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Grieving Through A Stillborn Birth


Miscarriages can create a tremendous amount of grief for expectant parents. But imagine if you were a family who saw a baby to term, only to have it stillborn? The emotions surrounding that experience are hard to fathom, but it happens quite frequently across the U.S. Now though, there are certain tools available to help parents through those immensely painful moments.


Washington’s Spokesman Review recently profiled a couple who underwent extreme agony after their daughter was delivered stillborn. Gretchen and Josh Cleveland bravely shared their story with the site and the ways they were eventually able to overcome their intensified grief. One tool that helped them in the immediate aftermath was called a CuddleCot.


Though the CuddleCot’s description can bring immediate feelings of depression, it has helped many expectant parents. In actuality, it is a cooling pad that is inserted into any type of baby bed within a hospital. Sadly, stillborn babies tend to decompose rather quickly. The CuddleCot aims to deter that process from immediately occurring. Keeping the baby cool gives families more time with their little one, even allowing them to remain in the room with them for an extended period of time.


It is a tough concept to swallow, but one that made a major difference in the lives of the Clevelands.


“We’re missing a lifetime, so we were going to spend as much time with her as possible,” Gretchen explained. “Our baby’s grandparents and her big sister got to cuddle her, sing to her and tell her goodbye. All these things made possible because of the CuddleCot.”


Of course, there is much more to stillborn grieving process than the hours after the birth. As the Clevelands freely admitted, they soon turned to bereavement groups and found outlets like writing and painting to help ease their pain. They also became CuddleCot advocates, helping to make that experience possible for other families in similar situations.


Through their efforts and the kindness of others, local hospitals in their area were able to purchase more CuddleCots and have them readily available for patients. Truth be told, the pads are quite expensive (running $3,000 each). So special fundraisers were set up to ensure families in need had the option of using them.


“It’s so important for families to spend time with their babies,” local hospital rep Carolyn Ringo told the site. “Sometimes a mom can be really sick after delivery and not be able to see their child right away. The CuddleCot extends the time a family can spend with their child. It gives them some peace, and that is such a gift.”