Hunter's Cuddle Cot

In early November 2016, I remember the day we finally got what my husband and I had been dreaming of for so long: those two pink lines. This was it. We were newlyweds but had already tragically suffered an early miscarriage. This was our rainbow baby. Our prayers had been answered. Pregnancy was a breeze and I loved it. Our baby passed every exam, checkup, and ultrasound with flying colors! How blessed we were!

The due date was nearing and we had anticipated his arrival. We kept making plans and joked about how perfect a birthday of 7-17-17 would be, as it was just two days before his due date. As that day arrived, I went about my day keeping busy and telling my husband, "today will be the day." By noon I noticed today wasn't like any other day. I casually told my husband that I wasn't feeling the baby move inside me. My husband talking to my belly always got the baby moving, but this time it didn't work and we knew we had to go. We raced to the closest hospital with lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes only to see it confirmed.  His heartbeat was gone. That familiar flicker that we've seen so many other times was no longer. Our worst nightmare had come true. Our son would be stillborn.

The night Hunter was born we had him with us for about two hours before we let staff take him away to the "freezer," which I hated. Our friends and family all surrounded us. The next day, still surrounded by loved ones, the staff asked  if we wanted to see him again. Of course I wanted to show everyone our baby. But it wasn't long, it happens so quickly. Its amazing how fast it happens. His fragile, delicate skin couldn't handle the warmth of the room. After only a few more hours we had to let them take him away again, back to the freezer. The third day, I was to be discharged. We asked to say goodbye one more time.  Half an hour we spent trying to memorize our son and fit a lifetime of dreams into that half hour. We put him into his little cot and they took him away. We spent less than 10 hours total with our son, and left that day empty handed. That's all we'll ever have.

When I think of Hunter, all I want is more time. It would bring healing to my heart to give the next family forced into this nightmare more time. Something that wasn't an option for me. More time to process. More time to memorize. More time while their delicate skin could be preserved. I want to give the next family a cuddle cot in our son Hunter's name. We will donate it to the hospital where he was born. The cuddle cot allows a baby's skin to remain cooled, keeping their precious skin as perfect as it can, while staying with the parents. I want the next family that experiences this tragedy to have what I didn't. Just a few more hours with their baby. Something I didn't get. That is what would heal me. 
-Megan Kalb, Hunter's mom
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Caralyn Warran-Reil 
Newburgh, NY
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