Sunday, April 29, 2007

So maybe something is working?

So it's CD9 here at the House of Cotta, (not that I've been counting or tracking or nothin') and I happened to notice something interesting yesterday.

Spinnbarkheit.

A rare phenomenon, last seen spontaneously & non-RE-assisted, months & months & months ago, so we're all gonna hope that we hit the mark this time people.

K?

Mr.Cotta has made his "sacrifice" for the cause and I have lain back and thought of England, a couple of times. I'm going for an ultrasound tomorrow if they can fit me in, otherwise it will be Tuesday, just to confirm it wasn't a random bizarre psychotic episode, and I actually saw what I saw.

So IF I saw what I saw, and it wasn't just my imagination, I have some prometrium, and some baby aspirin, and hell, maybe we'll give this a whirl, right?

And we won't think about how lousy my eggs are whenever I ovulate earlier than CD12.

Just--won't--think--about--it

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Letting go of the blame

Many many sad things have happened to me in my life, and many many good things have happened to me as well. In previous posts I've spoken about guilt and fault and who should take responsibility for what's gone on. I'm working on shedding some of that guilt right now. It's pretty hard, in fact, it's almost impossible to shed those embedded truths I carry with me.

I'm wavering right now. That breakthrough I had this last week is still there, but shaking a lot. I noticed it just after I drove past the intersection where I had a car accident in 2003. I was 8 weeks pregnant, and it was a small fender-bender, but forever and ever I've wondered if that car accident caused my miscarriage 4 weeks later. I had an ultrasound afterwards, showing the baby perfectly fine, heart beating away, no bleeding, and every week afterward, the ultrasounds were perfect for growth, and movement. Until they weren't at 12 weeks.

I spent months afterwards trying to get chromosomal testing, and pathology reports done, partially to relieve my miscarriage guilt, and partially to find an answer so it wouldn't happen again. I found the answer, and logically I know that accident was irrelevant. But still---the guilt lingers. "Maybe I should've gotten the tires changed", "Maybe I shouldn't have been driving in the rain", "Maybe I should have been paying more attention". Except, that the accident was irrelevant, my clotting disorder was the problem, my endo was the problem, so why the hell am I feeling guilty about a car accident? (Let's even look at that word - "accident" - do accidents deserve guilt?)

So I'm going wayyyy back here, and thinking about what kind of control I really have over how my life turned out. And in the end, so many things I've blamed myself for, I had zero control over.

I had no control over the circumstances of my birth. I had no control over being born to an unwed mother, or over being adopted. I had no control over who my adoptive family was picked to be. Zero, zip.

That responsibility lies with my birth mother and father who made the choice to have unprotected sex and get pregnant, and then give me up to be adopted. They may have been pressured by society, or not, it doesn't really matter. Because in the end, it was not my fault that I was born in these circumstances, and I refuse to feel guilt about it.

Same with my childhood and my life growing up. I look at my kids now, and they have zero control over their lives, at such a young age it's really all about the adults who care for them. CAS picked lousy parents for me, and it was their responsibility to pick better ones, and safeguard me as time went on. But they didn't....so I'm not blaming myself.

I have ADD, which is almost always caused by genetics, undiagnosed & untreated throughout my childhood. I had no ability to take myself to the Dr. or get myself medication, heck even when I was older and could've gone to the Dr. by myself, I still had no way of diagnosing myself with something. So, who could've?

Well, maybe my adoptive mother, who knew all about special education and learning disabilities, but refused to see it in her own home. After all, "what would the neighbours think?" Or how about my elementary & high schools, or my teachers, or my University profs, or the counselling centre I went to for help with study problems and my disorganized life. Or how about the therapists I saw, the Dr.s who all ignored the signs & symptoms I had no way of knowing about?

Or maybe society & the media could take some responsibility for endlessly perpetuating the bullshit myth that ADD doesn't exist, and the medication for it is a bad thing. Or that it is caused by some mysterious issue with character or poor morals, *eyeroll*. Frankly, for me, medication has been a freakin' miracle. It doesn't work as well if my hormonal levels are messed up, like my thyroid or my estrogen, but when they are well-controlled, it works wonderfully. Now, that I know I have it, I can take responsibility for ensuring I control it with medication and lifestyle changes, but prior to diagnosis?

Fuck no, I'm tossing that guilt.

The guilt I carry about my infertility and my miscarriages is a little more complex...women are told nothing about our bodies beyond the basic mechanics or sex, even as adults. For many of us, it isn't until we stumble across that fateful book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, that we finally discover how our bodies REALLY work. Even then, the fertility industry really tries to pull that one apart, pushing us to spend spend spend with them, but hesitating to diagnose us properly right from the beginning.

My Dr.s should've taken better care of me, diagnosed me properly from the start, pushed for evidence based medical studies that would help us all, instead of leaving me gasping in the dark, blaming myself and my body, leaving me riddled with shame, terrified to speak it out loud. Infertility and pregnancy loss are not shameful, they are just another medical condition, like cancer or heart disease, but they are treated by society as unmentionable subjects. Things to whisper about in the dark. Behind closed doors.

As an adult I've been able to research all of this over the years and I've used it to keep myself alive, and get pregnant. But why the hell should I have to do this alone? Where are the Drs. stepping up to the plate and diagnosing the causes of IF and miscarriage? I think it's much easier to blame women. "Yes, Mrs. Smith is habitual aborter. Unexplained. She should just give up." (aka We can't diagnose or treat this patient because she will hurt our clinic's success rates.)

Can you imagine anyone saying that about cancer? "Yes, Mr. Smith is a habitual tumourer. Unexplained. He should just give up." (No, instead we biopsy, we do pathology, we give drugs, we do surgery, we never ever give up, and we sure as fuck don't call the patient a name that attributes personal blame. And if you saw the "success rates" for cancer clinics? Ha! No one even defines those, much less uses them to deny treatment.)

