There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
Lightning crashes a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes
The confusion sets in
Before the doctor can even close the door
Warning…this part is graphic…
The hours of the day ticked by and the pains grew worse and worse. I called my doctor who was to go away on holidays but she luckily was able to arrange for an ultrasound for me immediately. It looked normal. I was told that this might just be Braxton Hicks — or practice contractions that prepare the womb to deliver in the future. I had had experienced them with Leo’s pregnancy. I knew that this was NOT that.
I soaked in the tub and tried to find comfort laying on my side. It was a hard night, with little sleep, the pain coming in waves. At one point, my sister Amy called from three provinces to the west and her sweet voice took my mind off my troubles.
The next day, I found blood on my underwear.
“DEAN!’ I screamed.
“WE NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL !!”
The pains became worse and worse. We had Leo taken care of by Everet and Tina, friends whom we had known for years. Everet, Dean and I had been in the army together. We knew each other very well.
I did not want our little Leo to see me in this kind of pain.
Then the nurses said that the Radiologist would give me an ultrasound, himself. Unusual. I lay down on the bed and he put the goop on my belly. When the picture came up, it looked different. Dane was alive and there was a heart beat but there was no water in my uterus. There was no amniotic fluid. How could Dane be alive? I had been in so much pain, my brain was messed up.
It would not conclude that which it should be concluding.
Nor did the Radiologist then tell me that which he should have told me. Thinking back to the exhausted state I was in with very little sleep over the past two days, I remember that I glanced at his face and he just looked at me, then away. He didn’t explain anything. (Later, he apologized for that).
I was wheeled back to another room off the emergency room. On my way past the waiting room, I saw Wally, Everet and Dean with heads together, whispering. Wally’s arrival made four of us that had been in the army together a decade earlier. Through the haze of pain and exhaustion, I was touched that they were here for this. Here for us.
I would get through this and we would all be fine and well. Dane would be okay. All these people were here to support us.
Dane would be fine. Right?
The pain continued. The nurses were good to me. One nurse kept getting warm towels and swabbing down my back, as my johnny coat was open and allowed it. It felt like heaven. At some point, in a tortured voice I told them I felt like I had to poop. They helped me to squat up on the bed and they put a metal pan under my bottom. I pushed. I pushed again. One more time…
there were tubes or something hanging out of my vagina.
“What’s that?” I asked, perplexed. My red, sweaty face a question.
A nurse rushed over and gently tugged on the tubes as she attempted to soothe me with, ‘It’s going to be okay dear. It’s going to be okay.”
Something of size came out.
It was not tubes.
It was Dane.
It was not tubes.
It was my perfectly formed tiny dead baby, Dane.
I held him in my hand. He fit the length of it perfectly.
Little eyes never to open.
Tiny hands never to hold.
I stroked his little bluish body and wished him well in heaven while tears blurred my vision streaming down my face.
I cried, “My heart is breaking. Ohhhh No No No. My heart is breaking.”
I laid back on the bed and hands on my heart, wept bitterly, for the loss of my little Angel Dane. And having lost him, I knew for sure that I couldn’t try to do this again. Upon telling Dean this, we both readily decided that Leo would be our only and we would count ourselves lucky and blessed to have him.
What I felt later was this overwhelming sense of failure. I had failed to give his little body a fertile place to grow. I had failed to be a good woman. A good mom. I was a failure at making a baby (which was stupid since my body had already made Leo).
But, thankfully, time heals and now, over a decade later, I have a different view of this. I feel that my body was doing what it needed to do. There must have been a good reason that my body did not allow Dane to thrive, or that Dane’s body didn’t allow him to thrive. Especially in these last years, I have learned and concluded that my body is an amazing organism that should be trusted, revered and respected.
It is doing it’s best to keep me alive, comfortable and well.
I think of Dane often and wonder what our lives would have looked like with him in it, growing up as Leo’s little brother, as our youngest son.
I wonder about the lesson in this loss.
Why did it happen? What is it meant to teach us? The value of life? Gratitude for our blessings? I’m not sure, really. But, I am sure of this:
I love that little soul
that was in that little body
that I held in my womb
and then in my hand.
I wish for him to be forever at peace.
Please consider leaving a message and telling of your loss.
(Thanks Google images and creative commons licence for the pics).
Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it. ~Dalai Lama
After exiting the Arctic , where we lived for three years, give or take, I applied for a job from an ad in the Globe & Mail Newspaper. A recruiting firm was looking to hire a House Manager for a wealthy family; let’s call them The Roses in Toronto’s Rosedale. Eagerly, I applied for the position thinking that I had the attributes mentioned in the ad.
I made the cut.
At the end of the first interview with Braun the hiring manager, I asked him why they picked me out of the three hundred applicants. He said they liked both my creative leaf-art at the bottom of my resume as well as my military experience. Both sides of the brain.
Braun had spent the better part of a dozen years working for the Beaten Family and he knew the kind of person that would do well in this job. Detail-oriented, strong work ethic, well-spoken, able to foresee disasters and their solutions, appreciative of wealth but not themselves wealthy and, let’s not forget, approval-seeking. Yep. I had all of those qualities.
After the second interview with the agency, I was told I would next be going to the offices of Mr Rose to be interviewed by him. I made sure to have a sturdy note pad, and a good pen. I donned my navy blazer, blouse and skirt. For the first time I was missing my military uniform which made wardrobe decisions so easy. In my mind, I was a Captain heading to a meeting with a General. Just putting it into perspective.
It went well. I could tell Mr Rose was happy with my confident eye-contact, my note-taking and my questions. My seriousness but also my quick smile. I even managed to negotiate my salary up to the next notch, which I could tell both amused and impressed him.
He told me that the next step would be to visit with his family. Meet them, tour the houses and property. Get an idea of the scope of the job.
I had been told they were a Jewish family. Knowing nothing about the Jewish faith, I sought the opinion of a Jewish acquaintance. He said my visit would be during one of the Jewish holidays – Rosh Hashanah. I was nervous about being the House Manager for a family with a completely unfamiliar faith to the one I had known growing up. I was bound to make mistakes, even subtle ones, just because I had no idea.
At the time, I was reading a book by Deepak Chopra. In this book, he advised to always show up with a small gift when going to someone’s house. Wise advise, I thought. I picked up a small box of chocolates and made sure they were kosher. I donned my conservative atire and grabbed my sturdy note pad and reliable pen.
I drove into their estate in my 3-cylinder shit box I called ‘Puny’. The same one I had bought before leaving Comox in 1988.
The house was modern and grand. I knocked on the door and smiled gently as I was met by Mrs Rose. I passed her the little box of chocolates and made nicey-nice while she showed me the huge kitchen and writing nook where she wrote her cookbooks. Then Mr Rose took me to the other house which backed onto theirs.
His 4000 square foot Man Cave.
The door opened to a dining room with a chandelier bigger than me and a table which sat twenty-two. Enough said. The place was perfect. A lot of brown and beige tones with the odd hint of deep burgundy. Very mannish. He told me, and this was important, ‘I want this place to always be absolutely sublime‘.
K, I didn’t even know what sublime meant back then.
The first thing I did upon getting back to Scarberia (North Beaches really but, whatever) was look it up.
Sublime: Perfect, without blemish.
I was sweating.
I knew I could do this job, but, did I WANT to? It sounded like a lot of bullshit to me. My mind imagined my days on that property. Worried about every little thing. I was completely stressed just thinking about it. When Dean and I had traveled to Australia, we had seen the movie: The Remains of The Day. Was I meant to be a glorified Butler / House Keeper; a combination of both Anthony Hopkins’ and Emma Tompsins’ characters? Was I to walk around with a feather duster and white gloves?
Then, the call came. Braun the Hiring Manager was dressing me down for bringing a box of chocolates to the interview at their home. He told me it was inappropriate. Mr Rose had mentioned it and said it was like I was trying to ‘butter’ them up to hire me. Geez. This guy was a freak. I wasn’t even hired and he was already disappointed in me.
I remained silent when Braun stopped speaking. I was in a phone booth in the village of Maggie River on Eight Mile Lake, near The Camp in Cottage Country of Ontario. It was a gorgeous early summer day. I looked at the shiny water near the locks. I looked at the nodding heads of the wild flowers growing in every possible crack or fissure.
Sublime: Perfect. Without Blemish.
