Monday, April 13, 2015

Just another reason to hate taxes.

No one likes taxes, right?  No one likes doing them and no one likes paying them.

I'm grateful that my numbers-man husband handles such things.  But I'm kind of a micro-manager and I like to look them over before I sign my name.

And this year, seeing our number of dependents listed as 1 was a total slap in the face.  Seeing "Benjamin, son" hurt just as much, because of that white space underneath.

If I would have thought about this before, I would have expected it.  The government doesn't recognize Lydia's birth nor her death.  We don't have a birth certificate for her because she was born dead.  We don't have a death certificate for her because she was born dead.  To the United States government, Lydia Joanne never existed.

If she had taken one breath, even if she was born 10 weeks earlier, she would have received both a birth certificate and a death certificate.  And a social security number, so we could include her on our taxes.  We could claim her as our daughter.  

A friend and I vented about this the other day.  She pointed out that she spent more on her son because he died than she would have had he lived.  We paid the same hospital bills.  And a funeral, casket, burial, headstone - these things are expensive.  Breast milk is not.  But no tax break from the government, because her son also never took his first breath.

I'm just starting to look into all the legalities here.

I know many states don't even collect information on stillbirths.  I know others are working to get laws passed to change that.

Here's an excerpt from Star Legacy Foundation, where Lydia has a fund:
Hearty congratulations to Star Legacy Foundation board member Shannon Renfro for successfully shepherding LB1197 through the Virginia legislature! The bill becomes effective July 1st!
SUMMARY AS PASSED: Stillbirths; data collection; policies. Requires the Virginia Congenital Anomalies Reporting and Education System to collect data on stillbirths. The bill defines a stillbirth as an unintended, intrauterine fetal death occurring after a gestational period of 20 weeks. The bill also requires the State Board of Health to adopt regulations that require any hospital that provides obstetrical services to establish policies to follow when a stillbirth occurs that meet the guidelines pertaining to counseling patients and their families and other aspects of managing stillbirths as may be specified by the Board in its regulations.

I find it crazy that that's where we are.  We need to pass laws to start collecting data on stillbirths?  

But that's where we are. 

Similar to the Molly Bears, soon after Lydie's death, I wasn't concerned about getting documentation.  Who cares about a birth certificate, a death certificate?

Now?  Now I want documentation to show my daughter existed.  She was here.
A little bit of googling tells me I can get a "certificate of stillbirth" for Lydie.  And that a couple whose daughter was stillborn have been fighting in Ohio to be able to receive a birth certificate for her.  Apparently that's possible now (with of course, the fine print, not a live birth, though I'm not finding the information on it.

A new project for me, I supposed.

We'll never get to see Lydie's name on a report card or a swim ribbon or a wedding invitation.
So I will take whatever I can get.

Other baby-loss parents: do you have any kind of legal documents to show your child existed?? 


  1. It's so sad and frustrating. Yes, almost two years later, I received a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. It's not the same, but it is something. That's what my state does. I was so infuriated and shocked that they don't collect data. I hate this all so much.

  2. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. This rabbit hole.

    So here's where I AM AT, 2.5 years later: State of California--SUPPOSEDLY can issue certificate of stillbirth. The form is here:

    So. 2.5 years later...I have now applied for BOTH a copy of the certificate of fetal death AND a certificate of stillbirth. Do I have either in hand? No. Have I paid money for either? Yes. Did either return any results? No.

    I have no idea what is going on, but frankly, I have completely given up getting ANYTHING from the state. I don't even think I've written much about this in my blog because it makes me so angry and upset and crushed. I've had many therapy sessions about it with Hallie, but the short answer is that it appears the state never even knew Luke existed. Except for the fact that we somehow DID obtain a death certificate in the immediate aftermath because we had to have one to get the permit for his cremation. So. I'm not even understanding whether that death certificate is literally the same thing as either one of those certificates listed on that website, BUT, what I DO know is that a search for his fetal death AND stillbirth yielded ZERO results within the California Department of Public Health's database.

