I am new to blogging, but not new to writing - so I am giving this format a try! Recently I received notice that Rikki Lake is hosting a blogging contest for blogs regarding "birth stories". I have a birth story, and it is directly connected to my music career and my music website. Here's my story-
Back in 1984 my music career was really taking off in Japan. I had just finished a very big concert tour which was hosted by the World Peace Organization, and plans were being made to return in a few months and beginning recording with some of the well-known Japanese male recording artists that I had toured with. But it was not to be. After returning to the states, 2 events occurred that would sigificantly change my life and my career path. My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I became pregnant with my third child. The father of my child was a Japanese man, whom I had been dating for the past 6 years and had become engaged to. We had talked about having a child together, and now we were. I had previously had 2 miscarriages, and knew I had to be careful. During the first trimester, I met my fiance in New York for a business trip, and early one morning I began bleeding heavily. I made my way to the hotel lobby (I was alone at the time) and secured a taxi to take me to the nearest hospital. I was hospitalized and put on intravenous medications, to try to slow down my contractions. After several days, I signed out AMA (against medical advice) and flew back to California to see my own doctor. I was hospitalized again, until things were under control.
Things seemed to be going well, so I flew to Japan to celebrate my birthday with my fiance. Once again, I began bleeding and had to be at bedrest the entire week, once again signing out AMA to fly home. This is how the pregnancy proceeded. Through it all my son (I knew he was a boy - just intuitively) was strong. I determined that I was going to do everything I could to see him safely delivered. Each month, like clockwork, I would go into labor and be hospitalized. Each time, I would be given medication intravenously to slow down the contractions and after a few days would return home. I was on complete bedrest, and my teenagers had to step up and help out. I taught my son to drive my stick shift Honda, so that he could take me to the hospital if needed. Both my son, my daughter and myself studied how to deliver at home, in case that was needed. As the months went on, my body was quickly ripening for birth, way ahead of schedule, so that by the time I was 6 months along, my uterus was 98% effaced. This usually doesn't happen until the final month of pregnancy. My doctors were coming to see me at home on a weekly basis. My body was weak, but my baby boy was strong - kicking and moving continuously.
At the 7th month, my doctor decided to give Michael (my son) a steroid shot through the womb, he was so afraid that Michael would be born and his lungs would not be developed. All of these drugs were very frightening for me. I was and still am a vegetarian, very holistic and very adverse to medications. I worried that Michael would be born and would suffer some side effects from the drugs - but I didn't feel I had any other choice. Two weeks later, after a doctor's visit, my water broke. Michael was coming!
Michael was born on May 17, 1985, 2 1/2 months early, and 5lbs. 13 ounces. He was beautiful and perfect in every way. I cannot describe my feelings of joy, when I held my tiny son in my arms and he nursed for the first time. Together, we had made it happen.
The following years would be difficult. I ended up breaking up with my son's father. given what was happening (and not happening) between us, it seemed the only thing to do. I was left a single mother of three children, with no support financially, emotionally or physically. Obviously, I could no longer tour as a singer-songwriter. That was hard enough on my teenagers, and would be impossibly unfair to an infant. So I retired from working as a fulltime professional musician and went back to my fall-back career, as a psychotherapist. I was determined to give Michael everything I could, to make his life happy, healthy and whole.
Through the years, Michael thrived. Not being made to travel extensively, as my two older children had to do with me as a musician, Michael was able to establish roots. He did well in school, was well liked and had a compassionate and caring heart. He grew up around music, as I continued to write, record and perform on a smaller level. He was very accostomed to standing in front of a microphone. Michael began to show interest in music, and started taking piano lessons at the age of 11. He showed so much promise that his teacher discounted the cost of his lessons, stating it was "such a pleasure to teach someone who had so much natural ability".
At the age of 14, Michael decided that he wanted to play bass guitar. I told him I would buy him the best equipment, but he had to do it my way. One year of lessons with the teacher of my choice. After that he could do what he wanted. As a self-taught musician, I knew only too well the limitations I felt when working with other musicians in the studio. I wanted Michael to have mastery over the language of music, without those limitations. A teacher was obtained, and Michael began. Michael was "on fire" and excelled rapidly at his instrument. He joined the music program at his high school, playing in the Jazz Band and the Symphonic Orchestra. The program was excellent and they won many awards and traveled the country winning competitions. Michael applied for and received a music scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he graduated with honors. During his junior year of college he was selected to tour with the "Roads To You" with Zade Dirhani. They traveled nationally and also performed concerts in Jordan. These concerts were designed after September 11th, as a way of teaching peace among youth through the universal language of music. Life had come full circle, or so it seemed. My last big concert event was performing for the World Peace Organization in Hiroshima, Japan in front of 40,000 people. Mike's first big concert tour was also for World Peace.
When I watched them perform at UCLA, I knew that though the road had been difficult, I had done the right thing. I stepped aside from my dreams as a musician, in order to give my son his life - and what a life that was turning out to be! I am so proud of Michael. He has already achieved so much as a musician, but more importantly - he is a wonderful person and man. Currently he plays bass for Macy Gray, and has toured the world with her.
An interesting side note, is that at the time I retired from music to protect the birth of my son, I was 36 years old. I truly felt that my opportunities in music were finished. I could not imagine that I would be able to re-enter that professional arena after Michael was grown. Traditionally we have thought of the entertainment world as being youth driven. However, music and story telling is my passion, so through the years I continued to write and record and perform in small venues. Now at the age of 61, I have for the first time, been placed on the roster of an internet radio station (Women of Substance Radio) and picked up as one of their Indie Artists. Since last September, they have picked up 5 of the songs from my new Cd, and 2 of those songs have been on the Top 10 Songs List since October. I feel God is rewarding me, first with the healthy birth and lilfe of my son, and now with some musical success of my own. It's all a little hard to believe! But I am truly blessed!
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