My high school English teacher taught our class that Shakespeare wrote funny scenes alternately with sad scenes so that the good seemed better and the bad seemed worse. Life has a way of working good into the bad, little rays of sunshine into cloudy days. I’ve started this post several times, and I’ve struggled with it several times. There’s no easy way to talk about some things, but those things need talked about because they’re so integral to the good things I want to share.
At the end of 2017, my husband and I were delighted to find out our second child was on the way. So this year began on a very high note, but I quickly succumbed to horrendous morning sickness – much worse than with my first pregnancy. At the beginning of March, I was diagnosed with “fetus co-existing with molar degeneration of the placenta” and told that the baby would not survive to viability and I needed emergency surgery. (There is so much more to this story, but it’s a long sad story for another day). I lost a lot of blood during the surgery and was very weak in the days following. I turned to some favorite quilt blogs and Instagrams just searching out beauty in the world.
I love finding new (to me) blogs and reading through them, going back through the years, looking at all the photos and just soaking up inspiration. My wonderful husband gifted me EQ7 for Christmas last year, and I love playing around with designs. I’ve made a few quilts from what I’ve designed for myself, but I’ve never published a design, though it’s long been a dream. Months ago, I’d seen a call for Moda Bake Shop Chefs on Instagram and I’d submitted a design and never heard back. Probably my design wasn’t the best for the Moda Bake Shop, but I’m also not 100% sure I filled out the form correctly and completely.
This time, whether it was just serendipity or some divine stroke of luck, I found inspiration and designed a block I loved. My husband helped me tweak some layouts until we found the perfect setting. I uploaded some Moda fabrics into EQ, saved the file, and filled out the form on Moda Bake Shop. Keep in mind, I’m only ten days post surgery at this point, so maybe still a little low on blood, but determined to prove to myself and the world that I’m healthy and better, so maybe starting a quilt design company (haven’t gotten that far, yet) is the way to do it?
I got an email response about two hours later that my design was approved! It felt so good, finally having something positive to hold on to and look forward to. I’d estimated a turn around time of 4 weeks – plenty of time to make a baby/lap sized quilt. The fabrics arrived ten days later, so about 3 weeks after surgery I set to work. Things were looking up, I was healing as predicted, my on going blood work was looking good, and I was feeling stronger each day.
And then, I wasn’t doing so good. The doctors found I have a form of cancer called gestational trophoblastic neoplasia and I need single agent chemo to treat it. I’ve found a wonderful support group online and my family has rallied around me. My husband does everything he can to allow me time and opportunity to sew.
The good news is that side effects are minimal on this regimen – some fatigue so far, maybe some nausea as I have more cycles. I shouldn’t lose my hair and I don’t need to be hooked to an IV for hours. The bad news is the fatigue is terrible and I’m not sleeping well to begin with. The great news is that I’ve completed the quilt and the pattern should be up and available on Moda Bake Shop soon.
All of this really to share the story behind the quilt I’ve designed and why I’ve chosen the name for the pattern. The baby we lost was a girl. We’ve given our angel the name Serenity Joy. Since this pattern came during the grieving process, this quilt is called Serenity’s Stars.