Thursday, May 31, 2007

I've been thinking about random things

Like I finally bought a Tilia Foodsaver because I'm a gadget queen.

Like I love that our credit cards and some of our lines of credit are finally paid off, and we are feeling like we can breathe, but I've spent so much time afraid to spend money that I'm reluctant to enjoy it. I mean, who buys themselves a kitchen appliance as a special treat? I used to dream of spas...

Like I feel silly for wondering if people I know IRL are reading my blog, yet I'm also wondering why they have intruded on my own private version of AA. I've said this on other blogs before, but AA meetings are public, as are most support group meetings, yet no one would dare spy or reveal the identity of the people attending. Even the tabloid press has drawn the line on that. Yet somehow this comes up over and over again in the blogosphere. Sometimes with strangers going after us, and other times with our family or workplaces intruding, as if we women are their possessions, not allowed to have thoughts or identities or friends of our own that are not mutually shared. Odd....

I bought a whole bunch of fish oil caps, and melatonin pills and other natural things yesterday and today. I've also switched to those chocolate calcium chews because they taste less hideous than Tums, but I'm still trying to find other brands? Any ideas? Suggestions? I think I am becoming crunchier....

I saw this in the NY Times most-emailed section and I decided that I MUST own it. And a Blackberry. Did mention I like gadgets?

Facebook = boring. I don't quite the get the point other than to compete as to who has more "friends". I "friend" people, but then I just sort of stand there thinking, this it? Plus really, I don't want to talk to most of the people I knew in high school and university. If I did, I'd call them, and I haven't soooo, anyone taking a hint here?

This conversation about progesterone over at Mel's got me thinking about how we take drugs and how they absorb into our bodies. In me, provera oral is fine for when I need to bring on a period, but is also excellent for shrinking cysts and suppressing my high FSH. I have no idea why it works for that but not so good at keeping up my LP.

Progesterone suppositories worked when I was pregnant with Mac, but in every other pregnancy after that big-headed child was born, they slid out, utterly useless. I had to prop my hips up on pillows after inserting them, every gd time. I tried using prometrium orally and discovered it did nothing for my blood levels or luteal phase support, but it was an AMAZING sleeping pill. I later heard from two different sleep specialists that it is being used for post-menopausal women as part of their HRT to deal with insomnia and disturbed sleep.

The same Prometrium gelcaps vaginally however absorbed wonderfully, and because the gelcap melts, and is rather sticky...they stay up, not badly, I've had good blood levels, and no cramps, no bleeding, as long as I took enough of it. I haven't used Crinone, or PIO, because I haven't needed them, but I think I would if I had too. So yes, Mel, the same exact pill is used both vaginally and orally but for different reasons. I'm told many medications can be used different ways, and some are used as creams or patches because they want to avoid the digestive tract, and the liver, but also because they can work better.

Now, I have NO idea if all other pills will work this way. Some tablets might, but obviously a time release wouldn't. Haha, time release vaginas....

Last random thing, I spoke to my RE's assistant and I'm seeing him in a couple of weeks to readjust my HRT, after finding out the bone density in my hip is waaaaaay down. As in, I really have to take care here. (He has a fertility clinic, but also takes care of other patients for hormone/gyne issues.) So I'm going to chat about all sorts of fertility/thyroid issues when I'm there.

Off to read blogs, my dears.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Can't think of a title

I'm way behind on blogs and emails right now. And life, and groceries, and shopping, and laundry...gee, maybe I've been distracted? Today is catch-up day...

Anyway, I'm back to disrupted sleep at this point, because I ran out of my usual ADD drugs and tried some of my old stock, thinking, hey, I could try Concerta, and it would work, right?....nope, that stuff sucks.

It's put together as a time release drug that is phased 20% in the first 4 hours, then 40% for the next 4 hours, and 40 % for the final 4 hours. This is supposed to discourage all of us supposedly "fakers" from abusing it, but I'm not sure how fucking up someone's morning concentration and then giving them the equivalent of 12 shots of espresso at 5:00 pm is supposed to help me have a good sleep at night. I've always thought that the idiots who think people abuse ADD drugs should follow me around for a week. I always forget to take it! And everyone I've ever known with ADD also forgets to take it.

It's really hard to be addicted to something you never actually remember to need or want....asshats. I think they forget that people who have this have MEMORY problems. Of course, maybe THEY have the memory problems.....

So dump that one, now I need to get up the guts to email my ADD Doc back and ask her for a repeat of another one. I kind of don't want to because she drove me nuts....she's not a very good Doc, but there are almost no specialists in Adult ADD anywhere. Lots of pediatricians, and lots of media pundits, but not very many actual people who know what they are doing.

This is the one instance in which I become jealous of people with other mental issues. Every other problem is given the credit of existing, even if patients don't always get the right treatment or enough treatment. But for this? Geez, we must all be faking it, I must be "lazy"...I've had so many Yoda quotes thrown at me, "There is no try, only do" that I'm starting to hate the little green bastard with a passion, even though it's not him talking to me, but the media or various parents/teachers/medical people saying it out loud.

Additude magazine has a new website and forums I've been surfing a bit. It'a pretty good place to read up on it and lots of other LDs, if you are ever interested.

I've always been fascinated by the connection between ADD and adoption by the way, that is the idea that young parents-to-be who have ADD and are untreated are more likely to forget to take birth control, more likely to get pregnant, and more likely to give up their babies for adoption, partially because of societal judgements, but also partially because of higher levels of impulsivity and poorer organizational skills, which translates into poorer parenting skills. Then the adoptees inherit ADD through genetics (There's a huge study on this right now in N.A.) and continue the cycle of impulse control problems. I heard about this from my first ADD Doc btw, a guy long since retired.

Unmedicated ADDers are eight times more likely to get into car accidents while driving, six times more likely to drown while swimming, and five times more likely to be involved in household accidents.

