July 31st, 2018, at 21 weeks we went for our anatomy scan at maternal fetal medicine. After 2 hours of absolutely normal scans, watching our babies move all over and hearing their heartbeats so strong, the doctor came in and said there was a complication that was causing Emily to go into pre-term labor. This began the worst week of our lives. We learned that our babies were not yet at the viability threshold meaning they could not survive outside the womb, yet there was no stopping the pre-term labor. The feeling of helplessness and responsibility overwhelmed us. We did everything and anything we could but it just wasn’t enough.
On August 6th, at 22 weeks and 4 days Emily went into full labor with our beautiful twins. Sylas Wiley was born into this world at 12:43AM on August 7th followed by his sister Sybil Lynn at 12:47AM. They were perfect little babies who had just come to soon. They were baptized and became children of God and then he took them home to heaven after about an hour after they came into our lives. We held them until their last breath, comforting them and letting them know how much they are loved. They are so very loved. We could have held them forever, an hour will never be enough time to shower them in all the love we have to give. Our lives were forever changed because we knew them.
Our amazing nurse who sat by our side through the entire labor process informed us that they wouldn’t be quickly taken away from us and we would get to spend as much time as we wanted with them. It was at this time that we learned that a Cuddle Cot had been donated to the hospital by another family who had lost a child. This gift allowed for our babies to remain with us for the remainder of the night, morning, and afternoon until we finally made the choice to say our final goodbye to our sweet angels.
The Cuddle Cot is a cooled basinet, which helped preserve our little ones so we could decide when to say our goodbye. Many parents of lost infants don’t receive this same gift: the gift of time. Time to hold our babies for as long as we wanted. Time to tell them how much we love them and how much we will miss them for the rest of our lives. Time to see whose nose they had, see how their ears differed from one another. Time to grieve with them in our arms, instead of wondering when the nurse would come to take them away. Time for us to decide when to give them one final kiss.
We want to provide this same gift to other parents who must cope with future unexpected losses. It is impossible to avoid the wounds that open when suffering this kind of loss, but we hope to at least give other parents the time to hold their little one for as long as they want. Allow them to make the decision when to say their final goodbye instead of when the nurse must deliver the awful news that she must take their baby. In the names of our angels, Sylas and Sybil, we want to provide the same comfort to other families that we received from the generous family that donated our Cuddle Cot. Instead of flowers or cards, which we appreciate so very much, we ask that you help us make our wish come true, and help Sylas and Sybil’s memory live on in a tangible way as we help other parents grieve the loss of their babies in the best way possible: with them in their arms.
Thank you and God Bless
Chris, Emily, Sylas and Sybil Fricker