WARNING UPSETTING IMAGES: Laura Elliot , 27, gave birth to her son Cowen in October last year, before he tragically died from Meningococcal Septicaemia at just 17 days old
A grieving mum has spoken about the 18 days she spent with her dead baby after a funeral home provided her with a special refrigerated ‘cuddle cot’.
Laura Elliot , 27, gave birth to her son Cowen in October last year, before he tragically died from Meningococcal Septicaemia at just 17 days old.
But mum-of-three Laura and her husband Mark, 31, were able to bond with Cowen before his funeral by using the special cot.
The baby boy was kept in the Moses basket, which has a cooling pad inside, at the Central England Co-operative Funeralcare in Chaddesden, Derby.
Laura visited Cowen in his private room at the funeral home every day for 18 days before his funeral at Markeaton Crematorium in November.
She was able to pick up Cowen as well as cuddle and kiss him and could spend as long as she wanted with her son.
Laura, who lives with her husband Mark, who works as a drainage engineer, in Chaddesden, is now raising money to buy a ‘cuddle cot’ for her local hospital.
The Starbucks worker, who is also mum to Ethan, six, and Skyla, three, said: “We first heard about the cuddle cot when we started to talk about laying Cowen to rest.
“Once I heard about the device I knew it would help us as a family and it was quite simply amazing.
“It allowed me and members of my family to spend time and bond with Cowen and get to say goodbye and grieve properly.
“I would get up and go to the funeral parlour when it opened at 9.15am and would sit there with him all day.
“He was in a room by himself and it was nice that you could go whenever you wanted, even on weekends.
“We could pick him up and hold him and cuddle and kiss him. It was like he was still with us.
“It helped me to grieve and I found it comforting.
“We were given the option of bringing Cowen home but my husband wasn’t too keen and we weren’t sure how the kids would react.
“And it would have made it hard to give him back if we had brought him home.”
Central England Co-operative Funeralcare are the first funeral directors in Britain to offer the refrigerated ‘cuddle cots’ for grieving parents.
The devices, which were introduced by them last summer, are commonly used by hospices and hospitals across the UK.
Laura added: “I think these devices are vital to help parents who have lost a child and there are simply are not enough of them.
“I was able to visit Cowen every single day and spend all day with him until he was laid to rest as were members of my family.
“Being able to use this was of great comfort to us all.
“That is why I am fund-raising to pay for one for the Royal Derby Hospital in the hope that if someone has to go through what I did that they have the option to say a proper goodbye to their child.
“The use of a cuddle cot will not be for everyone but for me it was what I needed and meant I could bond and properly say goodbye to my son.
“I will never, ever forget being given the chance to do that.”
Laura also wants to raise awareness about the dangers of Meningococcal Septicaemia , which is an infection in the bloodstream.
Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, vomiting, cold hands and feet, severe aches and pains, rapid breathing, diarrhoea and a dark purple rash.
Laura said: “The day that Cowen passed away was just a normal morning and I was going about my daily business.
“I then went to feed and get Cowen ready and knew something was wrong when I lifted the covers and noticed that his skin was mottled and he had pinprick bruising all over him.
“We rushed him straight to the Royal Derby Hospital .
“It was so overwhelming as within minutes of getting there dozens of people had poured into the room to try and help.
“Specialists were coming from all over the country but it was already too late.
“After three-and-a half hours doctors told us they were going to have to stop keeping Cowen alive and he passed away.”
Laura is now hosting a special clairvoyant charity event on May 11 to raise money to go towards buying a cuddle cot for the Royal Derby Hospital and to raise awareness of Meningococcal Septicaemia.
Clairvoyant Annette Moss will host the event, which will also include a raffle, at The Canal Turn pub in Spondon, Derby.
People can also donate by visiting: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cuddlecot-cowen