How has it been almost an entire year since we both met and said goodbye, Luke?
I remember this month last year so well. We were so busy getting ready for your arrival--we had your baby shower. And we worked hard on getting all the things that you supposedly NEED for a newborn. We ordered a rocker from Babies R Us. And we hoped it'd get here in time for your arrival.
It got here the same day as the last time we heard your heartbeat. Two days before we lost you.
I don't know where the past year has gone. So much has changed. In so many ways, you've caused a lot of that change. We sold our house, and we just moved into a single story house. It's awesome and perfect, and I wish you were there with us.
And then there's the fact that I'm 4.5 months pregnant. We found out about 3 weeks ago that you're going to have yourself a little sister, Luke. I was torn either way, about what sex this baby would be. But I think I've come to the realization that I'm glad this one's a girl. I won't ever ever feel like this baby is replacing you in any way. You will always be you, and she'll always be herself. I will have a son and daughter.
What sucks is that we could've had the perfect family--Everyone dreams of having both a boy and a girl and calling it a day. I know I did. Now...It is what it is. We'll always be missing our boy, but we'll have our girl. Strangers on the street won't know that...and that's what's going to feel the most hollow.
The first year...almost here.
During the next month, I'm going to make it a point to raise money in your name for The OC Walk to Remember. I hate that we won't be able to spend your first birthday together--eating cake and opening presents. So this is all that I have left--Raising money to help others who have been put into the same terrible situation as we were with you.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from the Office of Vital Records in Sacramento. I've been waiting for this letter for a long time. Since last November, when I submitted the form for your certificate of stillbirth. I'm sure no one really knows that when your baby is born without a heartbeat, you don't get a birth certificate. You walk away with just a death certificate. It's like you were never alive. And that hurts. so I submitted for the certificate of stillbirth--mostly because that's all we have left to ask for. I sent in the form, and the $20 for a copy.
So when I opened that envelope, and saw the sentence "NO RECORD FOUND", obviously, my heart broke.
I was expecting the certificates enclosed. And I was greeted with that. No reason why. Nothing.
I called up the office Thursday. And I sort of lost it on them. I asked them how it was possible for me to be receiving it. We HAVE a death certificate. How can there be NO RECORD? No record of your existence that day in the hospital? I gave birth to you at 5:29am on September 10.
I was given the standard bureaucratic answer. And then more explanation that broke my heart even more. There are so few stillbirths in each county, that they're gathered up and submitted by the county they occurred in in one batch every six months. I must've submitted it on the end of the six month cutoff. And so your birth/death probably didn't get submitted to Sacramento until the NEXT 6 months cutoff.
When I told him it's been almost a year since your death, he told me that it's possible that Orange County hadn't submitted them for either period, and maybe they'll just submit a year's worth of these records...THAT'S how few there are.
I started choking up when I explained to him that that was disappointing...that I'd hoped to have the certificate for your birthday. I told him that it hurt to feel like your birth/death wasn't even submitted yet...like it was incredibly unimportant. Like it never happened.
He said he totally understood and told me he was very sorry...
You were important to us. So important to us.
It hurts that our situation is so rare, the county doesn't even care enough to submit them very often. Especially considering how much more this means to me than just a normal parent that gets their alive-child a standard birth certificate. I understand that they need it more than me. But I think my heart my need this more then they do.
11 months. I wish I hadn't learned so much about stillbirth in these past 11 months. But if there's anything I can do, it's to help raise money for a cause that supported me when I needed it most that day in the hospital and after.
For Luke's first birthday, I'd love to be able to raise at least $1000 for the OC Walk to Remember. I'm trying to liken this to getting him a first birthday present. But instead, you'll be helping others in my area and beyond (now that they're associated with the STILL Project) who need this help. You can find our donation page by clicking the picture below...
And thanks to all of you who have supported us this past year. It's been a year of a lot of downs, but even some ups. And we couldn't have done it alone.