(Oh and for those of you who think that infertility isn't fatal like cancer, my clotting disorder if left untreated, can cause sudden cardiac death, and my daughters certainly died during my miscarriages. Many infertile women are left disabled, in pain, and bereft of organs they view as precious as kidneys and livers and lungs.)

I did nothing wrong during my pregnancies. I did the best I could with the little information I had. I didn't fail.

Others failed me.

They failed you too. Don't let them get away with it. I'm not.

Friday, April 27, 2007

How come no one reads blogs on Friday night?

Am I the only person who reads blogs and writes posts on Friday? I swear sometimes I feel like the only person on the internet from Friday noon until Saturday midday. Not that the weekends are so busy online either, but geeeez, this is primetime for me people!

Why primetime? Because there is no homework I have to nag anyone about, no dinner to cook on takeout night, and no one to talk to because my darling children and hubby watch Japanese anime TV shows every Friday night! I could watch Yu-Gi-Oh and Naruto with them, but then I would have to stick a fork in my eye while slowly losing my mind.

So I surf the net instead, occasionally demanding someone take me out to Friday dinner once a month or look at me or talk to me. Sniff, sniff....

I'm beginning to think you really do have exciting lives and I'M the only one at home.

What are you all doing right this minute?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

So far so good

I've been feeling pretty decent, even after some upsets and fights this week, so I'm thinking my mood is lasting.

Which is good because my therapy will soon come to an end, sadly. I really like this Doc because she is a medical doctor who does talk therapy and understands medications and all of it combined. Plus she is free courtesy of OHIP. Quite often therapy is paid for here unless you have benefits. Originally I got to see her as part of a brief therapy program at a hospital. (brief therapy is a bogus concept, btw...strictly for budgets, not for patients.) She extended me because she could not take on any extra patients due to the fact that she was going on ----maternity leave.

Yep, she's pregnant. And due soon. Nice part is, she is very very much the "deserving & appreciative" kind of pregnant woman that I cannot resent, plus she has been very open and willing to discuss any feelings I have about it all. (Occasionally I just pretend in my head that she is fat, but I'm pretty OK with her overall.)

So I have another couple of appointments, and then, no more. I'll start shopping around for another one soon, I guess. I keep wishing she could still see me, but she'll be gone awhile and her program won't let me enroll with her again. And it's unlikely she will go into private practice anytime soon.

As for the fights and upsets? Well, besides kid squabbles, etc. Mr.Cotta and I have had a few intense discussions, mostly about money, and soon solved. And my Volvo dealership has been a source of stress, since our Volvo wagon has been in and out of the shop for of all things, broken seatbelts. I can't actually believe that is even possible, but it's true, the damn things broke. (Now I know why that lease was such a cheap deal....they were selling lemons...*eyeroll*.)

My family Doc's office called, and she wants to see me about the RAIU results. Not urgent, like next week, so I think she's going to try to convince me that I'm fine, regardless of the test results. But, after my recent therapeutic revelations, I have decided that this is not on. It is NOT my responsibility to cure myself. It's their's, and those Doctors are going to have to stand up and take some responsibility for not doing their jobs.

And that is what most of my latest foray into EMDR was about; figuring out whose "fault" things were and whose "responsibility" it is. I'll post longer about it next, but to sum up, I've been blaming myself for things that aren't really my fault. Punishing myself for things I have little control over. And letting people off the hook who are at fault.

This has also resulted in my personality constantly being defensive, and angry, and unable to see other points of view. I want to be kinder to others and to myself, both online, and in every day interactions. I'll make myself sick if I don't.

I wish everyone in blogland could be kind to each other, especially about sensitive subjects like children and pregnancy infertility and loss and adoption. We are all so wounded already, do we need to be harder on each other? "Judge" each other's ways?....I don't think so...it hurts me to see people I care about fighting. It doesn't matter who started it or who ends it, we need to learn from one another.

I'm going to go read some more blogs now, I'm a bit behind, I've been enjoying the view from the happy side of the world, thanks!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Lighter me loving me

I just came back from an EMDR session with my therapist, and I'm feeling----interesting.

It was huge, important, space defining in a way I can't quite figure out just yet. I know I said I was stuck in a hole before, but I'm not sure I am any more. I don't know. It's all still processing.

I'm smiling, relaxed, lighter, happier. I've had so many stuck sessions, and this wasn't.

Did you know that I'm not responsible for every bad thing on earth that happens?

Did you know that all bad things are not my fault?

Twenty years of therapy and I could say these things endlessly, logically, like a parrot with a cracker, but until today, it was defensively, like I needed the world to confirm it was true, to prop up my self-esteem.

I feel like I might believe it in my heart today. Not just think it in my brain.

Maybe, I just might love myself today? Yeah....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Research, thinking, and memeing

I love surfing for news and studies and stuff....much easier than thinking up my own shit...course, then I read it and think up more stuff....damn.

Maybe that's why Jess and Reality have given me a Thinking Blogger Award!








*Blushes*

*Takes Bow*

*Scuffs floor with shoe*



I'm lousy at speeches so here is some stuff to read. Helpful? Thinky?

Some of you have pointed out this Chatelaine article. Which has pointed to this government study and recommendations on IVF funding. (I've been lobbying for this review for ages, shhhh.) I'm a little ehhh about it, because I believe that all fertility treatment should be paid for, not just adding the male factor patients, but all of us, full stop, but also because I think too many people suffer bad diagnosis. They may need IVF, they may IUI, or miscarriage treatment. We should fund everybody, IMHO.

My favourite quote from my Doctor, "Idiopathic is when the Doctor is an idiot who doesn't want to find the pathology."

Anyway, now making many phone calls and emails to my friends in Govt. hehe

Also Macleans has a good article on an adoptee who has written a book about her reunion, which had good and bad aspects. (Warning: the title & header of this article is not so good...worst choice of words ever, but it has nothing to do with the book review, so skip the title, and note the book.)

