I had a doctor's appt, an annual. I joined the mamogram-a-year club, boy when did I get this old? Steve thinks it's funny. I think he's past due for a prostate exam. My appointment wasn't far from a hospital where we had a first call. So we decided, Schewan and I, that I would go on the first call after my appointment. I was brave, it'd be okay. After my appointment, I called her to see if he was released yet and if I could pick him up. She checked. I hoped he wouldn't be ready. She called me back. He was. My heart was racing. She said she told them it was my first time and that I might be a little emotional. I was supposed to go to the floor he was on instead of to the morgue, they thought it'd be easier for me. I picked up the phone for admittance to the ward. I could barely say who I was and why I was there. I was okay again once they let me in. I waited for the Decedent Affairs Coordinator to arrive. She said she didn't want me to have to take him throught the hospital, so he was going to the morgue afterall and she would go with me and we'd pick him up there together. "Noelle," she said, "he was very sick and he's so much better off right now. He was born with all his organs on the outside." He was only a month old and I never actually saw him. We went to the morgue. I was shaky and hoping to not pass out. She was calm but chatty so that I would be more comfortable. I could smell the morgue as soon as we stepped out of the elevator. I never knew this scent before and probably regular people would never recognize it. Does that mean I'm not a regular person now? Two young men from the transportation department were there, but they forgot to bring the baby and I didn't understand for a moment why two of them came and the bassinet was empty. Couldn't together they figure out to bring the baby with them. Then she opend the cabinet underneath the bed and took him out. He was, of course, in a plastic bag, not just in a baby blanket burrito like I was somehow expecting. I opened my little blanket and she put him in. I wrapped him up. I didn't know which end was his head and which was his foot. It didn't matter, as i covered the plastic, wrapped him like a Christmas present, and called him by name as I pulled him to my chest. It wasn't until we were in the elevator that I realized I hadn't checked his toe tag. What if I had the wrong baby? I had to open the blanket. Luckily, he had a tag on the outside of his bag and it was him, the right dead baby. I buckled him into the front seat of my car. As much as you can buckle in a 2 pound baby in a plastic bag, wrapped up like a Christmas present on the way to the funeral home. I drove so carefully on my way back to work. I couldn't imagine getting into a wreck and having him go flying. I didn't sing to him or talk to him, well only once to say we were going now. I carried him into the building. I put him in the refrigerator. Wrote his name on the log and came back up front to my desk. Schewan asked how I was and I was okay.
I was waiting and waiting and waiting for Logan to get home from daycare that night. And when Danielle brought him in, I hugged him. And then the tears came.