Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Birth Certificates- Revisited

I'm so frustrated. Why can't people think? I mean really think!

So, as you know, Peter has been working tirelessly on getting birth certificates issued for the kids. We are still on the journey for Nicholas and Sophia's certificates (we haven't gotten the paperwork yet to fill out on Alexander yet, but his will probably be just as much of a nightmare).

To back up: We filled out paperwork for the twins last year. Nicholas's was filled out in mid-February, Sophia's in mid-March. Months passed... No certificates. We contacted the state who informed us that the hospital never sent the paperwork. So months of back and forth with the hospital. My postings here and here ended the saga for the time being (back in August) with the hospital promising to send the paperwork and to expect them by the end of November. As you can imagine, we have been lax in following up and now, here we are, in February and still: no certificates.

Peter called the hospital in January and after several rounds of phone tag, finally spoke to the person. She verified that they sent off the paperwork and the state received it. So, they are done with their portion. She was very nice but couldn't help us further. So, Peter has been calling the Health Department and finally the woman there called back. And this is where the frustration really gets me.

They have the paperwork. They've had it for months.

The person who processed it saw that fetal death certificates were issued (which were incorrect: standard death certificates should have been issued). The certificates were required to do their cremations. Because the hospital didn't send in the birth certificates in a timely manner, whomever at the state handles death certificates did the wrong ones. When the person getting the death certificates did a search, they found those, and, rather than investigating to see what the issue was, they just filed them away! And did NOTHING! Even though we've been calling and calling, no one thought to do anything! So now, this poor woman (who has been very polite and is trying to be helpful) is left trying to pick up the pieces. This will mean rescinding the old death certificates and issuing a new one along with the birth certificates. And God only knows how much time all this will take.

Is it too much to ask that these things be done correctly??? I know it can't just be us. Other people out there must be going through this too. Does no one realize the extra stress and grief it places on a bereaved parent to have to fight for every little thing? Do hospitals think that, by delaying paperwork or waiting for a parent to ask for it, that they are helping? Even more frustrating is that because birth certificate info wasn't given at the time of Alexander's birth, his death certificate was also issued incorrectly.

I know other people are going through this, too. And I am so sorry. I realize that a piece of paper doesn't negate their lives or give them back, but it still matters to me. It's just something else that shows that our babies were real, live, human beings who lived beautiful lives. It's something that lives on far beyond my memories are gone and my mind has turned to mush. It's something tangible. It's part of the few things we have left.

I'm sure there will be more updates on this saga as they develop. Peter, wonderful man that he is, is handling the details and harassing the state, which is lucky for them. I'd be a raging nightmare (if they could even understand me through the tears...)


Reba said...

That is so frustrating. I think it's wonderful that you and your hubby are working so hard to get the babies their certificates. We didn't bother to try to get anything like that for our twins (born at 16 weeks) because I just assumed they wouldn't issue them at that age. I guess for me it wouldn't have made a real difference, but I admit I'm a little curious now. I hope the process is smoother from here on out and that you have the papers in your hand before too long.

Cara said...

Michele - maybe you should call and rage once or twice. That might just kick their paper pushing, mistake making butts into gear, yes?

It is so unfair. We don't have our children, and they can't even grant us easy access to a piece of paper.


A n T said...


Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

I just discovered your blog today via Glow in the Woods. I'm looking forward to reading your story from the beginning and learning more. I'm sorry we have to meet this way. I will be praying for you.

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

I also just noticed your work with your church. Thank you. FOCA is something, including many Catholics, know little about. The name, Freedom of Choice, is misleading. Doctors and hospitals will no longer have the choice to opt out of abortions, even partial birth abortions. You already know the rest, but I'm so sickened by it all.

Anonymous said...

I get what youre saying about how even though its just a piece of paper it is important... All Anthony has is a stillbirth certificate.. but it verifies that he made it past a certain gestational age and counts for something....
you are so fortunate that your babies will be able to get BIRTH certificate..... hopefully soon, they will be on display as proof of their lives

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine why the state would be doing something to stupid and insensitive.

Good luck!

k@lakly said...

That's bullshit, plain and simple. Withut being crass, the fact that your children lived and were not stillborn has federal tax implications for you and there are other legal implications as well. You should contact your local congressperson or other government official to see if they can help you. And you should raise hell. There is no excuse for what has happened and I am sure there are several reportable violations that you can waive in the hospitals face to make them work harder and faster. Call the Hospital Administrator or whatever 'title' the head of the hosp has and get them to fix it, NOW.
I'm so sorry you have this crap to deal with on top of everything else. It is their mess, make them clean it up.