DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In September 2019, the Tucker family experienced the grief of losing a child. It’s an experience that thousands of families experience as 24,000 children are stillborn in the United States a year.
For Alison and Jordan Tucker, they were devastated to lose their sixth child, Calan.
“We loved him so much and so many people loved him. This should never have been his birth experience,” said Alison.
Calan was delivered at Kettering Medical Center, the Tucker’s say that the presence of a Cuddle Cot was helpful during their grief process.
“We had the cuddle cot which allowed us those moments that you can’t get back, you can’t replace,” said Alison.
“It gave me time as a father to study his face [and] get to know him in my own way,” said Jordan.
A Cuddle Cot is a cooling mattress that preserves the baby’s body so families can have more time. They can cost around $3,000 and can be hard to find in certain areas of the country.
Alison says through her research, she also came into contact with hundreds of parents who were not even aware of Cuddle Cots or how they can help.
“I talked to people who vividly remember watching their child decompose because they held them skin to skin because they weren’t ready to let go,” said Alison.
She is now working to raise awareness and share resources so more people can be educated on these topics.
Alison turned to an an online forum and created a space for the thousands of people affected by infant loss as a way to share information, resources and support. The Calan’s Heart webpage features dozens of stories, and groups that welcome any who have been impacted by the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.
“We decided to make a place where it wouldn’t be just for mothers, it would be for parents…grandparents, siblings…anyone who has lived through the pain of losing a child,” said Alison.
Using her professional experience as a nurse, Alison is also working locally to improve hospital bereavement care and access to support after discharge.
Additional information on Calan’s Heart as well as opportunities for collaboration can be found here.
You can also donate to Calan’s Heart through the Dayton Foundation.
For more information, click here.
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