Thursday, October 13, 2011


It's been a week since we lost you. It's been a week since my impatience cost you your life. I wish every day, every minute I could go back in a time machine and change that day, change just those few short minutes that shattered everything.

We only had the privilege of having you in our lives for one year, one full season, but in that year you touched our lives and hearts in so many ways. Our house is so still without your crazy busy energy, always quick to engage someone in a game of tag, or chase, stealing Tabitha's rabbit fur change purse every chance you got, or sniffing out food and getting into it, no matter how high it was placed, or how much you were NOT supposed to be into it, or just snuggling into a lap, or on a bed (warm bodies and pillows preferred).

Doing everything you could to try and go home with Grandpa Herzog, you knew you had him wrapped around your delicate little paw.

If I could just go back, and have you here again with us, I wouldn't begrudge cleaning up the garbage you would strew all over the house, every single time the garbage slider wasn't pushed fully into the cupboards, or the disaster you would turn my house into, in your frantic attempts to find us, when we left you home alone and you escaped your kennel (how did you do that anyways?)

You hated to be left alone, always game to go somewhere, so long as it was with us. Didn't matter what mode of transportation it may be. While riding in the van, you amused yourself, and us, snapping at flies, chewing up my green peppers when they just "happened" to roll your way under the van seat.... rolling down the automatic windows whenever it suited you best so you could let your floppy ears flap in the breeze, busy little nose sniff-sniffing, then taking a nap up on the dash like a kitty, silly girl.

It's why it hurts so much to have to have buried you alone now, when being alone was something you hated to be, so much. We buried you next to Old Kye, and Sabu.

I wish I would have gotten a video of you climbing the ladder to the kids' playcenter, and then sliding down the slide with them. A reminder to do things right away, and not put them off-because tomorrow doesn't always come.

You won Leroy's heart, though he wouldn't say as much, when you growled, so low and fierce at him, when he would come home late at night and peek in at Jesse. We knew every bone in your little body was fiercely loyal.

You weren't "just a dog" you were one of the family, which is why this is so hard. You were so young and had your whole life ahead of you-Jesse always asked "how old will Jewel live to be? How old will I be then?" We looked forward to watching you grow up with the kids.

Your name rolled off the kids' tongues so many times a day, especially from Jesse, and usually with humour and love.

Jesse misses you so much, he says he has trouble sleeping without his Jewel. I know he misses giving you rides on the quad, and dreaming about chasing rabbits with you.

Everything happened so suddenly, and with so much finality-no chance to turn it around, or say goodbye, or process it, and I was the cause of it-not like with Sabu, where I knew I was releasing her from a hurting body, and yet even then felt as though I was betraying her, not like with Kye, whom it hurt so much to lose, yet we had had the grace of so many many good years together.

The images and horror from the day we lost you have yet to dim, and still haunt me. I know you were such a sweet tempered, forgiving little thing, you wouldn't wish that. But they still persist. I'm still in shock-still can't believe that I will never see your beautiful, glossy, particoloured figure that almost never quit moving, that I can't call your name and have you come racing up from playing with Copper in the pasture, to the step and sit wiggling, waiting to be let in.

I hope there is a doggy heaven, and you are there right now, getting all the dogs wound up in a grand old game of chase, with lots of good things for you to scent out and gobble up, and warm beds with lots of pillows for you to lay on and stretch out and sigh.

Rest in peace, sweet girl, our Jewel.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Midwifery in Alberta need YOUR help!!

Ok-I am ABSOLUTELY FED UP with healthcare in Alberta!! It is an absolutely crappy system, that much talk has been made about, and very little action taken (case in point-my grandpa was just taken by ambulance to the hospital yesterday, where he waited for 5 fricken hours to be seen!!) Come on, people. Let me reiterate-BY AMBULANCE!! Oh yeah-this is the same hospital where they CLOSED SHARED CARE MATERNITY in, one of the most wonderful maternity programs EVER-why? Supposedly to remedy the emergency shortage. Um hmm...

Well, here's another attack on expectant mothers and families in Alberta, from our wonderful government-they are randomly approving and denying midwifery graduates of MCU (Midwifery College of Utah) the right to practice in Alberta. Claire Vessaire of Birth Issues has explained it much better than I in this letter she sent out, which will be copied and pasted below. The bottom line is:
Alberta needs more midwives! Even more so than ever, with the HUGE loss to women and babies and FAMILIES of the Stony Plain Westview Health center birthing rooms. And this political jerking around of midwifery students is absolute GARBAGE!! I would appreciate it if as many of my friends who can, would please help me show support for these 5 midwives. Even if you aren't having any more babies, or have other preferences for birth-someone in your life (sister, friend, daughter) may wish for the services of a midwife, and not have them available. My sincere thanks in advance!!

