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Couple provide Cuddle Cot to HCH

Couple provide Cuddle Cot to HCH
Couple provide Cuddle Cot to HCH
Linda Znachko, founder and author of “He Knows Your Name,” explains how a Cuddle Cot works to nursing staff at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon during a presentation of a donation of a cot Friday morning. With them is Nate Woods of Fishers, holding his 4-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, and, not pictured, Woods’ wife, Staci, who made the donation possible. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Nate and Staci Woods’ newborn daughter, Ella Rose.

The couple, along with their 4-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, marked the occasion by traveling from their Fishers home just outside of Indianapolis to Corydon to help present a Cuddle Cot to the OB/GYN Dept. of Harrison County Hospital. They were aware first-hand how the device can provide comfort to a grieving family.

About the size of a small humidifier, a Cuddle Cot is a cooling unit that easily fits inside a bassinet. A Cuddle Cot provides a “gift of time” to those parents whose newborn baby dies before leaving the hospital, allowing them to keep their loved one with them for up to a few days, before a final goodbye.

“The state of Indiana has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country,” said Linda Znachko, founder of He Knows Your Name ministry and book with the same title who, along with the Woodses, made Friday’s donation. “It is said that a child dies every 13 hours in our state. That is devastating.

“I believe we must provide loving care for families of pregnancy and infant loss in our area hospitals.”

Znachko, also of the Indianapolis area, became aware of Cuddle Cots after hearing on the news in 2009 about a stillborn found in a dumpster in the city. When she called the Marion County coroner to see what would become of the infant’s body, she learned it would have a pauper’s grave. Znachko made it her mission to make sure that abandoned baby received a “dignified” burial.

At the time, there was only one Cuddle Cot in Indiana; that was in Noblesville.

“I wanted to make sure those under-resourced moms had options,” Znachko said, adding she initially had a Cuddle Cot placed in each of the Circle City’s five main hospitals.

HCH’s Cuddle Cot was No. 25 for the state.

“Many babies are rushed away from the family and they are not given the opportunity to share, dress, photograph and make footprints of their child,” Znach-ko said. “The Cuddle Cot cooling method allows the maternity ward of a hospital to keep the baby with family for a long period of time.”

He Knows Your Name provides guidance to those in need, whether it be seeking medical professionals or pregnancy support resources.

Znachko also works to promote the addition of Safe Haven baby boxes in communities.

“It’s been so exciting for me to meet these families,” she said before introducing the Woodses to more than a dozen Harrison County Hospital employees Friday.

Fighting back tears at one point, Staci Woods read from a hand-held device about her and her husband’s experience of expecting their second child, another girl, with whom they planned to create memories. Boxes of tissues were passed around the room for hospital employees to dab their eyes. A picture of Ella Rose sat on the table next to Staci.

“We wish the device would never need to be used,” she said, but “perhaps it will give someone a few more moments with their baby.”

After Znachko answered questions about how the Cuddle Cot works, Nate said, through family and friends, they raised the funds needed to purchase the cot in about 24 hours.

“We thought it would be nice to give people something to do,” he said, mentioning the family members and others asked how they could assist the couple, telling about the Cuddle Cot and how they were hoping to fund the purchase of one was the answer.

While the Woodses never had been to Harrison County before, Nate said it was “cool” to donate a Cuddle Cot to the hospital here on that particular day.

For more information about He Knows Your Name, visit www.heknowsyourname.org.

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