James and I just downloaded the forms required by the Vital Records Unit in Raleigh, NC to receive our Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. We have our Certificate of Fetal Death mailed to us back in 1975. I was so hurt to read back then, that our son was called a fetus instead of the baby he was. He was a full term baby weighing 7lbs 14oz and was 21 inches long. He had a head full of brown hair. Every inch of him was beautiful. None of us could help it if his cord decided to tighten into a double knot as he moved down into the birth canal. He was hours from making it home free into our wanting arms. He never made it into our arms because he was whisked away to somewhere in the hospital to be alone, without his parents to hold him and kiss him and take pictures, foot molds and hand molds. We had no idea to ask for these things. I was in that hospital from Tuesday - Saturday morning and not one nurse or doctor ever suggested we might want to have these moments, minutes, hours with our son. We were broken into a million tiny pieces of heaviness and hurt. We didn't have a tear drop posted over our door. We had to explain our situation to each nurse that walked in thinking we were experiencing a blessed event. I saw my son for less than 3 minutes in the delivery room, never being able to touch him. James saw him with his parents in a hallway outside of delivery for just minutes, possibly longer than me. Our son's image is forever burned into my soul and eyes. We did share time with him at the funeral home, but again we were rushed. I will never forget how beautiful he was is his blue outfit with the white kite on it and his white babies booties. He simply looked liked he was sleeping. I was so proud that he was so beautiful.
Then the letter arrived at our home. The one from the Vital Records Unit informing me that I had a fetus. Certificate of Fetal Death. It came to our attention recently that in 2005 the laws in North Carolina had changed. Babies in North Carolina that are stillborn can now be recognized as a real birth! It was a real birth! But legally my son is now just not a statistic! He will receive a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth.
Tomorrow we are going to Raleigh to spend the Easter Weekend with our son, his wife, and our glorious three grandchildren. Before arriving at the home, we will go to downtown Raleigh and visit the Human Resources Office and the Vital Records Department to present our original Fetal Death Certificate which will allow us to get tomorrow, our long awaited Certificate of Birth for our son, James Collins Fitts, Jr. I hope I have the courage not to cry when I finally see it in print!
Our daughter, Reita Gale, will not be getting one of these certificates. It grieves my heart so. She was the baby we got to hold and spend time with while still in the hospital. She was born before the so called "cut off date." Back when she was born in 1982 we still called how far along we were in months instead of weeks. She was a fully formed beautiful daughter, weighing at 1lb 4 oz. Even though she was stillborn, she was before the 24th week. I do believe in years to come, she too, will be recognized with her certificate. For now, we wait until her turn.
Thank you North Carolina for changing the laws! What a wonderful surprise gift for us!
Easter! A time of rebirth! A time because of Jesus Christ, the sting of death is gone! Through Him, our King of Kings, our babies live on in His Kingdom!
Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son, Glory be to the Holy Spirit!