Not Really a Baby. Just to Make it Clear.
Today I picked up the boy’s death certificates.
Oddly, it was an afterthought on the way home from Bella’s play therapy. We go past it and I suddenly remembered Sam telling me they had called to say they were ready for us.
I told Bella we were grabbing papers, headed in for them, and explained to the receptionist what we were there for. Calmly. Matter of fact.
So as I stood waiting, I suddenly realized – this is it. This is the last thing I’m going to be able to really do for them. Ever. This signifies the end of their lives in a very real way, it’s proof they were here and now they’re gone.
And I started to cry.
How hard it is to sign that receipt knowing that I should be standing in Babies R Us signing one for more stuff to make life easier right now. To know the words “funeral home” and “death certificates” and fighting to prove they lived are things we should have never had to say or do. To think that $42 is the last amount of money that has anything to do with them in our lives – $42.
These papers stare at me. So formally they tell everyone what happened. “Mother went into premature labor at 20 weeks and delivered nonviable twin A (really abortus).” How I want to scream that IT WASN’T NONVIABLE TWIN A IT WAS MY BABY. Julian.
Was he married? No. Never. Age? 7 minutes.
Preston? 2 hours 27 minutes.
And then to really be clear, they put (really abortus) on Julian’s. Which means: “abortus /abor·tus/ (ah-bor´tus) a fetus weighing less than 500 g or having completed less than 20 weeks gestational age at the time of expulsion from the uterus, having no chance of survival.”
“a·bor·tus n. The product or products of an abortion.
I understand it’s just medical. Not hateful or directed at me. But really? Did that need to be put?
My child, my baby. That’s what he’s considered. Abortus. Fetus. Product. Really. Not a baby. Not a person. Not to them – just to us. The fact we ever have these documents is a miracle in itself. And yet – abortus. No matter that he lived. That he moved. That they breathed and tried to cry. That their hearts beat and they struggled. No matter.
Just in case we weren’t clear. Not a baby. Not yet. Maybe a few weeks later – but not yet.