The Gift of Time
Every moment spent is a precious gift and as a grieving parent you never know what your heart may need to continue its healing journey weeks, months or even years down the road.
Infant death is a harsh reality we cannot prevent and we cannot always foresee. When parents are forced to say good-bye so shortly after hello, every minute matters. Some infant deaths are not anticipated. Every minute matters.
As uncomfortable as it is to think about, the reality is that the natural deteriation of a body begins right after death. The need for refrigeration is essentially immediate. The standard procedure is then to take the deceased to the morgue. The problem is that for families of stillborn babies, seriously ill newborns or infants with life-limiting conditions, they have had little if any time with their baby already. The time they do get is precious.
Everly's Angels Foundation, in collaboration with SOBBS (Stories of Babies Born Still), desires to have a CuddleCot placed in every hospital in the United States. For more information on this movement, visit their home site at www.storiesofbabiesbornstill.org and on Facebook at US Cuddle Cot Campaign Iniative.
A CuddleCot is an in-room cooling unit that is the size of a small humidifier that can be used to slow the natural process that follows death. It is small enough to be discreetly placed inside a Moses basket, placed under a baby and then covered with a blanket or placed beside a parent in bed. This gift of time allows precious, irreplaceable hours for parents, siblings and extended family to spend with the baby. This time can be used for bonding, priceless photos, plaster molds to be taken and for extended family members to arrive to meet the baby. It affords parents the chance to study every inch of their baby--eyes, toes, feet, hairlines, features--everything they will never see again. It also affords the process of keeping the baby with the family longer in a dignified way. Even the option of spending the hospital stay together as a family is an option.
All of this is possible because of the CuddleCot.
These bereaved families will not be able to get these moments back or recapture the memories taking place. Every moment counts.
Choices become so important very, very important when it seems as if all are taken away and suddenly families go from planning a future to a funeral in the blink of an eye. Every moment spent is a precious gift and as a grieving parent you never know what your heart may need to continue its healing journey weeks, months or even years down the road.
Offering choices to parents is about maximizing moments and miminizing regrets, says Sherokee Isle, a pioneer in the movement to provide parents choices like the CuddleCot and bringing the baby home for a time. Sherokee, an international speaker and author in the field of loss and healing, has worked hard over the last three decades to help improve the environment of care for families and their caregivers promoting picture taking, holding the baby, involving the family in the experience, and improving memor-making, which is a critical component to grieving as well. The Foundation has purchased grief support material from her to be provided to families in conjunction with the Everly After Box. Visit www.wintergreenpress.org for more information on Sherokee and valuable literature she has to offer.
Last fall when Everly was still well and with our family, her nana spent hours researching options for us. She wanted to see if there was a way for Everly to remain with us at home for a period should she, as the doctors expected, pass away. Everly's nana stumbled across the CuddleCot. The Foundation's director, Everly's mother, contacted the company only to find out that at the time (Sept.2014), the cot was only in a small handfull of hospitals in the United States. Florida had none.
The immediate goal of the Foundation is provide CuddleCots to hospitals in Central Florida and CHOA, where Everly spent her last days.
Our hope and prayer is that others, especially those who work with grieving parents, will see the value of providing choices, like CuddleCots or bringing a baby home. If you feel the way we do, won't you consider joining us in working to provide these choices? If so, read the "Get Involved" section above to find out how.