This is how it’s meant to happen. A woman has her baby, nurtures it, cuddles it and takes it home to love and to hold.
Cuddle Cot fundraisers Jenna Garrett and Amy Franz with her daughter Madelyn. Photo by: Tracy Hardy.
But a tragically high number of mothers are robbed of that right and pleasure. Sometimes, their baby is stillborn.
“I would feel empty and ripped off,” says Tauranga mother-of-two Jenna Garrett. “You’ve carried them for nine months and have to go through all of that. It would be gut-wrenching.
“Your baby’s still your baby whether they’re born alive or not.”
It hasn’t happened to her – but Jenna knows it would obviously be a devastating, hard and very emotional time for any mother. “And it could be the lady in the birthing ward next door.”
Sands BOP coordinator Denise Coy says about 50 babies are stillborn each year in Tauranga. “In New Zealand the stillbirth rate is about 650. It’s usually about double the road toll.”
Jenna and fellow mum Amy Franz want to help these mothers.
They’re raising funds for a parent-run voluntary non-profit organisation supporting parents and families who’ve experienced the death of a baby – Sands BOP – to purchase a refrigerated bassinet for mothers in the region to use. It’s called a cuddle cot.
Denise says cuddle cots are relatively new in New Zealand, and this will be the first for the region.
Ice packs and a Moses basket are currently provided to parents to keep their stillborn in, giving them time to bond and farewell their baby before the funeral.
A cuddle cot pumps cool water through pipes in a mat under the cot blanket and keeps the baby’s body cold.
“A cuddle cot would take away the stress of having to remember to replace the ice packs,” says Jenna.
She and Amy have raised almost half of the $5,500 needed to purchase the cot from the United States. They’re hoping to have the cot by October.
To keep up to date with fundraising events, visit Tauranga Cuddle Cot on Facebook. To donate, visit their Givealittle page at www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/taurangacuddlecot