13- weeks in pregnancy when we found out Mabel had Down Syndrome
27- weeks in pregnancy when we found out Mabel had oligohydramnios due to failing kidneys and might not survive
1030- my hospital room number where I was admitted to monitor Mabel during the last weeks of pregnancy
36- the number weeks I was pregnant with Mabel when I went into labor
5bs 5oz- my daughter’s birth weight
17.25- inches my daughter measured in length
3- the number of Mabel’s room in the NICU
6 hours 41 minutes- the amount of time my daughter lived
125- the number of people who came to her wake
20th– the day of February we buried my daughter
$2700- the cost to bury my daughter
$15,000- the cost of my daughter’s 6 hour stay in the NICU
24- the number of hours I miss my daughter each day
Of these numbers I find the cost of her time in the NICU most striking. It’s as if we can quantify how much my daughter’s life was worth. Insurance paid for most of it, so we aren’t bankrupt. But I can put a price tag on each moment my daughter lived. $2250/hr, $37/min, $0.63/sec. If only I could pay more to have more time with her. Are some moments worth more? That minute while she was placed skin to skin right after birth, that first moment when the nurse put her on my chest for kangaroo care, the moment when she looked up at me after we took out the vent. What about the moments after she died? I treasure those moments too. When I could finally see her free from wires and tubes. When I could bathe her. When I could really feel her weight in my arms.
And the cost to bury my baby. That thing no parent should have to do. People complain about the cost of diapers or day care. But the only thing I can contribute to that kind of conversation is the cost of a burial plot and services. It doesn’t seem right.
I’m sad I can quantify my daughter in numbers. But I am grateful I have so many numbers to remember her by. I only wish there would be more numbers to come.