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A cat, a hat and a piece of string - b-format.inddA couple of years ago I joined a diet club and managed to lose a lot of weight. I gained it back in stories, though; many of them about various aspects of food, and why it means so much to us. This is the tale of one woman’s dark and complex relationship with baked goods. She isn’t me, but I know how she feels. The thought that she might be pregnant came to her quite suddenly, during the ad break for CSI. She had been eating a packet of Mr Kipling’s French Fancies, starting with the pink ones (her favourites) and finishing with the brown, which she liked least because of their unappealing colour. She sometimes thought of leaving the brown ones altogether, but it seemed untidy to do so, and she always ended up eating them anyway. Maggie liked to nibble when watching TV. It made her feel safer and more relaxed. Besides, the evenings were the only time she didn’t feel guilty for eating. She always felt so self-conscious at work, with her sandwich and her muesli bar. As if the others were watching her – which, she thought, they probably were – thirteen stone, and look at her, eating carbs, for heaven’s sake. And so she waited till she got home, and cooked herself a nice little meal – some-thing simple, like pasta or rice – and poured herself a glass of wine— But then, sometimes, it got out of hand. Things always taste better while watching TV. Especially sweet things, Maggie thought. Sweet things, white things, sugar-pink-and-yellow things. And every twenty minutes, the ad breaks were there to remind her that ice cream was good, that chocolate made you happy, and that Betty Crocker frozen cheesecakes were now on sale at Iceland. And so Maggie ate. What else did she have? She ate Digestive biscuits, and raspberry buns, and coconut tarts, and chocolate-chip cookies and mini Swiss rolls and Rice Crispie squares and lemon meringue pie. Unlike most people, Mr Kipling and Betty Crocker could always be relied upon. They gave Maggie security, provided little islands of sweetness in a world grown increasingly sour. But now this. This recurring thought. What if I were pregnant? At first she almost laughed – what a joke, the thirteen-stone Immaculate Conception – but still the thought kept coming back, like a hopeful stray that had once been fed. What if I were pregnant? Certainly, she looked the part. The stomach that had once been flat was soft and round, like a half-baked loaf. Her arms, too, had softened and sagged; her thighs were pale and dimpled. Of course, the pregnancy wouldn’t show. Not yet; A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G it was too early. Maggie knew from experience that nothing much showed till the fourth month. Of course, she had been thinner then. Even during her pregnancy, she’d never weighed more than ten stone. She’d been anxious about the baby weight. Well, more anxious about Jack, really. Jack was Maggie’s husband, and he liked to keep in shape. He ran five miles every day, made jokes about her growing bump. Except that they weren’t really jokes – and Maggie knew it. Being pregnant made her crave bakery products. Iced buns; bread of all kinds; doughnuts and biscuits and flapjacks and cakes. Jack – who never ate carbs at all – tried to get her to eat raw, crunchy snacks, but her system rebelled. She just couldn’t eat. An apple or a carrot stick just wasn’t the same as a Krispy Kreme. She tried to take up knitting instead, made little bonnets and sets of bootees, but that didn’t stop her appetite. In fact, it only made things worse. All those balls of pastel wool in marshmallow-pink and vanilla ice cream intensified her cravings. Jack started to avoid her. She was swelling up, of course. Not just the bump, but her face and legs. Jack didn’t like curves. Maggie knew that. He liked his girls to look like boys. They worked for the same company, but Jack had an office, in which he stayed, while Maggie just had a cubicle, and so she rarely saw him at work, just as she rarely saw him at home.
