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Donated Cuddle Cot honors stillborn babies

(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 22, 2017 at 6:03 PM EST
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The one thing we wish we could have had is more time with our babies," said mother, Annie Skewis.

After losing her daughter, Mia, who was born still seven years ago, Annie Skweis has since tried to cope with her lifelong grief. She attended a stillbirth conference in March and was introduced to the Cuddle Cot. This cooling device preserves a stillborn baby body. The mat can cool the baby for up to five days, giving more time for the family to say goodbye.

"So for me, I think it would have helped my grieving process," said Skewis. "Just too even hold her a little longer, give her her only bath, touch her lips one more time, would have really helped me."

To honor her daughter, Skewis teamed up with Chelsea Gardner who lost her daughter, Everleigh, this June, to raise money for a Cuddle Cot at Bell.

The device runs around $3,000 and with the help of a cupcake fundraiser, Superior Electronics, family donations and The Bell Foundation, more than enough money came through.

"Our community, our hospital, and our neighbors, everybody came together during this hard time for all of us," said Gardner. "It was really really touching and we are so thankful for everybody and all their help with this."

Now that Bell Hospital has the cot that can cool a stillborn 18 weeks and up, both hope it will help future families.

"For families that have to use it, I hope it will bring peace and some kind of closure, I know from experience you don’t ever get closure, but I hope it helps," said Gardner.

Skewis said she hopes The Cuddle Cot is just the first step with helping families cope at Bell Hospital.

"I hope we get more things up here," said Skewis. "I hope to bring more follow up cares, possibly a support group and maybe even having a memory lock."

For now The Cuddle Cot, dedicated to both Everleigh Vera Marie and Mia Rose, Gardner and Skewis daughters, will stay in the OB ready for families who might need it.

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