After 6-Month-Old Dies from SIDS, Couple Spent 10 Extra Days With Him Thanks to a Cuddle Cot

SWNS


SWNS

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains images and information about infant loss, which may be triggering to some.

A grieving mum and dad managed to spend a precious ten days with their infant when they lost their six-month-old baby boy to cot death [also known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)] -- thanks to a cuddle cot. And now India Gibson, 25, and her partner Jamie Hayes, 32, have raised over $13,000 so other couples can spend time with their babies following a tragedy.

  • The pair were left 'in pieces' when their son Toby died suddenly in the middle of the night.

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    The family were 300 miles away from home when Toby was found unresponsive in his bed during a canal boat vacation in Liverpool, Merseyside. 

    India, from Folkestone in Kent, said: "We were just in pieces. Toby was our life. He was six months old and the cheekiest little boy ever. He just had to pull his cheeky grin and he would have everyone smiling around him."

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  • The couple says they had put Toby to bed while they stayed up to play cards and checked on him regularly.

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    But when India went to bed around midnight, she immediately reali[z]ed something was wrong. The first-time-mum desperately called an ambulance and Toby was rushed to hospital, but sadly he could not be saved.

    "He was completely healthy before we lost him. The only issue we had was teething," she said.

  • “The last thing we ever thought we would be doing is planning our six-month-old baby's funeral," his mother said.

    The distraught couple were told it would cost $650 to get Toby back home from Liverpool and set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost.

    Within three hours, more than $2,600 in donations flooded in. 

  • They were also gifted a cold crib or "cuddle cot" by Cariad Angel Gowns, a charity for stillborn and neonatal loss.

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    The cot meant they could spend ten extra days with Toby after he died and bring him home for their family to say their goodbyes and cuddle him before the funeral.

    The special cot uses a cooling system to help preserve a baby's body for days after they die, and it can be taken away to use at home.

    "Having Toby at home with the cuddle cot meant we could have him with us 24 hours of the day so it just meant that he was not immediately taken from us," India said. "In that time, we would kiss him good morning, kiss him goodnight and give him the love we always gave him. We gave him lots of cuddles and were able to keep to some routine -- I've heard other couples have also even bathed their babies."

  • "We were in Liverpool for six days and we had him at home with us for four days so in total, we had him for ten extra days," she said.

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    "It meant that the whole family could come and say their goodbyes, including Jamie's brother who hadn't been able to meet him before and got to hold him for the first time," she said. "The generosity of friends and family at such a difficult time was overwhelming, with donations coming in from people all over the world, allowing us to bring our little boy home."

    "If we not had the cuddle cot, Toby would have gone straight to the funeral directors and we would have only been able to see him at scheduled times," she said.

  • "But we were able to spend some precious extra time with Toby thanks to the use of a cuddle cot," India said.

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    Although this opportunity gave them the chance to maintain some sense of normalcy immediately following the tragedy, it also allowed them to transition.  

    "When we got him home from Liverpool, we moved in with Jamie's parents because we were not able to go back to our house where all our memories of Toby were," she said. "My family and his family came down to give him cuddles and say their goodbyes."

  • "[Losing] a child is such a taboo subject in the sense it is so devastating. But all we want is to talk about Toby and make our boy proud because he was our life."

    Spurred on by the generosity of strangers, the couple have raised nearly $13,000 through a GoFundMe page; and aim to keep donating cots and help tell other families who have lost a child about the device.

    Two cots have already been bought and presented to Sterry Funeral Service, which has two branches in Folkestone and Hythe on what would have been Toby’s first birthday.

    “We really appreciate this kind donation," said funeral director Clive Sterry. "By having our own cuddle cot we can offer families the gift of extra time with their baby.”

  • “Our wish is for other parents experiencing loss to have a chance to spend more time with their baby, give them love and make memories before saying goodbye," India said. 

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    “It really helped with our grieving process and we wanted to use the extra money donated to us to purchase and gift cuddle cots to funeral branches," she said. "There are not many people who know about cuddle cots, even people who have lost babies and have asked me what they are."

    And raising awareness while helping other families is exactly how they want to honor their beloved Toby. "If we are able to talk about it, we can raise more awareness about these cots and we want to help other people in our situation," she said.  

    This post was written by Laura Sharman and Sam Williams and reprinted with permission.