A mother’s grief inspires her efforts for others in tragic situation

In 2017, Kelly Knauer from Merritt Island lost her baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy. What followed: anxiety attacks, postpartum depression and even a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We call it the dark year,” she said, relaying how it all started when she went for an ultrasound after feeling something was wrong. The doctor confirmed her unborn son’s heart had stopped beating.

This was a crushing blow to Kelly, her husband and her then-8-year-old son. It also came on the heels of two miscarriages.

“I kind of went into ‘mom mode’,” she said. “I was very much methodical like, oh, I need to bring this to the hospital, my son needs his bag to stay with his grandparents and my husband needs this.”

She didn’t count on what happened the moment she delivered her stillborn son named Jude.

“I had my first panic attack ever in the hospital and I thought I was dying because my body was shaking, you know, crying and screaming with emotion,” she said.

It didn’t help that hospital staff allowed Knauer and her husband to spend only 45 minutes with Jude. If there had been a CuddleCot available to keep the body cool, Knauer and her family could have spent a few more hours saying goodbye.

Would a CuddleCot have made a difference?

“I definitely think so because I’d never had problems with anxiety and never had problems with depression before that even though I had experienced miscarriages before,” she said. “But with miscarriages, you don’t see the product of what could have been. But with Jude, you could see it was a baby. If I would have been able to hold him more, you know, it would have been easier.”

Knauer, with the blessing of the folks at Holmes Regional, has started an online fundraiser to raise money to purchase a CuddleCot for the hospital. Knauer said she would love to be able to raise enough money to buy every hospital in the area a unit, as well as repair the one at Holmes.

“Health First is incredibly grateful for Kelly’s generous and caring spirit,” said Lance Skelly, spokesperson for Health First. “Her efforts to raise awareness and support for a CuddleCot at Holmes Regional Medical Center will  enable families and loved ones to have the time they otherwise may never have had with their baby ― and create lasting memories.”

Knauer’s story has a happy ending. She has given birth to two more healthy children since 2017, though Jude is never forgotten.

“It’s a glorious tool for a hospital to have,” she said. “I know death is a taboo subject and people don’t like talking about it, but it could help many families.”

Read the full article here.

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