Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Our decision

After our first birth with R, we got a folder at the hospital that every mother expects: the infamous birth certificate paperwork (I hope you have your name picked out!), caring for yourself at home, breastfeeding tips, and info about a new mom’s and breastfeeding support group. For the most part, that folder was exciting and marked the beginning of a new journey.

Shortly after Quinn’s arrival, however, we were given a folder that no parent ever imagines receiving. The contents were as follows: Death Certificate paperwork; Funeral Home listings; Caring for yourself at home (a specific version for women who go home without the babies they gave birth to); Stillbirth; Postpartum Depression after a Loss; Bereavement Services; A father’s grief; and Something Happened (a children’s book explaining to the sibling that the baby died).

I was in a fog and out of my body when I received this folder. It's like I floated above the room and looked down to see the horror film play out. With a glazed look, I took it, immediately gave it to Josh, and started howling. This would be the first time her name was written - on her death certificate paperwork. It wouldn't be for weeks that I had the courage to look at the contents of the folder.

Did I want my baby buried or cremated? Did the nurse just say those words? I was shocked, paralyzed, numb, scared, and deeply lost. Josh, however, found some strength to look at it right away. All I could contribute was to tell him, please don't choose the funeral home on the circle near our house. I couldn't bear driving by there every single day, always reminded of the place where my daughter was cremated.

Within hours of Quinn’s arrival, he was on the phone with funeral homes inquiring about cremation. He was on a mission to
bring her home as soon as possible. For us, burial never crossed our minds because we both needed Quinn home with us. She arrived on a Monday and we had her home by Friday. The trek from the car to our front door was long and sad, with her in a box instead of safely nestled in her car seat.

Now, there is a sense of comfort that she is home and reunited with her family. I have a little shrine for her in our bedroom and I light a candle for her every night. Some nights I play Amazing Grace. I’ve heard of people scattering the ashes, but I’m not ready for that yet. I need her with me and am comforted by my little ritual with her. Maybe one day I will return her to nature, but for now she is in the embrace of her loving, living family.

Baby's urn

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