So, which would you rather be labelled? An accident prone bad parent who crashes her car all the time and forgets to feed her kids, or a lazy drug addict who's faking being sick? Nice choices....

Gotta go send that email to my drug dealer/Doctor now, thanks...*eyeroll*.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Telling Secrets

You all know how much I love PostSecret, right? Even when things surprise me, I still think this is an awesome concept. Telling secrets is nerve-wracking sometimes, not everyone understands, some people are kind and polite, others shun you for telling uncomfortable truths.

There is a great postcard up there this week. It says, After my son died, I began to overachieve in everything I did. Everyone says I am so strong, I just want him to be proud of me.

I don't know that I'm an overachiever, but I'm trying very hard to be the kind of person my son and daughters would be proud of. Did you ever wonder what your legacy on earth will be after you are gone? I do....

I want to go to this event. Maybe I'll write a secret for it. If any reading this blog is going, let me know. We could meet up, maybe?

The first outdoor PostSecret event will be held in Toronto this week.
Place: The Ontario College of Art and Design (100 McCaul Street.)
Date: May 31st (Thursday)
Time: 8:00pm
This is the only event planned for Canada this year so please arrive early, space is limited. Call PostSecret's recorded message for more information about this free event, 1-647-477-8427.

To the blog friends who responded to my email, thank you. To the real life family and friends who are too uncomfortable to look at me now, well, I guess you've made your opinions pretty clear.

Did I ever tell you all that my husband Mr.Cotta is the greatest husband who ever lived? Next time he annoys me, remind me of this, okay? Thanks...

Friday, May 25, 2007

A little news for your edification

I got a much better sleep last night, thank you all!

I know I owe some of you emails and phone calls, but I'm a little busy today fiddling with this blog. For the next week or so something is going to be going on, so a few of my posts will be altered or vanish, to deter googlers. They will be back in about a week. I'm not going password protect or anything, this is just a temporary blip.

(And thank you to those of you who have de-lurked lately. I love knowing who's out there! Anyone else wants to, I'd love to hear from you too.)

Oh, and on a recent post, I discussed the whole idea that a minimum volume of patients is necessary for a Doctor to keep up their skills, which is why smaller rural hospitals are less likely to have specialists and several of you had some great comments. Well, lo and behold, what do I see in the paper this a.m.? This study, which talks about the issue in relation to NICUs. Turns out that practice makes perfect after all. And the best part? Doctors and midwives can usually figure out ahead of time which pregnant women are at highest risk for extremely early premature delivery and ensure they are directed to the best facility for them and their babies.

Speaking of midwifery, for those of you who want to learn more about midwifery in Ontario, and how it may vary from the other provinces and countries, The Star has a great article right here.

Have a lovely weekend, and get a good night's sleep, trust me, it can make you feel awesome!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Let's try this again

Did not get enough sleep last night. Sigh.....

I tried out a new sleeping pill that my doc suggested since most of them last too long, and others give me side effects like a metallic taste in my mouth. I took a nitrazapam last night, it didn't do much at all and I woke up screaming from a nightmare, directly into my husband's ear at 6:00 am. Poor man...he jumped right out of bed like the house was on fire.

I'm trying one of the other pills tonight.

And the nightmare? In it my oldest son magically jumped in a sewer manhole on a construction site and disappeared and died, and no one cared. The construction workmen, the firemen, my husband, various onlookers all just stood around and said, "Sorry, oh well, we can't explain why, but don't worry, you can always have another one!" And in the dream, I just kept screaming, "Go get him! Do something !!" until I actually screamed that out loud for REAL into Mr.Cotta's ear.

Hmmmm, a gold star to anyone who can figure out the neurosis behind this one. LOL

(And no, don't worry the boys are really perfectly fine and healthy, and my husband has forgiven me.)

Oh, and for those of you interested in the whole circadian rhythm thing, sleep wake cycles, and the relationship to various hormones for men and women check this out. It has a plain language explanation on different pages, and links to some scientific studies. I own one of GoLites, and love it almost as much as I love my little vibrating toys. Yes, your grandma WAS right; Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise. (And hormonally balanced, and young, and sexy, and fashionable. hehe)

In all seriousness, I know people get pregnant even when they drink martinis, smoke crack, party all night, and eat crappy food, but for those of us who are not Uberfertile? Ehhhh, I need to sleep well, and eat decently, and lower my risk profile, if you know what I mean. I just don't get the luxury of those choices with my crappy health.

So I'm off to burn dinner now...oooops, I mean cook a lovely dinner.

Meals ain't always pretty at the House of Cotta, but they're never raw! hehe

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I've reached the breaking point.

I'm wide awake at 3:52 am and I did everything I'm supposed to, but still can't sleep.

If I take a sleeping pill now, I'll sleep all day, not such a good plan. But if I stay awake, I'll be useless at the volunteer event I'm at all day.

Anyone think this will mess up my cycle this month even more? Yeah, I thought so....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

News that makes me wonder

I am feeling slightly better today. Over the weekend I figured out that my new ADD meds are not quite there, I think because of my "bad gut" as my Dr. calls it. All of the stuff I take depends on digestion, and between the lactose intolerance and the bouts of food poisoning I've suffered, I have some problems with that. Now I'm thinking that's another reason why the stuff doesn't always work well, or lasts too long, or not long enough.

Like estrogen & progesterone? Orally, I get a much different response than with creams or patches, like a measurable difference by blood tests. So I'm sure it isn't that different with other things. Anyway, onward and upward, off to phone the Dr. again....