And yesterday's Globe & Mail had a good article on egg freezing and the fabulous Dr. Seang Lin-Tan of McGill IVF. Not only does he freeze eggs but he invented IVM - in vitro maturation, a technique for getting usable eggs from women who have PCOS and poor responders to stims. IVM has been around for years and I have to say I'm astonished that more clinics don't use it, considering the incredible success rates women have with it--women who get rejected from other clinics.

Awesome quote from Dr. Kutluk Oktay of Cornell - "McGill has obviously been a leader in the field," he said. Yes, it's true...Cornell isn't your only choice, ladies and gents. Canada Rocks, baby!

Of course, this may not help the rest of us, because the asshats at Health Canada are already stepping in to regulate it....men can whack off in a cup, and freeze their sperm for absolutely no reason at all, no government restrictions....but women? Nahhhh, they have to be CONTROLLED. *Sigh*

This Dr. also does egg freezing, a slightly different method, but still amazing, and something I wish I could've done years ago, so that now, I might have a damn egg left somewhere on the planet. Grrrrr.....

I have to think up who I am giving Thinking Blogger awards to now, but damned if I have too many choices. Plus some of you already have it. Well, I have to think up who to give it to again.

Here are the rules:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

Making me think:

1. Nicole at Just Crazy Enough to Try - Her adventures with Bipolar, her science background, her law degree, and her attempts to make a baby are truly amazing.

2. Jenny at A Natural Scientist - I love her reviews of science topics for the rest of us...the non-degree holders who love the subject but need a tutor!

3. Manuela at Thin Pink Line - yes, she's behind a password, but seriously awesome posts about adoption and infertility and feminism and life. (Email her at seekingpinkline@gmail.com maybe she'll let you in, K?)

4. The contributors (Kate, Delphi, msfitza, and Julian's Mom) to the Miscarriage, Stillbith, and Infant Loss Directory - a fabulous resource for anyone who wants to learn about this subject, or get support.)

5 . Niobe at Dead Baby Jokes, who writes the most amazing heartwrenching posts while grieving the loss of her twins. I've learned more about grief from her than I have in real life in years.

Whew...long post, but know, all of you, I love you guys, and you ALL make me think.

*Smooches*

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not enough RAM

So many sad news stories this week, I'm not sure I can read them. I am positive I simply do not have the ability to mentally process them all. As Bruno Gianelli on The West Wing once said, "My brain just doesn't have enough RAM to do it all. Some things just have to fall away."

But this really hurts; it really has taken my breath away.

Today is my son's seventh birthday. I usually refer to him as the little guy, but he's big enough to have a name on the blog now, so we'll call him Mac, okay? Mac is sweet and kind and sensitive. He's never hurt a soul. Mac is going to change the world someday, or at least make it a better place for a few of us.

So WTF is SCOTUS to imply he should never have been born? I get that they want me dead...I'm a real live feminist, and we all know they hate actual women, so as repugnant as it is, I can understand why they decreed that I deserve to die. I mean c'mon---Western modern society says domestic violence isn't a crime, and stalking is no big deal, and then they all stand around surprised when there are consequences. *eyeroll*

So back to me and Mac. If you look on my sidebar at pregnancy#2, you will see the story before Mac was born. Or you could just read this post and know why it was so medically necessary that I end that pregnancy, save my life, and keep my uterus. Besides the whole fond-of-womb-thing, I could not have given birth to Mac without that precious organ.

In my case I was induced, but I had the luxury of time, I wasn't dying from preeclampsia, or urgently bleeding to death, AKA the nightmare for every woman who has ever faced the possibility of dying in childbirth. (I could have bled to death imminently, but I didn't wait to find out.) I know I was blessed to have great Doctors and live in a country that respects my right to make adult informed choices.

But still, the precedent is terrible. If you look at the oral arguments the court heard, you will note that an important reason the procedure is practiced is so that women can see their babies afterwards in one piece, and take pictures, mourn, & have a funeral. Intact D&E or D&X is reserved done for wanted pregnancies when the child is terminally ill or the mother is dying. D&E where the child is removed in pieces, is done for late term procedures, on women who have non-medical reasons to end the pregnancy (think Chantal Daigle - beaten and abused by her boyfriend in the late second trimester) or in emergencies, it all depends on what happens in the OR, or how sick the woman is.

What's worse is that the US court did not seem to understand the medical arguments presented to it. They did not comprehend the life threatening danger. It's like we've insulated ourselves from reality with technology, convinced that women don't die in childbirth. That everything can be "cured". That our future yet-to-exist children will still magically be born alive and healthy even if our fertility is damaged by previous reproductive disasters.

Happy Birthday Mac. I'm sorry those people don't get it, Mommy promises you that she will defeat them, somehow, someday.

I'll make them see that you have a right to exist to.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I survived, sort of...

Long day, next time Dear M. please do NOT let me eat anything called a "vegan organic pumpkin muffin". Not such a lovely effect on my digestive system....did all my friends know that just because things are organic, it doesn't make them bacteria free?

I didn't. Or I forgot, meh.

So, my sweets, today went well, but apparently it takes so long to get into the paper that hell will freeze over before this damn thing gets published. I give up. I was extra adrenalized today, positively nutty nervous, practically having mini-strokes, so it was nice to spend time with someone kind beforehand. And I topped it off by visiting another friend afterward.

Have to run and be sick now.

Blecch

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tomorrow

I haven't back about the job stuff yet, or anything from my Dr. so just toodling along here.

I have a post saved in my drafts about adoption and some of the stuff that has happened last week. But I don't want to press publish because I'm afraid of getting my ass kicked by trolls. Yeah, not so brave sometimes, meh....

Maybe because tomorrow I'm going to meet a photographer and deal with photos and then meet with my therapist. Ackkk, nervous.

