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Special Room at St. Luke’s Meridian Offers Peace and Comfort for Grieving Parents

By Chris Langrill, News and Community
November 9, 2017
Carie Barrie, a nurse at St. Luke’s Meridian’s labor and delivery unit, helped paint a room called “The Butterfly Room,” which is designed to provide a private, comforting space for parents who are grieving the loss of a baby.

The Labor and Delivery staff at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center has seen its share of heartwarming moments over the years.

Each healthy birth is a miracle.

Unfortunately, the staff has also witnessed some heart-wrenching moments. It’s during these times the nurses on the third floor of the hospital are thankful to have the Butterfly Room.

“The Butterfly Room is a room we use for parents who, unfortunately, have experienced a loss, whether it was early in a pregnancy or a full-term delivery,” nurse Carie Barrie said. “It’s a very emotional time, and this is a very safe room. … We can have family members come in here and grieve, so they’re not having to sit out in the waiting room. It’s a little bit more comfortable.”

The mission of the Butterfly Room – there is also one at St. Luke’s Boise – is to help parents during the grieving process. Parents are offered memento boxes to take home anything that will preserve the memory of their baby, including photographs and hand and foot castings. The room also features stuffed animals, books about grieving, rocking chairs and a dressing table.

The Butterfly Room came to fruition through a collaborative effort. Donations from several sources helped fund the room, and several members of the St. Luke’s staff – including Barrie -- put their own personal touches on the room.

“I’ve been here for 12 years, and when I first started everything was very clinical,” Barrie said. “This is just more comforting. The painting, my sister and I came in here and painted it with our husbands.

“We didn’t want it to have too much of a nursery feel, because that can be very painful for parents. But we wanted it to feel cozy enough that they could come in here and celebrate their baby as much as possible.”

Beth Hirst, the director of Women’s and Children’s Services in Meridian, said the Butterfly Room helps the staff do what they do best: provide comfort and care for their patients.

“The nurses truly are the family’s angel during the hardest time that they’ll probably ever experience,” Hirst said. “We can’t forget that our staff are the ones taking care of these families, and it’s an emotional drain on them, as well, because they put their heart and soul into caring for these families.”

And the Butterfly Room has come to play an important role in that care.

“I love the room,” Barrie said.

A plaque outside of the room thanks the following for their donations: St. Luke’s Auxiliary, Adams Painting, Scott Bower, Cloverdale Plumbing Company, CSHQA Interior Design, Henriksen Butler, Herman Miller, Nemschoff Interior Systems Inc., Model Home Furnishings, Northwest Interiors LLC, OFR Inc., Quality Electric Inc., Shaw Contract Group, System Tech Inc., Wall2Wall Floorcovering. With special thanks to bereavement members for the time and dedication: Carie and Justin Barrie, Lindy and Nick Carone, Tami and Ace McCurry.

About The Author

Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.

Related Facility

St. Luke's Meridian Medical Center
520 S. Eagle Rd.
Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 706-5000