Midwife gifts memories to parents of stillborn bubs

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser

Losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare.

A Perth midwife is helping families spend more time with their stillborn child thanks to a special bassinet.

A cuddle cot is a refrigerated infant cot that can be used by grieving parents to keep their stillborn babies with them as long as they need to bond, cuddle, love and share with family and friends.

Midwife Kristy Wiegele started a fundraiser three years ago called A Midwife’s Gift in honour of baby Lincoln John Cook and has since been donating Cuddle Cots to WA hospitals.

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On Tuesday, Mrs Wiegele donated her 16th cot, to the Albany Health Campus.

Mrs Wiegele said she and her husband were touched by the heartbreak of early pregnancy loss and could not fathom the pain of losing a baby at term.

“We are both involved in the care of grieving parents, as a midwife and a photographer and would like to give the opportunity to spend more precious time with these treasured babies,” she said.

“At first, after we met Lincoln and his parents, we were aiming to raise $4000 to purchase a cold cuddle cot for our local hospital and we achieved this in only 10 days, which then inspired us to continue.”

Kristy Wiegele with her 16th Cuddle Cot at the Albany Health Campus.
Camera IconKristy Wiegele with her 16th Cuddle Cot at the Albany Health Campus. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Mrs Wiegele said it was important parents had the chance to have more time with their child to say “goodbye”.

“It’s so important to me because that’s the only time they get — they will not get the opportunity to have any milestones, so this is their time to make some memories and spend some time with them,” she said.

“In the past, which was not that long ago, if you wanted to visit your stillborn baby, you had to go to the morgue and that’s horrible, but these cots give the bereaved parents the gift of time to spend with their baby in their hospital room or at home if they wish.

“We had a mother who lost her child due to stillbirth and we had the baby in a cuddle cot for eight days while her family flew over to see her. The whole time she had her child with her and a chance to say ‘goodbye’ and I think that is so important.”

The midwife said originally her goal was to raise money for just one cuddle cot but she had now donated 16, including to Broome, Perth hospitals, Esperance and now Albany, as well as one in Queensland.

Albany Health Campus maternity acting manager Jude Haffner said they were grateful for the donation.

“It is so fabulous to get such a wonderful donation and (we) are all so pleased,” she said.

“For women that are having such a tragic moment in their lives, it gives them a bit more time and makes a hard situation a bit easier, having that time to say ‘goodbye’.”

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