In April of 2008, Staci and Andrew Neuman of Fortuna, were expecting the arrival of their first child. Stationed at Camp Pendleton for Andrew’s military service, the young couple anxiously prepared for their new role as parents. However, the night before her doctor’s appointment to have the baby measured, Staci, 37 weeks pregnant, did not feel well. The next morning she woke and new right away something wasn’t right. At her appointment, the doctor confirmed their worst fears – their child, Gunnar, had passed in the womb.
Devastated and overcome with grief, the couple were given a teddy bear to aid in the grieving process by the local hospital staff in Vista, CA. At first, Staci wasn’t ready. The frustration and pain of why this happened to them was hard to overcome, yet over time she was drawn to the bear, or “Comfort Cub”, and found it helped her begin the healing process.
“When something like this happens, you leave empty-handed,” explained Staci. “Your dreams and expectations are dashed. While not a replacement, the “Comfort Cub” really helped to have something to touch and to hold. It was a start to help us deal with the loss of Gunnar.”
Comfort Cubs are specially weighted and are intended to feel like holding a newborn. While the initial intent of The Comfort Cub was for child loss, evidence shows it provides profound relief for any traumatic event, such as loss of a spouse, parent, loved one or pet.
To honor Gunnar’s passing and to commemorate what would have been his 10th birthday, the couple has decided to give back and make Comfort Cubs available to parents on the North Coast who are dealing with a similar loss. With the help of both of their families, the Neumans have purchased and donated 12 Comfort Cubs to the Childbirth Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka.
“We are so grateful to the Neumans and their amazing parents,” said Karen Lewis, nurse director, obstetrics at St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County. “This gift is one more method we have to provide comfort and care to families who have suffered a loss and to generate healing. The hospital and our community are blessed to be the recipients of this incredible resource.”
For Andrew, he knows firsthand the impact that a Comfort Cub can have on a family and he wants to make sure others receive the same help recovering from the loss of a child as Staci did.
“To see her have something that she could take home and allow her to begin the recovery process, was very comforting.”
The Neumans plan to support the Comfort Cub program at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka even after the original 12 bears have been distributed. Together with the Foundation at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, the family invites the community to support the program in the future. For more information, contact Paul McGinty at (707) 269-4283.
About the Childbirth Center at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka
The Childbirth Center at St. Joseph Hospital offers quality patient care and family-centered maternity services for Moms-to-be and their families, as well as specialized safety features and the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the north coast. At St. Joseph Hospital, we know that pregnancy can bring loved ones together in beautiful new ways. That’s why we offer family-centered maternity services. You can share the birth of your baby with a labor partner, and with other special people in your life, if your physician or midwife approves. Your entire family can participate in the educational process if you wish. We also make a special effort to prepare you for all aspects of having a baby. We believe it’s important for you to know how the experience will affect you physically, socially, and emotionally.
About Comfort Cubs
The Comfort Cub is the world's very first weighted therapeutic teddy bear that was created by our founder Marcella Johnson in 1999 after her infant son, George, passed away. She invented it to help other mothers who were suffering from the loss of their child. The teddy bear is specially weighted and is intended to feel like holding a newborn. While the initial intent of The Comfort Cub was for child loss, evidence shows it provides profound relief for any traumatic event. This includes having to leave the hospital while your baby is still in the NICU, the loss of a spouse, parent, loved one or pet. It has also been effective for occupational & autism therapy, adoptions and those experiencing divorce. For more information, visit thecomfortcub.org.
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