On December 9, 2014, at 18 weeks and 6 days into the pregnancy, we lost our beautiful baby girl Annabella Grace Ocasio.
We spent the night with Annabella in our hospital room. She was absolutely perfect from her little head to her teeny tiny toes. We had the priest come to give her a baby blessing, we held her, kissed her, wrapped her in blankets, took pictures of her, and cherished every moment we had with her. Some of our wonderful family and friends came to see Annabella and support us as well.
The hospital Annabella was delivered in didn't have a CuddleCot and it didn't have a way to keep Annabella to keep her cool. She was "changing" faster than we expected and we didn't want to remember her that way. We wanted to remember her as our perfect baby girl. That was the only time we had with Annabella and the last time we ever saw her.
In October 2018, the mission of Annabella's Angels came full circle when we lost our precious son Matthew Thomas. This time because of our CuddleCot placement in Bristol Hospital, we were able to spend the necessary time with our son. We had first-hand experience of just how beneficial the cot was. Unlike our Annabella, our baby boy Matthew did not have the quick changes in features during our time because of the coolness circulating through the CuddleCot. As a family who was privileged to use a CuddleCot, we truly recommend every hospital have access to a CuddleCot.
Annabella's Angels' mission is to provide supports, awareness, and education for PAIL families and medical professionals.
Our goal is to place CuddleCots in all CT hospitals.
About Annabella's Angels
Annabella's Angels is A 501(c)(3) non-profit raising funds to purchase and donate a CuddleCot in Annabella and her angel friends' memory so that other families facing the tragic loss of their beautiful babies, due to stillbirth or later term miscarriage, can have the precious gift of time. So far Annabella's Angels has placed CuddleCots 12 and 2 Caring Cradles in Connecticut hospitals and 1 CuddleCot New York hospital. The CuddleCots Annabella's Angels placed were the only CuddleCots in Connecticut. Each CuddleCot costs about $3,000.
Thanks to Stories of Babies Born Still and their assistance with the purchasing of our initial CuddleCots we are closer to reaching our goal. For those not familiar with the CuddleCot it is an in room cooling unit that is the size of a small humidifier disguised inside of a Moses basket. Research has proven having a unit available to parents while they are in the hospital encourages families to spend time with their baby. This gift of time allows precious hours for bonding, pictures, plaster molds to be taken, and other family members to come and meet the baby before the natural changes that occur in death become more apparent. In addition, the baby can now stay in the room with the family the entire hospital stay if the family so desires. While this might not be for everyone, it does allow families a choice.
Our long term goal is to place a CuddleCot in every hospital in Connecticut in Annabella and her angel friends' memory.
"Dealing with the death of a baby is clearly an incredibly difficult event for parents and bereaved parents should be given the option of spending time with their baby. Providing families time through the use of the CuddleCot is internationally encouraged by midwives, bereavement practitioners, still birth/neonatal charities, and academics. Time allows the family to form an important bond with their baby; whether changing a nappy, dressing the baby, taking photographs or simply just staying close and this unquestionably helps families in dealing with their loss. The problem is that in a warm room the baby’s condition can deteriorate quickly, therefore cooling the baby is absolutely essential. Transferring to and from the morgue is now widely regarded as an outdated practice as it is traumatic for parents to repeatedly go through the separation process whereas the Cuddle Cot allows the family to spend every moment with their baby, precious moments where every minute counts."