It happened very gradually. At first he made it sound as if he were being considerate. I know you’re tired, Mags. Why don’t you have an early night? And she was tired. Desperately so. Whatever her body was going through, it seemed to need a lot of rest as well as a lot of food. And so she went to bed early, while Jack made excuses to stay up late. And straight after work, he went to the gym, while Maggie stayed in and knitted bootees, and watched CSI and Fringe and Lost and tried to think of babies’ names, and tried not to think too much about cake. It worked, or did for a while, at least. She even managed to lose some weight. Not enough to count, of course. Besides, by then Jack didn’t care. He had his own pre-natal routine. He took it all very seriously. He ran every morning at six o’clock and worked out at the gym in the evenings. I’l need to be fit to keep up with my son. Once more, he made it sound like a joke, though Maggie knew it wasn’t. He bought little outfits in shades of blue; little sports shirts, shorts and bootees made to look like trainers. Sometimes Maggie asked herself why Jack had wanted a child at all – he seemed to view the experience as a kind of desperate marathon. What – or who – was he running from? And why did he have to run at all? She tried to persuade him to stay at home, but it didn’t seem to do any good. Why should I put my life on hold just because you’re pregnant? he said. You could come to the gym with me if you real y wanted to. But al you care about nowadays is baby names and baby clothes – oh, and stuffing your face, of course— Which was unfair, Maggie knew. She’d totally stopped eating for two. In fact, she barely ate for one, most of it rice cakes and carrot sticks. She hated those things, they made her feel sick, but she needed to get things under control. She A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G was already fifteen pounds overweight, according to Jack’s digital scale. She felt disgusting. Fat and obscene. For the first time, she began to suffer from morning sickness. That was all right at first, she thought. It took away her appetite. But even on hummus and carrot sticks, she wasn’t losing any weight. And that new roll of fat under her chin seemed to be getting fuller. So Maggie started to work out. She forced herself to go to the gym. Went on the treadmill and rowing machines, pounding red-faced and sweaty. She’d never liked working out. She’d never needed to do it before. But Jack seemed to think that it would help, and Maggie thought that they could do it together. But Jack didn’t like to run alongside her. It puts me off my rhythm, he said. And so she watched him from afar, trying to keep pace with him, feeling tired and slightly sick and thinking of doughnuts and CSI— And then she lost the baby. At twenty-one weeks (just a little too soon). It could have happened to anyone, the specialist told her. It wasn’t your fault. Except that it hadn’t happened to anyone. It had happened to her. And whose fault was that? As for Jack – well, Jack just kept running. Straight out of the kitchen door one day, straight into the arms of a girl from the gym, and Maggie was left with all this useless pre-baby padding and grief, and this appetite that wouldn’t let go, that nothing seemed to satisfy.
Jack thought she should go to counselling. Maggie thought Jack could go to hell. She saw him some days, in the park, running with his new girl. Jack liked lean, athletic blondes. The latest one was called Cherry, which Maggie found hilarious. It seemed that even when it came to girlfriends, Jack favoured healthy snacking. Which all made this growing conviction of hers – what if I were pregnant? – all the more difficult to swallow. To be preg-nant, Maggie argued in vain, there had to be a man on the scene. Jack was gone, and the only men in her life nowadays were Mr Kipling and the heroes of the TV shows she liked to watch late into the night. And yet— The signs were definitely there. Her belly had grown. Her breasts were swollen and tender. In the months that had followed her miscarriage, she’d always felt so empty. No matter what she ate, it seemed that nothing could fill the baby-shaped hole at the pit of her stomach. But now, there was something. A fullness, she thought. A sense of possibility. I’m eating for two, she told herself, in the flickering light of the TV screen, and somehow it felt almost true, even though it couldn’t be. Miracles happen. I know they do. Life sometimes gives you a second chance. One day, she picked up her knitting again. She found it therapeutic. She knitted a set of baby clothes in exactly the same shade of sugar-pink as the icing on a Mr Kipling’s French Fancy. That gave her an appetite, which led to another set of clothes, this time in lemon-cupcake yellow, and a set of bootees in vanilla off-white. This time, there was no Jack around to curb her body’s instincts. Day by day she watched her belly grow rounder, and was aware of a corresponding sense of happiness and pride. So what if she didn’t have a man? This baby would be all hers. My bun in the oven, she A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G thought to herself as she opened a pack of Bakewell tarts. This time around, there was no sense of guilt. After all, she was eating for two.
