You might know that I have a pregnancy loss in my past–a loss, but thankfully a very early, very simple miscarriage, where I only had a few weeks of knowing I was pregnant before I was no longer, just a handful of days to bond with that very wanted child before she was gone. It still affected me deeply, and can bring me to tears nearly 20 years later, though.
It’s every pregnant mama’s worst nightmare and largest fear, though, to make it all the way through the pregnancy, and be faced with a stillbirth–9 months of buildup and anticipation and possibly hours of labor, only to have to say “hello” and “goodbye” in the same breath. Most families in this moment are struck numb and immobile by the sudden unexpected turn of events, having never wanted to consider or plan for such an end. Thankfully, many L&D staff as well as private organizations (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep) come in to fill the gap for these suddenly grieving parents, and coordinate the family’s brief time with their stillborn child to include pictures and memory markers that will help the parents in their grief once their baby is gone.
The challenge of time, in these situations, is that a stillborn baby’s body begins to go through many physiological changes, leaving the baby’s parents typically limited to only hours to acclimate to the loss, say hello (and goodbye), bring family in to introduce the baby, kiss and touch and rock, and compress a lifetime of caring into less than a day.
I can’t imagine anything as heartbreaking, nor how anyone can possibly stay sane through something that swings so mercurially from joy to grief, and demands you limit yourself to a few hours for the entire process.
I’m so very encouraged by this product which is designed to gently and unobtrusively extend the time bereaved parents can spend with a stillborn baby–if there ever was grace in technology, surely this is it!
Cuddle Cot is a system designed to be hidden in a Moses basket which helps cool the stillborn’s body and retard the physiological changes which dictate the the window for the baby’s time with family.
Clearly this gift of time is something desperately desired by many bereaved new parents, and strikes a chord with families who have experienced loss. As evidenced by this article, and the Cuddle Cot Initiative Facebook page, many parents and previously bereaved parents are endowing hospitals around the country with Cuddle Cot technology in memory of their own stillborn and newborn losses.
I love that so many folks are there preparing the space for what could easily be a family’s worst day ever, making grief work a community gift.