Saturday, January 04, 2014

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to restart my blog.  I have always enjoyed writing, and even in junior high and high school had hoped to be a writer one day. One of my teachers had even commented in my year book about "seeing me published one day".  I have had a few things published as articles and commentaries over the years, including as a feature post on a pro-life brochure a few years back.  Of course, time and family commitments got in the way, and writing soon became something to set on the backburner, as a hobby, as a dream for "one day".
This past year being able to start (well, plot and outline, anyway!)a novel, sporadically blog about family and life issues, as well as dedicating more time than I should have at fan-fiction has shown me that yes, I CAN make time to do this.  A twitter post led me to a wonderful site that also encouraged me to set goals, make and most importantly work to KEEP my resolutions (thank you CA Coaching!)

I have made the commitment to complete my 2 main writing projects this year, one of which will be helped immensely by my keeping up with the parenting/life portion of my blog.  So without further ado, I begin....

The other day an incident occurred in our home that caused me to reflect that what we say to our children and how we handle outbursts can have a profound effect on them. 

Our older daughter Rachel was helping our 4 year old Victoria get ready for bed; getting her into her new pajamas ("onesies") that she had just gotten for Christmas, and had been absolutely thrilled about. I was downstairs in the kitchen when the arguing broke out, very quickly followed by tears and an increasingly loud wailing.  I waited for a few minutes to give Rachel the chance to handle the situation. (It is important for children to develop the skill to manage problems without parents stepping in for every little thing).  Soon enough, a very frustrated Rachel stormed into the kitchen with a VERY upset Victoria in tow, tears streaming down her little face.  Apparently, Victoria no longer wanted to wear her pajamas that she had previously been so enamoured with, and Rachel was trying very hard to convince her to keep them on.

After reassuring Rachel that everything was okay and thanking her for trying, I turned to Victoria to find out what the problem was. When Victoria had first put on the new pajamas, they sparked a little from the static, so Rachel explained to her that it was just "static electricity".  "But Mummy," Victoria tearfully interjected,  "electricity can start FIRES! And I don't want to catch on fire!"

And that's when the light bulb went off for me.  Just last week, we had to have a conversation with Victoria, explaining that she was not allowed to plug in the extension cord for the Christmas tree, due to ELECTRICITY being dangerous and that it wasn't something to play with, as it could START A FIRE.


Very good lesson for me as a parent, to remember that everything I say DOES in fact, stay with my children, no matter what I think they hear or choose to not hear.  Little things I say to them in passing are taken to heart, pondered and internalized. This is how they learn, good or bad, about the world around them.  It also provided a teachable moment for Rachel, demonstrating that we need to stop and find out why little ones get upset; temper tantrums rarely happen without a very good reason. As parents or caregivers, we must remember to take a moment, LISTEN to our child and try to find out what the problem is.

 This is something that sometimes can be difficult to remember, particularly when we are in public, but it is VITAL that communication goes both ways when dealing with children.  They are deserving of our respect and time no differently than what we would like to expect from another adult.  If we want our children to grow up to be caring individuals then we need to role-model these qualities for them.  It may take some practice and testing of our patience, but as parents we need to stop, take a breath, and FIRST and foremost let our children know that we love them and are there for them. They need to feel secure and safe in our presence, and only then can they develop the ability to feel secure in handing their own emotions. It takes time to do this, and sometimes we all need a reminder, but the end results will be so worth it!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Children and the Right to Life

 Everyone agrees that there are certain inalienable RIGHTS that should be guaranteed in life.  Common sense would tell us that the most basic of all human rights is the Right to Life, yet this right is still being denied EVERY day to thousands of our future generations, especially to girls!

Yesterday the March for Life took place in every city across the county. It was incredible to see the number of people attending; social networking, promotion, and education about the reality of abortion did so much to increase attendance this year. 
Most remarkable about the numbers of people attending is the overall AGE of pro-lifers.  It is so uplifting to see the numbers of youth in attendance; young adults, teens and especially the young children who have been raised with the awareness about the atrocity of abortion. The youth of today are paying the price of the lies fed to the last few generations.  As one of the speakers at the Winnipeg March pointed out in a very eloquent, moving speech, THEY are the ones who have lost out. They have lost out on siblings, cousins, friends, schoolmates, spouses.  We are only now beginning to understand how this has affected our society, and what repercussions there will be for us. When my oldest daughter (now 18) was in grade 6, she came to me after a particularly hard day in school, sadly saying that the reason she didn`t have a "best friend" was because maybe the person who was meant to be her best friend had been aborted".  She cried. I cried.

