But He Didn’t Take a Breath

But He Didn’t Take a Breath
October 1, 2015 2 minute read

The social worker is at my bedside. She’s going on and on about support groups, funeral arrangements, forms to fill out. I can’t absorb any of it. My child is wrapped in the Aden + Anais swaddle I packed in his hospital bag months ago. I’d forgotten how cute this pattern was. I adjust his body in my arms; the weight of him is making my hand go numb. He’s right here, and this woman is talking about all of these terrible things we’ll have to do when he’s gone. Gone. I mull that over and continue to nod as she speaks. I don’t care what she’s saying; she’s saying all the wrong things anyways. So I continue to stare at my perfect little boy.

“…you won’t get a birth certificate. So, here’s the form for the certificate of remembrance that you can get. It’s a really beautiful memento, they do an excellent job.”

My eyes jump up to meet hers. “What did you just say?” I can feel my heart starting to speed up as my mind is fumbling to process what she just repeated to me.

“I’m…I’m so sorry, but you don’t get a birth certificate.”

“We don’t get a birth certificate?” Is this woman insane? “But he was born five hours ago. Look at him.”

“I know. I’m so sorry…so sorry. But he didn’t take a breath…so…” she trails off and gives me a pitiful half smile as she looks at my son. “He’s perfect.”

“Yes,” is all I can manage as I choke back the tears, “he’s perfect.”



– Written by Emma Hansen, originally submitted as an example of an anonymous submission

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