Grieving Oklahoma mother giving the gift of time to others experiencing stillbirths

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STILLWATER, Okla. – In July, Catie MacDonald was preparing for what was supposed to be one of the most exciting times of her life.

She rushed to the hospital to give birth to her daughter, Olivia, on July 1.

However, when that final push came, all MacDonald heard was silence.

Olivia was stillborn.

The moments after giving birth are still a blur for MacDonald, but those memories, or lack thereof, will continue to haunt her.

“Right after she was born, I was just throwing up. I was just seeing double, I don’t remember seeing her very much,” MacDonald told FOX 23.

MacDonald says she regrets that she wasn’t able to take photos of Olivia, and she is now on a mission to make sure other mothers have more time so they don’t have those same regrets.

“You often only get a few hours with your baby after they pass away,” MacDonald wrote.

She says that babies bodies start visibly showing signs of decomposition within a matter of hours, which can be difficult for parents who are still grieving the loss of their little one.

After Olivia’s stillbirth, MacDonald found out about Caring Cradles, a bassinet that keeps the baby cold and can delay signs of decomposition.

“Although I will admit, the thought of this seems a bit strange or morbid if you have never been there. But the reality is that spending time with your deceased to grieve with dignity is not weird or strange at all. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to have an open casket or a viewing at a funeral home for family members after a loved one has passed away. With a baby, that is often not possible,” MacDonald wrote on Facebook.

She says the Caring Cradle allows families to grieve, and even provides the hospital enough time to create memory keepsakes like hand prints or 3D molds of the baby’s feet.

Credit: Catie MacDonald

“I can tell you by experience that any tangible keepsake you have of your baby is something you cling to and something that helps immensely with processing your grief,” she said.

Even though she was still grieving the loss of Olivia, MacDonald got to work raising money to purchase Caring Cradles for local hospitals.

In just three months, she raised $15,000 to purchase three cradles, one of which was donated to Stillwater Medical Center.

On Wednesday, the cradle was dedicated in loving memory of Olivia MacDonald.

The Jaxon Kade Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is working to place a cradle in every Oklahoma hospital that will accept one. So far, it has donated nine cradles in Oklahoma with five more scheduled in the coming months.

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