Tomorrow morning, I'm also going to meet with a woman from blogland. I first met her last week, after she emailed me. She is another infertile adoptee, no blog, but plenty of history. No live babies yet, I'm hoping that someday soon she'll have success. It was really really nice to get to know her, and I hope we can chat more tomorrow.

I felt nervous meeting her because waaayyy back when I started blogging there were some very strange people who were harassing me. It can be creepy going online for a woman. We can't be too careful about who we talk to, who we reveal things to, yet we want to find others who can support us, people who will share their experiences and let us know that we aren't the only ones in world of seemingly normal "others". Well, she turned out to be normal, just like me! So, I've decided to be braver about meeting some of you IRL.

Before that, there were only a few people on earth who knew about my blog and had ever met me IRL. One guy guessed about it, and has been very kind and supportive. He's very political, but he and his wife also went through infertility and adoption issues. I never would've known before and now we are close friends. I met him for coffee this week as well, and it was so great, I feel a need to replicate the experience!

So, some of us IF/pregnancy/mommy bloggers in the Toronto area have been tentatively reaching out and trying to organize a get together IRL. And if any of you from farther away would like to join us, feel free, but I know the drive can be a drag, and we're going to keep on trying to organize other dates if you can't make it. Reality, Decemberbaby, and I have emailed about this, but we couldn't decide on a place, plus we were all a bit indisposed this week. My place is out, partially because of hubby, but also because I think seeing my kids, and the toys and the gigantic swingset out back might not be such a great experience for some of my IF blog friends, and I don't want to torture anyone.

So I'm thinking that a restaurant, maybe in the Yorkville/Downtown area, would be a good place? Evening? or a weekend afternoon? I'm around during the day, but I know some of you work---hope to be doing the same soon! Email me at aurelia dot cotta at gmail dot com if you want to come, or suggest any ideas. Be prepared to show me your blog, or give me your real name and workplace or something real to get the location and time. I'm going to ask Reality and Decemberbaby and anyone else localish to spread the word. (Yes, this means I'm sort of tagging you!)

If this works, well, we could go from there, okay?

P.S. Yes, I know there is a GTA bloggers group that meets once a month, but they blog about everything under the sun, not just IF, or miscarriage or adoption, and I need to take baby steps, okay?

ETA: If you ever were unsure about what I mean about the controversy over adoption posting, check out PostSecret this week. An adoptee wrote in, and of course, an ultradefensive adoptive parent just couldn't wait to tell them how wrong their feelings must be! Every other person who writes in about their secret on PostSecret gets supportive and kind comments, but an adoptee? Oh no, can't allow us stupid infantile twits to speak for ourselves about our own fucking feelings without being slapped down...and people wonder why we get pissed off....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lots of good stuff!

Seriously, this is hysterical. Scroll down to the Gloria Steinem part...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And this article by Harvey Fierstein is probably the single best piece of writing on human rights and US politics and cultural truth I've ever read. In.my.life.

His last paragraph is etched in my brain. I've printed out a copy, I may turn it into wallpaper.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally, Mr.Cotta, my hero, got up at 4:00 am and was in line at Toys r Us by 5:00 am. to buy a Wii. He was seventh in line, in the cold, in the dark. People were mostly very nice, except for the two thugs who showed up late and tried to threaten their way to the front of the line. Mr.Cotta and the other Dads stood their ground and started to call the cops and the thugs took off.

And now we own a Wii!!!!!

After months and months of trying, we finally got a console, and it really is the coolest game unit ever invented. The whole family has been jumping around, playing, making little avatars of ourselves, absolutely awesome. It's so incredibly easy I can't believe it. There is no way I'd ever be able to play a Playstation or an Xbox, too complicated & too violent. This is intuitive. I've already tried the Wii exercise workout program, and I've asked for the Tiger Woods PGA Golf for Wii!

I am finally going to learn how to play golf without having too embarass myself in public or pay green fees. Kickass weekend, my dears....

Friday, April 13, 2007

The very busy life

In my last post, I mentioned something about applying for a job. Without revealing too much, this job is all about research and distributing the information, and it might be in connection to an upcoming election way up here in the frozen north.

It pays okay, but will involve long hours over the next short while...IF I get it. And they'll want me to start right away, (possibly this weekend) which has me vaguely freaking out. I have some followup medical and therapy appointments and other commitments here and there, and I'm hoping they'll understand, but if not...crap, this could be difficult.

Plus it would be damned hard to keep up with all of you and your lives, and I want to. I really enjoy blogging and communicating with all my friends around the world, but for that 37 day election period, I just might not be able to. Plus, my house is not so together right now. Paperwork, toys everywhere, renovation projects half finished. My little guys birthday is next week. He'll be seven, and I have done nothing about his birthday party or gifts. I had one party plan booked, but it didn't work once I got the bill and figured out the potential credit card damage. And there's NO way I'm having 15 little kids all over at my tiny house while the weather is so cold and rainy. May or June sure, I could stick them in the backyard, but April? Not a chance!

As for the job, this is one time when I agree with Mr. Cotta. He always wonders why I can't just get a "normal" job. Now, I don't really believe there are very many normal jobs left in the world...35 hours a week, benefits, decent pay, interesting work, nice boss & co-workers. Most employers have simply eliminated the first criteria, and the the rest, are rare. So now I'm wondering how I'm going to find a last minute sitter for the kids for evenings and weekends, and hoping that if I go through this exercise, I'll be offered a "normal" job, somewhere through connections I'll make this time.

As for baby-making plans? They'd be on hold again, crap, no time to go to a clinic, never mind having sex....and the bitter irony is that I just got the paperwork for our new benefit plan, and it covers fertility drugs, 100%, no limits, I think....but I'm sure waaayyy to late for me to get any use of it. Someday someone will have to explain to me why no one has invented cheaper generic fertility drugs. The patent protection expired long ago, I'm sure, on a lot of them. It's bad enough people get ripped off on HCG pens etc, when the generic HCG is half the cost, but explain to me why all the rest aren't generic by now? These generic drug companies must know that they'd make a mint just from the untapped market currently in existence.