    So. Either they've completely lost him. Or they filed his death just as a generic death? And I just...well, the last time I was able to SPEAK to someone at the CDPH, I literally cried on him. He was the manager of some sort. He told me that sometimes, counties wait over a year to FILE their certificates of stillbirth, that's how few there are? But then...that puts us here, 2.5 years out. And still nothing. So that's no longer an excuse. And now I don't even know what to ask, because I don't understand what happened. How on earth was my son born, dead, at 39 weeks, and not recognized as ANYTHING as far as public record goes? (and seriously, this literally makes our blood boil--Jeff works for the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk--it hits us SO CLOSE TO HOME to know that this shit doesn't even get recorded)...I spoke to one of the nurses at my hospital who I'm still in contact with, and she told me that was really strange because the hospital would have to have filed a death certificate to the mortuary where Luke was taken. Soooo...I don't get it.

    So frankly, the whole process has really really really fucking depressed me. So I stepped out of it for awhile. I don't even know what else to try anymore. I gave up on it after Lena was born and told Jeff that it was his turn to try to get to the bottom of it because I clearly was making ZERO progress, and his tries have yielded nothing as well.

    I don't know what else to do, but all I know is that every time I try, we end up with heartbreak. I think the next steps for me to figure this thing out would be to reach out to both the hospital and the mortuary and see what each of THEM filed.

    But so much of this eats me up inside. I thought it would be simple--a simple certificate that we could frame with his picture or something? And that sooooo has not been the case. So for now, I settle with my heart, and our pictures, and his urn bear and his Molly Bear, and the print with his name in the sand from Carly Marie, and I'm growing to be more OK with this.

    But it still hurts. Fuck. I'm scared to go back down this path again. Really.

  3. This is maddening.

    I was hoping that the sudden death bill Obama signed into law in December would do something to make states at least start keeping track, but I don't think it'll even go that far. And there's no money attached. Augh.

  4. I haven't looked into it. I don't know what IL does about stillborn babies. I do know I've seen a lot of sad things with his name printed on it, notably a box of ashes in typewriter font.

    I do want a certificate that shows he existed. But I don't want it to say he was stillborn. Maybe that's why I haven't looked into it, because I just know that it will be something I want that I will never get. A real paper saying he was born. Without the added addendum that he was dead.

  5. Because they were able to establish a heartbeat again with Anna, we have a social security number for her and her birth certificate. But it reads "deceased" on the bottom left. I don't know how I'd feel if I didn't have these things. Mostly it underscores again how close we came to having her here. How we missed her whole life by just minutes. So in maybe a different way, HAVING these items rips open the wounds too.
    Not that that's any consolation. There's never any true consolation, in my experience thus far.

  6. We submitted for a certificate of stillbirth. It of course was 10 dollars for a certificate that looked like it was printed right from MicrosoftWord but at least we have something I guess. I think its ridiculous that states don't collect information on stillbirth, that they don't validate a life that did exist though it wasn't in their "perfect" idea of what life means. The sad truth is society is still lagging behind in acknowledging and discussing the death of innocent babies who lived on this earth in utero. When we filed for our certificate it specifically gave a specific weight and that the baby had to be past 20 weeks gestation to be considered a stillbirth. What an 18 weeker doesn't look like a baby enough for them? Just frustrating.

  7. I have yet to get Cale's CBRS though GA does offer them.I applied once and was sent back his "certificate of fetal demise" which we already have. But I do still want that birth certificate even though it will never be the one I really want.

  8. I live in Illinois, my daughter Lanre was stillborn at 20 weeks 2 days. She was issued a death certificate.

    I too am hurt that if she took just one breath I would have another. Also, through my job I carry life insurance however since there is no birth certificate she did not qualify. So all her funeral expenses were out of pocket. Despite the law saying that 20+ weeks you are required to utilize a funeral services for cremation or burial. So why not help me pay for that with the policy I have for that very reason?

    Side note: I found you on instagram through your husband and his heartfelt expressions of Lydia. I felt an instant connection. Your writing is amazing, I have felt majority of what you feel. It's comforting to know someone shares these thought but of course, I wish we never had to. I will keep reading, your words have helped me. I'm Jessica... mother of Lanre Naomi born sleeping October 26, 2013.

  9. Doing taxes is one of those things that nobody really likes to do or pay like you said. Unfortunately, we are all obligated to pay said taxes. I really enjoy your posts. People should be able to get birth certificates for their stillborn children. They are just as much our children as every other child that lives. I really hope that people look at this matter with a little more sympathy some day when it comes to birth certificates and such.

    Jason Hayes @ DECORM

  10. It sickens me to know that our government is this insensitive. The only hopeful thing I read in the Virginia law is the part about requiring hospitals to offer counselling to parents and families of the baby. At least then they might have an idea of what lies ahead in regards to funerals, lack of records, and heartache.


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