Six years after her own son was stillborn, Lizzie Moore joined another Del Norte County family at Sutter Coast Hospital last Wednesday for the unveiling of the community’s first CuddleCot.

Lizzie and Robert Moore brought home a box of mementoes belonging to their son, including his blanket, the clothes the hospital dressed him in, a lock of his hair and his hands and footprints. About two years ago, Lizzie Moore started a candlelight vigil, Light Up the Sky to honor those who lost their babies during pregnancy or infancy.

Getting a CuddleCot at Sutter Coast Hospital is “a long time coming,” Lizzie Moore said.

“For those that need it, it’s an amazing thing to be able to offer,” she said.

A CuddleCot is a refrigerated bassinet that preserves a stillborn baby, giving parents time to bond with it, said hospital CEO Mitch Hanna.

“As we checked with other Sutter hospitals, very few have them,” Hanna said. “It tends to be something that’s used more in Europe. But based upon, obviously, the strong interest in it, we felt like it’s worth purchasing.”

Stephanie Brown, whose sister Brianna gave birth to a stillborn baby girl named Nydia in September, said her sister was only able to spend 12 hours with her baby. If a CuddleCot was available, Brianna could have stayed with Nydia for up to five days.

According to Brianna’s mother, Elizabeth Maestas, she and her family were going to hold a fundraiser to donate a CuddleCot to the hospital. But ultimately the hospital agreed to purchase the device.

The hospital’s CuddleCot will have plaques with Nydia and Dexter’s names. Nydia’s family also donated picture frames with clay molds for the baby’s hands and feet and a camera for nurses to take pictures.

“In a lot of the support groups I’m in, the parents don’t want pictures and then later on down the road they regret not doing it,” Stephanie Brown said. “At a lot of other hospitals the nurses do the pictures.”

Moore said she and the Browns are also working to put together a grief support group for parents who lost their babies. For more information, call 707-954-1389.

Even though the hospital purchased the CuddleCot, Lizzie Moore said it’s a way for her to remember Dexter and for Maestas, Stephanie and Brianna Brown and Nydia’s father, Jason Gonzalez, to remember their little girl.

“When we lost him that was the worst thing we’ll ever go through,” Moore said of Dexter. “It’s the same with them when they lost their little girl.”

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