Turning Hurt to Healing: Dignity Health Nurse Raises Funds for Cuddle Cots to Support Parents after the Loss of a Newborn
A Cuddle Cot is a cooling bassinet that provides the gift of time as it allows the baby to room-in with the family
CENTRAL COAST, CA – January 12, 2022 – At 14 weeks of pregnancy, Ashley Agnitch was given the devastating news that her daughter, Greta Lynn, had a genetic abnormality and was not expected to survive pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Against all odds, baby Greta was born on April 12, 2017 and graced her family with five beautiful hours of life.
Bereaved families often experience early separation as their baby is taken to the morgue to slow the natural process that occurs after death, so after Ashley’s experience, she researched bereavement resources and learned about the benefits of a Cuddle Cot. The cooling bassinet, manufactured in England, provides the gift of time to be spent bonding and saying goodbye when a family is ready.
Originally a labor and delivery nurse at Marian Regional Medical Center, and now caring for patients in the Stollmeyer Family Birthing Center at French Hospital, Ashley knows firsthand how to comfort new parents, especially those that experience loss.
“I wanted to give local families precious time to bond with their babies. We found out early on that Greta wouldn’t survive, but not everyone is given that time to prepare,” says Ashley. “Cuddle Cots offer both time and opportunity – the chance for families to have photos taken, offer a blessing over the baby, perform a baptism, and enable friends and family to meet the child. You will never get those moments back; that’s all you have. To give them precious time to make those beautiful memories is so important to me.”
To honor Greta’s memory, Ashley initiated an online fundraiser to purchase Cuddle Cots – a resource that was previously unavailable for bereaved parents on the Central Coast – for the birthing centers at both French Hospital Medical Center and Marian Regional Medical Center. Her family, friends, and colleagues rallied around her and she raised in excess of $10,000 to purchase the cots.
Through Ashley’s dedication and perseverance, both birthing centers are now equipped with Cuddle Cots. “My goal is to help as many families as I can,” Ashley adds. “Through this process, we have learned that grief and joy can coexist. To allow parents the time to process loss, but still be able to find joy, laugh, smile, and be in the moment, gives me great happiness.”
Photo 1: Ashley with baby Greta Lynn and a French Hospital Medical Center nurse (photo credit: Ashley Christine Photography)
Photo 2: Ashley and family with Marian's cuddle cot and Marian Regional Medical Center Family Birthing Center representatives
Photo 3: Ashley (pictured center) with French Hospital's cuddle cot and French Hospital Medical Center representatives in the Stollmeyer Family Birthing Center
About Dignity Health Central Coast
Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five award-winning hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic Foundation to provide additional funding to support new programs and services, as well as to advance the community’s access to health care. For more information, visit dignityhealth.org/centralcoast.
Publish date:Tuesday, February 08, 2022