Just 10 days after a very traumatic birth, Josephine Mae Eldridge passed away peacefully in her parents' arms at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, WI on October 7, 2023. During that fleeting time, she touched many lives and was loved by all who met her. Born at 41 weeks, 2 days, weighing 8 lbs, 2.5 oz and 21 1/2 inches long, Josie was a fighter. After almost 32 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, just as she was crowning, her heartbeat was lost, and she made a very rapid entrance into this world.
The staff at Prairie Ridge Health Columbus did an amazing job saving her life not once but twice before she was transferred to the NICU at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. Josie spent the first three days of her life on a number of machines and in therapeutic hypothermia to slow down the effects of the birthing trauma on her little body. Unfortunately, the damage was already done and her brain was not suitable to sustain life without extensive medical intervention. Josie’s parents made the courageous yet excruciatingly painful decision to pursue organ donation before saying goodbye. She was able to give her heart valves to save other little infants' lives.
During the time when organ procurement was being investigated, Josie’s parents spent as much time with her as they could; holding her, changing her, bathing her, reading to her, and making as many memories as possible before having to say goodbye. Other close family and friends got to meet her and spend time with her thanks to the generosity of St. Mary’s.
She was beautiful with her Mama’s nose and her Daddy’s chin. She was born at 1:44 a.m. on September 27th and died on October 7th at 2:02 a.m.
Josie joins her grandmother, Denise Eldridge (Sikorski); her uncles, Tyler Tweed and James Eldridge; her great uncle John Maxson; her great grandparents Lilly and Vincent Maxson, Harriet Josephine Thompson (Sikoski) and Eugene Sikorski, Viola and Russel Yusten, Mike Mullman, and Roy Eldridge.
She is survived by her mother and father, Kyle and Jennifer Eldridge (Tweed); her grandparents, Jo Ann Tweed, Lairy Eldridge, and Steve and Krista Tweed; her aunt Stephanie Tweed; her uncles Larry Eldridge, Nathan Pies, Bradley Pies, Shane Roberts, and Spencer Eldridge; and her great grandparents Nancy Mullman and Janet and Ted Tweed.
A celebration of life will take place at First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Ave, Madison, WI 53703 at 1:00 p.m. on October 28th, 2023.
The family would like to thank the labor and delivery staff at Prairie Ridge Health Hospital in Columbus and the St. Mary’s Hospital NICU staff for their efforts and dedication in caring for Josie, as well as the staff of Ronald McDonald Family Place at St. Mary’s for allowing them to stay in one of the rooms for the entirety of Josie’s life. If it weren’t for you all, we wouldn’t have had 10 wonderful days to spend with our precious little girl.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Josephine’s honor to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison at www.rmhcmadison.org/donate as a memorial and tribute designation.
"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." - A.A. Milne
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