Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Bit of a re-write from my pre-birth poem about labour:

At first it’s a slow leak,
nothing to panic about.
We watch the game
after a brief call to the midwife,
who is concerned by the snow
barricading her country home.

To bed for now,
in our basement bedroom.

4 am comes too early.
My between-contraction naps
become too brief and frequent.
Then pop.
Bags of waters,
which protected this 9-month concept,
down the drain.
Still no midwife.

5 am the shrieking begins;
there’s blood on the floor.
A slightly panicked call to the midwife,
who says in the face of rapid dilation,
to stay low and calm -
no shrieking.

Just low moans,
at the buffalo frequency,
bouncing on your birth ball.

Fill the tub.
Muddy bloodied waters.
No problem,
as long as it’s warm
in the cold
and cool in the heat.

Stay low and calm
at the buffalo frequency.

Help me,
you whisper your scream.
We’re only 2 hours in.

Stay low and calm
at the buffalo frequency.

You can do this,
I mock confidence.
And then we’ll have a baby.

Where’s the midwife?
Your query
more rhythmic than contractions.

Friends come first,
with a breakfast to go cold
as they boil water,
like a 60s sitcom birth.
Filling our birth pool
by the fire they built
in our living room.

Where’s the midwife?

Stay low and calm
at the buffalo frequency.
Tepid water over contracting belly,
moaning low.
300 liquid scoops
cool the pain
until it gets worse,
and you push them away
as the midwife arrives.

I feel like I want to push.

No don’t do that!
quoth the ignorant partner.

The voice of experience
searches for cervix,
finds nothing,
says, it’s all natural.
You’re ready to go.

So up we go,
lumbered stair-climb,
you staggering, punch-drunk
like a lopsided prizefighter
begging to throw in the towel,
as we throw you into warm water.

Nobody can do this but you,
and guess what, you’re doin’ it.
You will get this baby in your arms,
she informs you, her lips taut
like the memory of a cigarette,
her voice all silken dominatrix.
Now push!

You scream your war cry.
Forget low and calm,
to hell with buffalos.
You sweat methane,
but you won’t take my hand,
just ice-water.
Ice-water to forehead,
ice-water to lips,
to throat, then spilled
under a small slice of sea.
My hand is freed
For shoulder neck massage.

You wail, just short of ululation.
Your language is clear,
your cries reverential.
This is not the time to be crass,
though the neighbours think
you are being tortured.

The baby responds with a crown.
You can’t see it.
Anticipation fills the room,
like a back-alley yodel
you’re so close, Mama,
we all agree.
But you aren’t impressed
by the sliver of emergent hair.
I’m so far away.
Can I quit now?

Low moans,
buffalo frequency.

Seven more warriors cry.
Seven more uterine contracts.
Your baby’s face is slipping through,
and my hands are placed for the pull,
but the shoulder is stuck as we heave,
and it’ll surely break with such force,
our biceps one way
your contorted primal writhing
the other.

I can only whimper and cry,
as this marathon miracle 1st prize
passes through my hands, head-first
into the rivulet between your breasts.
Legs are spread to see
his swollen testicles dangling.
It’s a boy, my little baby boy!
But you already knew that.
My shoulders heaving tears,
your face a sheet of white shock.
What just happened?

The radio sings:
I’m Here
for You

A smile washes over my body.
He looks like me.
He looks like you.
A smile washes over my body,
blocks my fears
of tyrannical fatherhood.

We kiss,
each other and him,
our lips his cheeks.

Just sculpted lines between mother and child
have blurred and blended again,
leaving a singular hope.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Don't Blame Us

More Dylan pictures will be here soon, but for now, my latest column. Click on the picture below:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dylan Mika Kevin Benautio

At 10:15 AM, Thursday Nov. 20, right on time, after a frighteningly quick labour, we welcomed 10 pounds 7 ounces of Dylan Mika Kevin Benautio to our home. [He arrived to the tune of I'm Here by Martin Sexton. The first song I sang to him was Happiness by Ron Sexsmith.]

He was born in a wading pool in our living room. His mother is a champion.

We had to go it alone for the first few hours because Mr. Benautio brought with him the first snowstorm of the year and the midwife was snowed in. By the time she got here Miia was fully dilated and ready to push. Two hours later Dylan was in in her arms.