Sooo, news that has made me wonder today. This story is heartbreaking, because it was so preventable. The kid had neuroblastoma, and there are a whole bunch of studies showing a dramatic drop in incidence after folic acid was introduced to the food supply in North America ten years ago. Perfect link? No...but still pretty damn compelling. I still remember going to a lecture at U of T with an embryologist from the UK who talked about the damage from Vitamin A and the benefits from folic acid and other B vitamins. He had made it his lifes work to tell the world and convince governments & industry to fix it. He was so inspiring that I have never forgotten him; his anguish, his tears of frustration at bureaucrats who refused to listen to the evidence he presented. Health Canada committees are STILL debating adding it to more flour based foods, even as the evidence grows and the UK has just decided to do it. Apparently all these governments are worried that the elderly will have B12 deficiencies as a result, even though simple annual blood tests could take care of that issue. Our miscarried babies don't have those options, and half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and even among the planned ones, many of us are deficient in vitamins.

But hey, we all know that governments don't give a damn about the morality of saving lives, even adult ones, right? It's all about the money. And lest you all think I'm damning only the UK here, I'm not, governments all around the world use actuarial equations, and HMOs and US health insurance companies do everything on this basis.

How much is your life worth to you? To your husband? You parents? Your kids? To your workplace?

The NY Times has a story about the Missing Angels campaign here. (Thanks Maggie!) The YouTube video they made is right here, makes me cry every time. The US is pretty far ahead of us. Right now in Ontario I can't get a stillbirth certificate at all, totally illegal under the Vital Statistics Act, never mind a separate birth and death certificate. More work to do I guess...

And the new Michael Moore movie Sicko? There's an article here that mentions the flack he gets from Canadian reporters about how he dared to say our system was better than the US. Yep, leave to a Canadian to get pissed over a compliment. Sometimes I think we aren't just self-effacing, we really are our worst critics!

For a quick and dirty explanation of why we have waitlists for some procedures, we are geographically the second largest nation on earth, but have 1/10th the US population. (This one fact is a huge study area in Canadian political science btw. Affects everything...) Our largest cities are smaller than small US ones, so travel costs, and increased provider costs are some of the biggest barriers. For example, a neighbour of ours came down with an incredibly dangerous mystery infection a few years back. We live within a 20 minute ambulance ride of several large hospitals that can handle this type of thing. He came into the ER, was seen right away, had weeks in intensive care, MRIs and various scans, and an entire team of Doctors assigned to his care until he recovered, home care included. All free, no waits, no issues.

I personally have not had to wait for procedures or tests because again, I'm in an area with high density, lots of experienced Docs, and I'm pretty proactive about my health. (I still run into problems, as I have discussed many times, but I am not a "classic" case, so I'm unwilling to blame public health care for that part...complicated patients like me aren't easy anywhere!)

But for people who live outside the core? In the suburbs, or in far rural areas? Yes, they have waits...sometimes due to the system, sometimes due to not getting regular screening checks (note my fear of the c-word in a previous post), sometimes due to their own lack of advocacy. There is a small city-suburb east of me, that does not have even one neurologist at their hospital. Horrifying, eh? Except that what they call a city, would be termed a very small town in the US and no neurologist wants to bother going there because there will never be enough patients. Even if they wanted to practice part-time, their skills would suffer due to lack of use. And the people of the suburb? They are appalled that they have to drive an hour to the big city to see a neurologist, unwilling to go on cancellation lists because they would have to miss work, and if they have a serious medical problem that means regular visits to stay alive? Totally unwilling to move nearer to the hospital or doctor that could save them.

Instead it's all the system's fault...

I've met patients who live in tiny little northern towns, (like pop. < 5,000) and have children with life-threatening chronic illnesses, who insist that a pediatrician and a team of physiotherapists and health care providers should exist in their tiny little town and scream that they are being discriminated against because these services only exist in the big city, and I'm sorry but I just can't believe it would be so different in the US. I hear about US bloggers who have to go to bigger cities for treatment all the time, about people who change jobs or move to get better health care and I can't help but wonder if we Canadians have just not heard enough about that?

I hear about older people who don't have answering machines, and are shocked when when their home care plans fall apart, about people who don't plan ahead to get their prescription meds renewed and fume because they run out. Or my fave, the ones who refuse to follow Doctors advice about taking their meds or lifestyle changes and don't magically get better. How is that public health care's fault?

I don't love Docs, I know I personally screw up my own health sometimes, and health care systems are not so good at it either, many things are totally out of our hands like genes, or our health as children and before birth, but holy mackeral, can I just say that publicly funded systems are pretty damn good, considering what they have to work with here?

Ranting over, I'm glad I've got that off my chest. Thanks!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I am

I have been tagged for the "I am" meme by a few different people now, and I have resisted because some of theirs looked like poetry, and others looked like really well-thought out happy pieces. And right now, both are just beyond me. My last post was happy, but today has kind of sucked all the joy out of that.

I am feeling really really down, incredibly sad today.

I am the only woman in a house full of men.

I have two living children who don't actually appreciate anything I've done to have them or raise them.

I am an infertile who wants more kids so they can underappreciate me as well.

I am a gardener who attempts to grow plants so that I can avoid thinking about how badly I grow embryos.

I am a home renovator who repaints and redecorates to avoid thinking about how much my personal life needs renovating.

I am secretly scared that my husband has no respect for my abilities or my brains and sees me as nothing more than a burden, a charity case he took on.

I am scared that he has a fantasy of replacing me with some kind of SuperWoman who pulls in a 6 figure salary, and simultaneously raises children better than Mary Poppins, keeps a home like Martha Stewart, and performs like an acrobat in bed. (This is a completely illogical one, but nonetheless, it exists.)

I am an adoptee who is nervous about the new disclosure laws because I have found my birth mother, but not my birth father, and there is a deadline looming, either I have to find him or he could find me first. My relationship with my birth mother is so exhausting emotionally I'm not sure I want to take on another one. On the other hand it may not be a big deal. I am torn.

I am undiagnosed with some other medical problem that might be hyperthyroid but no Dr. can figure it out.

I am lonely because many of my real life friends are too busy to see me when I am free. (They are only available to hang out late at night or on weekends when I'm here with the kids.)

