The couple were the parents of 3 daughters. As the pair approached 30, they were expecting this 4th child to be their last and mostly, they were expecting it to be The Boy.
The Boy was scheduled to be born in April but started giving its mother problems in late January. Reluctantly and under protest she was forced to the hospital by her mother.
On February 1st 1975 just after 3 in the afternoon she gave birth. The Boy was me. Behind me was my twin sister. At 3 and 2 pounds respectively, our chance of survival was uncertain. Our paternal grandmother was so convinced of that, she would not visit us at the hospital–she “couldn’t see us like that.”
Our first pediatrician promised that if we survived we would be physically and intellectually delayed.
Sometimes it seems like we have been trying to prove him wrong ever since. At our kindergarten screening our evaluators were surprised at what they named our intellect–we colored ourselves brown and drew our faces with eyelashes.
The pediatrician had been replaced long before so he had no comment. But he continues to practice, encouraging women over 30 to abort “possibly” “defective” children.
If my Twitter were popular enough to start a trend the trend would be #thingsitellmyself because the hash tag appears so often.
Of the things I tell myself, the story of my birth is one I’ve told myself a lot. Particularly as I confront doubt, fear, and hesitation about their habit of lying to me. Oh how I do hate lies and have precious little patience or use for those who tell them–especially when they cost me something!
So when doubt, fear, or hesitation tell me I can’t, and then I don’t I have to return to the story: I am a miracle damnit–how you gon’ tell me what I can’t do?
Since 1975, nothing has happened in my life that is not remarkable just by virtue of my unexpected birth and the subsequent life I (wasn’t supposed to) lead. It has been a unique if not obvious fight.
The fight is rarely obvious to me, even. When I face challenges I frustrate myself when I don’t move past them as quickly or easily as I imagine I should. The dedication that often precedes and then feverishly follows this frustration has been misunderstood as obsession. But it’s a spirit that began in vitro I think. And for better or worse, I’m convinced that I’m relatively powerless over it.
I don’t think I’m particularly remarkable though. We are all the product of various circumstances that have felled lesser wo/men. Everyone is their own miracle.
So the job is (to borrow some ancient slang): recognize.
A week from tonight I will have been on this planet for 38 years (happy earthday to us!) and I’m finally and fully convinced that every one of them has been a miracle.