So here it comes-- the precipice. A year ago I was going to sleep and feeling pretty sore from the intense acrobatics A had engaged in that evening. I had had a good day, including an event that my old office puts on every year. Every year before last it had failed to include a very important class of people. A coworker and I argued forcefully for the inclusion, and we got it. So a year ago my former colleague was included in the event, a first for anyone with her job description. The event went great, and I was thrilled. In the evening A was doing so much turning that I asked JD to bring his guitar and play for us. Monkey danced. Monkey and JD came to feel A kick.
I was thinking recently, as I was reflecting on all the kind and thoughtful comments on my entries about the yahrtzeit and the final week, the comments that all urged me to keep doing what I need to be doing, so I was thinking that the firsts don't end with the anniversary. Cobblestone said it, and I have seen other widows say it too-- second year, at least the start of it, can be tough going, tougher than the first to some extent. For me there will be the anniversary of the funeral, and in a weird twist of timing my OB appointment is scheduled for then. There will be, I am sure, other days that will sneak up on me. Maybe something about the milk, coming or going. Maybe when I went back to work. And then there was the day we got the autopsy report. I don't remember the date on that, but it was a little more than four weeks later.
So I was thinking about that report. I found out the report existed on a Friday, but didn't get to hear from Dr.Best until the next Monday. I didn't get a copy until my six week follow up appointment. And a weird thing happened then. I knew what it said, in broad strokes from the phone call. As I am a scientist, I was actually looking forward to reading the report. I thought of reading every word, asking questions, knowing everything there was to know. And I did, later the day of that six week appointment, at my desk at work. At least I started to. I read the first of the three pages. I started on the second. And then it occurred to me, anew, what I was reading. And I had to put it down. I remember being on the phone with Aite later that day and telling her that it got to me, that it wasn't something you are supposed to have-- an autopsy report on your child. So maybe don't read it for now, she gently suggested. I won't, I agreed. And I didn't, for a while.
Another piece of paper-- the birth certificate. They gave us paperwork for that at the hospital last year. For nearly a year I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. It seemed pointless to get one. I didn't think I wanted it. There was a big discussion of the issue on the deadbaby blogs some time in the spring, a lot of moms told stories filled with love and pain for why they got one or why they wanted one, and I was just nowhere with it. Aite told me then that A has such a lovely name she'd get it to just have another paper with his name on it. That touched me, but didn't move me to a decision. She also said she thought maybe my future children would like to see it some day. As weird as it sounds, that was the first thing that made me realize there will be (I hope, I hope) children in this house one day who won't just know about A, whom we will have to tell.
Last week I suddenly knew what I wanted. I wanted to get the damn thing. Not for anybody else, but for myself. For the weirdest reason-- I realized that I wanted the next one we get after this, the one for our next child, to be the third one we get. Not the second. Stupid, right? A gesture is all this is. But this is the gesture I want to make.
Thus commenced days of looking for that folder from the hospital, the one that had the paperwork. Not by my bedside, not in my office, not in JD's office, not in any of the random places we had thought to look. Had I written this entry yesterday or over the weekend as I originally meant to do, it would now conclude with me telling you that I will probably have to call the hospital for a replacement thing, soon. But I am writing today, and today I gave up and called the hospital.
Labor and delivery receptionist was not warm, but she was careful and she said she needed to transfer me downstairs, to the birth certificates office. She gave me their direct line too, just in case. The receptionist on the floor where the birth certificate office is (which turned out to be the post-partum floor-- oops) was far less with it. She wasn't being mean on purpose but she was ignorant and kept telling me I can't have that-- it's only for babies who are born alive, and was mine not alive? not even a little? I wish I was kidding. I wish. But I didn't scream at her-- way to go maturity. I was pretty confused, actually, thinking this can't be the person in charge of the birth certificates. And eventually she clarified things by saying that she will transfer me to the birth certificates office. That explained it.
When I finally got to talk to the person actually in charge, she was kind, and professional and very helpful. Said she has the paperwork for us right there, and we made plans for us to get it. JD has an appointment at the hospital tomorrow, and she will meet him and give him the envelope, so he doesn't have to go up to where her office is, on the post-partum floor. I told her about the receptionist, and she apologized profusely, sympathized, said she disliked it when people talk about things they have no clue about instead of just transferring the call to those who do. She will make sure the receptionist gets some sensitivity training together with some subject matter refreshments.
So here we are. The day before. I have no idea what tomorrow will be like, or Thursday. I don't even know what to mark as an occasion. The day he died? The day he was born? Neither was supposed to be his birthday--that was still weeks away. And how do we mark it? What do we do? I think we are taking Monkey to the cemetery tomorrow, and we will light a candle at home. I will tell friends who ask that they are welcome to drop by either tomorrow or Thursday. I don't want these two evenings to be like any other evening, but I don't know how to set them apart. We are not the cake and candles type of people. I know many of you are, and maybe under different circumstances we would be too. But this is too confusing-- how do you celebrate a birth day that happened after the death day and weeks before it was supposed to happen? This is late, I know, but if you have suggestions, I am all ears. Or eyes.