 We have lost out on future doctors, nurses, teachers, serving personnel, ministers, farmers, babysitters, inventors, researchers.... the list is literally endless.  Think of a profession, and you can be assured that there is a lack of competent people in that particular field.  This has had drastic effects on the economy and the very future of our country. Businesses fold. Schools close due to a lack of students. Waiting lists to see specialists or to receive medical treatments grow longer and longer due to the lack of people filling these jobs.  The elderly of our society are beginning to suffer the consequences as well; there are just not enough people to support them or to take care of them in their old age.

This is why it is so very important to raise our children to be aware of what is going on in our world.  We can no longer bury our heads in the sand, or shield our children from this truth.  Our children NEED to understand what they are battling for, and why. That doesn't mean we show our 2 year olds graphic pictures of aborted babies, but we DO need to teach them to PRAY for unborn children.  We need to teach them that we MUST have respect for Life, and that ALL life is sacred, from conception to a natural death.  Children are far more intelligent and capable of understanding than what we sometimes give them credit for.  We have an obligation to our children to bring them up with morals, values, guidelines and boundaries.  We owe them the truth, and the chance to make right what we have been silent about for too long. That means informing them, educating them, and equipping them with the tools they need to win this war against the culture of Death.

Kudos to all the beautiful families who take their babies, toddlers and school age children to events like the March for Life, the Life Hikes and other pro-life activities.  These are our future warriors and winners.  May they live to see the day when THEIR children will only have to hear about the atrocities of abortion in history books.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What are YOUR kids doing on line?

I have noticed a growing trend lately, particularily among young girls - both teens and young adults.  There are so many of them posting "self-portraits"...copious amounts, in fact.  It's one thing to post pictures of yourself with friends and family, or to have pictures that other people have taken , posted and tagged you in, but to constantly be posing and taking your OWN picture is more than a little narcissistic.

  At first I wrote it off as plain old self-centeredness and conceit (even the ridiculous "duck-lips" pictures; does anyone actually think that those are nice looking pictures? really???)

Then I started really thinking about some of these girls, and how sorry their lives are.  Seriously, not being sarcastic here.  There is obviously a lack of parental guidance in their lives. What caring, responsible parent would not SAY something to their daughter about this blatent self-promotion?  What is lacking in these girls' lives that they feel the need for constant affirmation (because of course their dutiful friends will automatically comment favorably on these pictures) from others?  What kind of adults will these girls grow up to be, and how will it affect our world?

With girls continuing to objectify themselves, is it any wonder that women continue to be objectified as a whole?  How can we complain about this when we sit back and LET this happen?  I once tried to say something to a friend about her daughter's postings.  I casually asked her if she was on Facebook, or if she ever checked her kids' profiles (her daughter was 14 at the time).  I was as tactful as possible, and while I certainly never voiced this, I was thinking that maybe she might appreciate a "heads up" from a friend, rather than get into a messy, embarassing and potentially dangerous situation later (they were "those types" of pictures).  That friend no longer speaks to me.  And the girl's pictures were not taken down.  

One other time, I mentioned again as tactfully as possible to a different friend a concern about her daughter's pictures and postings (I mentioned nothing specific, just that "sometimes it's a good idea to keep "on top" of what your kids are doing online).  She dismissed it, saying that "they'll do what they want anyway".  Needless to say,  I didn't bring it up again.

I have had a couple of calls in about things my kids have posted in the past (never pictures).  I was/am grateful that someone else out there holds standards for my children too.  The issues were immediately dealt with, and it gave impetus for discussion about internet dangers and how what we post can be seen by anyone.  We need to remind our children, regardless of their ages, that what they post DOES impact how people will see them; employers, teachers, family friends, and parents of their friends.   They may not like it, but that's life.  Seeing conversations and pictures about how drunk you got this past weekend just doesn't do much for your reputation.  Neither does posting trashy pictures of yourself.  We actually DON'T want to see your boob shots, girls.  And the boys that you're posting these for ARE NOT the types of guys you want to eventually marry, nor are you the type of girl any mother would want her son to marry, as far as that goes...

