The birth of a child should be one of the most exciting times for a family.
Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one percent of babies are stillborn. Now, a St. Louis area hospital has a new tool to help those grieving families.
Five years ago, Kayla Fawe and her husband Jay were awaiting the birth of their firstborn daughter.
"I counted kicks. I was worried about everything. What do I eat? What do I do?" said Fawe. "The night before she passed away, she was active and crazy and were putting together her bassinet. And I remember going to bed that night and she was just doing her thing, moving around. When I woke up that morning, I realized she hadn't moved."
Baby Kaydence had already passed away. At 31 weeks, she was stillborn.
"We had her and she was beautiful. She had beautiful red lips and black curly hair," said Fawe.
Yet, nothing prepared the new parents for their loss or how to grieve.
"An autopsy or funeral is something you never think about when you're pregnant," said Fawe.
"It's a very traumatic experience and a lot of people don't understand, even when you only get a short amount of time with a baby, you bond with that baby from the very beginning of your pregnancy," said Maggie Loyet, Mercy HeartPrints coordinator at Mercy Hospital.
In May, the Fawe's were determined to mark what would have been their daughter's fifth birthday.
"I want people to know it's okay to spend time with your baby. Just because they're not there in spirit, your baby is still there," said Fawe. "You carried your baby. It's okay to give them a bath. To do all those things because you won't get that time back," said Fawe.
The Fawe's raised nearly $3,000 for a Cuddle Cot to be available to parents at Mercy. Between snuggles and pictures, the baby can lay on the cot which keeps its body cool. In August, the cots became available for use at the hospital.
"We can explain to them this will preserve your baby while you spend time with them," said Loyet, who explained after a person passes away, the skin starts to break down, but spending time with the baby often helps parents in the process of closure.
Another group of parents in a Mercy support group hosted a trivia night and funded three more Cuddle Cots.
"I hope when people see her name, and see we still talk about her and do things for her, they see there are other families who have gone through this and it's ok. It's ok to use the Cuddle Cot," said Fawe.
As the Cuddle Cot allows other parents to put time on hold, the Fawe's continue to hold a place for Kaydence in their family and often celebrate her life in pictures with her younger siblings.
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