TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - For parents who lose an infant, saying goodbye is hard.
On Friday, two families — who have lost children of their own — made a very special donation to the neonatal intensive care unit at Longview Regional Hospital to help make that difficult time a little bit easier for other families.
The Martinez and Adkins families donated a Cuddle Cot to the hospital.
“It’s pretty much a cooling bassinet — so on the outside, it doesn’t look scary, it just looks like a regular bassinet but it has a cooling mechanism on the inside so it looks like the babies are just sleeping,” said Lacey Adkins. She and her husband lost their twins in December 2018 and donated the Cuddle Cot in their honor.
“It’s scary whenever you’re holding your baby that’s passing away and if you keep them for a period of time things start to happen and they start to change colors,” said Adkins. “It’s just really devastating and that’s not helpful, to be able to see your baby like that. But, you still want to have that time with them, so the ability to have the cuddle cot is amazing because it keeps them looking like they’re asleep.”
Both families said the Cuddle Cot provides much-needed times for families to grieve and capture memories.
“That’s the thing I’ve heard most from grieving moms, is that they regret not having the times they spent with their child or taking any photos,” said Adkins. “It seems super weird and morbid at the time, but honestly, that’s what you cling to in those years after you’ve lost your child.”
Bernie and Janelle Martinez lost their son Sam when he was 10 months old. They created a foundation in his name to help parents navigate finances and medical issues when they have a sick child.
Bernie said they’re very excited to see Sam’s legacy have a physical impact by helping to donate this Cuddle Cot and another at Good Shepherd in Longview.
“We’re excited that Sam could bring that to them for those grieving moments,” said Bernie Martinez. “It’s hard to describe to people how special those moments are, but those cuddle cots are going to be so valuable to those families.”
Both the Martinez and Adkins families said most people may not understand the importance of the Cuddle Cot, but for the families who need it; they will.
“You don’t know until you’re on the other side of it, what’s important and what’s not and we knew the gift of time was important and we needed that for our hearts," said Adkins. “We wanted to be able to help other families know this is an available resource. That’s the best gift you can give families who have babies who have transitioned from this world into heaven.”
Janelle Martinez, who is a nurse herself, said only 10 percent of hospitals in the United States have a Cuddle Cot. She’s hoping that with more awareness, that number can increase a lot.