But back to my original's so sad to see these young girls that are so completely self-obsessed and self-absorbed. It's scary to think that these will be the parents of the next generation, the generation that supposedly will "take care of us" in our old age.  The attitude of  "I don't give a damn about what anyone thinks" isn't going to serve these kids well in the real world.

What can we do? As parents, do we not have a responsibility and an obligation to guide our children, to teach them to think of others?  Are we too late?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Just a little venting....

It has been SUCH a long time since I've last blogged.  I've thought about it a lot, made myself a multitude of promises, including blogging instead of "facebooking" for Lent (yeah, THAT lasted a day!), and have visited some of my favorite bloggers just to read their posts, at least.
There has actually been so much that I wanted to talk/vent about, too, especially considering FB is not always the best place to do so.  This is a better avenue, because not very many people see this (apparently it's not automatically connected to FB anymore?? Which I guess defeats my purpose, sometimes.... lol)
I like the idea of having a good place to keep track of some of my ideas and musings, and as I mentioned, it is a great place to vent.

So what has been the catalyst to "bring me back" to blogging??
I just finished reading the article on my msn homepage about the "high cost of raising kids today"  (don't know WHY I bothered to read it; we have 6 kids
Very soon my thoughts went from "this is ridiculous" to "People actually DO this ?!?!; how STUPID are you!??!?"....$235,000 to raise ONE child from birth to age 17??
Well, first off, instead of paying $33,000 a year to put your 1 year old in DAYCARE (that's more than a good university costs for a year), why don't you STAY HOME and take care of your baby?) And does your child REALLY need Spanish lessons and swimming lessons at age 2? Really?? But I guess because this mom only spends $8,400 on daycare for her 2 year old, she feels she's getting a bargain and now has all that extra money to spend on the lessons....
Apparently it costs almost $15,000 a year to put a 3 year old in preschool. What exactly are they LEARNING there??  Hmmm....and does your 5 year old REALLY need  ballet, swimming, gymnastics, music, chess and horseback riding lessons EVERY MONTH?  When is there time to just "be a kid"???? What ever happened to PLAYING outside, or gong to a park?? THEY'RE FREE, people.
Your 11 year old son needs weekly therapy sessions at $185 per because of his difficulty with organizing and memory? Maybe it's because he had EVERY  freaking minute he was awake organized FOR him since he was born!
And your 4 year old throwing temper tantrums because she doesn't get to go to ballet, and ANNOUNCING to other people that "I can't take ballet because my mom ran out of money and it's not FAIR" just shows how spoiled your daughter IS.

I sincerely think that the problem with so many kids today is that they aren't expected to be able to entertain themselves... EVER.  If your child doesn't have their own t.v., ipad, computer and every type of lesson imaginable, you apparently aren't a good parent. Wow.  Kids need to learn to BE a kid.  To play quietly BY themselves sometimes.  To SHARE their toys with siblings and friends.  TO be expected to have manners. To be able to WAIT, be it for a treat, to go somewhere or to watch a tv show. 
The world we live in has given us this "must have IMMEDIATE gratification" mentality, and it is destroying our families and our society. Kids are constantly texting each other, and are thrown into depression if their messages are not answered IMMEDIATELY; they wonder what they've "done wrong" or why they're "being ignored", especially if it's involving the opposite sex.  It's difficult to have a conversation with someone without them checking their phones every few minutes, because they're "having conversations" with other people.  So many people don't seem to recognize how incredibly RUDE this is!
 My 11 year old comes home from her school telling me about "all the other kids" that already have their own cell phones (no, she doesn't want one; she was asking WHY do they need one!). I know of a child that never gets to go to any friends' birthday parties or even just to "hang out" because she takes so many different dance and sports lessons every week. This child is missing out on learning about developing friendships and relationships! I hear about pre-school age kids having t.v.s in their bedrooms, their OWN computers and computer games.  These kids "have it all", except for a mother and a father willing to spend TIME with their children. Then these parents wonder why their child doesn't listen to them about anything. 

