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A half year update with lots of good news

St. David's Georgetown Hospital

Yesterday, August 15th, 2017 we delivered our fifth Cuddle Cot in the Austin area. So far we provided Cuddle Cots in south Austin, central Austin, north Austin and Round Rock. Today we drove up to St. David’s Georgetown to complete the list of hospitals within the St. David’s Healthcare system.

We are so excited to give the gift of time to families all over the Austin area and are already setting our sites on Seton hospitals that cater to new mothers and their babies.

The St. David's Georgetown Cuddle Cot

We are so blessed each time we get to deliver a Cuddle Cot. The nursing teams that take care of families that are experiencing a loss in the hospital understand the value of the time that a Cuddle Cot provides and are passionate about the increased level of care they can now provide for grieving families.

Twelve short days ago we donated our 4th Cuddle Cot to St. Davids South Austin. We had the opportunity to share Mary Margaret’s story, and the inspiration for why donate, to a local reporter. The story they tell is a beautiful summary of what we have set out to do for our community.

Here is a link to the video:

http://www.fox7austin.com/good-day/273268150-video

Sara and I are also excited to be welcoming our rainbow baby into the world in September. With this added good news we are excited to continue our journey as parent together, and can’t wait to tell her about her older sister.

We are still raising funds for more Cuddle Cots. We are getting everything in order to line up a Seton hospital for our first donation into their system. If you would like to donate, please go to https://marymargaretsfootprints.com/ and use the instructions in The How section.

Thank you for your support.

The End of 2016 Update

The End of 2016 Update

Without a doubt 2016 was a hard year for us. It was around this time last year that we first found out we were pregnant with Mary Margaret and were filled with so much joy that we had trouble keeping the “secret” from our family and friends. I remember our first visit to the doctor when we got to hear her heartbeat for the first time. It’s one of those moments of joy that can never be stolen from us.

April was hard. The wear and tear of going to doctors office each Wednesday to see if Mary Margaret’s heart was still beating drained us emotionally in a way that I pray no one ever has to experience. We don’t know exactly when Mary Margaret’s little heart stopped beating, but when we found out our world was changed forever. The waiting was over in some sense, and it was time to bring her into this world to hold on to her. April 22, 2016, will forever be the day my first child was born and I can’t tell you how incredibly proud I am of that date.

I’ve told the story of how Sara and I discovered the Cuddle Cot, and really this update is to tell the story of what we have done since Mary Margaret’s birth.

Through the generosity of friends, family, co-workers, and strangers we have been able to purchase and place three Cuddle Cots in hospitals this year! Our first one was placed in my hometown of Bartlesville, Oklahoma on October 17, 2016. My parents and their friends were able to help dedicate the Cuddle Cot in Mary Margaret’s honor.

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Mary Margaret’s Cuddle Cot Dedication Ceremony, Austin, Texas.  Photo by Katie Jo.

The second Cuddle Cot was placed in St. Davids Central Hospital in Austin, Texas on October 31, 2016. I can’t think of a better birthday present for myself than the experience of dropping off a Cuddle Cot! This is the hospital where Mary Margaret was delivered and it filled us with such joy to deliver her Cuddle Cot to the nurses that helped bring her into our arms.

As I’m writing this, we are about to head on our way to drop off the third Cuddle Cot that we have purchased with the help of S.O.B.B.S. I don’t know how to express in words the gratitude and excitement I have that we are able to drop off another Cuddle Cot in the Austin area and provide more families with the gift of time with their little angels.

Sara and I started Hogan Hogan Photography in August as a way to raise funds for more Cuddle Cots. We have shot 17 mini-sessions for Holiday and Christmas family portraits and one special adoption ceremony. We have been very busy and very happy with the joy of portraits that we have been able to give and all we have asked for in return is a donation in honor of Mary Margaret. Because of the generosity of everyone we have photographed, we are only a couple of hundred dollars short of raising the funds for a fourth Cuddle Cot!

Sara joined Rodan + Fields, an amazing skincare line started by 2 dermatologists, in July as another way to raise funds for Cuddle Cots. All the proceeds from her sales go towards Mary Margaret’s Cuddle Cot fundraiser. It is an amazing opportunity to give the gift of beautiful skin for all (male, female, young, old) while supporting a cause near and dear to our heart. You can see more at sarahogan.myrandf.com .

