Today, at the stroke of 3:15 p.m., I turned 30 years old. I can hear my bones creaking as I type this. I’m kidding, of course; I actually have had an easy time with this milestone age, and I know I can chalk it up to the fact that I am about where I expected/hoped to be in my life at this point. If I weren’t married, for example, I might have having a more difficult time of it.
But this birthday is an interesting one, because it’s my first since giving birth myself. And having gone through that, I now see things so much more different than I did before. Previously, birthdays were about the person born. But this birthday, I have so much more of an appreciation for my own mom (and I’ve told her this very thing), and it’s really her who should be celebrating instead of me. Me? I didn’t do anything. She’s the one who gave me life. All I did was go through a birth canal and cried at the end.
I am the firstborn child, and my parents tried for ten years (with one known miscarriage in the mix) to have me. Now, infertility now is certainly different from infertility 30 to 40 years ago because options to remedy the problems weren’t nearly as prevalent back then. However, ten childless years is still ten childless years, and I know it must have been hard for my parents to want a family so badly for that long but not be able to achieve it. However, with the news of my impending arrival came some difficult news for my mother: She was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 29.
Again, medical advances weren’t as good back then, and she was strongly encouraged to abort the baby that would become me, as I was a severe risk to her health. But she did not give up on me; she refused an abortion and said she would take the chance. Three days past the due date, on June 12, 1977, at 3:15 p.m., yours truly was born. This must have been quite a fantastic moment for my parents; I have always appreciated knowing all they went through to have me, as I can’t tell you how loved and wanted it has made me feel all these years. They were able to remove my mom’s cervical cancer after I was born, though she had another flare-up when she found out she was (accidentally) pregnant with my sister, who is 18 months younger than I am. This time, she had to have a full hysterectomy so the cancer wouldn’t return. Like it or not, she was done with her child-bearing years, though she did have two daughters to show for it.
After all she went through to have me, it’s really my mom that should be lighting the candles on a fantastic birthday cake today, not me. As for me, my true celebrating will come on January 27, the anniversary of Baby B’s entrance into this world.