So many people buy into this crap; they feel they "MUST work" to "provide" for their families, or that they can only have 1 child, because after all, it is SO EXPENSIVE..... well, when you put material possessions and wealth before your family, your family is the one that loses out. We only have one vehicle. We only have one t.v. My kids have never been to Disney land, or Mexico, or a cruise, or anything else that involves spending thousands of dollars. And unless we WIN the lottery (hard to do when you never buy tickets!), they won't get there with us footing the bill.  BUT...we go camping as family every summer; we go to the park; to wading pools with the little ones; we play games, go bike riding, hang out, barbeque in the backyard, watch movies and do COUNTLESS other activities with our kids that cost very little or no money at all. We garden. We read. We have friends over. We have also found ways to put our kids in sports activities through subsidized programmes. It's really not that, hard!!  Our 6 kids (ages 4-17) all feel a very strong connection to each other, to their extended family and to the Church.  They ALREADY talk about the great memories they have of growing up, and of what they will have as adults, and what they want for THEIR children.

 I realize that there are exceptions; that some single parents (especially the mothers) MUST work.  But the decline of society is steadily increasing withe the attitude of accepting of casual sexual relationships, the absence of a good father in the household, and the lack of willingness to WORK on marriages. 

  Having children can be costly, yes, but there are no words that can do justice to the incredible feelings of love, pride, joy, and "completeness" that having children can give.  It is sad that our society does so much to discourage the acceptance of children, when children are the very lifeline OF our society.  I saw a quote somewhere once (and I can't remember who said it)...."The best gift you can give your child is a brother or sister."  I firmly believe that the best gift we can give to our world is children who know the value of a strong, stable family.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yesterday was such an incredibly amazing day. I was once again reminded of the Power of God, and how important it is to have faith.

How it began.....
A couple of weeks ago, our 2 year old took it upon herself to take the key to our freezer from it's hiding spot (it was SUPPOSED to be hidden from HER, as she figured out how to open the freezer with the key and get freezies out when ever she wanted....). Anyway, she LOST the key. We tore the basement apart, but it's gone; probably down the floor drain. Hence, we have not been able to get into our freezer at all -not fun, considering it would be REALLY nice to be able to access the bread in there! I have ordered a new key, and am expecting it to arrive any day. It is only going to be $3.00, so it's not so bad.

This past weekend, I lost the fob to our van (thank God it was unlocked!). Totally my fault. I know for a fact that I'm the one who lost it, as I was the one who unlocked the van to take the kids to youth group on Saturday evening. Somehow between driving them there and running a brief errand before coming home, I lost the fob. Checked all the pockets, the van, the purse, and even the street... no luck. Unfortunately a key fob for a van costs ALOT more than a replacement key for a freezer.

Bill had been laid off from Motorcoach for 10 months last year. He found another job in the meantime, but it didn't pay as well (but WAY better than EI!), and he didn't like some of the people he had to work with - someone there was extremely racist and bigoted, and no one else seemed to care. Anyway, he got called back to his job at Motorcoach this past August.
Yesterday, he came home with the VERY bad news that more than likely, he'll be laid off AGAIN, December 12th.. 2 weeks before Christmas. (this is not 100 % for sure, but they wanted to give the employees enough warning that it 'might' be coming...)
Thanks, Motorcoach.

So these past couple of weeks have not been great, especially with trying VERY hard to get back on track financially after the lay off. It's been a real struggle, especially with 5 of our 6 children in school. September saw a large chunk of money going to backpacks, new runners for indoors AND out for at least 3 of the kids, dry cleaning for suits (Christian is at St. Paul's!), and of course, school supplies, student fees, not to mention tuition payments. And, we still need to eat, and pay utilities, and buy Christian and Stephanie new winter jackets and boots!

Yesterday's notice of a potential lay off for Bill did not leave me in the best of spirits. I didn't think it could get any worse. Apparently I was wrong. During our family prayers, my wedding ring was slipping to the side so I adjusted it, only to find that one of the small claws felt unusually sharp. I stopped dead in the middle of prayers to look under the light; sure enough, one of the smaller diamonds from the end of the setting was missing. That was it! I have to admit, I pretty much completely broke down.