I took a deep breath and told Braun that I was no longer interested in the position. I said, ‘If Mr Rose is that worried about a proffered tiny box of chocolates, I don’t think I can work for him. I don’t want to work for people like that. Sorry.’
Braun was speechless. He had invested a lot of time in me. He would have to start over.
‘You mean, you don’t want to work for The Rose Family? At that salary? Maybe I can get you more money, Morgan.’
‘Sorry, Braun. I can’t do it. It’s not for me.’
I walked away from that phone booth feeling a massive weight lift off my shoulders. I felt like I had dodged a bullet. Next, I went for a swim in the shiny waters of Eight Mile Lake.
Sublime: Perfect. Without Blemish.
(All pictures come from Google Images. Thank you!)
Let me ask you something, in all the years that you have…undressed in front of a gentleman has he ever asked you to leave?… No? It’s because he doesn’t care! He’s in a room with a naked girl, he just won the lottery. I am so tired of… waking up… and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed so I know just how much self loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it…. I’m just through with the guilt. So.. I’m going to finish this pizza, and then… tomorrow we are going to go… buy ourselves some bigger jeans.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
For most of my life, I have been completely messed up with regard to body-image and worth regarding its size. It is a sad story when considering just the amount of time, thought, energy and tears that I have expended with regard to this. I will reference an earlier post that I have written on this topic: BoPo Revisited.
Since January 2017, I have been working and trying and hoping to get this monkey off my back and to just really be okay with my still strong, newly soft body, more lustrous hair, clear skin and more peaceful attitude. I strive to go about my day without judgement and with forgiveness toward my past and to just be chill with regard to food and exercise rules of the past.
I’m getting there folks.
Some days I barely think about my past. Where as before, I would be worried about every food choice; doing way too much exercise and giving myself way too many imaginary pats on the back for that plus food restriction.
Just now, as I was walking to my office and I had this funny (scary) memory of a freak-out that came from nowhere. The preparation of a meal used to be a major production (ie: in my mind). My thoughts around ‘did I deserve’ this meal would run rampant. Had I done enough exercise to allow for a big meal or should I just eat a salad while my family ate the well-rounded meal, that I made. This was a daily, useless ordeal with many pitfalls. I’m exhausted just remembering it.
So, this one day, I’m cooking up steaks — a real treat. There were two large ones and a small-ish one. I fried them in our cast-iron pan with garlic and herbs. They smelled heavenly. Meanwhile, Dean mashed the potatoes and Leo set the table to include steak-knives, salad and red wine.
I placed each juicy steak on a plate to rest, thinking, of course, I would have the small one…
when I turned around I was both confused and horrified to see that Dean had taken the small one. Then, a completely inappropriate reaction erupted from myself.
‘Dean, the small one is for ME!!! Why on earth would YOU take the SMALL one??!’ I shrieked at him.
He looked at me. Looked at his plate. Looked at me.
‘I thought I would leave a large one for you, Morgan, since you’re the one cooking them.’
My face was red. My mind was confused. Didn’t he GET that I didn’t DESERVE to eat a large one?
Leo weighs in.
‘Mom. Chill. We usually have too much anyway. Dad will not starve.’
But, you see, I wasn’t worried about Dean starving. I was worried about ME eating more than I should. More than I deserved. Fuck. Messed up.
Thankfully, this little freak-out episode was close to the time of my epiphany away from disordered eating and over-exercising. Praise Jesus.
As I stand alone at the window
In search for what I cannot see
I wonder to what might show
Some of you or all about me.
This poem is a guest submission to my blog. It was written by an old high school friend who, almost nine years ago, had a freak, totally sober accident with a patio door that, when it broke, nearly severed his arm. He almost bled to death in front of his family. How completely scary that at any moment, anything could happen to any of us. Al explained to me that he had to learn to write with his other hand. He said the body is an amazing machine. Don’t I know it, Al. Our bodies do so much for us and walk us on this Earth. Al said he didn’t start writing poetry because of the accident, but, that his poetry became much deeper and intuitive because of it. Here’s his poem.
A Poem By: Allan Edward (Po Po) Kinsella
S E A R C H I N G – H I D I N G B E H I N D O F M Y S E L F
As I stand all alone at the window
In search for what I cannot see
I wonder to what might show
Some of you or all about me.
