“When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate – the genetic and neural fate – of every human to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.” -Oliver Sacks
This morning, I was looking for information on Iris’s birth stats, from one year ago today. I knew that I had them, but I could not find them. I took items out of the box that I have sitting on a tray in the master bedroom and could not find it. I was positive the information had been written on a little card that the hospital had sent home with me.
So I went into another box. I have one box that holds items for both of my girls – the items most meaningful to me – and then individual boxes from the hospital, so I thought that maybe it was in her individual box. Still nothing.
I looked at the death certificate. Nothing listed.
I knew I could look at the autopsy report, but I really, really did not want to do that, in all of its clinical, unfeeling language.
Finally, I looked in the joint box again. I took out every, single item individually. It had been stuck between two cards, and when I pulled them apart, it fell out. Iris Madeline Hnub Yang. Born at 7:42 a.m. (after about 16 hours of labor). 5.5 inches, 2.3 ounces. I never saw her, because I couldn’t bring myself to do so.
I put everything back in her box. On top were all of the ultrasound photos from this pregnancy. I have been putting them in the box with my other girls, apparently already planning for a loss.
Happy birthday, baby girl. I gave a donation to the International Rescue Committee to pay for school for a girl in another country for a year. And paid for the person behind me in line at Starbucks today. It’s the best I could do.