I thought back to all I had done during the day; making 2 batches of soup; a batch of homemade bread; washing dishes, laundry (folding!); changing diapers; running up and down the stairs countless times; taking out garbage, gave 2 girls baths and washed their hair.. a usual busy stay-at-home mom kind of day. I knew the diamond was GONE, and that with our current financial situation, it wasn't likely to be replace any time soon. Now maybe some people might think it's not such a big deal; some people don't even wear their rings. Well I DO. My marriage means a lot to me, and the symbolism of the ring is so very important.
Anyway, it was my turn to say my intentions so I added a half-hearted prayer that St. Anthony would help me find the freezer key, the van fob, and my diamond. We finished up, the little ones went to bed, and I went in the kitchen. Rachel kindly offered to empty the dishwasher before sweeping the floor, as I was still pretty despondant.

As Rachel was emptying the cutlery tray, she stepped on something, very tiny and very sharp. If she had been wearing socks, there is no way she would have even felt it. She picked it up and brought it over to me. At first, it looked like a little piece of a rock or something, but as I turned it over the light reflected off, revealing MY DIAMOND!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

Between laughing and crying and thanking God, came the message loud and clear that God will ALWAYS look after us; and that everything WILL BE OKAY. Yes, it's still a little scary at times, and yes, we're still missing the key and the fob, but it's nice to be have the reassurance that our Faith does not go unfounded.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Some days attending Mass can really try my patience. Not because of how long it takes to get everyone out the door (that's a whole other issue, lol) but because when we do get there and settle in to spend some quality time with God, other people just dont' seem to get it.

Why do some people seem to have such a problem with discipling their children, or at the very least teaching them some manners? I doubt they would take their child to a movie and let them chatter away the entire time (or maybe they would; hard to say...). I don't want to listen to some kid behind me HUMMING songs for the entire homily, especially when they're certainly old enough to be able to behave. I TOTALLY get that sometimes toddlers will be a little disruptive, (I DO have a 2 1/2 year old!), and that sometimes they need something to keep them occupied; a book or two always works (as long as they don't insist that they be read to during the Mass! lol)

But really... does a school age child REALLY need to bring in the hand held video game? or a BAG of snacks?? Mass is an hour long. SERIOUSLY.... they WON'T STARVE TO DEATH if they don't eat for an hour! Toy cars and trucks that beep and grumble along? PLEASE LEAVE THEM AT HOME. They don't need 5 different coloring books and 2 kinds of markers or crayons, or all their Barbies AND a change of clothes for each one. Church is NOT A PLAYGROUND.

Once children are old enough to sit through a Disney movie, they should be expected to sit through an hour of church. But I suppose that it must start with the parents, and if the parents don't understand or observe proper behaviour at Mass then it's easy to see why the kids don't.

I recently read an excerpt from a book called "Motherhood Matters", by Dorothy Pilarski, addressing this exact issue. Entitled "Sunday Do's and Don'ts", Ms. Pilarski points out that there are expectations of behaviour clearly spelled out for places like a Symphony or Theatre, why can't there be for attending Mass?

The following are some of her suggestions:

"Remember you have entered into the house of God for the purpose of prayer, adoration and reflection. Now is not the time to talk to your friends, but to talk to God. In order to help you get the most from this sacred space we ask you to do the following:

- Turn off cellphones. Do not text messages or check your Facebook account from the pews or the back of the church. Leave your social media devices in the car. It’s distracting for others who are trying to pray. This is a time to focus on God.

- Do not chew gum. Spit it out before entering the church. Don’t push it to the side of your mouth to chew later. There should be nothing in your mouth when you receive the Eucharist.

- Dress with dignity. Mass is not a cocktail party. Mass is not a hockey arena. Dress with decorum and modesty and ensure your children do the same.
(It is very distracting and just not appropriate AT ALL to see short skirts, skin tight jeans and low-cut tops at church.)

- No children’s activity bags, granola bars, juice boxes, toys, etc. Mass is only one hour long. Children would grow in virtue if they were detached from these things for sixty minutes each week. For toddlers, instead of toys, try books for Catholic children or plastic rosaries.

- Provide instruction for children. Parents have an obligation to show their children the appropriate times to kneel, sit, stand and face the altar, not let them amuse themselves as if Mass is playtime. Involve them in the liturgy by teaching them to pray and telling them that Jesus is on the altar.

- Arrive on time. If you are late for Mass, be courteous to others and wait for an appropriate break before you walk down the aisle to find a seat.

- Don’t leave early. Set a good example for your children by staying in the pew until the Mass has ended with the final blessing and the priest has left the altar.