I am political, a Liberal in fact. I've dropped off the face of the earth politically since the Leadership convention. I just don't feel like doing any Liberal party stuff right now. Too many self-important asshats wandering around obscuring the nice people.

I am now pretty well-off compared to 99% of the world, but am too self-conscious of my humble background to enjoy it; too aware of fitting in or not fitting in; scared I'll end up being that little girl again that was humiliated when she didn't have the hip clothes or the money to do cool stuff.

I am uncomfortable in real life with truly personal conversations. I talk talk talk a LOT, but say little that is meaningful. I can only be open on this blog. And even then, only so much.

I am a pack rat. I keep everything.

I am a lover of order and organization, but I am completely incapable of achieving it alone or maintaining it once I hire someone to do it for me.

I am very very curious about my lurkers. I sometimes get hundreds of clicks in a day, but only a dozen or so comments. Who are you? Email me, or delurk to comment or something. Especially if you are from Canada...I know a few of you who have blogs, or who have delurked before, but what about the rest? Truly, I do not bite.

I am going to go drink some beer in honour of May Two-Four weekend here in Canada.

I am tagging anyone who hasn't already done this, as well as Leroy, Nicole, Thrice, Casey, Manuela, & Mia.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Never doubt the determination of a Woman with a Sharp Object

I saved the day!

No, silly, I didn't do anything unfortunate to my neighbour. I'm letting my husband the lawyer handle that mess. He is beginning to acknowledge the issue now that their construction moved onto our property and they decided to rip fence parts off of our house and create holes and they were going to block access to our side of the house with a fence section, dig it in on our property side and attach it all to our house.

Without our consent, or even so much as a "by the way..." I have a feeling that although the fence will go up it isn't going to work exactly like they thought. hehe

(And to answer a question, our sunlight is never blocked due to the angles involved. Only theirs is. Which again, only proves that she is either crazy, or a vampire who enjoys watching plants die.)

Aaaannnyway, to get back to the main story today----last night I went out with some friends from my kid's school, for a fundraiser post-mortem & congratulations fest. We had done a great job raising money, and drank lots of wine and laughed, and ate elegant food, and none of us had to cut anyone's meat or remind anyone to flush or wash their hands...a really nice night out.

When I got home though, I discovered that I had to once again get my SuperMommy suit on. Yesterday at school, Mac lost another baby tooth and his grumble grumble male teacher told him to wash it in the bathroom sink----and you can just guess what happened next. Yep, right down the drain. There were tears and anguish while everyone tried to figure out how the tooth fairy was going to get the tooth and give the money to Mac. Poor little guy couldn't go to sleep for ages.

Rest assured the tooth fairy left some money last night and we all decided that the tooth fairy must've dove down the drain and got the tooth. Mac was happy.

I was not.

I (whisper here) have saved every.single.tooth that has ever fallen out of my babies mouths and carefully put them away for ummmm posterity, yahhh, that's it posterity. What if they are famous someday? I've saved their first haircut remnant in little bags, and their nail clippings, and every single piece of clothing and little shoesies, and all their art, and well, everything I could hide from Mr.Cotta. (He doesn't mind saving some stuff, but he is reasonable. I can't STAND to lose even a molecule of them.) I tried to save their umbilical cord bits that fell off their bellybuttons at seven days old, but I didn't put them into formaldehyde so they crumbled to dust. We saved Macs umbilical cord blood in a stem cell bank, and if he never needs it, I'll keep paying the fee for sentimental reasons. (Cord blood banks didn't exist back then for Kaz, sniff.) I buried all their placentas in the backyard under individual trees, (after the pathologist examined each one and took slides, etc. Science and mommy sentimentality can exist side by side oh cynical ones.)

So does anyone think mere plumbing was going to stand in the way of me getting my babies tooth back? Puh-leeeze.

I showed up at school with tools and the phone number of a plumber. All the men looked at me like I was nuts and the women all said, of course you need to do try. (Funny how the gender lines break down here) Truthfully, everyone thought it was a lost cause, but after much digging into the boys bathroom sink with a very sharp letter opener and a tweezer, and using my mighty pythons to pull out lots and lots of icky stuff....drumroll please!!!!!

I pulled the tooth out of the drainpipe!

It's perfectly fine, very clean. My set of baby teeth is complete....whoops I mean the Tooth Fairies set is complete. She'll pick it up tonight after Mac goes to sleep with it under his pillow.

I feel like celebrating! And dancing! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My very busy day

My crazy neighbour is still building the fence, and has now torn down the front fence we shared to build a different gate. Presumably one with extra locks and barbed wire.... It did need replacing, but we had spoken about doing this together, as opposed to separately, so that it would look cohesive and nicely designed. They have left a stub of our fence attached to our house, and I have no clue how they are going to join the old rotten wood to their new boards. And of course, we will have a hell of a time repairing our side now. The height of the fence by the way is legal, measured from their side, because their yard is slightly lower & they have the fence perched on top of raised flower beds one feet high. Six feet of fence, plus one feet of screening, adds up to eight feet.

As for the setback, I am sure that you are all correct, but here in Toronto we have a slight problem. Very very narrow lots, and most of them have boundary problems, like somebody built a shed 6 inches over someone else's property, and fences are just off centre or crooked and twenty years later people are claiming part of your yard. Our house was built one foot away from the property line, and for years and years the owners just gave each other permission to gain access for maintenance. And nobody cared, in fact I'm wondering if now we just have the right to go into their yard if we have to deal with the foundation, or clean the eaves.

It would be rare, just twice a year at most, barring an emergency, and most people could care less and will be very reasonable, but somehow I suspect the crazy lady won't. Her husband is very nice, so maybe I can try to talk to him....gahhhh hate this part. I could call the city and make a fuss, but I have to live next to them everyday. It's delicate.

