Taylor Felker cherishes the photos and memories captured during the brief time she spent with her daughter. Hadley Janae Felker-Sanders was stillborn on July 27th, 2016, but Felker said she was able to say a proper goodbye to her baby because of a support device called a Cuddle Cot.
“I have precious memories and photos of her and I even have casts of her hands,” Felker said. “I have all of that stuff to be able to look back on and just remember her and the time I had with her.”
The Cuddle Cot was donated to Felker’s hospital in Indiana by several families who suffered similar losses. It’s a cooling device meant to lower the temperature of stillborn babies and extend the time, up to 48 hours, a grieving family can spend with their baby.
After Felker lost her daughter, she wanted to give other families the opportunity for a dignified goodbye.
“After losing her, I felt a calling from God that this is what i needed to be doing,” Felker said. “I needed to raise awareness and keep her memory alive and help families going through this loss, too.”
The grieving mother set out to raise enough money to donate a similar device to another hospital. Through events and fundraising efforts, she was able to purchase one called a Caring Cradle.
She initially planned to donate the cradle to Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, but after it was slated to close she instead gifted it to Miami Valley Hospital South’s Maternity Center.
During a dedication at the hospital’s chapel Wednesday, nursing staff accepted the gift.
“The fact that we have this Caring Cradle unit here at Miami Valley South is going to be that extra tool that we can provide for our grieving families,” said Kami Jackson, nurse manager for Miami Valley South Maternity Center.
Felker and her family said their work raising awareness for stillbirths and donating the Caring Cradle was a way to cope with their loss and honor the memory of Hadley Janae.
“You worry after losing a baby that people will forget them,” Felker said. “So I was so thankful I was able to… turn something so tragic into something positive and keep her memory alive.”
Felker is planning to move to the Miami Valley from Centerville, Indiana. She hopes to form a Cuddle Cot Campaign to bring more devices to Ohio hospitals.