We learned we were pregnant with Baby Bunn #2 in the Spring of 2015. Mom, Dad, and big sister, Phina, were all so excited to meet you! We liked to be surprised on the gender, so we didn't know if we'd be having a boy or a girl. I had a normal, perfect (aside from morning sickness) pregnancy. On a Wednesday, I went in to labor, and Dad raced us to the hospital, only to learn that you had died at some point within the last 48 hours. We never had any idea. My body never gave any signs that something was wrong, and with spontaneous contractions, we thought you were still actively kicking. Here we were 39 weeks pregnant, and learning that our daughter would be stillborn. The news was absolutely devastating. The anger, pain, sickness, nausea, and sadness was crippling.
Our journey as stillborn parents was about to begin, and we had no idea what that would mean.
Delaney Suzanne Bunn was born on December 30, 2015 @ 11:34pm. She was a perfect little girl weighing 7lbs. 9.5oz. and 21" long.
No one can prepare you for what it is like to go through a stillbirth. I remember with our oldest the immense joy that overwhelmed me as I made that final push during delivery and she wailed loudly. There was no wail with Delaney. No whimper, no hiccups, no snotty breathing. I made the final push to deliver her, and she was in my arms immediately. Quiet. Still. The room was completely silent, and the quiet rang loudly in my ears. Such a strange sensation to hold a brand new baby, and be able to hear a pin drop at the same time.
Zach cut the umbilical cord, our sweet girl was wrapped up, and we began to swoon over her. She was perfect in every way. 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a smooshy nose that was identical to her sister's. Our nurse made her a special hat complete with a darling bow, and we just stared at her. I remember feeling the clock start immediately. No one had to say anything - in my mind, I knew that we would have a limited time to be with her, and I wanted to soak up as many snuggles and kisses as possible. Her body was already quickly deteriorating, and it was so hard to not hug her too tightly. A realization that no amount of love could bring her back.
It was shortly after Delaney's arrival that our nurses came back in to our room to start setting up a bassinet. We had already confirmed with them that we were wanting to keep Delaney in the room with us if at all possible. It came as a pleasant surprise when they started teaching us about the Cuddle Cot they would be using.
Taken from the manufacturer's website:
" The CuddleCot™ system cools baby allowing families to stay with their baby before being moved to the morgue and is in use in thousands of hospitals across the world... The CuddleCot™ cooling pad is placed in any Moses basket, crib, bed or other receptacle. It is connected by a specially insulated hose and is quietly cooled using the CuddleCot™ cooling unit. The CuddleCot™ system comes in its own carry case with two sizes of cooling pad for premature and full term babies. The CuddleCot™ cools to an ideal temperature for preserving baby without being too cold for the parents."
We had never heard of such a thing. Then again, we had never known or experienced any protocol regarding the death of an infant. We learned that Delaney was the first infant to use this particular bassinet and Cuddle Cot for that hospital. There was a slight learning curve as the nursing staff figured out how to get it working smoothly, but what an incredible gift that was given to us in using it.
After her first bath, Delaney slept in the bassinet that night, and I was able to sleep in my hospital bed with my hand on her the entire night. I could barely bring myself to sleep, rationalizing that I could sleep at a later time when Delaney was no longer with me. To be able to feel close to her, and have that skin to skin contact was an incredible blessing. We were getting to have moments, make memories, and hit milestones with her. Things that we thought we would have a lifetime to do, but now had been reduced to 48 hours.
Zach had informed all of our family and friends of her passing, and we decided that more than anything we wanted people to come and meet her, love on her, and be with her. We wanted to share her with the world, or at the very least, our world. We had a motto that stayed true with us, which was "We are going to be sad no matter what. We can either be sad alone, or we can be sad surrounded by our loved ones."
It was amazing the number of people that came to the hospital to meet her. To hold her. To kiss her. To share a moment with her. We were able to get pictures of her with her sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and dear friends. A professional photographer came and took our family pictures, and they are one of the things we treasure the most. The Cuddle Cot made it all possible. Without it, Delaney would not have been able to withstand all of the love given to her.
I could go on and on about Delaney, and continue to share details about her story, our vulnerabilities, and how we are progressing through our grief journey. However, I will save that for a later time and place. Delaney has already done so much with her little life, and has inspired us to do the same. It is our way of keeping her memory alive, of honoring her life, and of coping with her death. In sharing her story, it is a way for her big sister, Josephina, to be proud of her little sister. It is a way for her new little brother, Ezekiel, to make a connection with his heavenly sister.
Zach and I have decided that we are going to start putting money aside to hopefully raise enough to purchase a Cuddle Cot that will have a donation plaque with Delaney's name on it. Even if it takes us years to accomplish, it is a goal worth working towards. We have become actively involved with a non-profit organization called Walk to Remember, Inc., and as board members would love to have this organization have a traveling Cuddle Cot. This would allow Walk to Remember, Inc. to keep and maintain the Cuddle Cot, and be able to help area hospitals without Cuddle Cots if and when there is a need.
We know that our angel baby is guiding us to be the best parents we can be, and we hope she is bursting with pride in us, up in heaven. Thank you to everyone for all of the love, kindness, and support you've continued to shower on our family. We couldn't walk on this journey without you. We feel truly fortunate with all of the love, grace, and hope God has given us.
- Kelli Bunn