Say hello to my little friend.
I haven’t actually ever seen Scarface, but I have brothers so the quote is one often intoned in our family, rich Latin accent and all. But Scarfinger, I am very familiar with. I have had gestational diabetes with every pregnancy, but this time it has popped up early and with a vengeance. I usually start testing at around 28 weeks and modify my diet to keep things in control. This time my midwife dropped off a glucometer on her last visit, and I casually began the routine of harpooning my finger and testing my blood, only to find out to my abject horror that I was already way off the scale of where I should be.
To rub salt in the wound, I began swelling and decided to check my blood pressure. It had also creeped up.
Now there is a particular quality that I possess that most often comes in extremely handy. When there is a problem, I want to drop everything, that very second, and find the solution. No hem and haw, no waiting around for permission; I go, seek, find, implement and conquer. An excellent trait if one is broken down and in need of an auto mechanic or on the prowl for a good Greek restaurant for a last minute night out. Not so great when the solution is not minutes, but days, weeks, or months away.
With each prick of my finger my resolve to fix has increased, while my emotional state has declined. I have been waiting, breath held, to decide what my mood will be until after I prick my finger, allowing the number there to dictate which side of the bed I will get out on. I have measured every bite, scrutinized every label, researched every alternative treatment, and tested my blood. A lot. Too much. Way the heck too much.
I wept to Ellen, my Zen Master in disguise, fretting over the impending loss of my planned home birth if I could not get my blood sugar and blood pressure under control. What if I became pre-eclamptic? What if the baby had to be born early? What if it was very sick and hospitalized? And the deep fear that I still had not reached, even in my tears to her, though it was the truest fear of the lot; what if the baby died because of me, because I had not done enough?
In her warm gentle voice she asked the question that had been trying to surface in my heart despite my guerrilla-like suppression tactics. Could I give this away? Could I relinquish control of the outcome and just be? My eyes burned in response. Not yet, I knew I could not.
Later that day, under yet another torrent of tears I told Guy of my fears. He asked, in his own way, the very same question, “Can you get yourself to the point where you can be okay with everything that happens as long as in the end you get what you want?”
“But if I can’t get this under control I won’t get what I want.” I said, imagining a sterile hospital birth with drugs, monitors, procedures and the possibility of a cesarean. I saw things spiraling out of my control, the control that I believed was the only thing keeping my baby safe and alive.
“I thought you wanted a baby.”
I was jolted into a new place. The place where I could now see that I had lost sight of the goal. In all my futzing I had begun to focus on the next ten feet and not the end. A sometimes necessary approach for, say, mountain climbing, but even then it’s problematic if you focus so hard on your feet that you wander to the wrong path.
Monday I woke with a number that sent me spiraling. I plugged through my day trying to figure out what more I could do. There was only one stone left unturned. The one I should have begun with. Prayer.
I prayed that night for help. I explained about what I hoped for and asked for divine protection. I was still trying to control things.
Yesterday my first “number” of the day wasn’t just good, it was fabulous. Normal, even. And I hadn’t learned my lesson, because I allowed that number to give me permission to have a great day. Soon it was clear to me that I would get whiplash dealing with these emotional ups and downs if continued to let a machine tell me how to feel.
On the phone yesterday Stephanie told me she and her family are still praying for me and the baby every day. Some times several times. I guess I had figured that now that things appeared to be OK with the baby that we would have fallen off of people’s lists, especially Steph and David, who, because of their responsibilities at church, are privy to the private suffering and pains of dozens of members of the congregation. Yet they are praying for us.
I can only do so much. The rest, I know, is in God’s hands. I need to stop relying on my own efforts so much and rely more on the knowledge that He knows what I need and he has a plan for me. Ellen quotes C.S. Lewis to me… “We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” My belief that if I attempt to control every eventuality then everything will be alright must be replaced with a trust that regardless of how steep this path may become, it will still lead me to where He needs me to be.
My numbers were funky today. One really high and troublesome, one gorgeous and perfectly in the low range. I decided not to let the high one get under my pin-pricked skin, and not to let the low one over-inflate my pride.
I am pondering, now, how to loosen my death-grip on being in control. It’s apparently not my job, nor has it ever been. There are miles to go yet, and I have to keep my eyes off my feet and my attitude off my machine.
Maybe I can just pray for that.