I have in my possession a piece of paper that no parent should ever possess.
A death certificate for my son.
I looked at it tonight. It is so stark, to see it all written out there in black and white. Name: Gabriel Leslie Wheeler. Cause of death: Extreme prematurity. (Yet later on down, it states that he died before labor even started. When I first noticed this, I was a bit concerned that it might cause me problems. About what, IDK...I even asked my doctor about it. Then I realized that no one would really care.)
I have the card that I need should my husband and I ever decide to bury his ashes, or for the day when one of us dies and we bury him with whoever goes first then. Right now his ashes are sitting on a shelf in my living room. Most, if not all, who walk into our house do not notice them unless they know to look. The urn is not like they show on TV, easily opened and breakable. It is a very small, plain wooden box that is sealed quite securely.
This is the stuff that I now know about. I know what it takes to get a doctor to sign a death certificate for a dead child. Usually, it takes a lot. Dr. Gingo, the man to whom I will be eternally grateful for doing this, did not dick around with it and signed the death certificate that day. This meant we could have the funeral home pick him up and had his ashes home with us in days....no small feat considering it was over a holiday weekend. I know that the use of "passed away" is frowned upon by newspapers due to the stupid Norwalk Reflector changing the wording of my son's obituary without our permission. I know that the funeral director will help you write that obituary. I know that that room in the hospital, the one they told us was for mothers who's babies had to stay during the tour I took while pregnant with Alexis? Yeah, it is for women who have to deliver a dead child because it is far away from all the other rooms. Unfortunately it is still within earshot of all the living babies crying; you also have to pass by the viewing window of the nursery to leave.
I know what it is like to have to tell your daughter that her brother is dead. I know what it is like to have to plan a memorial service for a child I never even heard cry or felt move in the womb.
All of this I could have gone my whole life without knowing.