Reason no. 999 NOT to open the mail

October 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Posted in Death, father, Grief, mother, parents | 8 Comments

I have known for several years that opening mail can be very risky.   The first one of Jake’s medical bills that I opened sent me into such a tailspin of tears that I to this day will not open anything from the hospital (where I had all four of our children).   The letters from various doctors not able to process Jake’s bills because they did not have his social security number added to my inability to open mail.

Note:  Social Security cards take approximately 6 weeks after birth to arrive in the mail.   Death certificates, oddly, take much less time.   All were additional pieces of mail that I would/could not open.

I foolishly let my guard down.   Our twins are mildly – ok, outrageously obsessed with Halloween and costume catalogs.   They study costume catalogs for hours and often try to sleep with them.   The catalogs have caused a few disputes so, I have been anxiously awaiting the mail these days in hopes that a new costume catalog will arrive (and temporarily resolve the disputes).    Yesterday, I got the mail.   There were no costume catalogs.   However, there was a large envelope addressed only to me from the Cord Blood Registry.

My mind started to create ideas for what could possibly be in this envelope addressed only to me.   We were not able to store Jake or the twins’ cord blood.  The only cord blood we stored was Sawyer’s.   The first thoughts which popped into my head were the following:

  1. The Cord Blood people have found something in Sawyer’s blood which would explain why his heart suddenly just stopped.
  2. The Cord Blood people were writing to apologize for the difficult time they gave us when we requested for some of Sawyer’s cord blood be sent to the Mayo clinic (where he is part of a study).  
  3. The Cord Blood people were writing to me to tell me that this was all a horrible mistake (I know that this crosses the lines of impossibility but it was a very brief thought/wish/hope).

None of the above thoughts were correct.  I went against my better judgment and opened the large envelope.   It was a birthday card.   A birthday card for Sawyer.   The very thoughtful Cord Blood people not only sent a card but a gift.   A book.  A book for Sawyer.   The book is Where is Baby’s Belly Button?.     I guess that the part of the company which handles requests for the cord blood to be sent out to the Mayo clinic does not communicate with the part of the company which sends out the birthday cards.   I guess the woman we spoke to extensively about the need for our baby’s cord blood so that it could be part of a study to help determine his cause of death was not able to flag our file to indicate our baby is dead.   I guess the Cord Blood people send cards and gifts early because Sawyer’s first birthday is not for another month and half.

I could not cry I was in such disbelief.   And, as you can read I have reverted back to the anger stage of grief (at least for the moment).   I will put Where is Baby’s Belly Button? on the twins’ bookshelf right next to the copies of the Best Ever Big Sister and the Best Ever Big Brother books by the same author.


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  1. That is so awful. I’m so sorry.

  2. I wish I had words that could comfort you. I will just continue to pray for you all.

  3. I have read this over so many times. i wish I was with you so I could give you a BIG hug.

  4. Oh my…yes, I understand. In addition to not opening mail, it helps not to answer the telephone. You know, when they call to ask why your child’s birth certificate says “twin, born second”, yet they have no record of another birth? (because Liza did not get a certificate of live birth, only Owen). Or when they call to ask to put you and your babies on TV because one of your L&D nurses tested positive for TB? (sorry, lady…it would be hard to put them on TV because they are dead – and I don’t think she appreciated my sarcasm).

    No, the right hand does not seem to communicate with the left.

  5. Oh, Lanie, that is terrible!!!! Huge THUMBS down to the Cord Blood Registry.

  6. Lanie, your writing is so articulate, so easy to read, and so heart-breaking. You have a beautiful way with words which I hope will help to heal your heart. Love, Julie

  7. Lanie, I love how you showed humor even in a story of terrible anger. Let me know if you want us to send you extra costume catalogs! We get plenty here!

  8. I hear you, I hear you. You would think they’d have a little more sense, especially in this day and age of computers.

    My husband died in July of this year. About 3 weeks later, the hospital where he had passed away called to “remind” him of a follow-up appointment. Fortunately, they just left a message, or I would have given them a nasty reply.

    And, I continue to get mail from our bank, asking my hubby if he wants life insurance. Don’t I wish…..

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