festival was a huge success and brought out the largest crowd yet, despite the morning’s slight weather issues.

Attendees offered attractions for the young and old, art and music lovers, and commercial shoppers and foodies. It’s also a great event that brings business into the downtown shops of Pascagoula. Another draw of the festival are the two stages of live entertainment that includes performance groups and regional musical acts.

Hundreds of arts and crafts vendors showcased their merchandise in booths throughout down-town plaza in Pascagoula. This year‘s festival was supposed to happen three weeks ago, but hurricane Nate’s landfall that Saturday postponed the annual event.

The festival is hosted by the Zonta Club of Pascagoula, a local chapter of the international organization working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Funds raised from the festival go to support community service projects that promote the status of women. 

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Moss Point Celebrates Being Named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown”

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The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation named the City of Moss Point “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown” and presented the City with a $50,000 grant award during a celebration held Friday, October 20 at the Riverfront Community Center. The celebration included a “Self Care Expo” with healthy food and exercise demonstrations, free health screenings and a farmers market. Vendors were on hand to check blood pressure, demonstrate CPR techniques and distribute disaster preparedness supplies.

“We are so excited to partner with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to better our residents’ health,” said Mayor Mario King.  The City will use the $50,000 grant to further efforts toward improving community health by promoting walking, bicycling and outdoor exercise.

The City of Moss Point was named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown,” while the cities of Meridian and Hernando and the Town of Mantachie received Healthy Hometown honors. Moss Point, which was previously a Healthy Hometown winner in 2014, received a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to support its ongoing wellness initiatives. Meridian, Hernando and Mantachie will each receive $25,000 to further their own wellness efforts. Hernando was also a previous winner in the Healthy Hometown Awards program, having been named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown” in 2010. Meridian and Mantachie are both first time honorees. 

The Healthy Hometown Awards Program was established in 2010 to encourage healthy lifestyles at the community level while providing financial incentives to the cities and towns that have demonstrated the most progress. Healthy Hometown winning municipalities are chosen based on select criteria, including being tobacco-free communities, the promotion and support of community exercise, community-wide opportunities for healthy nutrition and supporting healthy learning environments in schools. Since 2010, the Foundation has provided $700,000 to support Healthy Hometown winners. 

“We are proud of Moss Point’s continued leadership in creating healthy places to live, learn and work,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “We encourage other communities around the state to be part of our collective efforts to build a healthy Mississippi.”

Healthy Hometown applications are evaluated by a panel of distinguished health and wellness champions from Mississippi and around the country. Judges for the 2017 Healthy Hometown Awards Program were: Sue Polis, Director of the National League of Cities, located in Washington D.C. Polis manages the health and wellness portfolio for the Institute of Youth, Education, and Families; Paula Little, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent and Supervisor of Instruction for the Clinton County School District in Kentucky. She also established the Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition; and Robert J. Gates, Project Director for the Trinity Educators Development Corporation, based in the Mississippi Delta, providing assistance to small and limited resource farmers. He also works collaboratively with community consultants to improve health and wellness in the Delta. 

To learn more about the Healthy Hometown Awards Program and this year’s winners, visit the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation’s website at www.healthiermississippi.org.

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Hocus Pocus Girls Night Out

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Join chef Cheri Hiers for a magical movie themed night-Hocus Pocus Girls Night Out. The event will be held at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center on Friday, October 27 from 6:00-8:00 pm.

Guests will be able to select from a variety of Hocus Pocus themed menu items including: Blinx’s Olive Tapenade on Fresh Bread, Sanderson Sisters’ Brat Sausage, Circle of Salt Crusted Potatoes, Purple Cauldron Cabbage, and Billy Butcherson’s Eyeballs & Zombie Finger Cookies. Admission is $45 for members and $55 for nonmembers and includes two beverages. 

For more information, contact the Mary C. at 228-818-2878 or visit their website .

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The Great Carving Contest with Christus Victor Lutheran Church

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Your family has a chance to win $10,000 by purchasing a pumpkin and carving it. The Great Carving Contest is an event that can be found on Facebook and they are searching the nation for the best jack-o-lantern purchased from participating pumpkin patches located all over the country. 

The Christus Victor Lutheran Church pumpkin patch is one of the participating locations. To enter for a chance to win, participants can purchase a pumpkin from Christus Victor’s pumpkin patch and carve their best jack-o-lantern. With purchase, you will receive a visitor sticker. Go home, carve your pumpkin and upload a picture with the sticker visible to the contest page. Te pumpkin with the most votes will win the $10,000o. Proceeds from the church’s pumpkin patch sales go to the youth program. 

