AKRON, Ohio — For many parents, the joy of giving birth is met with the cry of a newborn. However, this isn’t always the case.
Instead, some walk away with heartache after delivering a stillborn.
Inside the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital, a designated room for grieving parents is available for use in moments following the news and to spend time with their child.
“Having a room like this that is much more soothing, much more comfortable than the typical hospital room really just helps to aid in that recovery and survival process,” said Dr. Jennifer Savitski of Akron General.
It’s called the Butterfly Suite, and it was created by Megan and Anthony Gargano, who know all too well the feeling of losing a child at birth.
Their child, Luna, was stillborn in 2019. The couple created a photo book of memories, which captured the short time they got to spend with their child in the hospital.
“It was, to say the least, a very traumatic experience. Losing a child is something you wouldn’t wish on anybody,” said Megan.
The couple hopes the suite will be a place where parents can make memories with their child, like bathing and clothing them in a safe environment.
“We created a room that was more homelike. We felt you don’t get to take your child home, so this is the opportunity to create a new frame of where you are and that it’s less triggering,” said Megan.
The room is like a nursery away from home, and there are inspirational quotes in every nook. A reading corner is equipped with children's books and a crib for the baby.
“We want it to be a comfortable space,” said Savitski.
Data shows more than 26,000 thousand babies are stillborn in the United States every year.
That’s why the Butterfly Suite will be open to anyone who gives birth to a stillborn, and parents will be able to use it for as long as they please.
The Gargano's know this won’t close the wound or ease the pain of an incredible loss, but hope it provides some comfort.
“When you think back on your memories, you have this haven of a space that really supported your experience and tried to lessen that pain as much as possible," said Megan.
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