LivingCuddle cots or "cuddling cots" allow parents to say...

Cuddle cots or "cuddling cots" allow parents to say goodbye to their deceased baby without rushing, giving them time for a last goodbye

The death of a child during pregnancy or a newborn is a severe blow for parents who eagerly await the arrival of their child. Unfortunately, it is something that happens and a tragedy that many families have to deal with, being a very deep and practically invisible pain, which is hardly talked about.

Today we want to make this reality visible with the help of Natalie and Manuel, some parents from Chiclana de la Frontera who have been through it, and who have wanted to channel that mourning into an initiative to help others who are going through the same thing. They have created Oliver’s Legacy in memory of their son Oliver, born still in November 2020, and through this organization they donate cuddle cots or “hug cradles” to Spanish hospitals, giving families the gift of time for that last goodbye.

“In that room with total silence, the world stops”

Natalie opens up to share the hard times she went through in the last stage of her pregnancy.

“After two miscarriages we got pregnant with Oliver during the lockdown. This time everything seemed to be going well and when we reached 30 weeks we really started to believe it. But at week 34 I noticed that Oliver wasn’t moving as much anymore, I went to the midwife and we listened to her heartbeat, so I tried to calm down. But at the next visit, at 35 weeks , she couldn’t find the heartbeat and sent us to the hospital. I already knew it was gone, I had known for a week that something was wrong ” .

“I was induced and Oliver was born the next day. An enormous sadness, not knowing what to do at that moment. It was clear that I was going to take some photos, but being in that room with total silence, the world stopped. They told us “take the time you need and you call us”, so we hugged each other, we cried together and after half an hour we called the doctors. I didn’t know he could have stayed longer . Once they took him away we were left alone. We spent one night alone and in the tomorrow we had to leave the hospital with empty arms, get into a car that already had the chair ready and go home to explain to our daughter Chloe that her little brother has not come home to meet her”.

What is a cuddle cot or cuddle cot?

In Spain they are not common, but they are in other countries such as the United Kingdom, where hospitals have a mourning room, where families can be with their deceased baby for as long as they need.

The crib can really be any crib – in this case, the donated cribs are carrycot-type cribs. The mechanism consists of a machine that is attached to the cradle that performs the cooling function. A cooling blanket is placed inside, keeping the body cool and slowing down the changes of death . “It’s like a mini fan that sends cold water constantly through tubes connected to the blanket, and that blanket that is inserted into the crib is what “gives time”, explains Natalie.

The hospitals place the crib in a room on the maternity floor, which is only for the family that needs it, and it is marked on the outside with a butterfly so that the doctors who have to enter know what is behind that door.

How long do you have to say goodbye to your baby?

“Time, they have all the time they want, but normally no family has stayed more than 12 hours , it depends a lot on the time of birth and the state of the mother. A month ago a baby was there for two days until the mother was able to meet him having been in the ICU”, Natalie and Manuel tell us.

According to the doctors, they explain to the parents the benefits of the crib to be able to say goodbye to their baby quietly and in an intimate space, giving them the opportunity to have more time to say goodbye to their baby, be with him, hug him, kiss him and save memories .

“At first they are a little shocked, but then everyone has agreed to use it and is very grateful for the time and treatment received,” they add.

It is necessary to support parents in those first moments of confusion, and provide them with precious time that they will remember forever with their lifeless babies.

Death is no less painful if it is hidden

Perinatal death, which occurs between the 22nd week of gestation and the first days of the baby’s life, is usually a taboo subject that is not talked about or asked not to do harm. But “you have to talk about it to be more prepared,” says Natalie.

The deep pain over the death of a child that you were looking forward to is no less painful if it is hidden and not talked about. On the contrary, breaking the silence helps parents begin to navigate their grief .

It’s not something “creepy”. It is your deceased child, and being able to be with that baby, take photos if you wish, take his fingerprints to make a memory painting, be able to hug him, put him on your chest, kiss him or whatever the parents need, will help them process better. such a dramatic moment, bringing love and peace .

In which hospitals do we find cuddle cots or cuddle cots?

There are already five hospitals that have received their donated cribs: Puerto Real Hospital, where Oliver was born, Jerez Hospital (Cádiz), Punta del Mar Hospital (Cádiz), Punta Europa Hospital in Algeciras and Reina Sofía University Hospital (Córdoba). And a sixth crib will be delivered very soon, and we hope many more.

To donate, you can do it through the GoFoundMe page created by Natalie and Manuel to organize the fundraiser.

“I’m not going to stop, but it’s true that it’s getting harder and harder to raise money, says Natalie. We need to reach a larger audience and for many families to join us in helping us continue giving out hugs.”

The cuddle cots or “hug cradles” is the precious initiative of some parents who have transformed their pain into a solidarity action that is helping other families. And Oliver sees it from above.

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