So much for free market competition, eh? Bastards....

Off to sort papers and organize the toyroom...I'll let you know if I find Jimmy Hoffa in the Lego box.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hmmmmm

First, I am having trouble with Bloglines again, it seems to be unsubscribing some of your blogs, and deleting you guys, and others just never show up with feeds of some of your posts at ALL. So if I've missed something important in your lives, I apologize....I have to go through each one of my bookmarks and check on you to see if you are still there.

I had the second half of my test today. My 23 hour uptake (supposed to be 24 hour, someone messed up the time keeping?) was 33.9% which is abnormal and indicative of hyperthyroid as long as my TSH is low. My last one was low but normal. And the scan was interesting, because before it looked like a deformed butterfly, totally weird. It has changed shape, and I have some mottled spots, not the even thing I was looking for. Picture #6 here in the images section is sort of like mine looked.

Anyway, now I have to email my GP and ask her where we go from here. She gave me this RAIU as a deal, like when it's normal, I promised to shut up and stop bothering her. But it's not normal...gahhhhh. I love how Drs. keep telling me it's nothing, like that episode of House last night where everyone had conversion syndrome and kept having weird symptoms show up after they saw the first guy on the plane become sick. Except that, just like the spinal tap results on that show, blood tests and MRIs & radioactive scans like this can't be faked. Even by someone with conversion syndrome, yet they just keep patting me on the head and telling me to relax.

Hey, do you think maybe I'm NOT the one who's in denial? Maybe it's been them all along?

Nahhh, couldn't be, I'm just a desperate housewife.

I have to go send a resume somewhere now. Cross your fingers, I'd love to get a paid job, maybe then I'd have credibility with the medical establishment.

Glowing--but not from what I'd like

Hey, just me here....glowing superhero chickie! No, not glowing with the joy of pregnancy---hahahahahahahahaha -puh-leeze like that would happen in me?

Nope, just glowing from an isotope. I think it makes my eyes glisten & sparkle just so!

Of course, that could also be rage for my friend Reality, who is going through a miscarriage, which could be ectopic, and has been treated horrendously by a medical establishment who couldn't get their heads out of their asses if they tried.

I get outraged by this stuff because I have been through a lot and I have worked my ass off trying to make sure that women get treated well when they are losing a very much wanted pregnancy. But do the damn Doctors listen, oh nooooo, can't do that.

#%^#$%&$#^%&

Sigh----breathe deeply, release outrage....

First part of my test went well today. My 2 hour uptake was 11%, but after they adjust the calculations, it may change. Next part of the uptake & scan, Wednesday afternoon! Weeee, 2 hours in an ugly lead-lined room....more fun! (I'm not asking for luxury, but could they choose a different paint color besides vomit green? Just sayin....) In all seriousness, if you want to know more about thyroid stuff (in all it's variations) my current favourite site is Thyroid Manager. It has some good scientific stuff, but is in a slightly easier to read format than PubMed.

Very tired....going to bed now. I have some stories to tell, but can't do it right now. Tomorrow, a much better post, I promise.

Monday, April 09, 2007

This week's fun activity schedule!

Over the weekend I seem to have attracted a few more people checking out this blog. Hello! /\/\/\/\ (me waving at y'all...)

Some of you may be wondering about other things I've written on some blogs in their comments and not written here, well, when I first got out here in blogland, someone told me they thought I was exaggerating about the things that have happened to me, because a lot of it seemed pretty sad. I have had a pretty difficult life, I admit that, but I was a bit taken aback about their accusation, so I became a little bit reticent about telling it all. And to be honest, I'm used to my life. The bits that are sad, are pretty much just a normal part of my life by now, although I'm sure when others hear the details, it's a lot. It is what it is. It's just dribbling out in pieces I guess...

So to catch up the peanut gallery out there, Tuesday is my RAIU test. This stands for Radioactive Iodine Uptake scan, and it's supposed to check out my thyroid condition. Specifically to figure out why I have hyperthyroid symptoms, but my TSH varies all over the map. It's been low to undetectable, then bouncing back perfectly then all over the place.

I think, based on the research I've done, that my thyroid is gone hyper as evidenced by my previous high uptake six months ago, and that possibly I even have toxic multinodular goiter, all easily treatable, if I can just get a Dr. to pay attention. They are all thrown by the sometimes normal TSH. But various drugs I'm taking including HRT, aspirin, allergy meds, sleep drugs, etc. can all alter the results of TSH, free T3, free T4 tests, so they look fine. Dr.Evil was absolutely no help, because creative discussions about pharmaceutical interactions were simply beyond her. My other endocrinologists have tried to convince me that I'd just feel better if I got pregnant, and if you remember, the last one decided that I must be diabetic, or have PCOS, even though that was impossible.

*Sigh*

I guess if I stop eating twinkies and relax and have sex it will all be better, right?

Anyway, so back to being my own Doc again...I got my GP to order the RAIU, and another MRI, and we're going from there.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention the story of all my neurological symptoms didn't I? See, two years ago, after years of sleep disturbances I went to a sleep clinic. They diagnosed me with a parasomnia, very mild, but possibly neurological (as opposed to psychological) in origin. I got a CT scan, and an MRI. Both came back showing some slight abnormalities, but not conclusive for anything in particular. So I got another one, with contrast, yadda yadda. They said they saw nothing, but it turned out later, they only looked at arteries and veins, not brain structures related to my parasomnia. (The original reason for which they did the effin' MRI, the buttheads....)