By the fifth month of her mysterious pregnancy, other people had started to stare. Maggie could feel the sidelong glances, the unspoken words from her colleagues at work. She had given up sandwiches and muesli bars. Now that she was eating for two, she could indulge her cravings. And so at lunchtimes, at her desk, she ate chunky Cornish pasties from Greggs, whole packs of iced buns in pink or white, and maybe even a doughnut or two, comfortingly stodgy and soft in their thick coating of caster sugar. She wondered when someone would ask her when the baby was due. But no one dared – after all, they must have known all about Jack’s bit on the side. Maggie’s friends in the office weren’t really her friends at all, but Jack’s, which meant that there was no one left to ask her the question that must have been eating them up over all these weeks – could Maggie really be pregnant? But Maggie found she didn’t care. Let them whisper all they liked. The fact that no one knew for sure made the baby all the more wonderful. You’re mine, she told it tenderly. All mine, little Cookie. Maggie found that bakery names were the ones that came to her most readily. Sally Lunn. Angel Cake. Quirky, but appealing. Terms of endearment were always sweet: Sugar, Cupcake, Cookie, Honey-bun, Sweetie-pie. And this time, there was no doubt in her mind that the baby would be a girl. She needed no scan to confirm it. She hadn’t been to the doctor once. Why should she? She felt fine. She’d been through all that the first time. Doctors hadn’t helped her then. This time, she could cope on her own.
She started feeling drowsy at work, especially after lunch. Some days she could barely keep awake. Her supervisor, Chloë, mentioned it, and finally Maggie couldn’t keep the secret to herself any more. Blushing madly, she told her: ‘Well, I’m doing my best, but you know, in my condition I get very tired—’ ‘Your condition?’ Chloë said. ‘Well, you know. My pregnancy.’Chloë stared at her. ‘What?’ she said.
It wasn’t a very flattering stare. But then, Maggie had never liked Chloë much – a skinny redhead who looked fourteen and ate nothing but low-fat yoghurts for lunch. What did she know, anyway? How could she possibly understand? Word got around after that, of course. Her colleagues stared at her openly now as she ate lunch in her cubicle. Maggie didn’t care, though; she needed to keep her strength up. And the others were simply jealous, she thought. Jealous of you and me, Cookie.
A week later, Jack came to see her while she was on her tea break. ‘Is it true you’ve been saying you’re pregnant?’ he said. ‘Chloë says you told her you were.’ Maggie shrugged. ‘Well, I am,’ she said. Jack looked startled. ‘Have you been seeing anyone?’‘Why should I?’ said Maggie. ‘I feel fine. Oh—’ She paused. She knew that if she’d met someone else, then Jack would have been the first to know. Jack was a genius at collecting A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G (and disseminating) news, and although he clearly wasn’t interested in getting back with Maggie, a boyfriend on her horizon would have certainly caused a ripple or two.
He looked her critically up and down. ‘You look terrible,’ ‘Really? How very like you to say that.’At least he had the grace to blush. ‘Mags, I didn’t mean that. I meant you’ve put on a bit of weight.’ ‘Of course I have. I’m pregnant.’‘But you’re not, Mags, are you?’ he said. Maggie shrugged. ‘How would you know?’ She looked at him, thinking suddenly that he was the one who looked terrible. His cheekbones were saggy and over-pronounced, the wrists that protruded from his shirt-cuffs unexpectedly bony. Had he lost weight, she asked herself? Was he working out too much? ‘You don’t look so good yourself,’ she said. ‘You still with Cherry, or has that fresh-fruit diet turned out not to be nutritious enough?’ ‘Don’t try to divert, Mags.’ Jack liked to think that because he’d watched In Treatment he knew about psychoanalysis. ‘We’re talking about you here. This story you’ve been telling people. This story about being pregnant.’ Maggie smiled. ‘Why assume it isn’t true?’‘Well, because – it just isn’t,’ he said, sounding like a little boy. ‘Where would you get a baby from? It isn’t mine, and there’s no one else. So what are you going to give birth to? A family pack of Krispy Kremes?’ That should have upset her, Maggie thought. But this pregnancy seemed to bring with it a sweet new kind of serenity. And so she simply smiled at Jack in that new, tranquil way she had, and said: ‘You’ll see in four months, won’t you, Jack? Come on. Have a Digestive.’ After that, the news was out. Everyone had their opinion on Maggie’s mysterious pregnancy. Opinions which differed only in that some believed she was crazy, and others thought she was making it up to try to get Jack’s attention. Both points of view were so ridiculous that Maggie didn’t even try to argue with them, but simply went on listening to that sweet, warm feeling in her belly, and feeding it with bread and cake and biscuits and pies. Why had she ever believed that she needed a man to produce a child? The nursery rhyme had it right all along. Sugar and spice and al things nice – that’s what little girls were made of, and Cookie – yes, that was her name – knew exactly what she needed. She became more demanding as time went on; gave Maggie a craving for sweet rice pudding; for apple pie with clotted cream; for strawberry shortcake, treacle tarts, croissants with honey and crusty French loaves. By the seventh month, Maggie was so tired and heavy that all she really wanted was to stay at home and watch TV, coddled in a blanket, with a jug of pink lemonade on the side, or maybe a pot of hot chocolate and a plate of warm scones with apricot jam. She called in her maternity leave, and no one even questioned it. Compassionate leave, the letter said. Maggie couldn’t be bothered to protest. They didn’t believe in her Cookie? Who cared? Maggie didn’t need any of them. A few people called. She knew they A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G meant well. But Maggie didn’t want their help. Nor did she want diet tips, or bereavement counselling, or relationship therapy, or any of the solutions they offered to her phantom pregnancy. Cookie wasn’t a phantom, she knew. Cookie, at seven months, already had a strong enough personality to make those people feel like ghosts in comparison. Cookie was warm, Cookie was sweet, Cookie was a bundle of love – and Cookie was always hungry. And so Maggie left her job without the slightest hint of regret, and devoted her time to Cookie. The decision somehow seemed to have given her more energy. She started to do her own baking, which meant that she didn’t have to go out as often. She sent for some paint from the DIY shop and finally painted the baby room – the room that she and Jack had never quite got round to preparing. She painted it in rosewater-pink, with a border of stencilled cupcakes. She made a set of curtains in the same printed cupcake design. She was just assembling the crib (blond wood, with bedding to match the curtains), keeping her strength up with the help of a pack of Wagon Wheels, when the doorbell rang. It was Jack. This time, he looked even worse than before: unshaven, pallid and rail-thin. He was wearing his running shoes and a grey T-shirt over scruffy jeans, and he smelt of sweat, as if he’d just got back from the gym. He took one look at the baby room and sat down hard, as if he’d been pushed. ‘Oh, Mags. What’s going on?’ Maggie gave him a sympathetic smile. Some men took it hard, she knew; especially men like Jack. The bond between mother and child is so strong that fathers are often excluded. Still, that was hardly her fault – after all, Jack was the one who had written himself out of the picture. Now that she was almost due, perhaps he regretted leaving her. Too bad that Maggie didn’t care. Cookie was all she needed now. She sat down beside him on the couch. It sagged alarm- ingly as she did so. The baby weight had really come on over the past two or three months, but Maggie didn’t feel bad at all. This time, she felt beautiful. Her skin glowed. Her hair shone. Her body expanded like warm dough. She smelt of baking, of sweetness, of yeast. She could see it in the way he looked at her, his eyes half afraid, half awed, like a child’s. ‘What are you doing?’ he said again.
‘I’m getting things ready,’ Maggie said. ‘It won’t be long ‘Cookie?’ said Jack.
‘That’s her name. I never told anyone that before.’ Maggie smiled again, feeling glad. He’d left her, of course, but Jack was still the man she’d loved, and it seemed only right that he should know the baby’s name before it was born. She laid a protective hand over her distended belly. Inside, Cookie was fast asleep, although she would soon be hungry again. Maggie wondered whether Jack would put out his hand to feel her bump, as he had when they were together. She wondered if she wanted him to, or whether that was all in the past. But Jack was looking agitated. His mouth pulled sharply to one side, as if he’d been running too fast. ‘Maggie,’ he said, looking at her. ‘You have to stop this. Get some help.’ A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G ‘Help with what?’ Maggie said. ‘I told you, I’m fine. The ‘What baby?’ said Jack. ‘Whose baby is this? Where did it come from? Pizza Hut? And now you’re taking maternity leave – picking out baby clothes – doing all this . . .’ He waved a hand at the open door of the baby room with its cupcake trim. ‘Maggie!’ he said. ‘You have to get help!’ ‘Are you volunteering?’ she said, making it sound like a Jack shrugged. ‘I blame myself. I shouldn’t have run out like that. But losing the baby—’ He looked away. ‘I didn’t know what to do, Mags. I acted like an idiot. I hope you know how sorry I am.’ ‘Sorry?’ said Maggie, feeling numb.
