Louisa family donates cooling cradle to Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 3:47 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A family that has lived through the tragedy of losing a newborn child is making sure that others in a similar situation have the chance to say goodbye.

Baby Asher’s family honored what they call his “heavenly birthday” on Tuesday, December 20th with a donation of a cooling cradle to Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

“He only lived 20 minutes due to Bilateral Dysplastic Multi-cystic kidneys, which didn’t allow his lungs to form,” Asher’s Gammy, Patti Freimuth said. “[The cooling cradle] allowed us to spend four days with him although he had passed, and we were able to take pictures and get prints of his feet and his hands and just make some memories with him that we otherwise wouldn’t have had.”

The Freimuths raised around $5,000 for the cradle and are working to raise awareness of the technology.

“I would just want people to know that it’s available. Heaven forbid they would have to use it, but you know, to have that time and a little bit of closure and collect those memories that they can hold on to,” Freimuth said.

Sentara says that this donation will help others with their grief and allow families to take the time they need to say goodbye.

“I would say in the years since we’ve had a cooling cuddle cot option, almost every family who’s had the option to use it has done so,” Nursing Professional Development Specialist for the Obstetric unit Sharon Fickley said. “All of the evidence shows us that being able to spend time with your baby, to hold and touch and cuddle and love on your baby really makes a huge difference in the grieving process.”

“It’s a valuable piece that gives you time, time that you wouldn’t be able to have without it. Time to rock, you can still rock your baby, sing to them, talk to them,” Freimuth said.

If you have questions about the cooling cradle, Sentara Martha Jefferson encourages you to reach out to its maternity center. The hospital also has a support group started by parents who have had a loss. It is called “Empty Arms, Full Hearts,” and it aims to meet monthly.

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