Anyway, the thyroid problem is possibly, remotely, but highly unlikely a TSH-oma; a brain tumour that can cause normal TSH yet high 24-hour uptake on a RAIU scan, and hyperthyroid symptoms, and ovarian failure due to pressure on the pituitary, and make ADD worse, and sleep disturbances, and well, it's totally unlikely, but if I write it here on my blog, then it becomes impossible, RIGHT? RIGHT? Work with me people, okay!!!

So I'll be radioactive, the next 72 hours. The good news is that I get the bathroom to myself, since all the stuff goes out through my urine. The bad news is the environment is going to take a slight hit, whoops!

I apologize to all the fish I'm about to kill. With glow in the dark pee.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha

Easter Feaster

I'm writing this alone thank God. I'm recovering after hosting dinner for 16 last night. In my tiny little house! (Okay, more of an average size house for an urban area...but still...16 people and too cold to be outdoors is a tight squeeze.)

The kids have gone to play with their cousins right now, down in the Don Valley. For those of you not from Ontario, this is a nature trail that runs through the city alongside the Don River. The boys love it, especially the parts involving frogs, mud, ponds, bugs, snakes, you know....all those thing I just love and adore. *eyeroll*

But I had to give in to them...they indulged me on Saturday with a shopping day at a giant megamall waayyyy out in the suburbs. Shopping is my version of "fun with nature" hehe. I don't necessarily love malls, but it's such a change from what I'm used to, it was totally cool. It was this place, here. Very very strange...everything in this city was stucco covered and large, no sidewalks, just miles and miles of SUVs and minivans and megamansions. There were highway ramps going nowhere because nobody had finished building "there" yet. Completely alien to me, like visiting Mars...I grew up in a small town in Ontario, that had a slightly suburban feel, but nothing like this...even now. And now I'm in the urban core, in an old drafty Victorian house.

Anyway, we bought some clothes for the kids, and new outfits for their Bears at Build-a-Bear. My little guy brought his bear to the store, and got "surgery" on it to add a growl sound. Then he got it a biker jacket and sunglasses! (Yes, hilariously large cute factor here!)

But the best part of all, was the present I got on the way back home. You see, in our unrenovated kitchen, various appliances have been breaking down, so we had just replaced the microwave a week ago, and have been rearranging things ever since. Well, my ancient portable stereo in the kitchen finally died. (Yes, it was a gigantic black boombox from the '80s. And I carried it on my shoulder, while listening to Bon Jovi. Yes, this pretty much sums it up. Why do you ask?)

So, without even having to have a big debate or anything, we bought this, an undercounter DVD Kitchen radio with a drop down LCD TV attached!!!!

Yes, I'm excited.

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I never get cool stuff. I live the most boring ass life on earth. But now I own this totally cool thing, I just have to be utterly obnoxious about it, okay? Especially since my husband actually installed it right away and it works now, instead of us both hemming and hawing about it, and leaving it sitting around until forever. As for why I'd want this? So I can watch TV while cooking, or washing dishes, or doing any of the 300 other boring things I get stuck alone in the kitchen doing. Plus I'm going to buy some cooking DVDs and finally learn to do something complicated to food. I'm very visual that way, I have to admit that the description in cookbooks doesn't quite help me as much as demos do. And running back and forth to the TV in the living room whilst burning food on the stove really blows!

So, before the boys get back from their very muddy adventure, I'm going to steal some more chocolate bunny and test out my DVD player.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Yes, about those numbers....

Someone anonymously posted a comment on this post, with no other note, so I'm not sure why? Next time leave a name, my dear, I don't bite...

What I wrote was this, "Our babies deaths rank lower on the pyramid of pain than any other deaths. You quoted a study a while back that said 31,000 babies were stillborn in the US every year. I don't even know the number in Canada, because we don't even publish it every year. (We publish the number of potatoes we grow every year, but not dead babies.)"

Anonymous said...

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050712/d050712d.htm

April 06, 2007 8:06 PM

Now, if you click on the link you will discover a report from Statistics Canada on Stillbirths. Only problem is that it is totally inaccurate, which is why I made the point that we require precise counts on crops we produce, down to the bushel, but don't count medical events like dead babies.

Inaccurate, you say? How so?

Well the legal definition of a stillbirth in Ontario, here is defined as 20 weeks gestation or over 500 grams in weight. This is the same in almost every other province, and most other states...some vary the number of weeks or weight, but the gist of it is that everything over that "counts" and everything under that has no existence.

That StatsCan table is for stillbirths over 28 weeks, a completely different criteria, therefore useless, for comparison value with other countries and provinces. It also does not distinguish between medical terminations and natural stillbirths, important because prior to the advent of prenatal diagnosis, medical terminations at that stage were only done if a woman was too ill to continue on, or wished to end the pregnancy voluntarily. This lack of distinction makes historical comparisons for public health purposes impossible.

Last July a couple of stories like this one here publicized this problem, it's behind a firewall, sorry, but you can purchase a copy, or get it from a university with a subscription. The quick summary is that thousands of births, stillbirths, and infant deaths have gone undocumented in the last 15 years in Ontario because of some major screw-ups in the office of the Registrar-General. And since Ontario is the largest province in Canada, all of the maternal-fetal health stats in Canada are skewed as a result. Which messes up the stats for the entire western industrial world. The government is now attempting to go back and fix this, but it's a big job.

(In case my non-Canadian readers are wondering why this happened, we stupidly elected an extreme right wing guy named Mike Harris at one point, and he imposed excess fees and paperwork for birth registration, (along with other excess fees for every damn thing you can think of from driving your car to paying your electric bill) so he could cut our taxes. Long story short....we're still trying to unfuck the mess....)

Back to our main point, since the invention of ultrasound, most people find out about miscarriages, fetal anomalies, and just about everything prior to 20 weeks. But that doesn't even get counted.

No one even counts those pregnancies, those losses, nothing, nada, zip, zilch.

