When a patient recently lost her full-term baby, she was able to spend time with her baby using a CuddleCot. CuddleCots allow mothers who deliver stillbirths and experience the loss of their baby at any age or gestation to spend more time with them.
When the patient asked, “How much is all this going to cost me?,” Cindy Bishop, M.Div., CPLC, chaplain and perinatal bereavement coordinator at Bon Secours St. Francis Eastside, answered, “Nothing.”
With tears streaming down her face, the patient asked, “Who would do this for me?” Cindy replied, “We would!”
The donation of CuddleCots are just one of the many ways our Greenville market is providing care and compassion for families who have experienced infant loss.
The Tiny Touches Program has many elements to it – from the yearly community “Walk to Remember” memorial service at Fluor Field as well as our partnership with monthly SHARE Upstate support groups. We also offer miscarriage bags, birth plans, compassionate options for burial as well as free burial gowns.
Access to this program can start as early as when families arrive to tour our facilities. Here, they fill out a birth plan for their healthy delivery. If there are any diagnosis or concerns found by doctors that may impact the health or birth of the baby, a chaplain is then called. This is when a chaplain will meet with the family and go over the birth plan for when the child is born.
The importance of the Tiny Touches Program is to help families in their grief as well as helping them process their emotions and validate the knowledge that this is their baby.
“We are unique in that we walk families through the grief process – before, during and after,” Cindy shares. “Even for a short while, parents are allowed to hold their baby as they desire and to say both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye.’ There is no other program like this in the Upstate.”
When asked why this program is important to her, Cindy shares, “I’ve had my own losses, and didn’t have any of this stuff. That’s why I’m so passionate about it. I know what it’s like to go through a loss. And that’s why I do what I do.”
Our team also honors the deaths of our patients’ babies by remembering them. To help the labor and delivery staff process the difficulty of the needs of grieving families, a metal tree was placed in the labor and delivery conference room. Staff members are encouraged to place a butterfly on the tree in remembrance of our little ones. This gives them time to pause, remember and show support for the nurses who continue to provide care to grieving families.
Through the Tiny Touches Program, families are given perinatal bereavement items – a bereavement purple bag with the following: resource brochures for topics such as understanding the grief process and lactation after loss, a prayer shawl, a baby’s blanket, hat, clothing and boots, a CD with the baby’s pictures, a teddy bear with the baby’s bracelet as well as a baby’s certificate with footprints.
We also provide a resource called “The Grog Family’s Baby Dies” to help walk children through what happened to their siblings. This coloring book talks about the different questions that children may be thinking about and gives them an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about it.
The community also shares in supporting grieving families through wedding gown donations. These wedding gowns are then made into gowns for families to have something nice to put their babies in for burial.
At Bon Secours, we believe in the dignity of life at conception and take great care in honoring and remembering the life of our patients’ babies and helping families through the grieving process.
Learn about the maternity care services we provide at Bon Secours.