You can provide comfort for grieving parents

Being pregnant and having a baby is one of the most hopeful and promising moments in a soon-to-be mother or father’s life.  But the reality is that some parents never get to live out that future with their newborn.

“One of the hardest things imaginable is being discharged from the hospital without your baby,” says Emily Fritsch, an OB technician at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. Emily provides care and comfort to women and families whose babies pass away at birth or soon after. “Families have nurseries ready and then they have to explain to siblings or other family members why their child isn’t coming home.”

It happens to 24,000 families every year in the United States. Emily has received special training in how to help patients and their families through the grieving process. Mothers are typically hospitalized for 24-72 hours after delivery. It is a very difficult time physically and emotionally.

“Parents want to hold and cuddle their babies during this time. It really is their only opportunity to be with their child, physically,” explains Rebecca Jagusch, manager of patient care at Aurora Women’s Health in Grafton.

Stacey Chicalace has endured such a loss. Her newborn baby, Michael, was born at 34 weeks and five days, with a right-sided diaphragm hernia. Michael passed away less than a month later.

“There are so many moments where I think, ‘What would he have looked like? Would he have liked sports? What would he have studied in college?’” Stacey shares.

Giving the gift of time to parents like Stacey

You have an opportunity to extend the time these parents have in the hospital with their babies. With a gift to Aurora Health Care Foundation, you can help provide a Cuddle Cot, which is a cooling unit that can be placed in a bassinet at the mother’s bedside. This unit allows babies who have passed away to stay with the mother for a longer time.

“These are the only memories these parents can preserve of their child,” says Rebecca. “It gives them the gift of time to ease that transition and to say goodbye.”

And as Stacey knows, giving grieving parents more bonding time with their child is priceless. “What you’re doing long-term when you give, is not just about the baby lost—it’s about the moments the family has with the child that will last forever.”

To learn more about how you can support pediatric programs like this in Illinois, please contact Amy Valenzio at or make a gift online.