Maybe I'll just be passive aggressive and send older son Kaz to practice his trumpet in the backyard every single night, pointed in their direction? God love him, Kaz is the world's WORST trumpet player. Excellent at piano, definitely not a brass guy. Hmmm...

I'm off to get my hair done, do some gardening, finish the laundry, and have a few hot flashes.

Yes, you read that right. This cycle is hopeless and I'm feeling really really awful, sleepless, tossing, turning, and kind of down. I thought it was just my mood in general, but I'm going to try upping my estrogen and see what happens.

Plus we're having some more financial stress after all our good news. A nice big cheque we were expecting last week is not coming for awhile, so we are still doing the credit card shuffle.

I know I've been tagged to the I am meme more than once. Maybe tomorrow. The worldest worst poet here has to go destress!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fences & Neighbours and all that

I'm so tired of dealing with people who hear the proverb "good fences make good neighbours" and don't understand the irony. I'm more of a Robert Frost devotee, I agree with this point of view, right here.

Why am I thinking about this now?

Because my neighbours are today unilaterally extending the fence between our houses, all legal supposedly. It's already a very very high fence between our backyards, yes an okay design, but way too tall. The sole reason it was built so tall is because the female half of the couple next door is paranoid and convinced we are peeping in her house and staring at her. She also hates children and does not want to look at ours, or hear ours, or know that children exist. (She has said this to other neighbours who reported it back to us. She used the exact word "hate". She also told me that she is afraid of crowds and people touching her. Sigh....)

We are in a very urban neighbourhood, with high narrow houses, skinny long lots, and really, not much privacy. This particular neighbourhood is child central, a place where pregnant women, small children and dogs go together like lattes and biscotti. This is probably the absolute last place on earth that a child-hating woman should have moved. It's hard enough for an infertile with a history of pregnancy loss to be here. If it wasn't for my kids I wouldn't even have moved here! I can't for the life of me figure out why they picked this area. She is slightly older, and from what she has said never wanted children, never tried to have them, nothing. She knows our history so I'm sure she was telling the truth.

The fence will now extend in between our houses and gives us only 1 foot of space for people to come in and clean our eavestroughs or repair the wall or roof if needed. There are no windows and doors there, so it wasn't like we could see them anyway, but we are just going to find it impossible to maintain our property now. Plus we had planned on doing some renovations and construction and we need to be able to access the side of our house to rip it down or change it. The fence will be destroyed in the process, and we will now have to pay to rebuild it. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Whenever I have discussions about this with Mr.Cotta btw, he assumes that I am saying that people should be barred from living in certain types of neighbourhoods, or doing what they want with their own property. And I'm not. I just despair of a world full of people who keep trying to fit their personal square pegs into round holes.

Like, if you are an elderly widower, is it smarter to live in your own home, a non-handicapped accessible home full of tripping hazards and stairs, with no one to talk to but your cat and expensive repair issues? Or is it smarter to move to a local senior's apartment building, with friends and activities, and railings in the bathtub, just in case? Memories are lovely, but broken hips are painful, I think.

Or if you are a person who can't stand children and longs for silence and space for your garden, should you move to a downtown urban neighbourhood filled with kids and traffic and a postage stamp for a backyard? Will you possibly be unhappy? Will you make your neighbours unhappy?

I know I'm ranting again, but I'm also completely unclear as too why she keeps building bigger and bigger fences all around her. What the hell is the point of this?

Monday, May 14, 2007


The title of this post describes things I see today; an onomatopeia for clutter, overkill, too much...thoughts, paper, books, junk, crap, tchotkes I have to keep forever and dust, too expensive to "lose", too ugly to use.

I am on CD3 and have gone through a wilder than normal hormonal rollercoaster the last 4-5 days. I am now soothing myself with a bottle of wine, a large jar of nutella, and a spoon. Hopefully I can find more chocolate in this house somewhere soon or I'll be dipping into the vodka.

I tried to be restrained and be all "lovely mummy" to my kids on Sunday, but I think I let loose with at least one or two highly irritated freaks. Me minus hormones is NOT a pretty sight. If they ever ban HRT, I'll be scoring it on the black market and shooting up in an alley.

(I've told you all about my friends and friends Moms who went off their HRT and out-of-nowhere decided to get divorced and then got fired and had fights with other friends, right? I must've....)


Plus I am getting slightly frustrated. I am finding it very difficult to tell the political behind the scenes stories I want without googlers discovering me, and ending up like this poor bugger.

Perfect example would be this story. If it were true. Which it is NOT.

Say there was a hypothetical woman you knew, and she got sent to a small but very important meeting with a bunch of judddges and police and lawyers and people from shelters and cryme victims by her good friend. Her good friend was in charge of the whole system in her prawvince and trusted that she would help him fix the system by telling him great ideas, things he could use during an upcoming elucktion. Except that at the conference everyone spontaneously self-divided into two groups; the ones who "got it" (GI) and had no power to fix anything, and the ones who were fuckin' clueless (FC) and were in charge.

And the FCs refused to listen to the GIs but instead spent the entire time defensively explaining why the system is "great" and "super awesome" and "you all should just call us day or night and we'll help you." And it really really went over badly with all the people who had called for help many times and been told that no one would help them. EVER. Even when they were in the hospital. Like one woman who called 126 times and was still in daneger that very day, who figured she was actually better off than the woman who only got to call 4 times because the 5th time she had a brokun jaw & finggers and couldn't speak or dial.

The hypothetical woman's important friend even showed up at the place to speak and all the FCs in the front row applauded as he announced awards for the GIs who were the most compliant, the "best" at cooperating with the FCs. All the GIs meanwhile were in the back row and they rolled their eyes because of course, what good does an award do for someone with a brokun jaw? Zip--- Which was awful for the woman who had spent hours of volunteer time thinking up helpful ideas for her very very kind friend with the great big heart and really really unhelpful paid staff.

