wild flowers from my neighbour's garden grew in my garden.
Verbena bonariensis is a tall and slender-stemmed perennial. It
can grow to 6 ft (120 cm) tall and can spread to 3 ft (90 cm) wide. At
maturity, it will develop a woody base. Fragrant lavender to rose-purple
flowers are in tight clusters located on terminal and axillary stems,
blooming from mid-summer until fall frost. The stem is square with very
long internodes. Leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate with a toothed
margin and grow up to 4 in (10 cm) long.
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Words of healing
Rebecca Blithe | 3rd June 2011
Ann Chin has published a book about the death of her infant son. Photo / Kellie Blizard
A mother's account of the death of her newborn son has been turned into a book in the hope it will help other mothers heal. Rebecca Blithe meets the author.
"The specialist said, 'You're going to have a normal baby'," says Ann Chin, as she sits with a pile of her recently published book, Diary of a Bereaved Mother.
But the days that followed the birth of her son, Andrew, proved anything but normal.
"Once I had my baby they realised he was dying," she says, of his diagnosis of Campomelic syndrome; a bone and cartilage condition resulting in short limbs and breathing problems because of a small chest capacity.
"They knew because of the scans, but they didn't investigate because it was a rare thing," she says, of the abnormalities. "When the baby was born, they resuscitated him. He was going to die that night. He survived for 55 days.
"One afternoon I was told he had died. He stopped breathing, he turned black, he was dead for half of the afternoon. Then he began breathing again." Describing that afternoon, the author seems lost for words. "You can't really give words, except that it was heart-wrenching, I was in a black tunnel."
During this period, Mrs Chin stayed in the nurses' home at National Women's Hospital, awaiting her baby's death, and writing.
"It was not only a diary for myself but I was writing letters to family in Australia and Singapore.
I kept carbon copies," she says, adding her father had made his six children write daily compositions from a young age.
Twenty-one years later, after meeting other women who lost children, she decided to revisit her ordeal, in the hope of helping mothers cope and those close to them understand. "Six hundred babies a year die. That's more than the road toll. [Compared to the funding for road safety] there's just nothing provided for us."
Mrs Chin, who teaches English as a second language, says reliving the experience was difficult but cathartic.
"I took out all my old files. I read them and I cried. I sat at the computer and I cried. But after a while, I was okay. Then I finished the first draft on his anniversary."
She says the feedback so far has been positive, especially from those who have had similar experiences.
"One of the mothers [from a Stillborn and Newborn Death support group], she just cried. She said to have someone writing about it was really helpful. I've spoken to grandparents as well. People tell me, 'Now I understand'."
Her story also tells of her disappointment with some of the staff at the antenatal unit and the importance of cultural sensitivity. "We had two doctors who kept saying, 'This is his problem'," she says, of medical staff shifting the blame.
The book has been requested by one of Mrs Chin's doctors, who is now based at the University of Toronto, Canada, to assist with training and hospital management procedures.
Dr Simon Rowley is a consultant at Starship Children's Hospital who's been given a copy of the book.
"It is a good reminder to all health professionals that when our patients leave us, the story does not end for the parents. The detail is amazing, and every little thought and action seems to have been recorded as it happened, and then has been reflected upon.
"For parents undergoing similar experiences this book could be a great comfort. For health professionals, I would see it as essential reading."
Diary of a Bereaved Mother is available for $25 at The Women's Bookstore, 105 Ponsonby Rd, , Auckland University Bookshop, and Wheelers Books. or email Ann Chin: email@example.com
I ventured to the new Singapore Marina gardens and was intriqued by these bottles of plants.
The terrarium is low maintenance and only needs watering once every six months. I have a worm farm which amazes the students.
I removed the lift and the
Tradescantia plant grew wild. I brought it back during the long summer holiday. I must start it again.
am the proud owner of this unusual succulent. It has red edges and is
bigger than the size of my palm. It has fleshy, paddle-like leaves that
resemble the shape of a clamshell as though I am closing my palms
is Kalanchoe thyrsiflora or flapjack. This has given many babies that
it was bending backwards. Despite the cold, I went and removed the
babies, and also did an experiment, I put a pot at the leaves and see if
it will root. and send the mother plant to retirement.
Our Watery Wednesday came today in the form of frozen water of snow and hail, and thunder storm.
I was going to a song practise for Sunday's International Day. It was pitch black, being the shortest day in the southern Hemisphere. I was reluctant to go, I didn't want to go in the blustery wind and heavy down pour. When I went, the first action song was Kia Kaha. Be Strong and be brave. This was a term I used as I came to the end of my book "Diary of a bereaved Mother." I had told myself to be Kia Kaha. On Sunday, I will be Kia Kaha again as I do this action Maori song, Kia kaha is a Māori phrase used by both the Māori and Pākehā (European) people of New Zealand meaning stay strong,
used as an affirmation. The phrase has significant meaning for both the
Māori and Pākehā people: popularised through its usage by the 28th Māori Battalion during World War II, it is found in titles of books and songs, as well as a motto.
About 100 houses in my home town Sibu was razed to the ground. To my people I say, Kia Kaha"
Be strong and be brave, Br steadfast and sure. For God is our shelter, He is our strength.
A new product Natvia, is advertised on TV. I googled and found products with names ending ___via are all the sugar substitute.
The main ingredient is my Stevia plant. The leaves are very sweet, but it has a distinctive taste. My sister, a Professor in plants attended a conference and the main issue was how to remove the bitterness.
Stevia is a sweet leafed plant, part of the Chrysanthemum family. The leaves of the Stevia plant have an incredible sweetness that is 300 times sweeter than sugar.
For a while, the plant was growing nicely. Then in summer, we had a heat spell and my poor plant got sun burn. I tired to revive it by taking it indoors. I was too late. Now it is too cold, and I have lose interest. It's dead. There goes my experiment. May be it grows better in a tropical weather.
Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪
I am the writer of:
1: From China to Borneo and beyond. 海外华人的中国魂:
2: Diary of a Bereaved Mother, Goodbye my baby 丧儿记:
Genre: Non fiction, self help, bereavement, infancy death
Available in New Zealand at:
Women's Bookshop, University Bookshop, Auckland, Church of Christ Bookshop, Online orders: Wheeler books,Fishpond.co.nz ,academybooks.co.nz/product/isbn/9780473187095/
For Overseas order:
please send an email:
TV and YouTube Video: