Emily and her daughter, Helen James

Emily and her daughter, Helen James

Emily lost her newborn daughter, Helen James, when she was 38 weeks pregnant. Although Emily’s pregnancy was normal, she noticed one night when Helen James wasn’t kicking like usual. She tried eating chocolate and drinking juice, but still nothing happened. Her husband Joel took her to the hospital where the doctors gave her an ultrasound, confirming the worst: Helen’s heart had stopped beating.

Emily delivered Helen through a c-section and was able to spend several days with her in the hospital through a Cuddle Cot, a device that cools and preserves the body for up to five days. A family donated it the previous year to the hospital.


Although Emily and her family had never heard of a Cuddle Cot, the device became a lifeline between her and her daughter by providing precious time they would not have had otherwise. Because of the Cuddle Cot, friends and family traveled from across the country to visit, hold, and meet Helen James.

Because of the gift the Cuddle Cot provided, Emily and Joel and thier friends started a fundraiser to purchase additional devices and replacement kits. In just two weeks time, they raised over $20,000 and have been able to donate six Cuddle Cots to hospitals in Memphis and Nashville.

“Our goal is to help build awareness around Cuddle Cots and the importance of them. Most grieving parents only get a few hours with their babies when they are born not living which is incredibly difficult,” says Emily.


Saint Thomas Midtown in Nashville, where Helen James was born, is receiving two Cuddle Cots. They hold a ceremony for each new piece of equipment they receive, and Emily and Joel have been invited to attend.


Each Cuddle Cot has an inscription dedicated to Helen.


Helen James, named after Emily’s vivacious, sports-loving grandmother, is cherished and missed every day by her parents. A verse that sums up Emily’s journey, found in Corinthians 13, describes love as unending. “Although Helen is not physically here with us,” Emily says, “the love we have for her has no end. It feels as strong as it did from the moment the Lord chose us to be her parents.”


If you’d like to make a contribution to a Cuddle Cot in Helen James’ honor, you can go to https://stthomas.ejoinme.org/cuddlecot