Harris

Amanda Harris talks about items she has from the short life of her premature son, Michael, who died shortly after birth. ‘This is all I will ever have of him,’ Harris says.

PAT SUTPHIN, TIMES-NEWS

BURLEY — A Paul woman has raised money to purchase a CuddleCot bassinet for Cassia Regional Hospital that will allow grieving families to spend more time with their stillborn infants.

Through fundraisers, sponsors and The Little Joys Remembrance Walk, Harris raised $3,000 to purchase the bassinet that keeps a deceased baby’s body cooled so families can have the time to make a few memories.

The cot has been ordered and will be delivered to the hospital at 5 p.m., Nov. 16, Harris said.

The bassinet is made in the United Kingdom so it takes a little while for delivery, she said.

“This is wonderful,” Sally Edgar, registered nurse at Cassia Regional Hospital who is coordinator for the hospital’s infant loss program, said.

The parents will be able to spend more time with the baby and the infant can stay in the room with them instead of being taken back and forth to the hospital morgue.

“It’s really better, the baby will be in a bassinet setting and will stay in the room,” Edgar said.

Edgar said nursing staff will undergo training for the new piece of equipment.

“This is really a good thing to be able to get for our area,” she said.

The cot will have a memory plate inscribed with Harris’s son’s name, Michael Allen, who died at 21 weeks gestation in 2012.

“When he died I didn’t think about singing a lullaby to him,” Harris said. “In the future maybe there will be a mom who will have the time to sing a lullaby if she wants to.”

Harris said the moment is bittersweet because it stems from her family’s loss.

“I know in the future people will experience this, and it’s heartbreak like no other, but they will be able to use the CuddleCot to make some memories with their baby.”

Harris and her family held bake and yard sales, set up a Facebook page and participated in the walk to raise the money for the donation.

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At times, she said, she wanted to give up because it is hard asking people to donate to a cause like this.

“Sometimes people would just turn their heads away when I talked about it because they didn’t know what to say,” she said. “And I didn’t want to force anyone.”

But now that the money has been raised and the cot ordered she feels proud.

The cot, Harris said, will be a gift to other families during one of the hardest times of their lives.

“I’m just thankful to everyone for all the love and support that I’ve received,” Harris said.

Her quest has also brought the subject of stillbirth into the open, she said.

“Hopefully these families will get more support after a loss through more public awareness and they will experience more understanding,” Harris said. “I want them to know it’s a huge loss but it’s OK to heal and smile again.”

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