And when the line is fuzzy, when the numbers aren't precise, when the weight is little low, the Doctors quite often ever so helpfully don't bother the parents with the paperwork. You see, stillbirths, live births and deaths requires HORDES of paperwork. And losses under 20 weeks, require none, except for the bill of course. So it looks like the rate of stillbirths is holding steady or dropping, when in fact, we're just discovering the losses earlier.

In my ideal world, public health and agencies like StatsCan record every positive beta, track the course of every pregnancy and every outcome. Whether that outcome is a joyful one or a sad one, the gestation, any health events connected to the mother and father are simply recorded. (Yes, even the ones that end in clinics with teenagers crying and praying their parents never find out.) Privacy legislation has been in effect for years so that names and identifying info is separated from health records. We do it for hip operations, cancer tumours, learning disabilities, chicken pox, literally every health event under the sun...except for this.

Why should this be counted to?

Because it's damn hard to solve a problem when you have no idea how big it is.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Gotta pay tribute

To the man who taught me to touch my cervix, John Billings, the discoverer of EWCM*.

Rest in peace, Obi-Wan of the Vagina.




*Egg White Cervical Mucus, what else?

Those of us who've been down in that hole

I'm wiped out, exhausted...had another night of insomnia. Everyone got out late this a.m.

This time it's stress. Funny thing about grief and the things we don't want to talk about. It comes out anyway. Maybe not as tears, or public renting of clothes, but it comes out. After 8 1/2 years of this you'd think I'd know it when it sneaks up on me. But I never do....

I've wasted time in therapy and in blogging not talking about the stuff that really hurts down deep. I'm so stuck, so unable to write, to say things out loud, to even make the damn video that I have shot footage for (yes, literally I had everything ready weeks ago, but I just can't do the final bit, *sigh*), that instead I have insomnia, I have fights with my husband, I'm afraid to go back to my own clinic and really try to have another baby.

Because to me, TTC=failure, and pregnancy=dead babies, not live ones. I had another huge session with my therapist last Monday and I discovered that I can only talk about my daughters and my infertility in a very professional public voice, devoid of true emotion, devoid of any real self-examination. This helps when I'm making speeches or talking to professionals about medical care for the bereaved. But it's really really unhelpful to me as a person trying to heal.

That brings me to my last bunch of blogposts. I have seen some wonderful kind things in the last 8 1/2 years since my son died, and some truly horrible ones. Some people who have healed well, and some who haven't, at all. Some parents, who in fact, have never ever been okay again. There seems to be a lot of confusion out here in blogland about the helpful and unhelpful ways to handle grief, but really there isn't any confusion among grief counsellors, among long time grieving mothers, among hospice and bereavement workers.

And that is not the same as telling someone how they "should" feel, or judging the quality of their grief, neither of which I would ever do, really....It's more like that West Wing quote I love so much, (indulge me here, I feel a need to type it out again)

"This guy’s walking down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by, and he shouts up, “Hey you, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on.
Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in a hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole, and moves on.
Then a friend walks by, “Hey Joe it’s me, can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.”
The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”– Leo to Josh on The West Wing about sharing his problems at AA.

In AA as in many support groups they tell you to you need to really self-examine your life and all the incidents that led up to the problems in your life. Well, grief is no different. Grief is about looking at the reality, not the imaginary fantasy, but the raw, unvarnished truth. We can't rewrite it "nicer" or "easier" at least not until we've seen the ugly parts first. And we can't deny it.

Oh, I know...that's telling someone how to grieve...except it's not...it's me saying that there and helpful and unhelpful ways of grieving. And I will be here for you, my friends, while you struggle with both kinds. But, make no mistake, I will be sad for you, I will try to suggest ways you can deal with you grief that might make you feel better. You don't have to listen to me, or read me, you can delete my comments, ignore my emails, IT'S OKAY. I'll still be here caring about you all....

The unhelpful stuff---the head of my support group, a bereaved mother herself, has some pretty horrific stories of what has happened to parents who don't face the reality of their loss. In her 20+ years she has seen divorces, suicides, debilitating depression, alcoholism, drugs, both legal and illegal, job losses, women literally walking down the halls of hospitals trying to find their babies---one was convinced the hospital had stolen her child, because she had never seen him after he was stillborn, and thank god the damn hospital had kept some pictures to show her, to prove he had died, otherwise, it would have even been worse. The women you hear about who have severe extreme PPD, they quite often have suffered previous losses, unacknowledged grief, that wells up years later after their new living child is born. They've found parents wandering through graveyards, unable to leave, parents who ended up in the psych ward of local hospitals.

Or the sadder less dramatic alternative, bereaved parents leading lives of silent depression. Never truly enjoying their living children or their marriages.

Facing reality can take many many forms, and we've talked about them here and on other blogs, like getting kind and decent treatment during a loss, from the medical system and friends and family, getting to see your child and hold them, getting pictures and mementoes, getting to say goodbye in some meaningful way. Saying a name out loud, having other people use your child's name. Finding out a reason why, a real reason. Being able to talk about it all with people you love, in a natural normal way.

Many people can't do this right away, but sooner or later they need to do some parts of it, somehow. The part I'm stuck on, isn't Matthew, and it isn't even the miscarriages of my daughters, so much as it is the nightmare of my daughter's remains being delivered to my home two years ago.

I saw her body, but it wasn't nice. It was awful, the worst possible way. I completely froze and lost it....I couldn't tell a soul. I told my support group, my husband, my therapist, and you my blogreaders. I've told policy people and others, pretending it was an unnamed client it happened to....but never under my own name. If I had delivered her in the hospital and seen here there, in one piece, all clean and wrapped up in a blanket, it would've been so different. It would've been healing.

Make no mistake....I know this has been an unhelpful way for me to grieve and deal with it. It's the recent cause of my headaches, my insomnia, and other issues over the last two years. I'm trying to undo the nightmare with some EMDR work, and some writing. I must succeed. I will not be okay until I deal with the trauma of this.

