Caring Cradle Gives Precious Time to Bereaved Parents

It has been said that the most valuable commodity in life is time itself. That theory has never been truer than when parents are faced with a stillbirth or sudden death of an infant. When the unthinkable happens, mental health studies have shown that it becomes imperative for parents to try and capture as much time with a child as possible.

To preserve and help keep a child in its most natural state, there is a device called a caring cradle that is introduced. It is a bassinet which cools and lowers the body’s temperature. The cradle will help retain the baby’s appearance, color, condition, and dignity, thus giving parents and family members the necessary time to begin to process the loss. It allows grieving parents to have more time which gives them a chance to create memories and form a personal relationship with their child.

Mankato nonprofit One Bright Star (OBS) has partnered with Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) by donating a mini caring cradle to its newly constructed labor and delivery floor at the Mankato hospital This smaller cradle will be in addition to a larger one already in place.

OBS board members Dena Iverson and Nicole Van Sickle each suffered a stillbirth of their child, Cassie, and Max, five years ago. A caring cradle was not available for them in 2019 but considering their loss the two young families, in their child’s memory, each contributed to the purchase and donation of the first caring cradle for the hospital.

Iverson described the new mini caring cradle as best suited for babies up to four pounds. “It’s small and doesn’t over-power the baby like the larger one would, it’s not scary looking which is especially important during such a traumatic time.” Iverson also explained that the cradle is not complicated to use which makes it easy for the nursing staff to set up and it requires no monitoring.

“As the grieving process starts, we wanted to provide families with the opportunity to spend as much time with their child as possible,” executive director of OBS Erica Fischer said. “The caring cradle offers a unique way for parents to connect to and form a bond with their child on a timeline that’s of their own choosing and it will give them more of an opportunity to say hello to their baby before they have to say goodbye.”

One Bright Star presented the caring cradle to Mayo Clinic Health System on May 20, 2024.

Pictured (l-r): Dena Iverson, Becca Roberson, Erica Fischer, Rachel Wubben MCHS nurse manager, Amanda Bassett-Swanson MCHS social worker and Alicia More.

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