A Legacy of Love: How Compassionate Care at Bon Secours Hospital Led to a CuddleCot Donation

Bon Secours St Mary’s Hospital & St. Francis Medical Center offer compassionate care to bereaved parents the gift of time with the CuddleCot

Source: bonsecours.com

RICHMOND, Va. — Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital dedicated a new CuddleCot System into service, thanks to a donation from a local family who experienced the stillbirth of their second child at the same hospital just 10 months earlier.

The donation was made by a Henrico family, Jenna and Daniel Green, who lost their daughter, Riley Lois Green, at 28 weeks gestation. The couple felt grateful for the compassionate care they received at St. Mary’s Hospital and wanted to honor Riley’s memory by creating a legacy for their daughter and helping other families facing similar losses.

“It just was like an explosion. And it’s just like a giant hole in my entire chest cavity just blown up,” said Daniel Green, describing the grief from his daughter’s stillbirth. “It’s just a level of vulnerability that I’d never been prepared for.”

Daniel Green

The CuddleCot is a specialized unit and cooling pad designed to gently and discreetly regulate a baby’s body temperature after death, helping to preserve the baby’s appearance and allow grieving families to spend additional time with their child. This technology can offer bereaved parents and other loved ones the opportunity to bond with their baby, take pictures, and create lasting memories during a difficult and traumatic time.

Source: wtvr.com

The Greens’ personal experience with a CuddleCot during their time at St. Mary’s allowed them to hold their daughter and begin to process their grief. Jenna Green, who also works for Bon Secours Richmond as a Communications Manager, spoke emotionally about the overwhelming sadness of giving birth to a child without hearing a cry.

“You can picture what it was like, for there not to be any cries from the baby in there—just silence,” said Jenna Green. “And, you know, that instantaneous love, also with instantaneous heartbreak.”

Jenna Green

“We are so grateful that we were able to use a CuddleCot and that we had the gift of time with Riley: time to hold her, rock her and sing to her. Time to process, mourn and take pictures. We had 27 hours with her to create precious memories to last a lifetime,” Jenna adds.

“While we were experiencing the absolute worst moments of our lives, we received the most compassionate care we could have ever imagined. When we had questions, our nurses found the answers. When we were afraid, they stayed with us and listened to our fears – sometimes for hours. One nurse even bought Daniel breakfast after her shift ended so we didn’t have to spend a moment apart, asking for nothing in return,” Jenna shares.

Jenna and Daniel made the decision before leaving the hospital that they would find ways to carry Riley forward with them as a family. However, it was because of the compassionate care they received from their care team at St. Mary’s Hospital that they were inspired to pay it forward and find ways to support other families experiencing pregnancy or infant loss.

Source: wtvr.com

“Our nurses have to be chameleons,” says Kamie Boyd, MSN, RNC-OB, director of labor and delivery at St. Mary’s Hospital. “They have to flip on a dime, going from one room, where a family is experiencing one of the best days of their lives, to another room, where a family may be experiencing the worst. That type of compassion and empathy isn’t something that can be taught. That’s what makes this team so special – we show up hard for our families going through loss.”

The Green family shared that the nurses who cared for them helped them begin their grief journey and encouraged them to create memories.

“The nurses said Riley’s name, greeted her with cheerful smiles and looked at her as if she was no different from the living babies that they had likely just delivered moments before walking into our room. I can’t express what that did for us,” Jenna says.

Source: wtvr.com
Jenna Green

Unfortunately, when it comes to losing a loved one, goodbye is inevitable, but with the CuddleCot the Green family had a sliver of control in a situation where everything felt very out of control.

“We couldn’t bring her back, but we got the next best thing: the gift of time,” Jenna adds. “And while we knew we never really would be ready to say goodbye, thanks to the CuddleCot, we were able to make the decision about when we were ready. We’re so grateful for that.”

Source: wtvr.com
Jenna Green

“In such moments of profound grief, the CuddleCot becomes a precious companion by providing invaluable time for parents to hold, cuddle, and say goodbye to their little one, allowing them to create memories and cherish moments that would otherwise be lost,” said Amy Wagner, a designated nurse practitioner and the administrative director of women’s and children’s services at St. Mary’s, in the release.

Amy Wagner, a designated nurse practitioner and the administrative director of women’s and children’s services

An example of how the time granted by the CuddleCot can be used by parents

“We are so grateful that we had the gift of time with our daughter: time to hold her, talk to her and rock her,” Jenna Green said in the release.

Jenna Green

The Greens started a GoFundMe in the wake of their daughter’s death to raise money for additional CuddleCots, wanting to share this comforting technology with other families.

“We knew, even while we were in the hospital, that as a family, we wanted to find ways to carry Riley forward with us,” said the Green family in the release.

According to the Greens, the CuddleCot offers “a small measure of comfort amidst the devastation.”

“It also gave us the ability to make the decision about when we were ready to say goodbye, knowing that we never really would be,” she said.

Source: wtvr.com
Jenna Green

Ultimately, the Greens were able to purchase two CuddleCots for Bon Secours with the funds they raised. The first was donated to the Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center last fall.

The second was donated to St. Mary’s. The hospital dedicated it to Riley on May 8.

“Riley will always be our daughter, and while her time with us was short, she’s already made a big difference,” the Greens said in the release. “As they say, ‘there is no foot too small it cannot leave an imprint on this world.’

The Greens

According to the release, all Bon Secours’ labor and delivery units in the Richmond area are equipped with at least one CuddleCot — all thanks to donations such as this one.

The family raised over $7,000 in Riley’s memory, enough to purchase two CuddleCots for Bon Secours labor and delivery units in Richmond. They now have access to CuddleCots at St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, St. Francis Medical Center, and Southside Medical Center.

Source: wtvr.com

“Losing your child is hard enough but losing them and then not being able to look at them, and hold them, and do everything you would do with your newborn—not being provided that time seems cruel,” added Daniel Green.

Daniel Green
Source: wtvr.com

Laura Bland, a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital, emphasized the importance of having resources like the CuddleCot available for grieving families. “There are different tools that we have,” she said. “Knowing that a mom has been through what you’ve been through, and they are part of this equipment—it’s like knowing that someone else understands your pain.”

Laura Bland,

The Greens hope their donation and willingness to share their story will encourage others to talk about stillbirth, an experience that affects more families than many realize. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 175 babies are stillborn. Similar to many other families, the Greens are left without an explanation for why Riley’s heart stopped beating.

“I think it’s so important to talk about her [Riley] because it happens more than it should,” Jenna Green said. “And, you know, we just want people to know, they’re not alone.”

Jenna Green

The Greens are now expecting their rainbow baby, another girl, in just a few months. At a dedication ceremony for the second CuddleCot, Jenna expressed gratitude for the support they’ve received. She hopes to continue raising awareness about stillbirth in Riley’s honor.

Source: wtvr.com

“To Riley, thank you for finding ways to reach us and let us know that you’re safe and at peace,” she said. “And thank you for keeping your little sister safe for the last eight months. We know she wouldn’t be here without you, and we look forward to teaching her all about the ways her big sister is changing the world.”

Jenna Green

Source: wtvr.com

To learn more about the CuddleCot click here.

To read parent testimonials click here.

For pricing or further information about how we can help to support the compassionate cared offered at your hospital, email: info@cuddlecot.com

or call:

UK: +44 (0)8455 333561

US: +1 (0)800 992 8977

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