October is Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. It is a month to break the stigma and silence around losing a baby, allowing families to find healing.
Melissa and Terry Trillo lost a pregnancy last year but have turned their grief into action, helping themselves and future families.
"When you hear that your baby doesn't have a heartbeat, at first you don't know what you want," Melissa said. "Nobody ever plans like do you want to hold your baby, do you want to take pictures of your baby."
At Sisters of Charity Hospital, they had the opportunity to do all of that, thanks to a cuddle cot. It is like a refrigerated bassinet that keeps the baby cool, allowing parents to stay with their baby in the hospital for as long as they'd like to grieve.
"It's really indescribable," Melissa explained. "When other people who have never been in the situation think of it, they think of it as something you would never want to remember. But for us, it's all we have so it's something that we cherish forever."
Cuddle cots are sparse in the country. Sisters only has one. When the Trillo's baby, Matthew, was born still last August, they could not immediately use it because another family was.
The Trillo's decided they didn't want any family to have to wait so they raised money to buy Sisters another one. They ended up raising enough to buy two. Each one runs about $3,000. One went to Sisters and one went to St. Mary's Hospital.
"It was very healing for me to have something that was keeping Matthew's memory alive," Melissa said. "And kind of putting my energy into that rather than feeling bad for myself."
According to the CDC, about 1% of pregnancies in the nation end in stillbirths. Sisters Hospital said they experience about one still birth a week.
Now, even during weeks where there may be more than one stillbirth, parents will be guaranteed the opportunity to be with the baby as long as they need. Plus a little memento of Matthew Trillo will be with them, too.
"I want to keep his memory alive," Melissa said. "He was here, if only for a brief moment, but it's important that people know that it's ok to talk about it."
It was not easy for the Trillo's to share their loss story but they said they hope by sharing their story, it opens the way for other grieving families to talk and heal.
If you are going through a pregnancy loss, Sisters Hospital has a number of resources to help. You can find more on their website.
The Trillo's are pregnant again and are due at the end of November. They report that the pregnancy is going smoothly and the baby is healthy.