Losing a baby is devastating for any parent, especially during childbirth. But two mothers from Moncton who have felt that pain, have found a way to help families cope with the loss of an infant by raising money for a device that will give them more time to say goodbye to their babies.
After each suffering through the overwhelming grief of losing an infant, Kim Nelson and Amy Boljkovac banded together to raise enough money to purchase a “cuddle cot” for the Moncton Hospital.
Cuddle cots are cooling devices that are placed in a baby bassinet allowing grieving families to stay with their babies for up to three days after the infant has passed.
“I really wanted my community to have that available for them,” Nelson said.
Nelson, whose son Landen was stillborn, said she found out about the devices after joining support groups following her son’s death. The time she spent saying goodbye to her son was precious but, “I will always wish I had more time, everyone will always wish they had more time.”
Boljkovac’s son Patrick passed away hours after he was born. She was unable to spend time with her son and hopes the cuddle cots will offer families the precious gift of time.
“Just to have the time to process your options if you choose to have family come in and see your baby and visit with them and meet them,” Boljkovac said.
Christa Wheeler-Thorne is the director of Women and Children’s Health at the Moncton Hospital. She said the “cuddle cot” cooling blanket is discretely placed under a conventional bassinet where the infant can be rested on for up to three days.
“The cuddle cot cools and preserves the baby and it does prolong that time that the family can have with the baby to grieve and spend time with them,” Wheeler-Thorne said.
The hospital has only had the “cuddle cot” since the end of January and she said it has already been used to help some families come to terms with their loss.
“We can’t change the fact that pregnancies end and babies die, but we can make that experience a little bit better or different for people,” she said.
Cuddles cots are not widely used in hospitals thoughout Canada, and this is a first for the Maritimes
Nelson and Boljkovac raised the money for the cot through a local support walk they created called “A Walk to Remember Moncton” and purchased the cot with the help of the Friends of the Moncton Hospital Founation. At a cost of only $3,000, the mothers hope that every hospital in the country will adopt the idea.