I am another year older. Feels like 10. Two birthday's ago, or shortly thereafter, me and the husband decided to try for number three. By the time the next birthday rolled around, I had had a miscarriage and had just discovered that I was pregnant again a few weeks before. My son spent that week of my birthday in the hospital with me next to him, sleeping on a cot. He was released the night before my birthday. I spent the day of my birthday, exhausted both from lack of sleep and early pregnancy symptoms.
One day later I got a call from my parents that they had not been able to reach my favorite Uncle on the phone. He had been ill, fighting pre.leu.kemia and we had all been taking turns driving him to his weekly doctor appts. and staying with him while he had plat.lettes transfused into his body. As my mom had recently had foot surgery, I had become the regular taxi driver and medical companion in the last months, only missing the one appointment he had while my son was in the hospital. It was time I cherished (but for the purpose of the excursion). He and I had spent many hours together in those months, sitting side by side in the hospital, he hooked up to an I.V. and me, deck of cards in hand, ready to learn a new game we could play to pass the time. He had a mind like trap and shared hundreds of stories with me about my relatives, most of whom I had never met. He spoke of speakeasy's, wild party's and time with his mother, who he always called by her first name. He was the youngest of about 14 children, born very premature, less than 3 pounds, and his mother had been told he would never survive. They bundled him in a dresser drawer by the stove and he surprised them all by outliving every single one of them.
He also had a great knack for telling the off color joke, some so off color he would ask me to leave the room while he shared it with his favorite male nurse, being too much of a gentleman to sully my ears with a sordid tale. I didn't have the heart to ruin his image if me by letting him know exactly how much of a lady I am not...
So late that evening after my birthday, my parents called to tell me they were driving over to his place to check on him. I called his house, yelling into the answering machine for him to wake up, telling him my parents were on the way over. I knew how much he hated to be treated like a child and the last time this had happened he was mortified when my mom and I showed up at his apartment at 10p.m. to "check" on him.
About 20 minutes later my dad called again. He was dead. My dad began to cry and I told him, I am coming, I will be right there. I drove over, met my parents outside and then went in to be sure he was gone. And he was.
All in all, last years birthday pretty much sucked except for the being pregnant part. That was what I held onto when I was drowning in fear for my son and then later in grief for my Uncle. The promise of the new life growing within me. The idea that in time things would be better. We all know how that worked out. Broken promises, shattered dreams.
We named Caleb after my Uncle, who was only ever called, by anyone and everyone who knew him, "Uncle Bob". Caleb Robert.
Fast forward to present day. Another birthday. Another pregnancy. The only things I know for sure with this birthday is that IF I have another birthday, I will not be pregnant. Will I have a real live baby in my arms?? I don't know. For today, as far as I know, I am still pregnant, my nuch.al scr.een came back "not at increased risk" and so the possibility of a real live baby is still here. This birthday feels more like a holding pattern, as if I am this plane who has been circling the airport for years, having made several failed attempts at landing, one a very near fatal attempt and now I am going in for my final attempt, how it ends is any body's guess, but it is my final attempt.
Check back next year I guess, to see if finally, I can actually celebrate my birthday.