Then the hypothetical woman was upset about the juddge who admitted over drinks that out of 20,000 acquattals that she knew only ONE was not guilllty, they rest were guilllty but the judddge had to let them off because of minor things like paperwork, not even biggies like constitootional rights. And when they got out, they hurt more people, and came right back to the judddge, who had no solution for the problem, and no interest in the ideas the GIs had.

Wasn't that an interesting story? Too bad for search engines my spelling is atrocious!

If you ever feel like hearing more hypothetical badly spelled stories, let me know, and use my techniques if you like. Or suggest some other solution before I eat ALL the chocolate.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day for the rest of us

I've had breakfast made by hubby and the kids, gotten a few homemade & a few store bought presents, (more on that later, chuckle), and they are all busy making me dinner. There are many sloppy kisses and lots of love.

It's all great on the surface, but of course, a few things are missing.

Like 3 children, a son and two daughters who should be here.

Like my own two mothers, neither of whom are really my mother, but both of them are sort of. I am unmothered, self mothered, I'm all grown up, but the yearning for that mothering I never had is still there.

I yearn for my lost children. I love the ones I have, but they can't replace what I missed, and am missing. It's unfair to them to put them in that position. I do wish something could replace that empty spot in my heart though....I just don't know what it would be.

For those of you who are still searching and yearning, my love to you today.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Oooh, the trolls are visiting

Yes, I'm just so scared....quivering in my boots actually. *eyeroll* Puh-leeze....

First take a look at the comments section on my previous post. You'll note that I have a rather pathetic anonymous commenter, who came over from Erin's blog I think. Erin's been enduring some vicious troll attacks from creeps who think it's appropriate to accuse her of killing her baby on her personal blog, a blog devoted to Birdie who died following a c-section in hospital after a homebirth transfer. It started on Tuesday this week with an attack from a supposed midwife, and has continued with attacks from Doctors, mostly anonymous, too scared to sign their own names and take responsibility for their comments.

Now, I haven't had a homebirth, but I also didn't feel the need because a few of my local hospitals including the one I gave birth at every time are so freakin' crunchy and all natural they could out-midwife the most home birthing midwives collective on earth. But I totally understand the desire of many women to homebirth, especially if they are low risk like Erin and can have two certified trained midwives there with them, like we can in Ontario. Between C difficile and SARS and MSRA in NICUs, I for one, get the concerns about hospital borne infections and unecessary interventions.

I have always believed that we should be looking for a middle ground, that "right-sizes" medical interventions, giving them the care they need, but not subjecting them to unneeded procedures and medications.

Most of all, we should be kind and compassionate to others always. Cruelty is NEVER okay, and blaming a woman for causing the death of her own child is beyond the pale IMO. Guilt over our babies deaths is an automatic part of the package for grieving mothers, even when we have the highest tech medical treatment and proof from a pathology report that we did all the right things, so the last thing we need is for someone to rub salt in the wound.

Anonymous I know that to you I'm just another impersonal webpage to troll, but in real life, I have your IP address and you aren't bothering me one whit, but I DO view you and your ilk as a perfect example of why I need to keep on fighting for better treatment of grieving parents.

A little weekend blah blah

I was away all day yesterday at a track meet, sitting in the blazing hot sun, and yes, I got burnt. I didn't read most of the comments until late last night on my previous post. Sorry!

My correction, which I'm adding to my previous post as well, I did NOT wake up during the laparoscopy I had 2 years ago, I woke up immediately afterwards in the recovery room minus painkiller. I wasn't supposed to wake up so quickly and like that, so it was definitely a mistake and a nightmare that has caused me trauma, but it wasn't on the table while they were cutting. (Some patients have had these surgeries with epidurals and been awake, but since they feel zero pain, it's not so bad, just a slight creep factor.)

General aneasthesia has a couple of components, that are supposed to work together to deal with this. Pain medication, to prevent pain during in the patient, sleep medication, to put you out, and a paralytic, to prevent us from moving, even involuntarily (like we do while in some stages of dream sleep) during surgery. Many of them now add hypnotics to induce amnesia, just in case we end up as one of the patients who is awake but paralyzed and in pain during surgery.

Problem is that many pain medications can stop us from breathing or at least lower our respiration rate, so it's a delicate balancing act. And the butthead Doc failed! So now I'm nervous about any aneasthesia, beyond dental freezing. I'll only think about the c-word when I have another therapist in place to help me work through procedure. It's not urgent, so I'm not going to overthink this just yet.

Anyway, this is a very good article by a journalist I just love! I helped her research this article, and she is really amazing. (She's writing my article next, I hope.) They talk about IVM and non-drug ways of doing fertility treatment like IVF. And of course, they cite my favourite stat, that most eggs gathered by IVF the usual way are damaged, regardless of age, so really maybe this is a better way, hmmm?

And why aren't REs doing IVM everywhere in Canada and the US? (It's been around since 1999) and it's safer since there is no risk of OHSS. I think it's because the drug companies hate it, and it has a lower miscarriage rate, and it costs less, and donor egg is rarely needed, and there are less multiple births, and RE's might not get to have Bentleys....*eyeroll*

It's perfect for women with PCOS and OHSS, and even good for women who are poor responders to drugs, or have high FSH like me, or endometriosis.

And yes, I laughed at Leroy's comment about socialized medicine! No, unfortunately, it doesn't fix every problem, there are idiot Doctors in every system. I have to admit, I like the way ours is constructed in that I can go to any Dr. I choose without financial restrictions. But no guarantees of brains unfortunately. Idiot Docs exist in every country. One thing I would change in a heartbeat though, is that public hospitals here receive lump sums from the government regardless of how many services they perform. Kind of a holdover from the older pre-public funding, and related to the problem we have with rural vs. urban health care. Which means that they have no incentive to do more procedures, and in fact, spend outrageous sums of money on administration. (A note: Americans would not find these amounts outrageous by comparison....most money in US healthcare is spent on administration) I just think that we should spend almost all of our money on nursing and cleaning and food and social workers and well, you get the idea...