‘I shouldn’t have left you. I know that now. I’ve told Cherry it’s over. I can move back whenever you like—’ ‘Move back?’ Maggie said. He nodded. ‘I’ll look after you. I’ll make sure you get back on your feet. I’ve already talked to the people at work. They’ll hold your job for as long as you need. One in four people in the UK suffer from depression at some time in their lives. We’ll get you some counselling, maybe some Prozac or lithium. And then we can start working out again – make you feel better about yourself. As soon as you start to lose the weight, you’ll get over this – delusion.’ ‘You think I’ll get over it?’ Maggie said. Now, at last, she was angry. ‘You think the baby’s all in my mind? Here! Feel this!’ She grabbed his hand and laid it on her belly. ‘Can you feel her kicking, Jack?’ Jack pulled away, and muttered: ‘Intestinal gas. That’s all ‘You think?’ said Maggie.
‘Oh, Maggie. I know.’‘All right, then. Get out.’ She was shaking now. Cookie was making her hungry again. There was a cold rhubarb crumble in the fridge; with a scoop of ice cream it would be just what the doctor ordered. ‘I don’t have time for this right now,’ she said, seeing Jack’s astonished face. ‘I have work to do, proper work, as opposed to working out—’ ‘Maggie, please. I love you,’ said Jack. He meant it, too; she could see it now. But she also knew that it was too late. Cookie was more important. And – if he really wanted her – Jack would have to make a choice. She said: ‘If you can prove that you want to be a proper ‘There is no baby!’ shouted Jack. ‘There never was! You made it up! You’re fat because you eat all the time, not because you’re pregnant!’ ‘Don’t listen to him, Cookie,’ she said. ‘We don’t need him any more.’ She opened the door. ‘Goodbye,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you.’ After that, Maggie screened her calls and put a spy-hole in the front door. She was too busy getting things ready for Cookie to deal with interference. She’d decided on a home delivery – she found it too stressful leaving the house – besides, she didn’t need help, she thought. All she needed was peace and quiet. No one saw her for weeks after that. No one answered A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G the phone any more; no one came to answer the door. Jack called by several times, without success, although once or twice he could have sworn he heard movement from inside the house. She’d changed the locks. He wasn’t surprised. His first attempt to involve the police met with polite indiffer-ence, his second with open amusement. Had there been a crime, sir? Did Jack have any reason to believe his ex-wife might be at risk? Had she robbed a bakery? Jack left feeling angry and humiliated – as well as increasingly anxious. Something was going on in that house. Behind those neatly drawn curtains. He started to watch the deliveries that came to the door every couple of days. Most were from various bakeries, but some were from shops supplying babycare products. Maggie never spoke to the people who made these deliveries. Instead, they left the goods on the porch, just inside the outer door. One day, watching from his car, Jack saw a large, indistinct figure wrapped in a pink dressing-gown emerge to collect a pastry-box. It moved with a curious waddling gait, then vanished into the darkened house. Christ, he thought. She’s got so big!The next time, he knew what he had to do. No one else would help him. He waited until the baker’s van came with the morning delivery. Then he jumped out of his own car and levelled a smile at the deliveryman. ‘Thanks. I’ll take it in,’ he said.
The deliveryman looked uncertain.
‘It’s all right. It’s my house,’ said Jack, hefting the covered tray on to his shoulder. It smelt of bread, and the richer scent of butter pastry and slow-cooked fruit. ‘My wife’s pregnant,’ he explained. ‘She’s been practically living on these things.’ ‘Well, OK,’ said the deliveryman, and watched Jack step on to the porch. He looked as if he lived there, of course. Walked in as if he owned the place. And he said his wife was pregnant – well, only a pregnant woman, he thought, could want to eat so many pies.
At least, this is what the deliveryman would tell the police some time later. At the time, he simply shrugged and set off without thinking at all. And Jack, still carrying the tray, opened the door into Maggie’s living room and looked inside at what was there – He’d had visions of Maggie lying in the dark, huddled under a duvet. In fact, the room was brightly lit. A series of lamps with rose-coloured shades had been placed at intervals along the floor. Dozens of strings of fairy lights had been left to tumble over the furniture and to proliferate across the floor. Mobiles hung from the ceiling: little bells, cut-out shapes, crystals that reflected the light. And on every surface there were cakes, arranged on cake stands and doilies; little sugared fairy cakes; iced buns with cherries on top; macaroons and lemon tarts and apple pies and rich sweet rolls all stacked up in tiers to the ceiling and gleaming in the coloured light like treasure from Aladdin’s cave.