I will still be down in the hole.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

On that whole Oprah issue

I blather on too long sometimes in people's comments. So I'm going to put some of it on my own blog. This post is in reply to this post.

Dear Catherine,

I'm not sure I'll say this right, I hope you understand what I'm trying to get at. My heart breaks for you when I read some of your posts, and all I can offer is a few thoughts. Not much, I guess.

This is my take on Oprah, for what it's worth. The difference with infant loss and Oprah as opposed to other show topics, is that she has serious personal issues around denial of her own child's death. And I feel like she is trying to say that we should ALL grieve the same way, by going on and on about "God's plan", and just "move on & forget". Well, you know my opinion on that already.

Some people think her silence on this issue because of the connection to the rape she suffered that caused the pregnancy, but I don't believe that's why Oprah can't talk about it. Twenty years ago, when she disclosed her sexual abuse and rape, she focused on the pain at first, as she needed to, then focused on creating change, by going to Congress and getting laws changed to protect kids. She talked a lot about the process of her therapy and her pain, and how she was going to use it for the better.

She left the part about her dead child out though. Never mentioned, never spoken, like the biggest secret ever. Total utter denial of its existence, until she was recently confronted in the media. And not only does she not discuss her pain, or ours Catherine, but she keeps repeating over and over again that it's "God's plan" that our babies die. This is just bad theology, and it also is something she would never have said about her sexual abuse.

Imagine Oprah standing in front of a child, and telling her it was God's plan that the girl be raped? That God purposely wanted her to be raped and abused so that she could go onto some bigger higher purpose....That would NEVER happen. It would never happen to cancer patients after they die, or the Tsunami victims, or gee, let's see, can you imagine Oprah saying it about 9/11?

In fact, if anyone ever said that the 9/11 victims had to die, that it served God's higher purpose, "all part of his plan", they would be accused of terrorism. Muslim clerics who have espoused this view have been convicted of inciting terrorist acts.

Our babies deaths rank lower on the pyramid of pain than any other deaths. You quoted a study a while back that said 31,000 babies were stillborn in the US every year. I don't even know the number in Canada, because we don't even publish it every year. (We publish the number of potatoes we grow every year, but not dead babies.) Why is it that maternal-fetal health is the lowest priority in the world? Maybe because no one gives a damn if women and babies die? Sort of like 20 years ago when no one cared about child sexual abuse or rape?

The pivotal difference in that fight, was Oprah coming out, and opening up her heart enough to work for change. The first step is awareness, which means yes, sad stories, acknowledgement of our losses, and giving us credit as legitimate grievers. Next, was figuring out where the problem was, and dealing with it. For sexual abuse victims she went to Congress and fought to help abused kids, she made it clear that they were telling the truth, not lying, that their suffering wasn't just a "nothing." For pregnancy loss, she could do the same thing. She could have researchers on her show that talk about how they can't get funding for studies to help save babies. She could talk about how cheap and easy it would be to save so many of those babies, instead of spending money on NICUs and funerals later. She could talk about the morality of a public that craps on women who have abortions, but refuses to pay for prenatal care for women who stay pregnant. About churches who believe an embryo is a life worth protecting when it's on it's way to an abortion clinic, yet refuse to hold funerals or burials when our babies die.

She could easily fill an hour, and keep us spellbound doing it.

I want her to do that for US, Catherine, for all of us who have ever lost a very much wanted pregnancy. I know it's incredibly hard, that's why in all these years she has never been able to do it. And maybe she never ever will. But in the same way that she would never tell a rape victim to "get over it" or "forget about it", I don't want her or Rev. Run to deny me my right to my legitimiate grief.

My fondest wish is for Oprah to use her righteous indignation to help us save our babies. Lori left a great quote on my blog, "Dear God, there is so much pain and anguish in your world - why don't you send help?" And God answered, "I did send help - I sent you."

Catherine, I believe God sent YOU. He sent me. He sent all of us, even Oprah.

Love your friend,

Aurelia

Sunday, April 01, 2007

To reassure you all

AF arrived yesterday, if it was today on April Fool's that would've been totally ironic, hmm? Not that it matters...my RAIU test on April 10th will make me radioactive on ovulation day so, I guess we're skipping this month. Even I'M not that desperate...

Mr. Cotta and I made up the next morning, and I think most of our fight seems to have stemmed from our joint sleepless insomnia. I have gotten some more sleep since it arrived, but not as much as I want. I am in a better mood anyway.

To answer Lioness, right now, I have trouble falling asleep, due to stress, and thyroid stuff I think. When my estrogen is deficient, I wake up in the middle of the night or very early and can't get to sleep. I have a nice store of sleeping pills, but they all seem to knock me out for 10-12 hours or so. Ambien and Lunesta I'm told only last 7-8 hours but they aren't available in Canada right now, so I either take imovane, which only lasts 4 hours but has the side effect of metal mouth, or I take Benadryl and Tylenol PM, which don't really do the job. Prometrium orally I can only take 12 days out of the month, and couldn't take last week if I wanted to get AF, so that's out of the question.

I'm trying to get to sleep, but I think I need to do a couple of serious knock-out pills tonight. I'm a blithering fool, since I woke up at 6 am on Saturday, got dressed, and drove out to Toys R Us to stand in line and pray I could get a Nintendo Wii for my kids. They had to 20 to give out, and after 4 hours in line in the freezing cold and dark turning into dawn, I thought I was number 19 in line, but really I was number 24 in line, and I missed out! It was supposed to be one per family, and I thought I was okay because I counted the line. Well, it turns out that some of these people in line who were all "together" in the cold, weren't family anymore when the Wiis were handed out, ohh boy they didn't even know each other when the manager was watching. EBay anyone?

So next time there's a line up, screw 6 am, I'm there at 4 am.

Yawn...