The generosity of our friends and family doesn’t stop there. One of our close friends set up a campaign to raise funds for a Cuddle Cot for her birthday, and while her birthday has just passed by, it is still not too late to help raise funds for another Cuddle Cot.

 

So as a way to cap off the year:

  • 3 Cuddle Cots purchased and delivered through donations
  • 1 Cuddle Cot in North East Oklahoma
  • 2 Cuddle Cots in the Austin metro
  • Another Cuddle Cot via Hogan Hogan photography
  • Rodan + Fields ongoing proceeds towards Cuddle Cots
  • GoFundMe for a Cuddle Cot thanks to Krista.

2016 was an extremely hard year for us. But thanks to our incredibly supportive friends and family and everyone else who helped us, we have been able to deliver three Cuddle Cots with funds for two more! All in less than a year! This is just the beginning as we continue raising funds in 2017 so that we can place a Cuddle Cot in every hospital in the Austin Metro.

Thank you, everyone, for your generosity. It has meant the world that y’all would join Sara and me in our endeavors to give families who are going through infant and pregnancy lost the gift of time with their dearest little angels.

Sharing the News

This post is what I posted on Facebook recently. I wanted to post it here as a way to keep my thoughts about our little bluebonnet together. I’ll be exploring more of the journey Sara and I went through in more posts.


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A little over three weeks ago Sara Willis Hogan and I delivered our baby girl Mary Margaret. She was an angel baby. Its okay if you aren’t familiar with the term. I wasn’t until recently. Angel babies are born to their parents as stillborn or miscarried babies.

We found out our little bluebonnet had Turner Syndrome at 12 weeks. It crushed us. It crushed our souls. It crushed our hearts. But it didn’t crush our spirits. Even before we knew what Turners was, all we wanted to do was hold our baby girl. We didn’t know if that was even a possibility at the moment her diagnosis was confirmed.

We hadn’t heard of Turner Syndrome, and neither had anyone among our families or friends. Turner accounts for roughly 10% of all miscarriages. Turner Syndrome is a chromosomal condition where there is complete or partial absence of the second X chromosome. When we found out the news of Turner we also found out we were having a girl. I’ve never been more excited in my life to find out I was the father to a little girl.

After the diagnosis, we were visiting the doctor weekly to check see if there was still a heart beat in our little Mary Margaret’s chest. After the first doctors visit, we were told we probably wouldn’t make it past 16 weeks. After our little fighter made it past that milestone, we heard we probably wouldn’t make it to 20 weeks.

A miscarriage is when the baby dies before 20 weeks. After that point, a delivery is most likely involved, and that was the path we had decided to go down if our fears ever became realized. We would no longer have a miscarriage, but instead our little bluebonnet would be stillborn.

Looking at the ultrasound machine during our 22 week checkup we heard our doctor say the words we had been bracing ourselves to hear for the past 10 weeks. “This is the week we have feared would happen, I can’t find a heart beat”.

Sara and I thought we had prepared ourselves for those words, but nothing can prepare parents to hear that their child has died.

On April 22nd, 2016 at 6:45pm Mary Margaret Hogan was born into this world after she had died. She was named after her Grandmothers. She fought until we could hold her, and while science might say that the Turner Syndrome reached a point where her heart couldn’t pump anymore, we got to hold our baby girl.

Sara and I, and our families got to hold Mary Margaret for most of Friday night. It was only Sara and I that stayed the night in the hospital, but we got to hold our little bluebonnet all Saturday morning, and get photos taken by a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer. NILMDTS is an organization that provides professional portraits to families that have an angel baby. It is an incredible service.

One way in that Sara and I cannot be thankful enough is that we got to spend almost a full day with our baby girl. Even then it wasn’t enough time.

We found out about the Cuddle Cot after we had already said our goodbyes. The Cuddle Cot is a device that keeps the angel babies cool so that their families can spend up to three days with them before saying goodbye. In moments like these, every minute is a treasure and the Cuddle Cot provides memories that have to be made in minutes and extends them to days.

We started a website https://marymargaretsfootprints.com/ to raise the money to buy and donate a Cuddle Cot to the hospital in which Mary Margaret was born. All of the details are there, and if you would like to help Sara and I at all, please donate so that we can provide families that have gone what we have gone through with more precious time with their precious little one.