Image by Barbara Jackson

A Birthday Book

My birth was rocky back in 1949. For me, life began with a weak pulse. Premature almost a full month, I spent weeks fighting my way past the incubator cage and into the world. Every year, I celebrate the anniversary of my birth in big ways. Balloons, flowers, and cakes with candles.

I keep in mind not the year just passed, but remember my start in that hospital box, my body cold and quarantined. How, at three pounds with no fat on me, I struggled through what should’ve been the ninth month of gestation in a warm womb. Instead I was under glass and in the care of nurses and doctors, strangers all.


In the 1940’s incubators were new and experimental. Too much oxygen given through the pipes, causing blindness in some, left my one eye with a brown ‘scar’ on an otherwise blue iris. A reminder of where my life’s journey began.

On my birthday, I celebrate, not the milestones along the way, but the initial oomph my soul needed to push such a small, sickly body into health. It’s nothing short of miraculous—and worth honoring year after year. A few years ago, I had surgeries on my birthday. Both operations were on my left side, the upper leg and wrist, repairing damage done in procedures a year or so earlier.

I could have picked another day for the next surgeries, but after much consideration, I made the choice to go ahead. After all, it gave me an opportunity to experience physical and emotional struggles like those faced at the start. As in my too early birth, I once again faced possible injury and/or complications, causing partial or full loss of use of leg and/or hand.

a gentle dream come true

People who celebrate milestones would not want hours of major surgery on a birthday. Yet I did, without hesitation. But, when this year’s big day came along, I settled on making a much gentler dream come true. I had my latest book, Whistler of Petty Crimes launched and available on amazon. In fact, the collection includes poems about my birth and childhood years, so long ago. Happy birth, little book. I wish you a healthy start and long life.