- Participate in the Mass. Don’t ask: “What is this Mass doing for me?” Instead, ask: “What can I do to participate more fully in the Mass?” Make an effort. Listen to the readings and the homily, recite the prayers of the Mass, follow along in the misslette and, when the music starts, sing! You will become an outstanding role model for your kids.

- No talking, please. Do not have conversations during Mass. You wouldn’t do that during a performance of the symphony. If you did, you’d be asked to be quiet or leave. So show respect for the priest and your fellow parishioners.

As a society in general, we are losing our sense of decorum and civility. Sadly, that’s also true at Mass. We have a responsibility to reverse that, to remember the reason we attend church is to know God, love Him and serve Him, especially at Mass."

If only her advice could be printed up on pamphlets and available at every church!

I'd like to read the rest of this book; sounds like this lady has some great words of wisdom!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

NOTE: This is my story of what we went through when we had Olivia, 8 years ago tomorrow. It was used for a Respect Life Week pamphlet the following year. I am reprinting it now just as an update.

My name is Lisa. I have been married to Bill for 9 years this past April. We have been blessed with Stephanie, age 8 (born 3 days before our first wedding anniversary!); Christian, age 6; Rachel, age 4, and Elizabeth, or “Littlebit” as she is known, age 2. We found out in April we were expecting again, with our fifth child due in early December.

Just like with my other pregnancies, we spent time wondering if this child was a boy or a girl; deciding on names; dreaming what he or she would look like and so on. Reading over the fetal development pamphlets was amazing; we got to “watch” our baby change and grow daily. Following the baby’s stages of development is always so exciting to me, even after having done so four times before this! It is such a privilege to be part of another human being’s life journey, literally right from day one.

Looking back now, I think I subconsciously knew something was not quite right. I thought the feeling of “some days I don’t even feel pregnant” was due to the fact that I was a very busy stay-at-home mom with a lot of responsibilities. A routine check up at fourteen weeks showed everything to be okay: my doctor and I heard the heartbeat, and the baby was growing at a nice rate. My next scheduled visit to my doctor was at 21 weeks, on July 29th. The week before this appointment I couldn’t shake a nagging feeling of foreboding: I knew I should have been feeling the baby move, and I wasn’t. When my doctor entered the exam room where I was waiting, she asked how everything was. My first response was “Not good. I haven’t felt the baby move at all.” She assured me that sometimes a mother might not necessarily feel movement this early; maybe the baby was just less active than my others were. She listened with that little monitor that amplifies the beating of the baby’s heart, searching, for what seemed like an eternity. I now know with brutal clarity what the expression “the silence was deafening” means.

My doctor, trying to remain optimistic, scheduled me for an emergency ultrasound, explaining that sometimes, if a heartbeat can’t be heard, that it could mean that the baby is just not in a good position, that maybe things are okay. I had enough time to go home and explain the situation to Bill, and arrange for a sitter for the kids before the ultrasound.
We cried and we prayed. We prayed for the baby to be okay; we prayed for the strength to deal with this horrible situation we were thrust into; we prayed for understanding. It was very difficult to explain the circumstances to our older children without alarming them, yet without minimalizing the possible outcome.

We went up to the floor the ultrasound was to be performed on. The technician obviously knew what was happening; she was solemn when she called me to go with her. The joviality I had come to expect with going to “see the baby” was just not there. I stood before the examination table, barely breathing, not wanting to be there at all. The technician was very sympathetic, telling me it was okay, whenever I was ready. I lay down and closed my eyes while she began the search. She moved the ultrasound wand around and around, not saying a word. Finally I had to ask, “You can’t find anything, can you?” “I’m so sorry. No.” Those words pierced my heart. How could that be possible? I had four perfectly healthy pregnancies previous to this. There had been no indication at all that something like this could happen.
Bill came to get me from the exam room, and we went back to see my doctor to discuss what would happen next. The ultrasound had shown that our baby had died at about 15 weeks gestation. I was already at 21 weeks, but my doctor was (thankfully) willing to wait one more week to see if I would miscarry naturally. Due to a previous c-section with my first pregnancy, apparently I was not a good candidate for induction, as the forced labour could possibly rupture my uterus. An absolute last resort would be a D&C to remove my baby, as waiting much longer would bring very high risks of infection. Because of my years of pro-life work and research, I knew exactly what a D&C would entail, so this was not an option I was even willing to discuss at this point.

