Punished

Michael’s death last year was ambiguous. All we know is that sometime during my perfect labor, he stressed enough to inhale meconium, and when he was born alive and crying less than ten minutes later, he suffocated on it.

We had an autopsy. We had tests. My doctor and nurses went over the monitor strips from that night with a fine tooth comb, but no answers were to be found outside of God.

They were quick to assure me it wasn’t my fault. How can a woman who has a perfect pregnancy, an easy five-hour labor, and a less-than-ten-minute pushing phase, who did everything right, who was built to have children better than many others be at fault?

I naively thought that since the medical community had decided it wasn’t me, that I’d get another chance: another chance at the labor and delivery experience I wanted, another chance to make it end right like every birth story should

Instead, I find myself sitting here at 4am, unable to sleep because I feel cornered and tormented like a feral cat.

Let me back up a bit.

This last week (week 38)  had an auspicious beginning — my body was busy doing its’ labor and delivery prep thang, and both me and my baby were doing fantastically. Then I found myself being bullied by my then doctor, and come to find out that not only had he decided that HE was in charge of my body (and didn’t care if I hated him for it), but that he’d been lying to me. Oh sure, you can try again, when he had no intention whatsoever of letting me out of my 39 week appointment without a chemical induction or forced surgery to rip this baby out of me.

So I found a new doc, because, be damned if I’m going to be railroaded without a viable medical reason — and not just a paranoid opinion. (Why do doctors always seem to assume the worst instead of assuming the best?) And even though I feel like I’m in better hands (because the new doc is actually up front with me!), I still feel cornered and punished for past events.

What no one tells you is that when you lose a baby so late in the game, that that’s all the time you get. Your obstetrical history from that point forward is flagged, and every subsequent pregnancy is only alotted that much time in the interests of “safety.” In other words, since I went into spontaneous labor at 39 weeks with Michael — and he died — that’s all the time the docs are willing to allow me to give birth on my own, that’s all the chance they feel comfortable letting me have for any other baby I might carry to “term.”

So here I sit, 39 weeks along with a perfectly healthy-thus-far baby, currently NOT in labor, and feeling like I’ve got to pick up my blade and fight my way out of a no-win battle with enemies on every side. Every appointment gets more tense, every appointment packs on the pressure to cave to the medical status quo. I feel cornered, and trapped, and frightened, because I’ve done a crap ton of research, and neither of their presented options (induction or mandated cesarean) appeal to me for the potential risks that are over and above what it might be to just let nature take its’ course in my particular case.

I am weary. Weary of being pregnant, weary of the snarled up ball of emotions, weary of fighting every. step. of. the. way. for a favorable, gentle, healing outcome. I am ready to have this baby happen, and to start that chapter of my life… All I want is to not have to fight for it any more.

Unfortunately, I’m not driving this show boat anymore. My baby is.

And he has less than a week.

God, I hate deadlines.

Now Booking Online Music Lessons!

It’s almost October and I’m preparing to book lessons for Ukulele, Wood Flute, Composition/songwriting, and beginning Acoustic Guitar via The Zoen!

My teaching philosophy:

I prefer to teach to the student’s individual goals, so it is best if the student is an active and engaged participant in the learning process. I believe there is more than one way to learn music, and am committed to helping students explore what methods (learning to read notation, learning to play by ear, practice routines, comfort with their instrument) work best for them.

Favors

In the medieval and Renaissance periods, the idea of a “favor” was not specifically something you did for someone else, but more often a physical token of your esteem, your affection, or your commitment to your lover. In the SCA, we keep the tradition alive, and it is not uncommon to spy favors or tokens in the form of beads, belt tokens, scarves, necklaces, or more. With the prevalence of members’ registered heraldry, favors typically carry the heraldry (or heraldic colors) of the giver.

favors 001For example, this is the favor I made for the arm of J’s fencing outfit. My device’s colors are blue, white, gold, and black. Rather than embroider my device, however, I decided to pick a verse that had significant meaning for our relationship and the nature of the favor (which he wears for every tournament):

Set me as a seal upon your arm,

And as a seal upon your heart,

For love is as powerful as death.