Dr.J will call me on the phone next week and let me know what's up, I also have her email, so that's what she meant, and by the way, I'm 38, but my failing ovaries are the reason I have such bad bone density.

Off to drink soy milk now....and next visit with your REs, ask them if they know about IVM and why they don't use it. Are they employed by drug companies or you guys? Whose really paying the bills?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not quite as bad and not quite as good

My GP, Dr. J. was pretty good about todays' appointment. Yes, it turns out that my bone density sucks donkey balls, in fact my hip socket density is down to 76% of what it should be for a woman my age, weight, yadda yadda, but my spinal isn't too awful, still pretty stable compared to a few years ago. She didn't mention any medication for it, but that's because I have a specialist appointment coming up and we agreed to talk about it then. She did tell me to change my brand of calcium & D, because she thinks I'm getting bored with it, which is why I'm not very compliant. This she is right about....chalky tasting stuff sucks!

My RAIU test results she wasn't sure what to do with. Apparently the latest muddling BS diagnosis they can come up with is "inactive Graves disease". Except that at least one Doc has said that my lab results don't show the right antibodies for Graves disease. (But hey fuck lab results---we only worry about those when we feel like it!) She's going to get back to me about the MRI.

And of course she asked about my upset below the stomach parts, which have still not healed from the hideous organic muffin adventure. I had seen another Dr. last week at the clinic about it and they did some tests. Too late to find food poisoning, I guess. Anyway, we ended up talking about all my GI adventures and between the lactose intolerance and the hyperthyroid and all I've been feeling awful on and off for a year. And I knew this word was coming but I seriously cringed....she mentioned the c-word (colonoscopy), and I practically fainted and said the conversation had to end.

Honestly, I'd rather have brain surgery.

Through my eyeball.


After all the gyne surgeries I've had and the dildocams and the dozens of hands up my hoo-ha, yes, THIS is the procedure I'd rather die than discuss. So my Doc KEEPS going! She tells me that not to worry, they do twilight sleep, and I'd get some fentanyl. And that was my limit.

For those of you who think I'm good at advocating for myself, you need to know that really I'm not. If I was really good, I wouldn't have so many dead children. Okay, scratch that last sentence, the new improved me is refusing to feel guilt. My Doctors have to take responsibility, right?

I'm only as good as I can be at that single moment in time. I'm trying, and I suck at it sometimes. Like two years ago, I had a laparoscopy with a really famous endometriosis surgeon. Brilliant and kind, he did a great job on the surgery. Unfortunately my anaesthetist wasn't so good. Long story short, he didn't give me enough fentanyl during surgery so I woke up screaming in pain, and the other Doc in recovery then gave me too much fentanyl in an effort to relieve my pain. Well, she gave me so much I stopped breathing, and they had to give me Narcan to reverse the fentanyl and shock my heart to start me breathing again. I ended up in pain again, and messed up physically for days & weeks afterwards.

I couldn't advocate for myself then or while I was sick. Mr.Cotta couldn't help because he knows ZERO about medicine. It wasn't until I left the hospital and started asking some pointed questions that I figured out what happened. And even then, I didn't bother suing. I knew it would just be a waste of my emotional energy and my money. Dr. Google, Wikipedia, and Emedicine are my favourite sources. If you read them, you'll know as much as me and certainly more than your Dr.

But in a crisis, when you are physically sick or in emotional shock or grieving, you cannot take care of yourself. We need others to help us. I certainly do.

We do the best we can when we can...we're only human, right?

I have to go drag my creaky old bones up the stairs. I guess I've entered the broken hip years, eh? Sigh....first it's control top underwear, then orthopedic the c-word...

Not what I was looking for

I tested this a.m., POAS, and it was negative. I should've assumed it would be, but I am still disappointed. I may get a blood test just to confirm, maybe not....

Crap...seeing my GP later today and we're supposed to talk about my bone scan results, and my RAIU test results from like weeks ago. I know the results will show abnormal, and every Dr. thinks I'm healthy notwithstanding the effin' lab results that say no. (I have my annual appointment with an osteoporosis specialist in two weeks for the bone scan, but I guess Dr. J. is throwing it into the conversation as well.)

So, just to engage in some useless idle speculation, you wanna make a bet that she's going to suggest I go on Foso.max because my bones scan results will still look blah, (I'd refuse at this point, fwiw) and that she thinks I should do nothing about my thyroid even though my RAIU test results look bad? Sometimes I think this world is a place where Drs. accept and believe the unbiased lab reports they like, and throw away the ones that don't fit with their personal perceptions.

Apparently sucking and blowing is still in style among the medical community these days.

I'm just not sure how they manage to do both at the same time.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Back again

Really really tired.

I was helping to set up a fundraiser all day yesterday (like 7:00 am til whenever) and stayed out all evening AT the fundraiser, had too much to drink, and spent too much at the silent auction.

I'm exhausted, and slightly hungover.

And then I woke up at 3:00 am and couldn't get really back to sleep for hours. I finally gave up at 5 am, got up and read the paper and started puttering around. I'm catching up on all your news right now, apologies if I'm a bit late commenting!

Thank you to the people who sent me copies of that study, and others! Really really helpful.

And to answer a question that I guess I wasn't very clear on; I believe that if fertility treatment was fully funded, drugs and all, and patients were educated on the real odds of multiples, and the real odds of prematurity & survival that almost none of them would opt for doing more than a double embryo transfer, and many would opt for single blasts. I think Doctors should be required to follow a really good program to educate patients about this issue prior to ANY treatment, and if people want to do IUI with larger numbers of follicles, or IVF and implant more than 1 embryo, they should only be treated if they are pro-choise enough to agree to consider selective reduction.

