FARGO — Rachel and Shawn Bakken gave birth to their third child, Chase, on Monday, May 17.

Along with getting their third gift of life, Rachel, who's a nurse at Sanford Health, is the first patient to be a part of the hospital's birth tissue donation program, which was started back in January for mothers who give birth via C-section, which is what happened in Chase's case.

"We had heard about this program earlier on in the pregnancy, and had kind of forgot about it for a while," Bakken said.

The tissue that kept Chase healthy in the womb — such as the placenta, amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord — will be put in a tissue donation lab, where it can be analyzed and used to treat ulcers, burns and skin cancer, among other injuries and diseases.

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Jackee Haak, a Sanford nurse who helped Bakken with the donation process, said this first donation has been a long time coming since the program started.

"Everybody was really excited to help out," she said. "We've been waiting for this day, and we were so happy to facilitate this and help other people with their healing journey."

Bakken said knowing her tissue can go a long way is rewarding, especially when thinking about her two girls: Paige, 5, and Hallie, 3.

"If you can donate something that isn't going to affect you anymore and can only help other people, I think that's wonderful," she said.

As the Bakkens left the hospital Wednesday, May 19, with Chase, they also left behind a gift of healing from a new mother of three.

"We're excited to go home and tell our girls that we helped out, and hopefully instill that (idea) in them too," Rachel Bakken said.