To Jack it looked like a combination of Santa’s Grotto and the Gingerbread House, and if there had been any doubt in his mind that his wife had run completely mad, it vanished in the face of this – this child’s-eye view of fairyland. Barbie’s pleasure-dome. Jesus wept.
A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G ‘Maggie? Are you there?’ he called.
Stupid to think she’d be anywhere else. But there was no answer. The room was still, except for the twirling of paper mobiles and the tinkling of a music box, somewhere in an-other room.
Jack put down the bakery tray. The scent of sweet things was overwhelming. The door to the adjoining room was slightly ajar. He opened it. It was the room they’d both agreed would belong to the baby, when it was born – except that Maggie had wanted to paint it pink, whereas Jack had wanted to paint it blue, which meant that the room had stayed as white and bare as the day they’d laid their baby to rest in a box supplied by the hospital; something like a bakery box, lined in cheap white satin.
Now all that had changed, of course. Jack had noticed the last time he’d called. Now, the room was a nursery, brightly lit and painted pink; scatter-cushions on the floor, and a wooden crib in the centre, half shielded from view by curtains. Jack took a couple of steps into the room. Maggie wasn’t there. But something was playing a tinkling tune, and a lantern by the side of the crib was revolving slowly, casting little arpeggi of coloured light against the newly painted walls. ‘Maggie?’ He’d meant it to sound alert, in charge. But his voice in this alien room was lost, smothered beneath that sugary scent, that pastel drift of cushions and drapes. He was alone in the room, and yet he was aware of a presence, a kind of fullness in the air. It was almost as if something were That crib. That bloody crib, he thought. Standing there so quietly. Looking as if it belonged there, as if there could possibly be a reason for all this paraphernalia. And those curtains drawn across it, like a tent, hiding whatever was inside.
Of course, there was no baby, he thought. There couldn’t be a baby. The baby had never existed outside his wife’s desperate imagination. Cookie, she’d called it. Kooky was right. Whatever was in there – a teddy, a doll – was just a substitute for what she had lost, a symptom of her unreason, proof that he was right to interfere— He would confront her, Jack told himself. He did still love her, after all. Once he’d forced her to face the truth, then maybe they could try again, go back to the way they’d been before. He took a step towards the crib. The scent of sweet things intensified. A sugary, floury, milky scent, like pan-cake batter or cookie dough. Once more he thought he heard something shift and sigh behind the patterned curtain. Was there something alive in there? A rabbit, maybe even a cat? ‘Jack? What are you doing in here?’ It was Maggie. Soundless in spite of her bulk, she must have come up behind him. He turned, feeling guilty despite himself. Mumbled something about being worried about her. ‘Worried?’ She smiled. ‘Well, as you can see, both of us are ‘Both of you?’‘Cookie and me.’Now Jack could stand it no longer. He turned and stepped A C AT, A H AT A N D A P I E C E O F S T R I N G up to the crib, reaching out a trembling hand to yank aside the curtain. The cupcake-printed fabric tore. A row of bells jingled merrily. Jack looked inside the crib, his mouth falling open in sudden surprise as he saw what was lying inside— Maggie smiled. ‘She’s perfect,’ she said. ‘Isn’t she, Jack?’Jack said nothing, but stared and stared.
‘I knew things would be OK if only I trusted my instincts. Sugar and spice and al things nice. That’s what little girls are made of. Isn’t that right, Cookie?’ Maggie smiled. Her doughy face was radiant. She reached down into the open crib and picked up what was lying there, and Jack began to back away, away from his wife and out of the room, feeling blindly for the door, almost tripping over the strings of fairy lights that twisted like vines over the floor of the living room. Maggie watched him go, and smiled. She thought it might take Jack some time to come to terms with fatherhood. She looked down at the baby again, and smelt that milky baby-smell. Sugar and spice and al things nice— And then she kissed the thing in her arms and said:‘Hey, Cookie. Daddy’s here.’ The Little Book
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ABORTION PREVENTION COMMON REASONS MARES ABORT EARLY IN PREGNANCY ARE. ( EED – early embryonic death) (1). Ascending infection (2). Chromosomally abnormal embryo (3). Iatrogenic causes ( man made causes) (4). Fever or Heat Stress (5). Endotoxaemia (6). Nutritional stress (7). Other severe stresses (8). Abortogenic Viruses eg EVA, EIA The first two reasons are by far the mos