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A local support group for families facing pregnancy and infant loss has donated $5,000 to the Wentworth-Douglass Foundation to support the purchase of a special bereavement cradle at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
The cradle, which is almost indistinguishable from ordinary hospital bassinets, features a unique cooling system that enables families who have experienced a stillbirth, or loss of an infant, to have additional private time with their baby during their hospital stay.
“A bereavement cradle provides families time to meet and make memories with their baby, and that can be really helpful in the grieving process,” says Perinatal Loss Coordinator for Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Women and Children’s Center, Amy Peterson, and founder of the support group behind this fundraising effort. “Although it may be difficult to think about, for families facing loss of a baby, the time after death may be the only time they have with them,” Peterson added.
While Wentworth-Douglass Hospital has allowed grieving parents to spend time with their babies during their hospital stay for several years, this new cradle has an improved, integrated cooling system, eliminating the need to send the baby immediately to the morgue. Studies have shown that families benefit from spending time with their baby after death.
“My son died suddenly. The option to use a bereavement cradle gave me time with Jasper that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Aubrey Lamontagne, a member of the group Seacoast Families Facing Perinatal Loss.
Peterson, with help from the Wentworth-Douglass Foundation, created a GoFundMe Charity donation page to streamline the process of collecting tax-deductible donations. Members of the group helped promote the fundraiser through personal and social media contacts. Donations from $10 to $500 were collected until the goal of $5,000 was reached in only nine months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stillbirth affects about 1 in 160 births, and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. That is more than 10 times as many deaths as the number that occur from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
A small group of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital employees and private donors attended a dedication ceremony for the new cradle. The event was held outdoors in Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Healing Garden.
To learn about how you can make a difference for patients and families of the Women & Children’s Center or fundraising for Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, please contact Emily.Moore@wdhospital.org. If you would like more information about perinatal bereavement resources, please contact Amy.Peterson@wdhospital.org.
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