Siblings, Each Experiencing Infant Loss, Raise Funds For Cuddle Cots

By Julie Buntjer
The Daily Globe, Worthington, Minn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) One in every four pregnancies in the U.S. ends in either a miscarriage or stillbirth. It’s a statistic Nikki Mclendon and her siblings weren’t aware of until it happened to them. Now they are trying to do something to help other families who have suffered a loss, make it through the grieving process.


A trio of siblings with Adrian roots are taking the tragic loss of their babies due to stillbirths and a miscarriage and turning their pain into a source of comfort for other parents experiencing the same unimaginable loss.

Nikki (Jon) McLendon of Luverne, Krissi (Phil) Butenhoff of Winona and Tony and Alyssa Thier of Adrian are hoping to raise $6,000 to purchase two Cuddle Cots — one for Sanford’s Birthing Center and the other for the Women’s Center at Avera McKennan, both in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The cots, infant bassinets with cooling chambers, are used in hospitals across the country, though Nikki is unaware of any available in the region. The cot keeps a stillborn’s body temperature cool, allowing families to spend as much time with their baby as they wish in the privacy of a hospital room.

The McLendons, whose daughter Paisley was stillborn at 32 weeks and six days back in 2010, had never heard of a Cuddle Cot until they met other parents of stillborns at Faith’s Lodge in Wisconsin.

The lodge, established by a woman who experienced a stillbirth, brings families together to comfort one another and work through their loss.

While at Faith’s Lodge, Nikki learned about Cuddle Cots.

When they lost Paisley, Nikki said they could hold her only for a couple of hours before the doctor or nurse took the baby to a cooling room. The process continued for as long as the parents wanted to spend time with the baby in those first 24 hours, but Nikki said after a while, the baby’s coloring was such that either the parents or the nurse would suggest the visits end.

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