A San Antonio hospital has a new device to help grieving parents of stillborn babies. It’s called the Cuddle Cot.
Imagine going from planning a future to planning a funeral. That’s what happened to Mark Lucas and his wife, when their son Grayson was stillborn. Full-term and otherwise healthy, he was a victim of placental abruption, a rare complication that claimed his life.
"That was the only time I was ever going to get to hold him," Lucas said. "To have more time to hold him would have been awesome."
Enter the Cuddle Cot, a cooling bed designed to buy the precious gift of time for grieving parents. It’s a cooling unit with a hose that attaches to a mat underneath the baby. Tannya Steffen, RN, is a Labor and Delivery Nurse at North Central Baptist Hospital.
"It helps to keep the babies’ bodies cool. The skin stays hydrated," Steffen explained. "These babies look better longer, for up to five days."
Some parents want to take photos or wait for other family members to arrive before they send the body away for burial. The staff at North Central Baptist Hospital deals with three to eight stillborn babies a month.
"We are the first in San Antonio to have a Cuddle Cot, the fourth in Texas," Steffen added. "There are only a couple hundred throughout the United States."
The Lucas’ story does have a happy ending. Mark and his wife Amanda now have two young sons. The donated Cuddle Cot bears a plaque with Grayson’s name.
"I'm so proud," Lucas said after a ceremony dedicating the device. "Just that he’s being remembered in this way. I think it’s great. He’ll live on forever."