Such joy, such a blessing for families.
Those were certainly the thoughts surrounding the Miller family of Delaware County in March, 2016.
“I prayed for my boys to be healthy every day,” Melissa Miller said. “I had no high risk factors, I was healthy, and thought we’d be in great shape. Every day we got closer to 38 weeks, and their scheduled arrival, I knew we were less likely to need NICU care.”
At 36 weeks, around 11 a.m. on that day, Melissa experienced what she thought was the start of a migraine headache. After a couple of calls to her physician, she was on her way to the hospital.
“I would not panic, because I didn’t want my babies to panic,” Melissa said.
Around 1 p.m., in a triage room at St. Ann’s Hospital, a nurse placed heartbeat monitors around Miller’s stomach. One baby’s heartbeat was found, as the nurse moved the monitor down to find the second heartbeat.
Soon after, the nurse left and came back with an ultrasound machine. The image of the babies appeared on the screen.
“We heard the words no parent should ever have to hear. I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat.” Miller said.
Four hours later, Henry Donald Miller was delivered silently, two minutes before his little brother Owen.
“I didn’t know Henry was born until I heard Owen’s cries and looked into my husband’s teary eyes and asked him if Henry was out yet,” Melissa said. “He was 6 pounds, 4 ounces of perfection, save the abruption that led his sac to fill with blood and stopped his heart.”
Wanting to spend time with Henry, the Millers learned that St. Ann’s had a Cuddle Cot, a device the manufacturer says cools the baby, allowing families to stay with their baby in the room.
“With our time, we were able to have family and friends meet Henry,” said Mike Miller, Henry’s father. “We were able to keep him in the room with us, just as Owen was kept with us. We were able to read to him, sing to him, love, hug, and kiss on him.”
The Miller family says they were so grateful to have the Cuddle Cot donated by another family who lost a child, they wanted to do the same for Grady Memorial Hospital in Delaware.
“We wanted to donate it to the hospital in the community that supported us for almost 10 years,” Mike said. “Our children have grown up in Delaware, friends and family here and around the country helped us to raise the funds.”
“We are truly honored and blessed to receive this gift,” said Sherrie Valentine, RN, Director of Women’s Health & OB at OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital. “We admire the Millers’ courage, admire their love, and we are so honored at Grady Memorial to continue the legacy of Henry.”
Owen, Henry’s twin, walked around during the ceremony at Grady Memorial full of life, something statistics say won’t happen for 71 families each day.
“Many of us here have experienced and gone through loss with parents,” Valentine said. “The time we can give parents with their infants is the best gift we can ever give, and the Cuddle Cot makes such a difference in that.”
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“Our hearts will always grieve and miss our precious boy. But we are proud that his name is known in our community. Please pray for all the families that will use this Cuddle Cot. We will always think of them with our Henry,” Melissa said.