Birthday Suit

I was born today November 1st, on a Tuesday in a busy Bermudian hospital at 3:26 pm, 3 weeks premature. My mother was 18, my father 20; overseas in the Navy, hence the locale of my birth. And today, with all the birthday wishes, I get to hear the same story of my birth that I’ve heard for the past 30 years.

Today I like to thank my parents because it isn’t just a day for me to celebrate that I was born. What is miraculous about my birth is the very act of birth and that is attributed to my mother and my father. I did nothing but suffer through the routine sufferings of any birthed baby on their day. It shouldn’t be a day about me because all the hard work was done by my parents.

I guess I will take some credit for some fraction of small work, but it was innate I can only conceive it as being something innate because I had no prior knowledge of anything (or anything that I can recollect, I was merely minutes old). I survived. I was strong enough, willful enough and spirited enough to survive. Some things never change, eh?

The day I was born all the doctors were busy. The nurses told my mom she wasn’t giving birth (even though she was in labor with my head showing). So my dad ran to find a doctor, any doctor. He grabbed a doctor in blood splattered surgery scrubs straight off an elevator to come deliver me. It was the only one he could find.

Thank the universal higher powers for that because unbeknownst to anyone involved I didn’t breathe for 7 and a half minutes when I was born. This doctor, though, happened to be a respiratory specialist. He did his job immediately and I was given the breathe of life. The doctors brought my parents the news of my inevitable mental retardation while they watched their baby, head deformed, and helplessly alone in the incubator.

My delivering doctor sat carelessly, for nights on end, molding my head back into shape. The nurses pumped my mom with drugs so her milk dried up and she wasn’t able to nurse me past one week. Eventually I came home and by Christmas time, I actually fit into a regular sized Christmas stocking. I have a picture of it with the name Betsy glitter glued on the front. I can’t fit into a Christmas stocking anymore, but people still call me small. I quickly point out that the package is only small and it has a hard time containing this giant personality.

One day I want to look that doctor up. I want to look him up and write him a letter. I’d like to buy him coffee, sit down and thank him for giving me breath. I’d like to thank him for taking his precious off time to come and mold my head back to normal. I’d like to thank circumstance for allowing him to be there at that time just in that moment and most of all I’d like to thank my parents for being strong enough for ME to be strong enough.

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