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Image: George and Angela Pogorzelski's counter top with pictures of their children

Born sleeping: family’s donation gives others the gift of precious time

CuddleCot donated to Methodist Hospital’s Family Birth Center

The moment you first hold your newborn baby is something that you cherish forever. For parents who have a baby born sleeping, the moments that follow are especially precious.

George and Angela Pogorzelski have experienced both of these life-changing moments. They recall the joy of first holding their sons, Georgie and Frankie, now 7 and 5. They have also felt heartbreaking sorrow after several pregnancy losses.

On October 22, Angela gave birth to Luna Christine at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. Luna was born sleeping at 22 weeks gestation.

“The nurses treated Luna as if she were alive,” Angela recalled. “They told me, ‘She is beautiful.’ And she was. I didn’t want her to leave my side.”

Luna stayed with her parents for 12 hours. During those hours, Luna’s appearance began to change because of the temperature of the room. Angela and George said their final goodbyes to their daughter.

Angela returned home and learned of a cooling device that could have helped preserve Luna’s appearance. That would have extend the amount of time they spent with her. The device was called a CuddleCot. Angela learned the cot is not as common in the U.S.

Angela wanted to change that. And she did. Angela and her family raised more than $4,000 to buy the CuddleCot for Methodist Hospital’s Family Birth Center.

The gift of time

The CuddleCot donation from the Pogorzelski family gives other parents with babies born sleeping the gift of time. The CuddleCot is a small in-room cooling unit that attaches to the crib in the room. Keeping the baby cool helps preserve the delicate condition and appearance of the baby. Families can have the baby stay in the room without the baby’s appearance changing.

“When a baby is born sleeping, parents compact a lifetime of memories in hours,” said Vicky Phillips, a nurse and perinatal loss coordinator at Methodist Hospital. “We are so thankful to the Pogorzelski family’s generosity.

Image: Cuddle Cot donation storage chest that was donated to Methodist Hospital's Family Birth Center

Their gift will allow others to cherish more time holding their baby, and help maintain the baby’s features while waiting for family or a photographer to arrive.”

Video of Luna’s life sheds light on pregnancy loss awareness

Pregnancy loss is more common than many know. One in every four pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Also, one in every 160 babies are stillborn.

Angela asked her friends to take a picture of the moon as a part of her healing process. Luna means “moon” in many languages. Angela received photos from all around the world. She put the photos together in this powerful video to honor Luna’s memory.

The photos of the moon have done more than show support for the Pogorzelski family – they lend a voice to pregnancy loss awareness.

“I am amazed by how many photos of the moon I received – and how many I continue to receive,” Angela said. “Even more powerful was the number of people who came out and shared their own experience of loss. Now, when I see the moon, I think of Luna – and all the love and support sent to us from around the world. And I know that others think of her too, and all the other babies who are born sleeping.”

Although Luna was born silent, her life spoke volumes. She has been an inspiration to others to open up about pregnancy loss. And the CuddleCot donated in her honor continues to touch the lives of other families who have a baby who is born sleeping.

Read more about recovering after pregnancy loss.

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