(from Songs, chapter 8 verse 6)

This week, the base for my favor from J arrived in the mail, begging for embellishment: a cute little soprano ukulele with a shark-shaped bridge.

Given that J’s device is a silver shark on a black background, under silver waves (an “engrailed chief”), the uke was incredibly easy to customize to bear his colors:

ElwicUkeAfter that was finished, we added a small selection of prose:

My heart is stirred by a noble theme,

As I recite my verses for the king;

My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

(from Psalm 45, verse 1)

The uke (a nearly-indestructible, inexpensive Makala) was embellished with a Sharpie paint pen. I’ve never used a paint pen before; the packaging touted its “abrasion resistance,” so I figured it was worth a shot (seeing as I occasionally have to re-ink my other instruments that I’ve embellished with a plain Sharpie).

After noodling around here for a few days, I can definitely see the appeal of the soprano size of ukulele: uber-portable, and so cute you just can’t keep your hands off ‘em! :-)

A good tool for a Bard to ply their trade with. ;-)

1490s Venetian “mockado” gown, part IV

Catch part I, part II, and part III!

And here we have come to the finishing touch on this lovely Venetian-style gown:

The Sleeves.

1490Venetian 017All things considered, they went together pretty fast. I chose to make them out of the shiny taffeta to match the underskirt portion of the gown. The hardest part was figuring out how to orient the trim on them. Pictured above is the lower cuff; I opted to keep it plain so that it wouldn’t be potentially bulky and possibly catch on instrument strings while I played.

For the upper portion of the sleeve, I chose to use not only the matching trim to the neckline of the gown, but also some shiny black satin ribbon. It was a trick to get it all lined up and stitched into the seams before I had hand-stitched it down, but I managed! (Probably should have done that in reverse order, but whatever, haha. :-P )

I spent a fair number of hours hand-stitching the trim down. At least, it felt like a lot…

But a few attachment points and stitches later, and we have a complete 1490s outfit, which I wore to my “bardic neo-folk” music set at the 2014 Tumbleweed Music Festival in Richland, WA.

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Earlier in the month I polled my Facebook followers to see what they thought about the idea of me performing my bardic music (a collection of period tunes and original songs of folklore, myth, magic, and history) in my garb. It was an overwhelming YES, and as it turned out, wearing the gown to perform was a fantastic idea. I not only received several compliments and comments, but lots of inquiries about my performance and what I do as a musician. :-)

Awesome. <3

1490s Venetian “mockado” gown, part III

(Catch up with part I and part II here…)

Step four: Assemble the gown!

Since I had used this pattern before, assembly went fairly fast. In just a couple nights, I had a close-to-completion gown:

1490Venetian 010Since I am (hoping!) having a baby here in a few weeks, I mentioned I decided to make some modifications to the bodice for ease of breastfeeding. I stitched the front and the back as two separate pieces — opting to put ribbon ties across the shoulders — and have the gown lace up the sides. I found an example of a Florentine gown that had side lacing  to support my cause, and since the Italians seemed to favor ribbons for tying on their sleeves to the shoulder of their gowns, I figured the addition of the extra ribbons to tie the shoulder straps together would hardly be noticed.

Step five: applying trim and finishing stitches!

1490Venetian 011I found some lovely cord trim on sale at JoAnn’s this last week, and decided it would be just the thing (with the addition of a few pearls) to adorn the neckline of the gown.

1490Venetian 012Applying trim is fun, but it does make one’s fingers quite tender. :-P

Other hand-finishing I did included using ribbon to protect the seams in the skirt at the side openings (covering the serged edges for a tidier look), and tacking down the bodice lining where it met the skirt (so it didn’t ride up, and I didn’t have to fight with machine stitching through all those layers).

Once all of that was completed, I stitched in the lacing rings. I had some small plastic ones on hand, and while, to be period-correct, I should have used metal, I decided plastic would be kinder to the fabric in the long run. Plus, they are hidden just under the edges of the bodice so they aren’t easily seen.

1490Venetian 015And, VOILA! A nearly finished gown!

I love how the corduroy gives it that lovely, soft, must-pet-the-fabric look… and how the silky taffeta shines through the opening in the split front. But wait! I’m still missing something…

On to the next installment…

Step six: sewing the sleeves!