BEAVERCREEK — Lauren and David Herman have two beautiful children, two-year-old Sarah-Kate, and three-month-old Malachi.
However, on Friday, May 21, the Hermans, along with Soin Medical Center officials and hospital staff, gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of their first-born son, Lincoln.
Lincoln, who was stillborn, would have been three years old this year.
“When people look at our family, they see two kids,” David Herman said. “We love talking about our little boy.”
The Hermans donated a Caring Cradle to Soin Medical Center’s maternity department in Lincoln’s memory. Caring Cradles are medical equipment that allow parents of stillborn children to say goodbye in a dignified manner. The cradles cool the body, and allow parents to spend more time with their baby as they grieve their loss.
In addition to the one they donated to Soin, the Hermans donated a Caring Cradle in October to what is now Kettering Health Washington Township, and another to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Rick Dodds, president of Soin Medical Center, and maternity department employees accepted the Caring Cradle on Soin’s behalf.
“Thank you for turning your journey into someone else’s comfort,” said Tracey Haun, clinical nurse manager for Soin Family Birthplace.
A chaplain also blessed the cradle in memory of all stillborn infants.
Lincoln Herman was to be born in April 2018. At their second to last appointment, at roughly 38 and a half weeks, the Hermans went for a routine checkup and found out that Lincoln’s heart had stopped beating.
“Ultimately, we never really got an answer as to what happened,” David Herman said. “We knew before we had even left the hospital that we wanted to serve and help other families who are going through this.”
When the hospital staff brought Lincoln back to them, he had been placed in a Caring Cradle similar to the ones his parents would donate. The Hermans found out that Lincoln’s Caring Cradle had been donated just two weeks prior — the first in the state of Ohio — by a mother who had lost a child of her own.
“She had a letter that the nurses brought to us that explained her situation,” David Herman said. “We knew how incredible it was to have three days with our son instead of a handful of hours.”
After their experience, the Hermans decided to pay it forward. They started a non-profit called Lincoln’s Bunnies, which provides stuffed animals and comfort packages to parents who have recently lost an infant.
“You’re never fully healed, but it’s been healing to do Lincoln’s Bunnies, to say his name, to hang his stocking at Christmas,” David Herman said.
The approximate cost of a Caring Cradle is $5,000.
“Our prayer is that it will never be used,” David Herman said. “But if it does, hopefully it will help a family with the grieving process in some small way.”