Yesterday we registered Littlegirl’s stillbirth and reopened her grave to bury her organs.
In Ireland you get a year to register the birth/death of your child. Irishmam and I had been waiting for a “good” time to go into Dublin city to do this and decided that yesterday was to be the day.
It was strange to have to go back to the same place that we registered Littleboy’s birth. The staff were sensitive and I understand they always skip people like us to the front of the line, but it is still tough to sit even briefly in a room full of people with their babies, waiting to introduce their children to the state for the lifetime of passports and tax numbers that lie ahead. It’s worse again to walk out of the place with nothing but a bloody certificate to say that your baby officially existed, but is dead.
Part one of our wonderful day was now completed. We went and had a coffee to pass some time as we waited to go to the graveyard where Littlegirl is buried, near our home. We didn’t want to arrive up there early and risk seeing the men digging up her grave.
Why were they disturbing her grave at all?
Well, to cut a long story short, at the time of her death when we agreed to an autopsy for Littlegirl we apparently signed to have the hospital dispose of her organs on our behalf. However there has been so much trouble in Ireland recently with regard to organ retention (particularly with babies) that the hospital rang us when they got them back to let us know that we could go ahead with the original plan or change of mind.
(Much of the scandal of organ retention in Ireland occurred before Littlegirl’s time, so we were not directly affected. However, an official report was published just days after we got word that her organs had been returned following post-mortem, so I suspect there was a wide-scale hustle throughout the Irish health service to ensure parents were informed that their babies remains were been looked after respectfully)
We did change our mind and decided that it was our responsibility to oversee the burial of Littlegirl’s last remains. It’s all we can do for her at this stage. So we coordinated with the funeral director to meet in the cemetery yesterday and put her to rest.
Just Irishmam and myself went up to the graveyard, we didn’t want to involve our families in any kind of official ceremony, both to spare their feelings and our own. We were greeted by the gravedigger who was really very nice to us. He handed me a small square wooden box (I couldn’t bring myself to look inside) and I got down on my knees and placed it into the fresh dug hole. I was glad he hadn’t gone all the way down into the grave, I don’t think Irishmam or I could have standed seeing poor Littlegirl’s coffin again.
We paused for a moment, asked the gravedigger to place our flowers o n the grave when he was finished…and left.
After a cry in the car we went and had a nice lunch, talking about how surreal it was to contemplate eating while driving away from concluding such a task.
It was a tough day, but it’s done now. So we just have to worry about such fun tasks as picking a headstone and making our way towards her first anniversary. Yay.