SOUTHEASTERN NC (WECT) - The day a baby is born is supposed to be one of the happiest in a mother’s life.
Thousands of families, however, have that happiness shattered when the baby is stillborn. According to the Centers For Disease Control, about 24,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States.
“(My baby) was wild," said Tiffany Nickle. "She was always active and the morning of January 20, I woke up at 6:30 and as soon as my eyes opened, I knew, ‘She’s not moving.’
“You pray that they’re going to say, ‘You’re going to feel her move again,’ and you can just say, ‘She’s back,’ and that’s what I prayed for the whole time.”
Nickle delivered her stillborn daughter, Isla, at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Jan. 22, and she is using the tragedy to try to help others.
Nickle learned about the Cuddle Cot, which lets families spend a little more time with stillborn babies. It’s a cooling system put in a bassinet that preserves the baby so the family can decide when to say goodbye.
After delivering her baby girl, Nickle asked about a Cuddle Cot since her friends had donated one to Columbus Regional Medical Center.
Cape Fear Valley didn’t have a Cuddle Cot though, and Nickle said if one had been available, she and her husband might have spent more than the 11 hours they had with Isla before letting nurses take her.
“It would have been a little bit better for us because we would have had a little bit more time, just the two of us with her and we didn’t really get a whole lot," she said.
Nickle teamed up with Madison’s Miracles, a non-profit that provides support and resources to grieving parents who have experienced stillbirth and infant loss, to collect at least one Cuddle Cot for every hospital in the area. The cots cost $3,000 each.
Nickle and her husband donated a Cuddle Cot to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, and one to Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton on May 31.
“My goal is to just help other families that go through this, and kind of in a way share it," Nickle said. “I don’t wish anyone to have to worry during a pregnancy that this could be a possibility but it is.”
Five hours after launching her fundraiser, Nickel raised enough for one Cuddle Cot, and a few days later, there was enough money for another.
“That was amazing, to have people in the community, or people who don’t even know me, that decided that they needed to help," Nickel said.
Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Southeastern Regional Medical Center will each get a Cuddle Cot. Nickle said she was thinking of Columbus Regional since she grew up in Columbus County but the hospital already had one.
“You know, you always want to never have to use it, but, you know, there’s going to come a time when you may have to use it,” Lynda Sanders, Director of the Family Birthing Center and Pediatrics, said.
“It allows us to be able to leave the baby in the room with the mom sometimes up to 48, could even be 72 hours. It just depends, so they can create those memories,” Sanders said.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center also has one Cuddle Cot.