When my first son died, shortly after birth, I found too late that the only prints I’d been given from the hospital staff were barely worth calling prints… they didn’t even try to unfold his fingers before taking them, and even inked his knuckles rather than take the extra effort to create something memorable. I had been hoping for something clear and beautiful, but when they handed me the papers, I was devastated.
He left no marks on my body other than an ugly and unnecessary cesarean scar: I had no stretch marks or permanent weight gain, I was longing for something physical to remember him by. I wanted a tattoo of his hand in the place where it had been pressing throughout my pregnancy… but due to the condition of the prints, I didn’t know if this would ever happen.
It’s taken me years of canvasing tattoo artists to find one that was capable of not only reconstructing a good print, but also skilled enough to capture the finer details of it.
With the help of my best friend, who took prints from her newborn daughter to give a template to work from, I took the papers to a new artist in town with an amazing skill in details and shadows. She gave me a perfect copy of the size and shape of his palm… not only that, but she painstakingly worked his palm lines (the only part of his prints that was truly preserved) into the tattoo.
So here’s my fourth submission: about 1.5 months pregnant with baby number four, carrying the extra 20lbs from my last two pregnancies, covered in faded stretch marks, an ugly cesarean scar from an unnecessary surgery I still haven’t recovered from, and finally graced with a mark from my first son’s life.