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October 12, 2009

Hope After Loss Organization (HAL0) Helps Families - Physically, Mentally, Spirtitually - From Pregnancy Loss

Sheboygan, Wis. —On April 25, 2009, Chris and Laura Rector learned they were going to lose their baby after dreaming for 21 weeks of the joy they were going to have with their first-born child. Needless to say, they were devastated with the news. On April 28, 2009, their baby boy was born into heaven.

The Rectors were referred to Cori Salchert, RN, and a certified pregnancy loss counselor at St. Nicholas Hospital.

Twenty-five to forty percent of all pregnancies end in a loss. This translates to approximately 400 babies dying before birth in Sheboygan County.

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The Hope After Loss Organization (HALO) at St. Nicholas Hospital has as its core mission to provide services to those families suffering pregnancy loss related to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, abortion-elective or medical terminations performed at another facility other than St. Nicholas Hospital, and/or early newborn death.

There are monthly support group meetings, one-on-one counseling, sibling care, extended family bereavement visits (especially for grandparents), written and DVD resources, and tangible mementos in loving memory of their baby.

Local and national volunteers have donated essentially all of the memorabilia supplies such as blankets, hand-painted memory boxes, cards, and jewelry, etc. to HALO. These gifts help keep costs down for the Hospital and facilitate healing for many of the donors who experiences losses themselves and hope to give comfort to someone else. These items are given to the entire family.

During the past year, it has become overwhelmingly evident that people appreciate the services HALO provides. The family is cared for in a holistic manner. Comfort is given in every area of need: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Guidance is offered to enable the family to make decisions when they face the devastating loss of their baby. An infant's passing or an abrupt ending of a pregnancy can affect people for the rest of their lives. The Friends of St. Nicholas Hospital have designated funds to the HALO program to ensure that it continues to make a difference in the lives it touches. In addition, donations of supplies, services, and money have increased substantially this past year, which demonstrates the growing community based support for HALO.

HALO helps to take some of the fear out of the situation. For most families, this is unchartered territory and they have great anxiety over what is going to happen to them and their baby. By showing and sharing with them what happened in other circumstances similar to their own, they find they are able to help turn this horrible situation into a wonderfully enriching and memorable experience that is uniquely their own.

"The HALO program helped us turn a tragic event into a celebration of a life," said Laura. "We left St. Nicholas Hospital with empty arms but with hearts so full of love for our child. Even now, as we are healing physically and preparing emotionally for another pregnancy, the HALO program is there tending to those hesitations felt from the unforeseen event."

For more information about HALO, contact Cori Salchert, RN, Pregnancy Loss Counselor, at 920/451-7572.

About St. Nicholas Hospital
St. Nicholas Hospital is the recipient of the 2009/2010 HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award™. St. Nicholas Hospital is rated among the Nation's top 5% of hospitals for patient experience and one of only 211 facilities in the country to achieve this distinction two years in a row.

St. Nicholas Hospital is a non-profit hospital sponsored by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis located at 3100 Superior Avenue, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Their mission and vision is to provide family-centered, compassionate care without regard for race, creed, or ability to pay. This is achieved through the core values of respect, care, competence, and joy.

To learn more, visit .

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St. Nicholas Hospital
3100 Superior Avenue
Sheboygan, WI 53081


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St. Nicholas HospitSt. Nicholas Hospital, 3100 Superior Avenue, Sheboygan, WI Ph:920-459-8300
 100 Superior Avenue
 Sheboygan, WI 53081