For more information, visit The Great $10,000 Carving Contest page on Facebook or call Christus Victor Lutheran Church at 228-875-2446. 

 

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Gautier’s Mullet Festival Hopes to Draw Crowds and Offer Family Fun

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Gautier is gearing up for a day of fun and entertainment at its 27th Mullet and Music Festival, presented by Waste Pro, Mitchell Distributing, City of Gautier and Jackson County.  With events beginning at 9 a.m., the day features two music stages with all day performances including artists Kristian Cowart, the Highway Sisters, Amanda Jones Band, Deuces Wild and country music legend Ronnie McDowell. 

McDowell, who highlighted the festival two years ago, will return to the stage and perform from 7-9 p.m. followed by a fireworks show.“He brought a big crowd then, and we hope he will draw another great crowd this year,” said Jan McQuillen, chair of the festival.

Over 100 craft and food vendors will be on site to sell their wares and delectable treats. “We’ve had some returning vendors and have new vendors from all over,” adds McQuillen.

Also available on Saturday will be the official festival print from artist Willie Dees. Dees print, “The Magic of the Mullet Festival,” was selected as the winner for this year’s Mullet Festival art competition.

Car enthusiasts can take part in the Car and Truck Show from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.   On site registration is available for the classic car show, and cash awards will be given to the crowd’s favorite.

Children are included in this year’s event and can enjoy the day at the Kids Zone, an area especially for them. The Kids Zone includes includes bounce houses, McDonald’s Play and Learn Zone, bubble balls and concludes with a glow stick disco party from 7-9 p.m.

You can even bring your pets to the Bicentennial Pet Parade from 1-2 p.m. Pet owners are encouraged to dress their pets in bicentennial attire, and prizes will be given for best costumes

“This is Gautier’s biggest festival, and we are hoping to draw a crowd to our city and bring our community together for a day of fun,” said McQuillen. “In year’s past, we’ve had 10,000-15,000 people at the festival, and we are hoping for good weather and a good crowd”

For more information on the festival, contact McQuillen at 228-215-0828 or check out their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/gautiermulletfest/.

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October Means Family Fun at MGCCC Campuses

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October is a busy month at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.  Football games, tailgate cookouts and Homecoming (Saturday, October 28, at the Perkinston Campus) are only a few of the activities taking place on campus. Students, employees and the public are invited to attend the wide variety of fun events taking place during the month.

  • The Jackson County Campus in Gautier will hold a Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat on October 30, 6-8 p.m. The event will include children’s games and activities, a children’s costume contest, arts, and face painting. The event is free and open to the public.  For information, contact Brandi Martino at 228.497.7680 or brandi.martino@mgccc.edu.
  • The Jefferson Davis Campus in Gulfport will host a Fall Festival and Haunted House on October 30, 5-8 p.m. Other activities during the festival will include a Trunk-or-Treat from 5-7 p.m., a hayride, outdoor movie, face painting and more. The event is free and open to the public.  The haunted house is free with an MGCCC ID or $3 for general public. For more information about the event, contact Rachelle Vecchio at rachelle.vecchio@mgccc.edu.
  • The Perkinston Campus will host a Haunted House Fundraiser October 29-31, 8-11:30 p.m. each day. The Haunted House will be at the George Sekul Field House.   The campus will also host the annual MGCCC Zombie Run 5K Chase Race on October 30, with proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House Charities and the National Residence Hall Honorary.  For more information, visit mgccc.edu/zombierun or the MGCCCZombieRun Facebook page.
  • MGCCC Homecoming activities begin on Thursday, October 26, with the Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards Ceremony, which will be held at 7 p.m. at the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi. On Friday, October 27, the Clem Dellenger Memorial Golf Tournament will kick off at 8:30 a.m. at the Hickory Hill Country Club in Gautier.  A reunion event will be held for the 1967 and 2007 football teams and cheerleaders and Phi Theta Kappa (all years and chapters) at 6 p.m. at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino pool deck.  On Saturday, October 28, a cookout and pep rally will be held at noon by the Bell Tower on the Perkinston Campus.  The football game against Jones County Junior College will begin at 3:30 p.m. at A.L May Memorial Stadium.  For information about tickets and other scheduled events during Homecoming week, visit mgccc.edu/homecoming.
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