(Galesburg, IL / May 19, 2016) - For parents of stillborn babies, the grieving process can be long and difficult. Thanks to a generous donation from the Hart family of Galesburg, the maternity department at OSF St. Mary Medical Center now has a CuddleCot to help provide additional comfort to grieving parents.
CuddleCot’s allow a family to spend time with a baby who is stillborn or dies shortly after birth. During this incredibly difficult time, staff wants to ensure parents have time to bond with their baby as they begin to deal with their loss. The problem is in a warm room the baby’s condition can deteriorate quickly, which is only more distressing. The CuddleCot cooling pad placed in a crib or bassinet allows the baby to remain with the family in the room for as long as the family needs, allowing for photographs, baptism, or simply more time.
The maternity department at OSF St. Mary’s serves an average of six patients a year that have experienced the loss of a child through stillbirth or neonatal death. While the Cuddle Cot will not be appropriate for all our families, many will benefit from the gift of a few more hours with their baby.
One year, May 19, 2015, Alyssa Hart delivered her son, Andrew Lee, at OSF St. Mary Medical Center. He was born sleeping (stillborn) at 18 weeks old. At the time, there were no CuddleCots in Galesburg. In fact, there are only eight CuddleCots in the state of Illinois.
Alyssa heard about the CuddleCot system shorty after giving birth to Andrew. After researching the benefits of a CuddleCots, her goal was to purchase two, one for OSF St. Mary Medical Center and one for Cottage Hospital.
“I wanted other families to be able to spend more time with their baby during their grieving process,” said Alyssa. “My goal is to bring more awareness about the many emotions these parents must be feeling after losing their baby. I wanted to bring CuddleCots to Galesburg.”
Each CuddleCot system costs approximately $3,000. Donations for the CuddleCot at Cottage Hospital can be directed to https://www.crowdrise.com/cuddle-cots-for-galesburg/fundraiser/alyssahart2
Alyssa wanted to dedicate the CuddleCot to OSF St. Mary on Andrew’s 1st birthday. She raised the money through family, friends, and the help of fundraisers from Walk for Baby Feet. Walk for Baby Feet is a new 501C3 organization that was started by Jamie Dunker and Alyssa Hart to raise money and awareness for families facing issues like stillbirth and infant loss. Walk for Baby feet will have its walk on October 15, 2016 at the GHS track.
Alyssa and her husband, Ryan, have three other children.