My husband is more powerful and spiritual than the world will ever know. He’s a sleeper agent for Good. He’s the ultimate zen master. He’s one of those people who has no idea the ripple effect they create just by existing on this earth.
I have been with my husband for almost nine years, and have loved him every second of those nine years. When I sift through the moments that define our relationship, one in particular stands out in a way that makes it almost physically painful for me to consider the prospect that one day I might get old and forget it.
First let me say that I am a panicker. The worst: planes. What I experience is a complete hijack of my limbic system, a nameless faceless fucking explosion of terror. I get on the plane anyway because I’m a creature of logic. Then I get in the seat. Then I’m just there, panicking. It’s hard to describe the scope of what I feel, other than to say it encompasses everything about me and inside me. The seat and the space around it is all-consuming vacuum where nothing else exists. I don’t use mantras or other CBT tricks to handle it. There’s no place to be but on that fucking plane, and my mind goes white about the time the deathtrap/thing is barreling down the runway. Horrible sounds as the engines fire. The landing gear retraction feels like I imagine a hole being ripped into the plane would feel. I watch the faces of the other passengers for signs of alarm. Then I’m just on.the.plane.
I don’t know why I told you all that about planes. I want you to know me better.
Anyway, on the day that Jack was born there was chaos everywhere.
I was, pissed, sleep deprived, and in labor. I’d spent hours on the phone with friends and in discussion with Michael about how we could be somewhere besides where we were: faced with a repeat c section by a doctor with whom I had a serious fucking personal problem. Maybe I’d go home and have an unassisted homebirth. Was there a hospital that “allowed” VBAC within driving distance of the one I was in? How long could I labor in the park near the hospital and if I went in pushing would they deliver the baby without surgery? And on and on and on.
We decided not to leave. I won’t list the reasons because they don’t matter. It just is what we decided. And then cruelly, we had to wait for several hours. Like my friend Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.
I had plenty of time to work myself into a tizzy, is what I’m saying. Predictably, the plane thing started happening and I could not face even the next second. If there had been restraints on the bed I would have flailed and bucked against them. My head whipped back and forth. My eyes were wild. My WHOLE BEING contended that there was no possible way I could continue to occupy this space in the universe. Not like, I have to get up and move around. But more like THIS CANNOT CONTINUE. The feeling was unbearable, a breaking point of the mind and of my spirit. It felt as if my mind was going to splinter.
What struck me today thinking about this moment was that the last time I felt such primal and unbearable panic I was strapped to an operating table about to deliver Avery, and 30 seconds after I started to flail around and tell them basically “this cannot continue, something has to change RIGHT NOW” my heart stopped.
It must have been excruciating for Michael to watch. He had his own thing going on, given our last birth experience. And here I am jumping out of my skin and there is nothing he can do.
Except he did. When his hands touched my head, the world went white. The image I get when I go back to that moment is of a person sucking the poison out of a snake bite. He went all Green Mile on me. It was as if he pulled all the noise and panic and fear out of my head into a vacuum. There was no sound; just thumbs rubbing circles on my temple, smoothing my forehead out, two fingers on my third eye and sweeping outward. I’ve called it a Jedi mind meld in past entries and that’s funny but the joke belies the magnitude of that simple gesture.
I wish I could say I was peace and light all the way through the surgery, but this is real life and moments don’t last. I was numb and tired and scared. But it was like the plane. After that extraordinary touch from Michael, there was nowhere else to be but right there. I don’t know if I would have simply died from panic (can you die from panic?) but I look back on that moment and I feel very strongly these two things:
I owe my life to my husband.
The force is strong within him.