Thirty Years in the Making: A Birthday Reflection

Thirty years ago, today…I was born in silence.

Which is pretty ironic, because outside the room I was born in, it sounded like a freight train.

When I came into the world, I wasn’t crying, I was barely breathing…nada, zip, zilch.

Everyone thought I was dead.


People are always asking me, “So where are you from?” And when I go into my lil schpeel of, “I-was-born-in-the-Caribbean-but-am-originally-of-Indian-decent,” I always get the proverbial, “Come again?” or “Say whaaaa??!!”

So today, as I reflect on my thirty years of life here on this earth, I thought I’d share my beginning…

The year was 1979 and it was the 18th day of September. The location was St. John’s, Antigua.

During this time, rearing it’s ugly head and [literally] making waves in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, was a behemoth of a hurricane…Hurricane David. (
This is probably why, “I love stormy weather the best and more than most,” and probably why my Dad has called me, “His little hurricane.”)

A Category 5 hurricane, David left its mark on history as being among the deadliest hurricanes in the latter half of the 20th century, killing 2,068 people in its path. (Learn more about David here.)

While David howled and growled outside (and the torrential rains fell and the skies darkened and the winds howled), in the only hospital on the island – Holberton Hospital, a 27 year-old woman who had been struggling for hours in labor, finally gave up her efforts in pushing her child out, while her husband did everything in his medical power to make sure his wife’s delivery and the birth of his first born was a safe and healthy one, and all the while, in the background, a mother-in-law frantically paced the delivery room, praying.

The chief OBGYN, Dr. Ghosh, turned to my father and said, “Hold on the C-section…let’s try the forceps.”

A few minutes later…I entered the world, as Mridula Mareen Chandy Jacob. (As a show of gratitude for Dr. Ghosh’s help in the delivery, they decided to name me after his wife, Mridula.)

I was born not technically dead…but I wasn’t technically fully alive.

And as the delivery room erupted into further chaos as staff tended to me and my father and Dr. Ghosh tended to my mother, and my grandmother circled in panic, Hurricane David reminded everyone that he was the real star of the day…as the lights dimmed and the roof started to curl up and expose David’s deafening screech and wetness outside.

With my mother’s condition stabilized and my breathing somewhat stabilized, the decision was made to move me to a more secure part of the hospital and to an incubator, which hopefully would bring my vitals back to normal. While my father stayed back with my mom, my grandma ran after the nurse who was carrying me.

According to my grandmother, the nurse hastily put me in the incubator and then ran back to the delivery room to check on my mom. My grandmother said that as she leaned over to look at me in the incubator, she noticed that something was still wrong. I still didn’t seem right. My breathing wasn’t getting better, in fact, it looked like I was destabilizing again.

As she tried tried to find anyone to give me some medical attention – everyone seemed to have vanished because of David’s imminent threat – she noticed something…the incubator was not plugged into the outlet.

If my grandmother hadn’t ran after that nurse, I may or may have not been here today, writing this post 30 years later.

From that day on, I’ve always had a special bond/connection with my grandmother (which I will talk about in more detail in a future post.)

I gotta admit, I’m going through a wave of emotions today: nostalgia, happiness, numbness, disbelief, gratitude, etc., all leaving me very unsure of how I feel about leaving my twenties behind and entering this new era of my life.

One thing I know for sure though is this…

That my getting here was rife with obstacles but despite it all, I am here. And I strongly believe for a particular…divine…purpose.

What that particular purpose is, I am still trying to figure out thirty years later.

But that’s okay.

Because I know that God is in control of my life.

And my promise to myself…and God…is to continue what I’ve been doing for the past 30 years…and the agenda for the 30 ahead…figuring out that particular, divine purpose…and fulfilling it.

This verse came to me this birthday morning:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5 (New International Version)

And even though I some[often]times feel like my thirty years don’t really have that much to show for, I know that’s okay.

Because like Brandon Heath sings, God isn’t finished with me…yet.

And I’m okay with that too.

He’s up to something…

I just have to wait and see.


~ by Maureen on September 17, 2009.

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