Historical setting: 589 C.E. The Celtic Pagan village of Largin
Ana has a clearer picture now of the challenges and possibilities and believes her mission, to save both mother and child might be doable. When Thole and I are privy to the “secret” it is that Tilp differs from her husband on priorities. Thole is only focused on saving her. But she told Ana she already loves this baby. And that was her secret. She wants this baby to be safe no matter how it is born, as it was when she was born and her own mother and Largin chose not to put her out for the wolves afterall, even when they saw she was bent and frail. We learn that Ana believes the baby is due in about two months. There will be no waiting for the Yule.
We stay this night in the house of Thole and Tilp, and in the morning we will ride to Poitiers where Ana hopes to meet with sisters who are accustomed to caring for the sick and have undoubtedly read everything known about birthing babies. She thinks it possible that Tilp may be able to birth this baby without her own death imminent, as everyone else seems to fear. But Ana plans to be prepared to save Tilp even if the baby must be birthed by the blade.
She knows that the story of Julius Caesar’s birth is said to be a myth, since his mother reportedly did not die. So now it is thought that the blade may only be used to save a baby if the mother has died. Ana also knows that ewes can be saved when the lamb is delivered surgically. She believes there is yet a secret for saving the life of a human mother when the delivery is surgical. What Ana most wants is to see under the skin of a pregnant woman but that is a sacred journey, morally prohibited from view.
Last month we were traveling when the moon was in this gibbous phase rising in an afternoon. Ana and I camped alone on a river island, as she wished to follow the pattern of women. I expect she will be glad this month to be in a convent with other women for this phase. In a tender moment, so I don’t sound like I am blaming her for being ill-tempered, I will ask her about that calendar, and not in the morning, as she is especially out of sorts these mornings… Oh.
(Continues Thursday September 1, 2022)