After writing about expectations in relationships last week, I have come face to face with a variety of circumstances that have caused major unmet expectations and a lot of emotion. It’s been eye opening to see how much impact unmet circumstantial expectations can cause an unravel of sorts.
We got to see our sweet baby girl on the ultrasound last week to check on her position. There is nothing like ultrasounds. They are exhilarating and terrifying. I don’t usually relax into them until I hear her heartbeat and then I usually tear up and proceed to marvel that there is a little person inside of my belly. They make the whole thing real to see her little body developing and wiggling around. She has been breech most of our pregnancy and we were ever hopeful that at our 36 week appointment she would have flipped over. No such luck. She is breech with her little legs crossed at the bottom of my uterus. It explains the frequent kicks to the bladder. Our Doctor began discussing the options in the coming weeks and it is overwhelming. Step one is trying to exercise and do various things to get her to flip naturally. There is a website called spinning babies we are supposed to do exercises from. The next thing will be deciding if we want to do a manual version, this procedure where the doctor manually tries to flip her. We aren’t a good candidate for it because of the type of breech position she is in, how long she has been breech and then the position of my placenta. Not to mention the risks make Chad and I nervous. It has a 40 percent success rate normally, and apparently is even less with our circumstance. So c-section is on the table as a very real option.
Cue expectations galore. I have known for a few months that this could happen, but I secretly hoped that she would flip by 36 weeks and all would be well. It was my timeline. But how often do our plans happen the way we hope? I am really disappointed that there is a big possibility that I am going to have a c-section. In a sense I am grieving the hope of having a vaginal delivery. It’s not that I want to be a super hero, I just wanted to go through the process that my body is made to do and that I have mentally prepped for. I have spent a lot more time thinking about delivering vaginally and wrapping my brain (sort of) around this and the recovery.
I realized I have a lot of fear around surgery, needles and epidurals. I have heard a lot of well meaning people say that it’s not a big deal, it’s a blessing that I won’t have to go through the pain of labor, that as long as she gets here safe that’s all that matters or that the recovery isn’t that bad. But none of this has been comforting for me. And it know it’s because I am grieving the expectation of giving birth vaginally. It’s what you expect to happen nine months after you get the positive test. It’s what you start mentally preparing for. Other people have told me she still could flip. Which I suppose still could happen. But I am wrestling with holding out hope and being devastated the day of surgery. I’d like to get to a place where I am genuinely okay with either. This means allowing myself to grieve and feel frustrated.
I am processing this in real time, so this isn’t fully processed in many ways. But I am realizing that the root of my anxiety and cause of expectation is I like to be in control. This is a developed coping mechanism to keep me “safe”. When I am in a good place, I recognize that I am not in control, God is and he is good so I have nothing to fear. My ability to keep myself safe is somewhat a facade. When I am stressed, triggered by something or feel vulnerable, I clench for control even more. Emotions unravel and I retreat some. I can become mean to people I love because internally I am in a state of sheer panic. The hardest part is I don’t want to be like this. I want to constantly trust God and have my emotions be in alignment with this and experience his peace. Truly, the crisis comes because I am depending on myself and know deep inside I am powerless to really do much.
This becomes especially true regarding my body. The more I read and learn about labor, the more I discover that this is a process my body knows how to do but not my brain persay. It’s something that can feel really out of control because it just happens and moves at its own pace. Labor is the exact opposite of control, and the closer it gets the more freaked out I become. Both by labor and c-section. Both feel like something I can’t control. The surgery even more so. I will be immobile, unable to see or feel anything (for good reason), and I will be at the mercy of my doctor and nurses. Labor vaginally feels like I will have a tiny bit more control because I can choose how I am managing my pain but still is far from the measured calculations/ preparation that I’d like. So both of these have sent me into a complete emotional tail spin. My body is riddled with anxiety and panic, particularly at night. If I think about it too long or hard, I will spontaneously cry. And anything that causes me to feel out of control right now triggers me and leaves me in a panic and reactive.
I never anticipated that labor would expose a layer of healing that needs to happen. This need to be in control is not something I want to remain. It turns me into a bit of a crazy person. It leaves me trying to control circumstances and even people around me. It’s a big sign of a wound that needs healed and a muscle that needs strengthening. We weren’t designed to control and micromanage our life in calculated caution. We aren’t meant to be paralyzed by fear and working ourselves into a frenzy to do everything we can to avoid anything that makes us feel uncomfortable or out of control. We were designed to trust our Maker fully because he is good and will take care of us. We were made to live in freedom.
This reaction of control shows me there is doubt regarding that God is trustworthy. I think this wound is part of the fall, part of the brokenness of humanity. Evil in the world and unmet expectations further this woundedness. The enemy of our souls says “if God really is good he wouldn’t let this happen”. But this is a lie. Mostly around the responsibility piece. The enemy wants to blame shift and get the responsibility of evil off of himself onto God. This creates an even greater divide between us and God, his ultimate goal. In this circumstance, my temptation is to believe that something is wrong with my body. The deeper lie is a form or rejection. That because this isn’t going according to my plan, I am rejected by God is some way. But this also is a lie, because I am assuming that God’s plan is the same as mine. But the reality is his plan actually could be a c-section for sweet baby girl for a reason unknown to me. And the enemy is using this to attempt divide me from my Heavenly Father, the very One I need right now. This is why expectations around circumstances are dangerous.
So what am I doing about this struggle? It’s raw and ugly right now. It’s a lot of prayer and tears. It’s a lot of honesty with God about how I want to be in control but I am not and how this security is really a facade. I find myself grieving the expectations in God’s comforting arms and leaning on Chad when I fail to remember that our God is good. It’s being gracious with myself and apologizing when I hurt my love ones when I lose my mind and lash out. It’s being honest with myself that I am wounded but that God is my healer. He has healed much in my life and I can trust him to heal this. He has a perfect track record. And any fear I feel around birth, vaginally or cesarean, can be placed in God’s hands as he writes the story of how she comes into this world. It will be good no matter what.