Recently I had a birthday, a celebration of my birth, my life, marked by the month and day I entered this world. I have been thinking about the circumstances surrounding my birth day …
Before my conception, my parents had tried to have a child for nearly ten years. They were told that they would not be able to have children. They had given up, and were making plans for adoption when it was discovered that my mother was pregnant with me.
It was a difficult pregnancy in which my mother gained no more than twenty pounds throughout her term. Then, at the end of August, her father died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was the patriarch of the family; a beloved man, husband and father of five. His death at such a young age from a massive heart attack was devastating to all.
The doctor who attended to my mother – Dr. Joyce – had delivered the last two of my grandmother’s children. He was quite old and had delayed his retirement in order to deliver me. I was to be his last birth.
During my mother’s labor, so many things went wrong. There was a handshake in the hallway between the doctor and my father on who to save. This may have sealed my fate had my grandmother not interrupted – there would be no choice, she said, Dr. Joyce would save us both.
The umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck three times, and my heartbeat was lost. I was born twenty days late and paradoxically premature at 5 lbs. But I lived.
My family called me the “miracle baby” – I was the child my parents were told they would never be able to conceive. I was the light in the darkness after my grandfather’s death. I was the one who almost died while being born.
Today, I am wondering about my spirit, how I struggled so hard to enter this world – to live – in this place, this time. Am I living my life to its fullest potential? Am I doing the work I struggled so hard to get here for?
I am 38 years old. I began the celebration of my birthday in my lover’s arms, encircled by his generous and passionate love. Throughout the day, I was surrounded the love of my children and my family, and all the thoughts and birthday wishes from my friends. After dinner, my children sang to me, watching me with bright eager faces as I blew out the birthday candles and made a wish. The night found me lost in my love of language, reading and writing ~ happy.
There is still so much work to do. But I am here, I am present; I am awake and alive. I wish I could live every day with this heightened awareness of just how precious of a gift life is.
Each day we have a chance to be thankful for our blessings, to share and express love, and to do our work. We were given a chance to live, to die, to experience all that life has to offer, to make mistakes, to reach our goals, and to create our worlds anew. Each day, we are reborn. Happy Birthday xo