Family seeks to help others after sad loss
LAYNEY Grace St Pierre didn't have had the chance to utter a word, but her parents hope one day she will make a big difference to the lives of people in central Queensland.
The daughter of Jereme and Monique St Pierre, Layney was born at 21 weeks and five days - too premature to survive - on December 20, 2012.
Time has helped let the St Pierre family understand what happened with Layney and deal with her death of their daughter.
But it was time they didn't have in the hospital, back in 2012, which still hurts.
"We had her at 10pm and she passed away at 10.18pm," Ms St Pierre said. "We had left the hospital at lunch the next day.
"We couldn't bear the thought of having her taken away from us to be cooled and then having to say goodbye over and over again. So we said our goodbyes once and left the hospital only 13 hours after she was born."
A short time after Layney's first birthday in 2013, Jereme and Monique decided to begin the process of creating a lasting memory for their daughter.
With time to look back on their experience, the St Pierres started researching Cuddle Cots, which cost $4500 each.
Designed to keep a baby's body cool after death, the cot allows families to keep their babies in their room to create memories, attachment and let family or friends see the child without going to the mortuary.
It is something the Tannum Sands family wished they had for Layney.
Now they want to give every hospital in central Queensland to have a Cuddle Cot.
"Whilst trying to create memories with our daughter we were also aware of the limited time we had with her before she had to be sent away to be cooled down.
"Having a cold cot would have allowed us to not feel rushed and given us time to come to terms with saying our goodbyes," Jereme said.
"We got to her first birthday and felt like we wanted to give something back," Monique added.
"Being able to give the gift of time to other grieving families at such a traumatic time is something we want to be able to give as we didn't have it," Monique said.
At $4500 each, the Cuddle Cots are not something the family can just organise on its own.
So they established Layney's Legacy, promoting their story through Pregnancy Loss Australia which will one day supply every hospital in central Queensland with a cot.
More importantly, it keeps Layney's memory alive, and makes a difference in the community.
Already, Layney's Legacy has raised enough for a cot for Gladstone Hospital, where she was born and died.
Now the St Pierres, with the help of their sons Nate, 5, and Kade, 3, and another baby due any day, are waiting for the opportunity to branch out into the Gladstone community more, after a karting meet raised more than $1000.
"The support we've had from the CQ go-karting community is overwhelming.
"We've had a number of go-karters asking how they can support us further and have requested shirts and stickers to get Layney's Legacy out there," Jereme said.
Most of all though, they want to keep Layney in all of their hearts.
"Even though she's not with us, she's very much a part of our family and through creating Layney's Legacy, she will continue to make a difference in many other families lives," Monique said.
To donate to Layney's Legacy and help the St Pierre family, go to http://placuddlecot.gofundraise.com.au/page/StPierreM