Cuddle Cot Gives Parents of Stillborn Infants More Time to Say Goodbye

Couple Donates Cot to Neenah Hospital in Honor of Daughter

Tabitha and Salvatore Lazaro of Menasha knew their daughter, Brooklyn, would come into their world stillborn due to the rare chromosomal disorder Trisomy 6. When she was born, they wanted more time to say goodbye.

“We took about an hour for ourselves and then allowed our families to spend time with her,” Tabitha Lazaro said. “After our siblings and her grandparents met her, we simply ran out of time.”

As the minutes went on, the Lazaros worried about the baby’s quality. “And being a mom, I didn’t want to ‘hurt’ her physical body,” Tabitha said. “A Cuddle Cot would have given us so much time, and we would have had the opportunity to bond with her and heal as a couple and a family.”

As a special memorial to their daughter Brooklyn Grace, the Lazaros, along with their family and friends, generously donated a Cuddle Cot to ThedaCare Foundation-Neenah on the anniversary of Brooklyn’s birth, March 20.

The Cuddle Cot, made by the UK-based Flexmort, is a special cooling pad placed in a basket or crib and connected to a quiet cooling unit, allowing a stillborn infant to stay with the parents in their room for a longer period of time. Research shows parents who are able to spend more time with their infant’s body have a more positive grieving process.

The generous gift of the hospital’s first Cuddle Cot gives the nurses another option to offer grieving parents to help with their healing process, said Ashley Ebert, a nurse with Family Birth Care at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah.

“In my experience, I’ve seen that the more time you’re allowed to spend with the baby, the better the parents are grieving in the long run,” Ebert says. “From a nursing standpoint, it’s important for us to help our patients realize that no matter how the baby came into the world, it’s beautiful and it’s their baby, and they are parents.”

The Cuddle Cot from the Lazaros includes a small plate engraved with Brooklyn’s name, allowing nurses to share her story with other grieving parents. “They’re going to be able to impact a lot of lives and a lot of families with this gift,” Ebert said.

The ThedaCare Family of Foundations works with families like the Lazaros to give back and help enhance the patient experience. The Lazaros know how much the gift will mean to other parents, and that aids their grieving process for Brooklyn.

“Brooklyn is making a difference in the community and in the lives of others who are going through what we did,” Tabitha said. “By the grace of God, we were able to donate the Cuddle Cot, and this has given Brooklyn’s life purpose. It’s one of the many ways she has touched the hearts of many people without having breathed a single breath on this earth.”

To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, or make a donation, please visit www.thedacare.org/Foundations or email Foundations@thedacare.org.

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 31 clinics in nine counties and the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.  For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.