Dear Midwifery Supporters:
I am writing to you today to ask for your support. It will take 5 minutes of your time. There are five graduate midwives in Alberta, four of whom reside in Edmonton and one who lives in Cardston who need your help. These five midwives have been denied registration to work as a midwife in Alberta by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee (MHDC). They have made an appeal of this decision to the Health Disciplines Board. This appeal will take place on Thursday, October 20th at 9:15am at 100025 Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. Background information: Midwifery education in Canada has been a troubling issue for many years. It has taken over 20 years for each province to legislate and fund midwifery under provincial health care and there still remain some provinces and territories with no midwifery legislation. Currently, there are only five provinces with midwifery education programs, many of which have less than 10 graduates per year. As you may know, Alberta has only just started their midwifery education program at Mount Royal University this September (2011), with an intake of a mere 14 students. This has led many women seeking an education in midwifery to go outside their province or country. The Alberta Association of Midwives had 21 student members as of early 2011. Twenty of these students are internationally trained, mostly in the US. The Midwives College of Utah (MCU) is a US based midwifery education program offered by distance. MCU has had 32 Canadian students enrolled in their programs in the last year. Some of these students have graduated and successfully registered as midwives in their own provinces. Others have quit due to the unknown route to registration once graduated.

There have been 13 Alberta graduates of MCU in the last 20 months. Seven of these graduates have been granted registration by the MHDC. Six of them have been denied, solely based on the education program from which they graduated. This is arbitrary and unfair.

I am asking you to write a letter of support to the Health Disciplines Board for these five midwifery graduates who are involved in this appeal. The appeal is not a public affair but the legal council for the graduates has asked for written submissions to support their case. Below you will find a FORM LETTER that you can copy-date-sign and email to the Midwifery Students' Association of Alberta at Be sure to include your full name, address, and contact information in your letter, otherwise it may not be valid. It is also very effective to write your own letter telling your personal story. Why do you support midwifery and why do we need more midwives in Alberta? You can send this to the same email address listed above.
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Please send your letter in no later than Monday, October 10th.

***FORM LETTER*******************************************************************
[Your Full Name]
City, Province, Postal Code
Phone number
October 4, 2011
Alberta Health Disciplines Board
Alberta Health and Wellness
17th Floor, North Tower Telus Plaza
10025 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton AB T5J 2N3

Subject: Letter of support for Midwifery Graduates.
As a(n) [Albertan citizen, mother/father, childbirth professional, etc.] I would like to indicate my strong support for the Alberta Midwifery Graduates who have formally made an appeal to the Alberta Health Disciplines Board.
These five graduate midwives have been denied registration to work as a midwife in Alberta by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee (MHDC). I find this decision shocking. Not even a year after the wait-time and emergency debates were opened we are yet again witness to the lack of transparency in Alberta politics as well as Alberta Health and Wellness’ unwillingness to follow due process.
I fear that if the Alberta Health Disciplines Board upholds the recommendation forwarded by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee, Alberta women and families will be sacrificed. Waiting lists for midwives in Alberta can be as long as 40 names per month. If we had these five extra midwives in Alberta more women would be able to have timely access to midwifery services and this would be consistent with Alberta Health’s desire to offer care and choice to all Albertan families.
Many of these families are being put into a situation where they either have to leave their jobs and wait in the urban settings, at a huge expense to themselves and Alberta, or have to brave our winter road conditions to make it to a hospital. They are endangering themselves and their babies. Having community trained midwives who drive to them would fill the gap that is currently faced by Alberta Health in rural areas.
Finally, I would like to address the issue of transparency and due diligence. I rely on Alberta Health to be leaders in providing safe medical options in Alberta. To me, safety is not only possible through skill acquisition but also through clear and transparent accountability to its patients. How can there be 7 new registrants from the Midwives College of Utah (MCU) in Alberta in the last 20 months yet 6 applicants from that same program have been denied in the same time period solely on the basis of their program? On the one hand I am told that MCU is a problem, but on the other hand MHDC has continued to give licenses to MCU graduates.
Whatever the real reasons behind the refusal of these recent MCU graduates, I feel that the Alberta Health Disciplines Board should not punish the graduates for the MHDC’s biases and structural issues.
I ask the Alberta Health Disciplines Board to not only review their decision but to also grandmother these students into the Alberta Registered Midwifery community. Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
[Your Full Name]