HomeNewsFamily donates Cuddle Cot to Orange City Area Health System

Family donates Cuddle Cot to Orange City Area Health System

Allows bereaved families to spend more time with their baby following a stillbirth

This is the Cuddle Cot donated to Orange City Area Health System, pictured in our Birth Center.

In the case of stillbirth, a family doesn’t have much time to spend with their baby. The limited amount of time with the baby is only a reminder to the parents of what they lost. The Cuddle Cot aims to change that.

The Cuddle Cot delays the stillborn baby’s body from deteriorating. It’s a cobalt blue box that resembles a child’s toy chest. Inside the cot are a cooling unit and a book on child loss for the parents.

Flexmort’s website says that it works by “circulating cold water to a small flexible cold pad which is placed under the baby. The cold pad reduces the infant’s core body temperature through direct contact … The system allows the baby to be cooled in the maternity department, and also allows the baby to be taken home by parents. The Cuddle Cot gives parents choices and options during a very difficult time.”

-submitted by mom Mackenzie Stromberg

My husband and I met at Dordt and then moved to Washington state after graduation. (I’m originally from Montana and he is from Minnesota.) A little over a year after we were married we had our first child. Maverick John Kanis. Sadly he unexpectedly passed a couple days before he was due. We had a perfect and healthy pregnancy so it was very shocking. After all the tests were run everything came back clear and our sons passing was ruled a medical mystery.

 In the aftermath of the loss of our son I dived into educating myself on stillbirth and infant loss. I learned that about 50% of stillbirths are completely unexpected and have no answers as to the why it happened. I felt like the stillbirth community isn’t represented or accepted well in our society and cultural.  That we are often pushed aside to make other feel better and parented this reality or possibility isn’t real. But this was a new found passion to bring awareness and help others going through this lonely impossible journey. As well as a way to keep our sons memory alive and make sure he has a legacy and that his life although short mattered and continues to matter. We want him to be a blessing to others and touch others lives as he has so profoundly touched, changed, and shaped our lives. 

 It’s our goal to use our pain and grief and loss and purpose it as a way to serve this community and give our children a voice. Five months after our son’s birth the IRS approved our 501c3 foundation called the Maverick John Foundation. Each year in October (Maverick was born Oct 5, 2019) we do a fundraiser in honor of him and then use the money to purchase a Cuddle Cot that our foundation gives to a hospital in need of one. We have given locally till this year. Since Iowa — and Sioux county especially — holds a special place in our heart and is where our family’s story begins we wanted to bless a hospital there with this gift.

Our local hospital didn’t have a Cuddle Cot, even though they serve a large area where there is sadly a need for one. It was only in my learning after being discharged that I learned about Cuddle Cots. I so wished we had that opportunity to spend more time with our son. We only got a little over four hours before we had to say goodbye. Research shows again and again the importance and benefits of spending time with our children after their passing as it helps the grieving process long term. Helps with metal health and so many other things in the aftermath of loss. It really makes a huge difference. Time is precious and we have no idea what tomorrow holds, but for bereaved parents and parents of stillbirth in particular they have such little time with their child and a cuddle cot gives them that gift of time and the ability to make more memories, allow more family members or friends to meet the baby and helps everyone involved as well as those who go on to support the family in their grief journey. 

The research showing their impact for the bereaved is overwhelming. I would have given anything to use one. We felt like this was the best way to support and reach as many families as we could. Thus this is what our foundations main objective is. Nothing is more precious in these circumstances then time. As we have talked to hospitals we have sadly learned many have seen an increase in stillbirth since 2020. In Europe, Australia and the UK especially cuddle cots are very common. The US has been late to the show in this area, but we are catching up. 

We are so glad Orange City Area Health System could be blessed by this gift and we pray that it is a blessing to those it serves. Although it a gift we hope isn’t used often we have no doubt there will be need for it, and I when that need arises we are thankful that those families can have the gift of time and we pray it makes the grief journey easier in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. We hope these families can cling to hope and the promise of heaven and the resurrection even in the midst of trauma and heartache. Our family is proof God does give and take away. He not only gave us Mav and took him back, but since then He has also blessed us with Maverick’s little brother Remington and little sister Oakley.