Bon Secours Southside Medical Center in Petersburg, Virginia, today received a Flexmort CuddleCot™ system as a gift from a local family who recently suffered the loss of their newborn child. A CuddleCot is a cooling mattress that is placed in what resembles a bassinet to regulate the baby’s body temperature preventing color change for hours, and sometimes, days. This technology gives parents and other loved ones the gift of time with the baby, allowing them to bond, take pictures and make unforgettable memories while coping with the loss.

Thanks to this donation, CuddleCot mattresses are now available at all Bon Secours labor and delivery (L&D) units in Richmond, including Bon Secours Southside Medical Center, Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville, Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian, and Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond.

“The CuddleCot is a generous donation that will provide future Southside patients and families the gift of time after infant and pregnancy loss,” said Carol King, RN, Labor and Delivery Unit Manager, Southside Medical Center. “This system not only allows the families more time to bond with their child helping to provide some closure, but it’s a healthy way to process loss. It can be very effective in helping these families cope in a way that hasn’t otherwise been available.”

The donation comes from a Virginia couple, Karley Englehart and Tim Rufenacht of New Kent, who utilized a Flexmort CuddleCot™ at Memorial Regional Medical Center when their daughter, Landry Reese, was stillborn at full term in June 2020. The day they left the hospital, they made the decision to donate a CuddleCot, so other families experiencing similar loss could receive the gift of time with their child. Over the last few months, besides completing random acts of kindness to keep Landry Reese’s memory alive, they organized a fundraiser to secure funds to purchase and donate the CuddleCot in her honor. This is the first such device available at Southside Medical Center for bereaved families.
“It was both the best time and the worst time of our lives. After a healthy pregnancy, we got to meet our daughter, but we were heartbroken and in shock dealing with a totally unexpected loss, especially during the pandemic,” said Karley, Landry Reese’s mother. “We are so grateful for the two days we got to spend with our daughter. We spent as much time as we could just looking at her, holding her and taking pictures to last a lifetime.”

While there is no way to ease the pain associated with the death of a child, the CuddleCot system can provide a small source of comfort to those parents and loved ones that are faced with overwhelming grief and who might otherwise have a very limited opportunity to visit with their baby.

“To any parents out there dealing with pregnancy or infant loss, do everything you can to keep their memory alive: say their name, talk about them, have an item you keep in their memory. We are going to keep Landry’s memory alive by continuing our random acts of kindness, and we’re going to keep on donating CuddleCots until someone says we can’t donate anymore,” added Karley.