NORTH CANTON, Ohio-- “Forty-one weeks and a day.”
“My pregnancy had been perfect. And no issues, no complications and no reason to worry. And she was just gone," Erin Maroon said.
Had she lived, Ashlie Maroon would have been about 10 months old right now.
Her room in the family's North Canton home was left just the way it was last October. Erin and Anthony spent months getting it ready for their daughter; their first child who never lived to see it.
But even though Ashlie was stillborn, Erin wanted to touch and hold the baby that she would soon have to let go. So every moment was precious.
But in the haze of grief and anesthesia Erin’s time with her child was fleeting
“I held her for about 15 minutes. We took a couple of our own pictures and then I didn't know what else to do. And that was the last time I saw her, the last time we saw her. And I left the hospital two full days later," she said.
The family held a funeral, but felt that they never had the time for closure; Time to hold their daughter again.
But at hospitals in Europe, parents get more time.
The Cuddle Cot is a refrigerated bassinet that can be kept by the mother's side for up to 96 hours. It's something the Maroons want to bring to grieving parents here.
“When Erin did the research, she found out that in the entire United States there are less than 300 of these cots that are available. There are a couple in Columbus and one in Medina." Anthony said.
So Ashlie’s Embrace, 501c charity named for their daughter, raised $3,000 to getone to donate to a local hospital. Still in the box, what's inside may offer the closure the family said they wish they had.
“Every hospital should be able to afford a family some type of closure that we didn’t have," Anthony said.
He built a pond in his front yard in his daughter's memory. He said he needed to stay busy as he dealt with his own grief.
But from grief comes strength, and hope that their personal tragedy will make things better for those who unfortunately may one day share their pain.
“I'm no psychiatrist, I’m no psychologist, but I know how we felt." Erin said.
The family will donate the first Cuddle Cot to Akron General.
Ashlie’s Embrace is holding a gala to try to raise money to donate 10 more cots to hospitals in Summit, Stark and Medina counties.
For more information you can go to their website at www.ashliesembrace.org