A child’s first birthday culminates the first 12 months of life.

Those months hold myriad milestones. The first smile. The first tooth. The first steps. Maybe even the first word or words.

For parents of children who make their way into this world but not to that first birthday, the observance can be heartbreaking and painful. A sorority sister who is a “grandlittle” to me (for those familiar with Greek life) is unfortunately experiencing this sorrow today.

On July 17, 2018, Sarah and Zachary Murphy welcomed their son, William Augustus Murphy. He was perfect, beautiful and born sleeping.

The couple went to the hospital the previous day only to learn that their baby’s heart had stopped beating. Nevertheless, Sarah was induced and after hours of labor, Baby William was born.

Sarah and Zachary savored the precious time they had with their son. They held, cuddled and kissed him. The nurses dressed him and helped care for him. Pictures were taken during their time together.

A day later, the couple had to say goodbye to their son.

In the days leading up to William’s first birthday, Sarah requested that friends and family remember her sweet boy in a special way. Suggestions included lighting a candle, volunteering, doing a random act of kindness or sending a text, card or post commemorating William’s special day.

Another suggestion that Sarah made was to donate to the couple’s CuddleCot fund. She set up a Go Fund Me Page, sharing her family’s story and detailing what this special device can do.

According to her post, “The CuddleCot is a cooling pad that is placed in any Moses basket, crib, bed or other receptacle. It is connected by a specially insulated hose and is quietly cooled using the CuddleCot cooling unit. The CuddleCot system comes in its own carry case with two sizes of cooling pad for premature and full term babies. The CuddleCot cools to an ideal temperature for preserving baby without being too cold for the parents.”

Unfortunately for Sarah and Zachary, a CuddleCot was not available at the hospital where William was born. It would have provided them more time with their baby boy.

“We want to give other grieving parents who will unfortunately have to be in our shoes someday the opportunity, the choice, to keep their little one with them and preserve every single moment they can until they don’t have any moments left,” Sarah wrote on the Go Fund Me page.

To donate to the CuddleCot fund, visit gofundme.com/cuddlecotforwilliam. Additionally, keep the Murphys in your thoughts and prayers and think of them as they honor, remember and celebrate their son.

Happy birthday, sweet William. You are loved and missed by many.