I often will hide what I’m thinking
Or disguise it with something else
When in reality it is simple
I’m hiding behind of myself.
The sun and the moon I do turn too
For answers I simply can’t find
The thoughts and tears of a lifetime
Once left in a time way behind.
I realize the answers not out there
Not found in the moments gone by
To find them I need to stop searching
And look in the mirror inside.
So, lately, I was looking through some old yearbooks and came across this adorable picture of Al. An old friend from high school in a place three provinces away. I always liked Al. Everyone likes Al. Such an easy going, nice person. Because I reached out to him, due to this picture, he is now going to bring out his poetry to be read by others.
You GO Al!
Leave a comment about your near death experience (or one from someone close to you). Did it change you? Did you learn something? Tell me…I love it!
Please allow me to introduce myself.
I’m a man of wealth and taste.
I’ve been around for a long, long year,
Stole many a man’s soul and faith.
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ,
Had his moment of doubt and pain.
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate…
~Rolling Stones – Sympathy for The Devil
I remember the days of girlhood when I could run forever, jump high, skip rope, swim the lake and turn cartwheels. I was this little girl with black curly hair, green eyes, a few freckles and a quick smile. I was full of energy, giggles and good ideas. I knew the rules and I almost always followed them. I went to church on Sundays and sang all the hymns, firmly clasping hands with my neighbours at the peace of Christ. I was the good girl.
So, when my new parish priest made an announcement inviting girls to be altar servers, I was so happy. I really wanted to be an altar server. I wanted to ring the bell, on the altar, during mass with the whole congregation watching, like I had watched the boys do so many times.
Training ensued with Father 0’Malkey. There were ten of us and we needed to be taught what was what. How to wear the robe. How to prepare the altar. When to ring the bell. He was very strict and he taught us to be exact. Serious. Precise.
Then the day came for my debut as an altar server. It went well. I had been to hundreds of masses. I kinda had a sense of how it all worked, by then. I was on the schedule and looked forward to being the sole server during a week of early morning masses. I would ride my bike the mile to church, leaving home after breakfast at 7 am, making sure my school bag had my basketball uniform and shoes for practice after school. At 7 am the world wouldn’t even be awake yet. It was a fresh perspective. Funnily enough, it made me feel a little homesick. I shook it off and soldiered on.
Arriving at the church, I took a moment to notice the beautifully groomed grounds leading to the large oak door to the sacristy. The church was ultra modern, brick and wood with a non-steeple. Curved walk ways and parking lot surrounded by green groomed lawns, shaded by tall mature hardwoods. I parked my bike – no helmets back then. I had tucked my pant leg into my socks to safeguard it from the chain. I righted this and as I did so, felt butterflies a flutter in my belly.
Opening the door I sniffed the familiar church scent of burning candles mixed with a slight residue of incense. On my left was a wall of smooth oak paneling. Or so it seemed. I found the hidden handle and pulled. Reluctantly, and with a sucking sound, the massive closet door opened and into it I put my school bag and jacket. As I closed the door, Father O’Malkey appeared and somewhat startled me. He wore a big creepy smile as he approached, saying, ‘Good morning, Morgan!’ He wrapped his large arm around my small shoulders, his man hand landing on my budding chest. In slow motion and with an out-of-body awareness, I witnessed and felt his large hand squeeze my young breast. Then both hands took my shoulders and he propelled me to the next cupboard which held my gown and hastened me to prepare for mass, perhaps not wanting me to dwell on what had just happened.
Later that day, as soon as I could get Mom alone, I told her about it, not wanting to go back the next morning. She said, ‘Oh Morgan, you must be mistaken. Father O’Malkey is a priest. A priest would never do that.’ Then she encouraged me to be a good girl and go back the next day.
Every morning was a repeat performance by Father O’Malkey: the smiley greeting, the man-hand grope, the hastening to mass. Years later, I began to wonder if he had orchestrated girl altar servers – the first in the history of the parish – so that he would have his pick of girls to fondle.
As soon as I could get away with it, I quit altar serving and eventually, I quit Catholicism. Any organization with forced celibacy is going to be a problem for someone.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favour underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
I have always loved these simple statements.
What do you think of them? Perhaps, leave a comment below…
(Photo taken at top of Cape Blomidon, Nova Scotia by Martha Valiquette)