Cuddle Cot in Memory of Peter Hill

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  In honor of that we want to share our story of loss and why we’re fundraising to purchase a Cuddle Cot to place at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.  

On April 15th, 2016, I delivered a sweet baby boy named Peter Goerge.  I was 21 weeks pregnant and found out two days before, at a routine doctor’s appointment, that I had lost my baby.  After hearing the words, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat,” I laid there, shocked and distraught, while the ultrasound technician took some measurements.  The doctor came in and told me that since I was so far along in my pregnancy I would go the hospital the next day, be induced and deliver my baby.

After what seemed like an eternity, I was able to calm myself down enough so that the staff at the doctor’s office let me leave.  I went home to try to process and grieve with my husband and family.  As we tried to wrap our heads and hearts around what had happened, we realized there were questions that needed to be answered and decisions that needed to be made.  Once I delivered our baby, would we be allowed to hold him or her?  What would he or she look like?  Would we get to give our baby a name?  Would we bury our baby?  Would we ever find out why our baby died?

The next day Mac and I went to the hospital.  I had an amniocentesis to see if they could find anything that would explain why this had happened and then they started the induction.  As my labor progressed, I got a Facebook message.  A good friend from college had lost her baby boy at 37 weeks and was raising money to purchase a Cuddle Cot, a piece of medical equipment that gives grieving parents more time with their baby.  I had never heard of a Cuddle Cot and our hospital did not have one, but my friend shared how important it was that she had time to bond with her baby.

I was incredibly anxious as it got closer to delivery but that message from my friend calmed me and gave me strength.  Once Peter arrived and we were able to hold him, Mac and I were at peace for the first time since finding out.  We didn’t cry.  It felt right to hold our baby.  It is a moment we hold dear to our hearts and will never forget.  Peter was very small - he fit in the palm of my hand, but he was a baby - our baby.  And we marveled at his little fingers and toes and just how perfect he was.  I didn’t want to put him down.  My parents and my sister came to see him and hold him.  It was a moving experience for all of us and one we’re forever grateful for.

Initially I thought it was terribly cruel to go through labor and delivery knowing my baby was already gone.  But having that time, however short, with Peter was something we needed.  That time with him was crucial to our grieving process.  Those moments are all we have.  We had the opportunity to see him, to hold him, to love him, and to share him with loved ones.  Leaving the hospital without him was devastating.

Throughout this terrible experience we were surrounded by love, support and kindness.  When I delivered Peter, the nurse put a hat and diaper on him that were his size.  They had been made and donated by a family who had also lost their baby too soon.  He didn’t need these items but it was comforting to me that he had them.  Father Peter, the hospital chaplain, visited and prayed with us to give us strength to get through delivery.  When Peter arrived he came to hold him, baptize him and sing him a lullaby.  Our family photographer and friend, Jenna, was scheduled to take pictures of our staff at the studio on the day I delivered Peter.  When I told her why we had to cancel our shoot, she let me know of an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep where professional photographers volunteer their services to take pictures of babies born still so their parents have something to hold onto.  Jenna came to the hospital and did this for us.  A few days later we laid Peter to rest at Somerset Hills Memorial Park.

Of course, we can’t say enough about the unconditional love and support that we received from family during that time; without whom I don’t know how we would have made it through.

It has been surprising to us how many people have been touched by pregnancy and infant loss.  Too often it is something no one talks about.  For us, talking about our experience and talking about Peter has helped us grieve and heal.

It is now a year and half later and we want to honor Peter’s memory and help others that are dealing with a similar loss.  We are partnering with SOBBS (www.storiesofbabiesbornstill.org), a 501c3 non-profit organization, to raise money to purchase a Cuddle Cot that we can donate to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Peter's name.  Anything you can donate is appreciated.  Mac and I will match all donations made (up to a total of $3,000) as we want to make sure other families can have the gift of time.

Below is a link to a video that explains what a Cuddle Cot is and the campaign to place a Cuddle Cot in every hospital in the US.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni7yVNvmA_E

Remembrance Day

On October 15th everyone is invited to light a candle at 7pm in all time zones, all over the world.  If everyone lights a candle at 7pm and keeps it burning for at least one hour, there will be a continuous WAVE OF LIGHT over the entire world in remembrance of all the babies gone too soon.

Thank you so much.  

Jen and Mac Hill
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Organizer

Jen and Mac Hill 
Organizer
Green Brook, NJ
Sobbs (Mom Of An Angel) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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