Mercy Women & Infants’ Center has a dedicated Perinatal Hospice and Infant Bereavement program that is available to provide support to parents going through an infant death.
Ann Valdez is Mercy’s Perinatal Hospice and Infant Bereavement coordinator. She, along with other staff members, work with families who are going through a loss. There are programs that provide families the opportunity to see, touch, hold, and parent their baby lost too soon. They also provide time to explore what is meaningful to them and help provide mementos such as a beaded baby bracelet, photos, imprints, three-dimensional molds, clothing, blankets, and toys. They encourage family time and support for siblings. These are very special moments that parents want to cherish forever.
In 2015, Mercy added a CuddleCotTM, a cooling blanket system that is used to allow parents more time with their babies who are taken too soon. The response to this new system has been very positive. This special gift was donated by Dr. Christine Carstensen, in memory of her daughter Emily Christine Carstensen, and the Sleeping Angels Foundation started by Shelby and Joey Droste, in memory of their daughter Maggie Nicole Droste.
“We’re fortunate to have this for our families because of the donations made by such generous families who have experienced the loss of their precious babies,” said Ann. “The CuddleCotTM allows parents to keep their baby with them longer as well as ensure improved keepsakes for them to treasure.”
Ann also works with families who have lost an infant to coordinate the Walk to Remember held each October. This annual event is dedicated to babies who die each year through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or newborn death – as a part of the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in October.
The walk also symbolically joins people nationwide who are working to raise awareness of perinatal grief and ensure sensitive care is given to parents who experience the death of a baby.
For more information about the Mercy’s Perinatal Hospice and Infant Bereavement program, please call Ann Valdez at (515) 358-3030.
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This is the 10th installment in a healthcare series from Mercy Des Moines. Find the rest of the posts below: