A car­ing gift

Bay Roberts cou­ple do­nates Cud­dleCot to hos­pi­tal

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER ED­U­CA­TION nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

When deal­ing with the death of a child, all par­ents want is a lit­tle ex­tra time.

Per­haps it’s to get to know them a lit­tle bit bet­ter or maybe just to give the child a proper good­bye.

Giv­ing par­ents more time was what brought Ni­c­hole Tut­tle and Robert Cal­la­han to the fifth floor of Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal last week. The cou­ple do­nated a Cud­dleCot to the pe­di­atrics unit of the hos­pi­tal.

It is a tiny blue fan that cools the baby and gives fam­i­lies the ex­tra time they need with a still­born child. The do­na­tion closes a trou­bling year for the Bay Roberts pair. Nov. 12 is the oneyear an­niver­sary of the day Tut­tle de­liv­ered still­born twins at Car­bon­ear Gen­eral.

Ac­cord­ing to East­ern Health, there were 14 still­born births at Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in the last five years.

“It meant a lot (to do­nate the de­vice). For one, I work at this hos­pi­tal and we wanted to give some­thing back. I know all of the nurses and they were ex­cel­lent with us,” said Ni­c­hole. “We stayed for nine hours af­ter it hap­pened and only left be­cause we were ex­hausted.”

The Cud­dleCot cools the baby, giv­ing fam­i­lies the time they need with the baby. In a warm room, a baby’s con­di­tion can de­te­ri­o­rate quickly, mak­ing the cool­ing of the child es­sen­tial for par­ents who want some ex­tra time with their off­spring.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site, the de­vice “is a tool en­cour­aged by mid­wives, be­reave­ment prac­ti­tion­ers, still birth/neona­tal char­i­ties and aca­demics.”

“They were held for pretty much nine hours and that sped up the process,” said Ni­c­hole. “By the time they left, they were pretty dark. Their ap­pear­ance changed a lot from that morn­ing.

“That’s my most com­mon mem­ory of them. When I think of them, I see the dark ba­bies.”

The do­na­tion of the Cud­dleCot was made pos­si­ble through fam­ily and friends of Tut­tle and Cal­la­han.

As bit­ter­sweet as this day was for the cou­ple and their fam­i­lies, it can be viewed in a pos­i­tive light.

“We read about (the Cud­dleCot) and how it keeps the ba­bies’ ap­pear­ance the same,” said Ni­c­hole. “I looked at Robert and said, ‘We have to do­nate one of those to Car­bon­ear Hos­pi­tal.’”

There was a cake cut­ting and the do­na­tion of a pair of mem­ory boxes — one for a girl and one for a boy — for other par­ents who may go through the same sce­nario.

“We opened the boys’ boxes to­day and smell the blan­kets,” Ni­c­hole said, her voice wa­ver­ing. There is warmth and love in her eyes as she dis­cusses the boys. There is also the hint of sad­ness.

A pair of names were writ­ten on the cake last Thurs­day. When they were born, Tut­tle and Cal­la­han had yet to de­cide on names. They set­tle on Ni­cholas and Robert Ju­nior. They’re ex­ten­sions of their par­ents names.

Keep­ing busy

Tut­tle and Cal­la­han felt they needed to keep them­selves busy the day be­fore the do­na­tion. If they didn’t, they feared they’d have spent the day in­side and cry­ing.

Tut­tle an­tic­i­pated they’d prob­a­bly still do that later in the evening, but for the most part there were ac­tiv­i­ties planned to help ease the pain.

Aside from the hos­pi­tal cer­e­mony, they planned to re­lease bal­loons with their fam­i­lies on what would be the boys’ birth­days. There was also a big fam­ily din­ner planned.

“We’re try­ing very hard to keep busy,” she said.

The pair are ex­pect­ing again and Ni­c­hole is due in seven weeks. The last year plays in the back of her head some­times, but the cou­ple are fo­cus­ing on the pos­i­tives as the date ap­proaches.

“It of­fers a bit of clo­sure ( for us),” said Ni­c­hole. “I hope (the Cud­dleCot) is never, ever used, but I know it’ll bring com­fort to those who do.”

PHO­TOS BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Ni­c­hole Tut­tle (left) and Robert Cal­la­han stand next to the Cud­dleCot that they do­nated to Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in mem­ory of their sons on Nov. 12.

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