Yesterday was mine and my mother's birthday. Yes, you're reading correctly, we share our birthday! It's always been a special thing and while usually I love celebrating birthdays, yesterday was a very weird day for me.
It was made all the better by an anticipated phone call from my mom.
While we use Skype, sometimes it's nice to just be able to listen to each other's voices and chat like we used to, even if we're 7000 kms apart. I forget that little detail at times, on purpose, because otherwise it's enough to make someone's eyes bug out.
I turned 29 yesterday, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I suppose I'm sort of ambivalent about it really. Yes I'm approaching the end of my 20's but I don't feel like I'm getting older. Perhaps it's because I feel aged in many ways to begin with. The ups and downs of life will do that to you after all. And certainly it didn't help that I slept horribly monday night and woke up feeling terrible.
There's something decidedly wrong with that. My friend, whom I saw at the toddler playgroup I go to occasionally on tuesdays said, "Aww, you're not allowed to feel poorly on your birthday!" She proceeded to give me a hug and you know what? That made me feel like yes, my little pity party was possibly justified.
It wasn't a terrible birthday, but it wasn't exciting either. I was actually just hoping to make it through without curling up in a ball in pain. All in all, while extremely tired, I did fare alright by the end of the day. I survived another day and that seemed to be the most important bit. Though I will interject that seeing just how many messages were on my facebook page this morning astonished me! I felt humbled and blessed.
Another friend asked how my birthday was and I told him quite honestly that it wasn't the worst birthday I ever had. That honour belonged to 2008. The year of my miscarriages. It's strange actually, because I can look back at that second miscarriage with some perspective and it is both at once something to shake my head and laugh about and something that makes me cringe. Laughing? At a miscarriage?
Well, I did cry a lot just prior and after my hospital stay, but spending one's 25th birthday in the ER from massive hemorrhaging (from the induction meds I took for the failed pregnancy that wouldn't end itself) wasn't exactly what I had in mind. The whole thing seemed decidedly absurd to me after a few hours in the ER. Especially since in the end I ended up having the Gynecology ward attending on my case, as well as a resident and an intern. It was almost like a little party when you tossed in a nurse plus my husband! Maybe I should have demanded a balloon?
Did I ever mention that the poor intern was trying to do an internal exam and there was so much blood he couldn't see what he was doing? The attending made a comment, 'when this woman says she's bleeding, she means it!' He made me laugh. Then the speculum broke. I wasn't sure who to feel sorry for, myself or the poor flustered intern who was dealing with his first miscarriage patient.
26 hours of no food before I finally got surgery. I was scheduled for a D&C the next day, but I got bumped by a last minute liver transplant. Okay, I'll give them that one! But because they didn't know they could get me in, and I couldn't eat within 12 hours of surgery, I was stuck with glucose in my IV. Though that took a long time to get since they sort of forgot about me for a bit. The headache was unreal! Later when they got me a room on the ward, they gave me morphine through my IV for the headache. I couldn't have tylenol because I couldn't take it orally and I told them absolutely not to sticking it anywhere else. I had had too many people up there as it was!
Morphine is funny stuff, literally. As in, when it kicked in (rather quickly I might add), I fell into fits of giggles whenever my husband said something, even if it wasn't funny. This just added to the overall absurdity of the whole thing in my mind, which is forever planted in my brain. Whenever I think back to that birthday, I can't help but laugh. I don't need to cry over it anymore.
I find it surreal that that was 4 years ago. Four years? Really? The passage of time astonishes me sometimes. It's like time is swirling around me at different speeds, and if I reach out and interact with it, I'll find it has moved faster or slower than I anticipate. Human perception is truly a strange thing.
Reflecting on this birthday, I do not feel 29. Yesterday I easily felt twice that given how my body hurt. As I watched my daughter run around with that reckless abandon of childhood, I realized that age truly does not matter. Our perspectives are so skewed about it anyway that perhaps birthdays should serve as a marker, a resting point to reflect on what's happened since you last came to the marker, and look ahead and wonder and dream about what's all to come. Nothing more, nothing less. Celebrate what you can and carry on living.