She's tired but despite having a giant of a first baby in record time she's doing very well. We feel very lucky to have been able to do this in our home, naturally, thanks to our amazing midwife Kelly, her partner Maren, and our good friends Jason, Jocelyn and Isabelle who prepared the birth water, made us food, took pictures and video, and were our invaluable moral support.

It was an amazing experience to say the least. Words can't do it justice. With Dylan it was love at first sight, and seeing Miia push him out I fell in love with her all over again too.

Mama Miia resting two days after passing a manchild.

An Uncle and a Nephew; Kevins both.

Julie loves her new Godson already.

Remnants of winter storm Dylan.

Bundly-joy baby.



Grammy is, ow do you say, delighted?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby still kickin'

As I write this, there's a little foot pushing under the ribs. Kicking it back, it seems.

What's really pretty marvellous is to have come this far along, to feel just on the verge of, "Yes, OK! Bring it on," but to have nothing to do, really, but wait. Nature and baby will take their own course and will join us when they think is best.

There is something humbling in this. Something that continues to be larger than us, that will decide on its own when baby enters the world. Just as I can't will my heart to beat but need to trust that it knows its role and is best suited for it, so too I can't will this baby out. Instead I trust that it will come when ready. My singular role is to abandon any illusions of control.

Funny too talk of the relativity of time. Can days and weeks feel any longer than waiting to birth a child?

Apart from all this, things are well on this end. Rainy and cold autumn so I've snuggled up with Margaret Atwood's "Cat's Eye", a cup of tea and some letter writing. I may even push myself to wipe down the washroom and vacuum. Domestic bliss.

Much love to folks out there. We'll obviously keep you posted.

- M

Monday, November 17, 2008


Hey folks, so we visited some friends in Dartmouth last week and they taught us how to felt, so we made our new felt feline friend 'Calderone' here.

The belly keeps growing and our new favourite song is 'any day now it will come.'

And we feel about as ready as we'll ever be. We've inflated the birthing pool and set up the crib and the change table and the outfits and birthing gear are all ready.

But we aren't too anxious or anything. We're following Moon's example. He has no worries whatsoever.

But, like the Hallowe'en pumpkin we carved with my brother, we can't help but get a little spooked once in a while.

Hopefully soon we'll have some even cuter pictures to post, and until then we'll keep you...posted.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bloody Crime

Two articles in The Coast this week, click the pictures to see them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Labour Dance

This is how I'm imagining labour based on pre-natal classes [I'll let you know fairly soon how it compares to the real thing, from my 'helper' perspective]:


You’re in the marathonic power of labour,
the opaque shadowing of your membrane networks.
Splashing bags of waters onto your clean floor
leaves you spewing complaints about contractions
and the impending doom of allegations,
or is it obligations.

You will get this baby in your arms,
the nurse informs you, her lips taut
like the memory of a cigarette,
her voice spilled gravel on lovers’ lane.
Now push!

You scream your war cry.
You sweat methane,
crush my hands into broken blisters,
bouncing on your birth ball,
under a small slice of sea.
Mah! there! Fuckerrrrrr!
You scream, and it can only
be directed at me.

But the baby responds with a cry,
while I can only whimper
as this marathon miracle 1st prize
passes through my hands, head-first
into the rivulet between your breasts.
It’s bloody blue and conical,
with double bum-flaps exposed
to your exhalation wind.

As lips encircle nipple,
suck so hard it blocks my fears
of tyrannical fatherhood,
a smile washes over my body.

I kiss the miniscule foot at your belly.
Just sculpted lines between mother and child
have blurred and blended again,
leaving a singular hope.

And this is life in the lead-up time:

The Dance

This rhythm is ours:
1 – 2 – 3 – 4.
We don’t want your structure,
don’t want your counting rituals.

It’s a unified sway:
A – B – C – D.
Whatever symbols you show me,
can’t represent how hard it is.

No words for our truth:
cloves – cinnamon – cardamom – nutmeg.
Sugar pulls it all together,
we swallow when it’s just right.

Pregnant curves roll into my angles:
her – cats – children – home.
Burning logs and minor keys,
deaf to television punditry.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Provinces Must Stand Up to Bullying on Pesticide Bans

Occasionally my writing gig and my advocacy gig collide, and today the results are in the Chronicle Herald, Hali's mainstream daily newspaper. Click the pic to see my op/ed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Good News

Good news folks, Rattling Books is going to publish one of my short stories --in audio! It's part of their Earlit Shorts series and will come out some time after Christmas. The story is called Delia and Phil. I'll keep y'all posted.