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Foundation Supports Family Needs in Birth Center

3 women with a toy chest and a bassinet

Sauk Prairie Healthcare's fetal loss committee members Diane Bindl, Karen Volker and Bridget Dollar with the CuddleCot.

There is probably no greater joy than welcoming a new baby nor greater sadness than losing a baby. Meet two local families who have had both experiences, and how Foundation dollars supported their journeys.
In early 2018, Kelsey and Kevin Blum of Baraboo were expecting their second child. As with most expectant parents, they were excited. Their families, and soon- to-be big brother Emerson, were ready. They had decided on a name, Samuel, which means “Gift from God.” Everything was going smoothly, until it wasn’t.

Twenty-two weeks into her pregnancy, Kelsey noticed that the baby wasn’t moving much. She said, “Emerson didn’t move much either, so I wasn’t that alarmed, but I did have a feeling something might not be right.” Kelsey went in for her check-up and tests confirmed her worst fears. There was no heartbeat. The baby Samuel had died. A rare defect with Samuel’s umbilical cord was responsible.

Broken-hearted, Kelsey delivered her baby at Sauk Prairie Healthcare. The nurses bathed Samuel, wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in a CuddleCot, a specially-designed bassinet that gently cools a baby who has died, thereby providing the parents and family with the precious time they need to get to know their baby and to grieve.

Sauk Prairie Healthcare has its own CuddleCot, thanks to Director of Birth Center and Women’s Care Beth Martinka, MSN, RN, RNC-OB. She said, “In the past, when a baby died, we sometimes could borrow a CuddleCot from another hospital if it was available. This is a very sad and tragic event for a family and timing is critical, so I wanted us to have our own onsite.” Beth requested funding from the Foundation to purchase a CuddleCot. Her department received the $1,250 they requested.

Kevin Blum was grateful for being able to spend some time with his son. He said, “The time that we had with our baby was important. We needed that to be able to make peace with it.”

Jackie Johnson-Kruse, RN, said, “Spending time, taking photos, and just getting to know the baby are so important for the family. As one of the nurses who helped take care of Kelsey, I can say it was an absolute privilege to be able to meet and spend time with her baby.”

Kelsey and Kevin Blum with baby Larson & son Emerson

Kelsey and Kevin Blum with baby Larson & son Emerson

The Blums were determined to try again to have another child. 2018 ended on a very happy note as Kelsey, Kevin and Emerson welcomed baby Larson to the family. Just days before Larson was born, another family was experiencing an emotional rollercoaster of their own.

Heather Ceaser and Gavin Bloesch- Radi of Sauk City were expecting their first child, due on January 6. They named him Zander.

While they were watching television on Christmas Eve, Heather’s water broke. The couple traveled to Sauk Prairie Healthcare, ready to go through the labor process. Everything was proceeding normally.

Nurse Sara Holloway was taking care of Heather. At 6:30 a.m. Christmas Day, Sara told Heather that the baby’s heart rate was dropping, and that they needed to change her position and call Heather’s provider.

Maribeth Baker, MD, a family medicine physician with Prairie Clinic happened to be in the hospital doing rounds. Dr. Baker came in, looked at the baby’s fetal monitor and told Heather, “Something is wrong. We’ve got to get your baby out. Now.”

Because Heather was close to delivery, Dr. Baker instructed Heather to push. With an extraordinary effort, Heather pushed. The baby was born, but had no vital signs. To revive him, the team needed to do CPR and provide medication.

Beth Martinka said, “Fortunately, the Foundation purchased a newborn simulation mannequin which staff use to train for emergencies just like what happened to Zander. Utilizing Foundation funds, we had also purchased an intraosseous vascular access system. These systems are specifically designed for very sick newborns, like Zander.” The team was able to revive Zander.

The staff contacted Children’s Hospital Emergency Transport Ambulance from UW Health’s American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison who transported Zander to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He was there for a month. He survived a number of issues, including problems with his kidneys and swallowing. He needed to use a feeding tube that was finally removed in September.

Heather Ceaser, Gavin Bloesch-Radi and Zander

Heather Ceaser, Gavin Bloesch-Radi and Zander.

Heather said, “We are very grateful, after everything that happened, that he only has a few health issues. Our experience at Sauk Prairie Healthcare was amazing. When things got complicated, the team really came together to save Zander.” Gavin added, “Without the team that was there, Zander wouldn’t have made it.”

Your gift helped one family to accept their loss, and another to save their newborn. The equipment the Foundation purchased for the Birth Center was part of our HERO grants program, where our staff can request equipment outside of the regular budget process. When you donate, you can specify how your gift will be used.

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