Response from the hospital, part 2

I spoke to the perinatal loss coordinator at the hospital yesterday.

  1. I was never supposed to be moved to a different floor after the delivery. That only happens if the family requests it.
  2. We were supposed to receive a piece of paper with Luke’s name, weight, length, and handprints. They told us his length but I don’t remember what it was, and it’s not listed on the death certificate.
  3. Cuddle Cots are cooling units designed to fit inside Moses baskets so that grieving families can spend as much time with their babies as they want without having to worry about further decomposition of the body. If we’d had a Cuddle Cot with Luke, we could have spent a lot more time with him and gotten many more photos, in addition to being able to bathe and dress him. Many U.S. hospitals are installing Cuddle Cots, and I told the perinatal loss coordinator that I wanted to raise money to place one in my hospital. She said four or five other mothers have offered the same thing, and her supervisors have nixed the idea because of—get this—fears about infection. So it seems that we have a lot of education to do there.

So, those are the unfortunate facts.

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7 thoughts on “Response from the hospital, part 2

  1. I’m so sorry for all of this – most especially that you did not get Luke’s handprints.

    Their response about the Cuddle Cot seems ridiculous; I hope they can do some research and do what is best for grieving families.

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  2. There is no excuse for not getting hand/foot prints along with a number of other memory gestures. I’m so sorry.

    We have run into the resistance about cuddle cots in other situations as well. This too is unfortunate however, some have been willing to consider our ‘work around’ – which is to provide hospitals with the larger size gell cooling packs typically used for orthopedic patients. If you take the baby, wrap him/her in a receiving blanket, then wrap the cooling pack around baby’s back (they stay flexible) and then wrap the baby again in a regular baby blanket – it works quite well. In addition, there is an advantage with this in that you can continue to hold baby as long as you want and allow the entire family to have their special time with baby – and still receive the benefits of cooling. A nice moses basket can still be used to lay the baby down when needed. When the gell packs warm (usually 2-3 hours) you simply replace them with a fresh one and return the first to the freezer.

    The objection we have heard about the cuddle cots is that 1) there is no scientific evidence for using this technology with stillborn babies and 2) infection control concerns. As to #1 – they are right – there are no studies comparing a baby with to a baby without use of a cuddle cot – nor would it even be effective because no two babies are born in the same condition. But – there is plenty of evidence to support cooling as it is used in every morgue and mortuary in the world specifically to preserve the body as much as possible. So – that excuse doesn’t hold water with me. As for 2) The cooling units for cuddle cots as well as all the linens/bedding can all be laundered/cleaned/disinfected. It is no more an infection risk than the bed that the mother is laying in – the beds are thoroughly cleaned between patients and the linens are laundered and reused.

    Another argument that I have heard is that slowing down the natural changes that occur only delays the inevitable excruciating parting with the baby that couples must face. And to this I say – so? When your time with your baby is so very limited and trying to create a lifetime of memories in such a short time is so important – what harm is there is in giving families a few more hours or a day or two? Maybe it will allow them to take their baby home or to introduce their baby to family members who don’t arrive immediately – there are so many reasons why a few more hours or even a day or two can mean so much.

    So until we can convince hospitals that preserving baby and slowing down the natural changes that take place – even if only for a few hours, means the world to these families, perhaps we can encourage them to use the gell pack method. It is certainly far less expensive and there is no reason why it can’t be used for families in places without a cuddle cot.

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  3. Pingback: Hiatus | lukewyatt | life after stillbirth

  4. Pingback: Regret | lukewyatt | life after stillbirth

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