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Small Comforts for Small Patients at Providence

By Rebecca Palsha, Late Edition Anchor/Senior Reporter (Parenting and Food), rpalsha@ktuu.com
Published On: Nov 15 2013 08:22:02 PM AKST
Updated On: Nov 15 2013 12:00:00 AM AKST

Before walking into the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Providence Hospital, you have to scrub-up for at least two minutes.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

Before walking into the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Providence Hospital, you have to scrub-up for at least two minutes.

Take your jewelry off.
You don't want to risk bringing germs inside.
Don't wear a jacket, the temperatures hover around 80 degrees.

Once inside, you can hear the beeping from machines and the soft cry from a baby. Martin Stepetin, Junior's, room is 10 weeks and four days old. He weighs a little more than seven pounds.

Martin was born 11 and a half weeks early, in Juneau. There were complications. He had to be flown to Providence, in Anchorage for medical help.

His mother, Anne, flew up the next day. She's been by his side almost every day since.

"He was very little when we got here," Stepetin said. "He's a big boy now."

Like many of the parents in the NIC-unit, Stepetin sometimes has to fly home to Juneau to be with her other children.
When she left to go home for her oldest son's birthday, Bede Trantina was there to rock and snuggle Martin.

"Being here is probably the most important thing I do all week," Trantina said.

Trantina is one of several people who volunteers for the hospital’s Kuddle Korp. For two hours, once a week, she whispers to the babies and rocks.

"Being able to hold the little ones is so critical to their development," Trantina said.

Ginny McGill, a Providence neonatal physical therapist who works at, says it's important for the babies to have responsive care giving all the time.

"It is definitely a plus for minimizing their stress," McGill said. "It's really important for their overall development."

That isn't always possible since many of the parents here aren't from Anchorage. Some parents have to go home for work or to take care of other children.  

"I'm very thankful for people like Bede," Stepetin.