A little over five years ago, I jumped out of an airplane.
It’s never been something I particularly wanted to do – adrenaline is not my thing. But a couple of friends (who didn’t know each other but both knew me) wanted to go – and one of them had scheduled a dive. So I signed up too – and brought my other friend along.
I was nervous leading up to it, but I wasn’t scared. We’d be diving tandem – hooked to an instructor who would do all the hard work. We could just relax and enjoy the ride. Which is exactly what I did.
A little over a month ago, I had a repeat c-section.
It’s never been something I particularly wanted to do – in fact, I did everything in my power to avoid it. I exercised faithfully, I ate like an angel, I took a baby aspirin. When Louis wasn’t in position, I contorted myself into funny positions in an effort to get him head down. When that didn’t work, I had our maternal-fetal specialist do an external version – trying to manually reposition Louis using his hands on the outside of my belly. When that didn’t work, I had no choice.
We scheduled a c-section for 3:30.
I wasn’t particularly nervous, or particularly scared. I’d done this before and made it already.
But then the spinal anesthesia took effect and the anesthesiologist asked me to wiggle my toes and lift my legs.
It was exactly what was supposed to happen. I wasn’t supposed to be in control of my lower body. If I were, I would be able to feel as they cut into my abdomen and lifted my baby out. I knew that.
But that didn’t keep me from freaking out.
I had lost control.
As I told my skydiving story, I wrote of the one fearful moment – the moment when my instructor loosened the straps between us so I wasn’t in direct contact with his body.
“He told me he would be loosening the connections that held us. I’d drop a bit lower, so inches would separate our bodies.
Now, here, I felt a glimmer of fear. I knew it would be safe, I knew I’d still be attached. But it wouldn’t be the same. Once he’d lowered me, I wouldn’t be able to feel his presence. Would I be able to make it without that sure sensory feedback reminding me that I was safe?
I would choose to trust, I told myself–and so I did.”
I had the same choice to make when my legs no longer followed my commands.
I wasn’t in control, didn’t have the sensory feedback telling me that my body was there, that my baby was there. I had to choose to trust that God was there and that my body still obeyed His commands.
I repeated the affirmation over and over in my head as I willfully relaxed the muscles I could feel:
“I and my baby are fearfully and wonderfully made.
God sees us and knows us.”
I’d chosen my relaxation phrases carefully, wanting to fix my mind on unchanging truth rather than fickle probabilities.
No “I trust my body” or “My body knows how to birth” for me. I knew that my body could fail. I knew that, while most bodies know how to birth, not all do.
I had determined beforehand to fix my trust in God instead of in my body.
But when I couldn’t control my legs?
I had to determine it all again.
My relaxation music, playing from the phone beside my ear, reminded me of the truth:
“Be still my soul, the Lord is at thy side
With patience bear the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
Through every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul, thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.”
I chose to trust when I lost control – and God was more than capable to guide and sustain.
I know y’all are just dying to revisit my skydiving story now – so I’ll make it easy for you. Part 1: Geared Up, Part 2: Missed Opportunities, or I’ve always wanted to fly, Part 3: The Jump, and Part 4: Safely Falling.