336 - Cori Salchert: The Hospice Momma Transforms The Lives of Terminally Ill Babies
A baby girl was born without a right or left hemisphere of her brain. Doctors said she was essentially in a vegetative state, unable to see or hear. They said there was no hope for her.
Relinquished to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin by her birth parents under the state’s Safe Haven Law, this two-week-old unnamed baby girl found her way to Cori and Mark Salchert’s home. Despite the infant’s grim medical diagnosis, when Cori met her, she instantly realized that she could not allow this baby girl to spend her few days on earth alone and unloved. Cori, who had recently suffered a personal health crisis and the loss of her dream job, realized that God was making room in her home and her heart for this precious child. Cori brought the baby girl home and named her Emmalynn.
All too often in our society, hospice babies like Emmalynn are left alone by families who find it too difficult to deal with their child’s condition.
As a registered nurse and former perinatal bereavement specialist, Cori understands the unique challenges of end-of-life issues for some of the most vulnerable among us: hospice babies with medically life-limiting or terminal diagnoses. Under Cori and Mark’s care, Emmalynn surprised everyone by living for 50 days, days filled with light, laughter, field trips, and unconditional love. She passed away peacefully on September 27, 2012, while being held in Cori’s arms, nuzzled against her chest.
Rather than letting these babies pass away in hospitals, which are often sterile, noisy, and devoid of a loving touch, Cori brings them home to feel the warmth of a family environment. She attends to the usual infant needs — daily feedings and diaper changes — in addition to the unique challenges of caring for fragile babies who can pass away without warning.
Listening to her share her touching story of loving the unloved until they pass away. It takes a special person to live up to this calling - and you'll hear it's not always easy for her either. Cori Salchert is truly courageous.