That week of waiting was one of the hardest weeks of my life. We decided to tell as few people as possible while we dealt with our grief. How do you tell friends and family that your baby has died, but that you’re still “pregnant’? We did not want to have to explain what we knew, then have to go through it all again when I actually delivered, especially since we had no idea when that would occur. So we waited. This actually proved to be very hard to do; I felt terrible about not telling everyone; about having to pretend that everything was fine. The hardest time was in going to a friend’s daughter’s birthday party and hearing her tell others I was expecting again. But Bill and I really needed that time for ourselves to grieve and to deal with our loss, whenever that would come. I am so thankful we had that time; it helped immensely in coping later on.

The morning of August 5th arrived. I packed a bag, knowing I would be admitted today, since my body was just not accepting that the baby I was carrying was no longer living. We went to see my doctor who was very excited about the news she had. She had consulted with several colleagues about my situation, and found out that she could in fact, administer the drug needed to induce me, even with the previous c-section. Apparently it would be safe if it was a lower dosage, with little risk of rupture of the uterus. My doctor also was very reluctant to do the D&C because of the “very high risk of perforating the uterus”, which she stated more than once.

(Just as a side note: it’s amazing that one doctor will acknowledge this danger as a “very high risk” while so many others want to portray the procedure of a D&C as very safe and routine.)

So off to the hospital we went, filled with apprehension of what was about to happen. I was admitted just before noon; the first dose of the drug needed to induce labour given not long after. The nurses on the floor I was on were so compassionate and understanding. Everyone was genuinely sympathetic to what we were going through. The social worker (one on staff for bereaved families), upon finding out that we had not received copies of our last ultrasound, immediately made arrangements for us to have another so we could get pictures of our baby in the womb. It was an amazing experience to see this tiny human being, lying so still, so safe inside of me. They took so many pictures; labelling where possible so we could identify them – an arm here, a knee, the baby’s face. I will be eternally grateful to the social worker who arranged for this. In addition, she also obtained copies of our original ultrasound for us as a surprise. Even though the pictures are very grainy and a little hard to make out the images, the thoughtfulness and effort behind getting us these ultrasound images will never be forgotten.

The baby was born still in the amniotic sac, not long after the second dose of drugs had been administered. She came quickly and quietly, without the normal amount of pain or pushing. The nurses whisked her away to clean her up and dress her. They brought her back dressed in a soft green knit toque and little cotton gown, wrapped in a soft green knit blanket. I will never forget that first moment of seeing our little girl, of holding that tiny, precious bundle. The nurses and doctor respectfully left us to bond, to grieve over the birth and death of our baby, assuring us that we could take however much time we wanted. She measured 8 inches, or 21cm from head to toe and weighed 120 grams. She was 14 ½ weeks of age when she died.

All the knowledge I had of fetal development and life in the womb could not prepare me for what now lay before my very eyes. Although her facial features were slack and not completely defined, we could still see a very distinct resemblance to our other children’s features. Most amazing were her perfect little hands, one of which fit perfectly across the nail of my index finger. Closer inspection showed distinct fingernails at the end of each of her delicate fingers. We marvelled at the tiny little toes at the end of each foot. The muscles and tendons of her body were all in place; viewed easily just by moving her arms and bending her legs. She was so beautiful; so amazingly, perfectly formed, perfectly proportioned. It is so unfathomable that people refuse to acknowledge this as a human being; that babies this age and older are being killed every day through abortion.

We named our little girl Olivia Amy, the name she would have had if she had been born at full term, the name we had assigned so many hopes and dreams to. Olivia is just as much a part of our family as any of our other children. We do not have four children; we have 5. We had a funeral for her, not so much as closure for our family and friends, but because she was a human being who deserved respect and recognition, no matter how brief her life was. Along with the gift of dignity and recognition of Olivia as a person, we received from the hospital a molded impression of her hands and feet, a memento of a daughter we only had on earth for a very short while.

We don’t know why Olivia’s life was so short. Whatever the reason, I’m sure that she would be happy that the impressions left of her little hands and feet can serve to remind us of the miracle of life; of a human being which begins to grow not when the umbilical cord is cut, but from the very moment of conception.