CuddleCot—The Gift of Time

In late July 2015, with the assistance of the same two nurses who had cared for her during her previous delivery, MarinHealth patient Jessica Harrison gave birth to a healthy baby boy weighing 7.1 lbs named Lleyton.

While 2015 will be fondly remembered as the year Lleyton joined the Harrison family, their loss in 2014 will never be forgotten.

Taken

In February 2014, after 39 weeks of gestation, Jessica Harrison had a planned delivery of her stillborn baby girl, Adeline Rose Suzanne Harrison. With the help of the hospital’s midwives and dedicated nurses, Jessica was able to spend the next few hours with her newborn in private and begin the difficult adjustment to a tragic loss.

“People are used to elderly people passing, but when it comes to infants, people don’t understand the tragedy,” Jessica said. “It can be a very silent and isolating time.”

Stillbirth is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, stillbirth affects more than 25,000 families each year. Research by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that one in 160 pregnancies result in stillbirth. A majority of stillbirths occur before labor, though a small percentage happen during labor and delivery.

In her grief following Adeline’s passing, Jessica realized not all mothers are given the same hours to spend with their infant in the wake of a stillbirth. It was then that Jessica decided to help other mothers experiencing the same loss. Her goal was to honor the memory of Adeline as well as to pay forward the respect and unconditional support Jessica had received from MarinHealth.

“I felt there was something more we could do and it’s a very silent tragedy to go through that people don’t talk about,” Jessica said.

Buying Time

Jessica reached out to friends and family about a tribute to her daughter. With the help of loved ones, she was able to raise funds for the Flexmort CuddleCot™, a piece of medical equipment that uses a cooling system to slow the natural changes that occur after death. This helps ease the bereavement process by prolonging the amount of time a family can spend with their baby. The CuddleCot is used all over the world to support parents who are going through the devastating loss of a newborn. Thanks to Jessica, MarinHealth is now able to offer grieving parents the use of the CuddleCot so they can spend a few more precious hours with their little one.

Giving Back

After receiving excellent medical care and bereavement support from the MarinHealth Midwives nursing team, Jessica made the decision to donate the CuddleCot to the hospital both in honor of Adeline and as a tribute to the excellent medical care and bereavement support she received from the MarinHealth Midwives nursing team. The donation signifies her determination to give parents and families more time to spend with their newborns in the wake of a stillbirth. She also hopes the donation will promote awareness, as stillbirths are a rarely-discussed topic.

Although the emergence of the CuddleCot in the West Coast is still in progress, Jessica hopes more maternity programs in hospitals will embrace the device and its gift of time to grieving parents. In addition to being a patient at the hospital, Jessica serves as a representative and liaison between MarinHealth and the March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization supporting programs and research working to end premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality.