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Family donates 'smart cradle' to PHC in daughter's memory
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Family donates 'smart cradle' to PHC in daughter's memory

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Family donates 'smart cradle' to PHC in daughter's memory

Chelcy and Reggie Aubuchon — along with their daughters Brynlee, Malia and Geva — are pictured with a Cenotaph Smart Cradle they recently donated to Parkland Health Center in memory of the couple's daughter, Eastyn Marie AuBuchon, who was stillborn Aug. 13, 2019.

A local family is turning the pain of pregnancy loss into an act of kindness for others who experience a similar tragedy.

After a pregnancy loss, many families want to spend as much time as possible with their infants. Mothers are often hospitalized for days after giving birth – which allows for precious time for families to see and hold a child who unfortunately will not return home with them.

“During a routine 36-week check-up, our lives came crashing down as we were told our sweet baby’s heart had stopped beating,” said Chelcy AuBuchon. “We were induced the next day, and Eastyn Marie AuBuchon was born still on Aug. 13, 2019.”

The sudden loss of a pregnancy is devastating, and due to the natural changes that occur in the body after death, families typically only get a few hours with their baby. Fortunately, the hospital where Chelcy delivered had access to a smart cradle, which is a type of bassinet equipped with a cooling unit that keeps the bassinet’s gel-filled liner at 42 to 45 degrees.

This chilled liner gives families the gift of time by slowing these natural changes — allowing loved ones additional time to make memories, take photos, and properly say goodbye to their baby before leaving the hospital.

“I was told about the Cenotaph Smart Cradle through another mother of an angel, who had also donated Cenotaph Cradles in memory of her son,” said Chelcy. “We were given a similar cradle when we delivered Eastyn. It was a true blessing to have no time constraints. We were able to spend as much time with her as we needed because of the cooling cot.”

Unfortunately, these new devices are not available in all hospitals.

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“I knew I had to help change that,” said Chelcy. “No parent living in their darkest days should have to worry about a time limit with their baby.”

Through a GoFundMe page, the AuBuchon family raised most of the funds needed to support the purchase of a Cenotaph Smart Cradle for Parkland Health Center.

“We are often overwhelmed with how many people love and support us,” said Chelcy. “It’s very humbling.”

A generous donation from the Parkland Health Center Foundation completed the fundraising, and on Sept. 17, a Cenotaph Smart Cradle was delivered to the hospital.

“Over the past two years, the foundation has worked to update Parkland’s Obstetrics, Labor and Delivery Department,” said Carla Crocker, foundation coordinator. “The addition of this equipment to our hospital will allow us to take the very best care of a grieving family in an unimaginable situation."

“We are extremely grateful to the AuBuchon family and the foundation for supplying our hospital with this cradle,” said Lisa Helvey, manager of Parkland’s Women’s and Infants Department. “This will give the nursing staff the opportunity to allow families to spend extended time with their babies, and hopefully help heal their hearts throughout the grieving process.”

Chelcy, along with husband Reggie and daughters Brynlee, Malia, and Geva were all present when the smart cradle was delivered to Parkland Health Center. The family was able to see the cradle they so generously donated, and that they hope will be a blessing to other families facing a similar loss.

They added a final touch to the cradle during their visit — a delicate plaque with an image of a butterfly that reads, “In loving memory of Eastyn Marie AuBuchon, and all babies gone too soon.”

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