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Dignity Health nurse raises funds to support parents after child loss

Dignity Health

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Former Marian Regional Medical Center labor and delivery nurse Ashley Agnitch is raising funds to purchase cooling bassinets that supposed to help offer support for families after child loss.

Child loss is an experience that hits very close to home for Agnitch.

At 14 weeks of pregnancy, she got the news that her daughter, Greta Lynn, had a genetic abnormality and was not expected to survive pregnancy, according to Sara San Juan spokeswoman for Dignity Health.

Against the odds, Greta was born on April 12, 2017 and spent five hours of life with her family.

"Bereaved families often experience early separation as their baby is taken to the morgue to slow the natural process that occurs after death, so after Ashley’s experience, she researched bereavement resources and learned about the benefits of a Cuddle Cot," San Juan said.

Cuddle Cot is a cooling bassinet that provides the "gift of time" to be spent bonding and saying goodbye when a family is ready, according to San Juan.

“I wanted to give local families precious time to bond with their babies. We found out early on that Greta wouldn’t survive, but not everyone is given that time to prepare,” Agnitch said. “Cuddle Cots offer both time and opportunity – the chance for families to have photos taken, offer a blessing over the baby, perform a baptism, and enable friends and family to meet the child. You will never get those moments back; that’s all you have. To give them precious time to make those beautiful memories is so important to me.” 

Agnitch is a former labor and deliver nurse at Marian and now cares for patients in the Stollmeyer Family Birthing Center at French Hospital.

Agnitch initiated an online fundraise to purchase the Cuddle Cots – which were previously unavailable for bereaved parents on the Central Coast – for the birthing centers at both French Hospital and Marian.

The fundraiser has raised over $10,000 so far, according to San Juan.

The cots can also be used in hospital emergency rooms after trauma or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, in Marian's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and in French Hospital's Acute Care Nursery.

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Jade Martinez-Pogue

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