Program helps parents with loss - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Program helps parents with loss

Sara and Madeline Martineau Sara and Madeline Martineau
Madeline Martineau passed away in the NICU Madeline Martineau passed away in the NICU
Sara and Madeline with Music Therapist Richelle Kroening. Sara and Madeline with Music Therapist Richelle Kroening.
Families can have hand molds made of their loved one Families can have hand molds made of their loved one

by Molly Brauer

MARSHFIELD (WAOW)-- Madeline Martineau rocks with her Mom as a music therapist sings to them both.  It's a beautiful moment for this Mom and daughter.  A moment that will stay in Sara Martineau's memory forever.

Madeline passed away in the NICU at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital.  It's a sad story that sometimes happens here.

"You always want the best for everybody.  You want those babies to grow up and go home.  And, it seems like you're crying right with the parents.  What we can do for them and the little things we can help the parents with also helps the staff heal," said Julie Drexler, who helps with the hospital's bereavment program.

St. Joseph's Children's Hospital offers families a support program called Together Learning to Cope, and it has grown over the years.  TLC uses unique ways to help parents through the grieving process.  The program allows them to spend as much time with the baby as possible.

Drexler said, "We take as many pictures as we possibly can.  We have a DVD with a precious child song for them.  We make hand prints and foot prints, and we make 3-dimensional plaster molds.  Anything that's been with the baby we collect for them, crib cards, arm bands, name bands--things like that for them."

Parents have responded positively to the program, grateful for the compassion the nurses show.

Drexler said, "We get cards back.  We have some nurses that get letters, whether it's the parent's or grandparents, and it's heartbreaking that even in their time of need they can thank us for the little bit that we did for them."

Staff members say taking extra steps to help parents is just a small way they can make a positive impact on people's lives.

"You're with them through such a traumatic experience, but you can make such a difference, good or bad, you can make such a difference.  Not all babies leave our nursery.  If I can make that journey for them any better,so much the better," said Registered Nurse Jeannie Matsche.

Online Reporter: Pam Warnke

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