St. Nicholas Hospital introduced us to Laura and Chris Rector, a young couple whose first child was due last fall. But without warning, at 21 weeks, Laura’s water broke and the baby died in her womb shortly after. The couple had been so excited about the baby, had everything planned for his or her arrival and were devastated to be leaving the hospital alone.

Here’s where Cori Salchert, a registered nurse and HALO coordinator, stepped in to help them. Without giving away too much of the story, Chris’ reaction to Salchert’s offer of help is not expected, and, in fact, is somewhat startling.

She persisted, however, and helped the Rectors turn a sad, grieving experience into a joyful birth, peaceful funeral and loving memory of their first child. Read about this unique program, which has helped not only the Rectors, but hundreds of other families. The program is drawing attention from hospitals nationwide that are hoping to establish similar programs to assist grieving families.

For the Rector family, members of St. Mary Parish, Marytown, the birth and death of their first child has brought them closer to their Catholic faith. This holiday season will no doubt be a lot more cheerful than the last for Chris and Laura as it will be the first they will celebrate with their new son, the happy ending to which I referred earlier! While the baby’s birth doesn’t completely erase the pain they felt after losing their first child, it has helped them see beyond that pain and to realize there is “hope after loss.”

Also this issue, don’t miss our Page 3 feature, “Think you know everything about the Nativity? Maybe not.” The headline says it all. Apparently there is more fiction than fact surrounding the Nativity tale. But before your blood pressure rises and you accuse us of taking Christ out of Christmas or debunking your longheld faith beliefs, take a look at these five Nativity “facts.” Even if some of the facts surrounding Jesus’ birth are a bit questionable, there’s no doubt that the Nativity story, handed down from generation to generation for more than 2,000 years, continues to touch the hearts of many this time of the year.

May you and yours have a blessed Advent and Christmas season!