Local family uses tragedy to help others with loss of newborns

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- There are no words for any parent or family members when it comes to losing a child, but one local couple is taking the tragedy that happened to them and using it to help others.

“He had a ton of brown hair…just brown curly hair which was my absolute favorite,” said Stephanie Beaudrie. “He looked a lot like dad.”

At 36 weeks along, Stephanie and Nicholas Beaudrie of Eau Claire were not expecting what the doctor was about to tell them.

“We were told during that appointment that our son no longer had a heartbeat and we were sent up to labor and delivery,” Stephanie said.

And on August 18th, 2017, Andrew Beaudrie was born at Mayo Clinic Hospital. The couple spent 8 hours with their newborn son.

“There was a lot of joy in that 8 hours along with the sadness and heartbreak because we got to see what we created and held him as much as possible in that 8 hours,” Stephanie said.

Eight hours with their son was a gift they wanted other families to also be able to have and a donation they made Tuesday is making that possible.

“Every minute you have with that child whether they're living or not is so important,” said Stephenie Ebsen, a family case manager with Halos of the St. Croix Valley. “This allows families to get a little bit more time with that baby.”

Stephanie and Nick's donation is a Cuddle Cot costing around $3,800. It looks a lot like a bassinet. However this crib-like basket is a cooling system for stillborn babies, which allows families to spend more time with their child to help them cope with their loss.

“There were a lot of things we had to go through together as a couple and family,” said Nicholas. “It takes a lot to not get over it, but accept things.”

This is the first Cuddle Cot at Mayo Clinic Health System. Chrissy Boe, the director of the family birth center, says the hospital couldn't be more grateful.

“They took a very tragic situation and a very sad situation and turned it into a benefit to families for years to come,” Boe said. “They gave them the gift of time when it seems it’s been cut drastically too short.”

Andrew’s memory will live on. Each family that experiences this type of loss is given a card with a picture of him and his story.

“He was 5 lbs. 6 oz. and had long fingers and toes. Just cute,” Stephanie added.

With Andrew’s memory in mind, the couple is also expecting some good news to come.

“We are due within a week and a half!”

Halos, the organization that helped Stephanie and Nicholas through their journey, is also hosting a fun run and walk at Irvine Park on August 18th, which is also the Beaudrie's son's birthday.