Max, Laura and Madison Mittelman.


VENTNOR – Max and Laura Mittelman want people to remember their baby, Madison, who’s too-short life is creating miracles for families undergoing similar difficulties during childbirth.

Madison was born Sept. 24 with an umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and body, which caused a lack of oxygen to her brain. Although her mom called her a “fighter,” Madison died three weeks later in the Intensive Care Nursery at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

“There are terrible things that do happen in childbirth, but we want to help others who are undergoing similar tragedies,” Laura Mittelman said Monday morning.

The couple, who grew up in Linwood and Northfield, but have lived in the Downbeach area for four years, started a Go Fund Me page on Friday, asking for donations of $16,500, and by Monday morning, they had raised a total of $42,850.

“The one thing we want people to know is that we are blown away by the response from the community,” Max Mittelman, 32, a speech therapist and 18-year member of the Longport Beach Patrol said. “This is why we love living in Downbeach. Everyone supports each other.”

After a normal pregnancy, Laura, 30, a teacher in Brigantine, gave birth after 30 hours of labor and an emergency C-section. Baby Madison did not have a pulse, but doctors brought her back using CPR. She was immediately intubated and in extremely critical condition. Laura said she believes Madison was without oxygen for about 15 minutes during labor.

Her injuries were so severe, Madison was transferred to Pennsylvania Hospital’s Intensive Care Nursery, where she lived out the rest of her days until her little body “couldn’t handle living anymore,” her mom said.

Although the couple doesn’t know why they were dealt “this terrible hand of cards in life,” they started a non-profit organization called Miracles for Madison to raise money for families dealing with such tragedies.

“We knew people would help, but we didn’t realize how much they would support Madison’s legacy,” Laura said.

A portion of the contributions garnered from the Go Fund Me page will be used to “do something that has meaning” for their friends and family in the Downbeach area, and the rest will bolster funds that will be raised at a fundraising event planned for 12-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at Robert’s Place in Margate. The fundraiser will have a cheery holiday theme, and funds raised will go to the Intensive Care Nursery.

Van Duyne Brothers will build a fiberglass boat for the Longport Beach Patrol in memory of little Madison, and Max hopes it will carry the winners of next summer’s lifeguard races.

“Longport is a special place for Max and me,” Laura said.

Max and Laura Mittelman.

The couple met on the beach, dated in high school when they were both working on the beach – he as a lifeguard and she as a badge checker – and they took their engagement pictures on the beach. A year later, they got married at the Church of the Redeemer in Longport.

“Therefore, it only seems right to honor the birth of our first daughter in this town,” she wrote on Go Fund Me.

The boat will be used on 35th Avenue beach, where Max guards the water every summer, and will be representative of “bring your daughter to work day.”

“This boat will provide us comfort in the years to come in being able to keep Madison close to us,” she said. “I look forward to standing on the beach next to this boat, with Max and our future children, knowing that our perfect Guardian Angel is always with us.”

Although the amount needed for the boat is only $17,000, the rest of the money will be added to Miracles for Madison to support families with similar difficult birth experiences, Laura said.

After speaking with nurses at the ICN, Laura said they have ideas on how the money raised can be used to help others.

“We wanted to give Madison’s life more meaning, and the funding we raise will go to purchase glider rocking chairs so mothers and fathers can enjoy close contact with their child. They are short on what they need, and we want to be able to provide that experience for families.”

Another need is for additional video cameras that provide families with a closeup look at their babies in the ICN.

“I would login to see Madison when I woke up in the middle of the night to pump milk to bring to her in the ICN,” Laura said. “It made me feel closer to her and I hope we can provide this comfort for other families as well.”

Laura credited the remarkable doctors and nurses for giving them the opportunity to see, hold and love Madison, if only for a few short weeks.

Because they got to spend three loving weeks with Madison, they want to pay it forward for others undergoing similar life altering experiences.

“While Max and I will never understand why we were dealt this terrible hand of cards in life, we are turning our tragedy into triumph to help others.”


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Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.