(You'll note I didn't say they had to agree to selective reduction ahead of time....just not rule it out.)

For people who believe ahead of time that they could never do a selective reduction, they should only be allowed to do one embryo at a time, and understand that if they do lower tech treatments, and hyper-ovulate that the only ethical religious stance is too refrain from sex or not do the IUI that month. (A truly religious person who's a "pro-laffer" can see the logic of that, IMO.)

I don't mind funding as many cycles and as much drugs as needed for any couple to complete their families, if it means less dead & disabled children in the end, but I hate making hard and fast absolutes, because there are always exceptions, like couples who are dealing with balanced translocations or genetic issues and no PGD test exists for them yet. Or for couples whose embryos don't freeze well, etc.

Right now, there is such poor diagnosis out there, so much money involved, and such unrealistic portrayals in the media that I think we don't need to decree single embryo transfer, just tell patients the real honest to God truth, instead of pretending it's all about living babies and perfect pregnancies, and that Drs. can save them all easy.

Any opinions?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Simple & Inexpensive anyway you slice it

I went to reply to DD's comment on my last post and typed out this big, longggg heartfelt reply, and I hit the wrong key and deleted it, (Sorry DD!) so I figured I'd just blend it into today's post instead, and made it all longer. (Sorry to the rest of you!)

Drug companies are NOT our friends, but I actually don't blame them alone for not promoting these treatments.

Some of the greatest advances in fertility treatment in recent years have been simple, easy, & inexpensive. And some of them ARE expensive and difficult but are more cost-effective & easier than the alternatives, like multiple pregnancies, premature babies, dead children, and childlessness. That old evil cost-benefit analysis bogeyman that every insurance company, every Ministry of Health, and every hospital says they live by should tell them that. They disagree.

Utter fucking bullshit, IMO.

The cost of infertility treatment for all of Ontario in one year, drugs, PGD, ICSI, IVM etc. included, is $20 million. Even if more patients came out of the woodwork, it would still only be $30 million. A new NICU to take care of all the multiples that are resulting from unfunded IVF, unfunded IUI, and unfunded IF treatment has a capital cost of $200 million. The Ontario Government has announced it has to build 2 of these in the next 3 years, just to replace the overburdened ones it has right now. Operating costs for Ontario NICUs is in the range of $100-125 million each year. Each miscarriage costs at least $3,000-5,000, and each stillbirth costs $12,000; selective reduction, somewhere in the range of $2,000 unless there are complications.

And yet the government has come up with the half-assed idea of only paying for part of IVF, no drugs, and only for couples with MF infertility. Lab costs & drugs still won't be covered, so no one will bother doing single embryo transfer which they propose to do, because they will be unable to afford to pay for the other half of the IVF cost. They are estimating they want to spend only $12 million.

This is where the bad analysis comes in. Unless they pay for the whole shot, and require all Doctors to do a full slate of proper diagnostic tests ahead of time, (including clotting factors and genetic panels, and SA, etc.) they are still wasting money. They will still need NICUs and they will still be allowing the preventable deaths of thousands of wanted and loved children.

I can add, so can all of you, how come the people in charge of health care can't?

CBC radio has a series on IF right now, and on treatment issues and ethics surrounding them. They keep talking about expensive it is to do IVF, and how it's all the fault of women who wait to long to get pregnant. They had some unproven stat, that most infertility is caused by women who wait to long to start trying, simply because one of the women they interviewed waited until she was 38. The myth of the women who wait too long is incredibly destructive, as destructive as the myth that teenagers can get pregnant and stay pregnant quite easily. (In reality, they are as high risk for pregnancy as older women.) CBC has an online forum here, that has a whole bunch of comments backing me up. Go visit it and leave a comment. You don't have to be from Canada. I've been incredibly incensed listening to their series last week and the all the misinformation they've spread, so I can't wait to see if they correct themselves. I'm not holding my breath. But even if a woman had waited until she was 38, so what? We treat smokers, we treat drunk drivers who crash cars, we treat drug dealers who start gunfights. There is no concept of fault in our healthcare system, never has been, except for this. They say it's about whether IVF has a high enough success rate to bother funding it. Except that we fund all sorts of treatments that have very very low success rates, so that's irrelevant as well.

So besides funding IVF, what could the system do to help us?

I'm a fan of helping us all prevent IF, myself. For example, if men were funded to freeze sperm earlier in life, or to get tested, there would be less MF infertility, not none, but less. Hell, if men were just less embarassed by MF issues, including sexuality, then reproduction would be infinitely easier. But as long as sex remains a forbidden will all be harder to treat.

We know for a fact that STDs cause fertility problems, but we act like that's an issue of fault. We forget about the women whose spouses cheated on them and brought home chlamydia, PID, herpes, or group B strep. We know that 20% of all women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and it's a pretty safe bet that rapists & pedophiles don't use condoms. Yet, the media cruelly assumes that all women with an STD must've been sleeping around and therefore "asked for it". Crime victims & victims of cheating spouses, get no compensation for loss of fertility, no free treatment, no kindness or dignity. Just kicked to the curb...

For years we have known that folic acid, aspirin, & progesterone are incredibly safe in pregnancy, and are very effective way of helping women get pregnant and stay pregnant, yet the myth that progesterone & aspirin are unsafe in pregnancy continues among GPs. They assume that folic acid is something we are already taking, and governments are so slow to put it into food as a supplement, they might as well be publicly declaring that they don't give a damn if our babies die. Progesterone is mythically predicted to masculinize female fetal genitalia, yet in all the years Motherisk has been tracking it, it has never been proven. What has been proven? That women with a genuine LPD will miscarry without it. Aspirin is safe in the first trimester, and the second, and has only been associated with birth defects in the third trimester. Anyone needing immune system therapy or anti-clotting therapy can use heparin after they become pregnant. But hey, let's all spread unproven myths instead, right?

Vitamin A palmitate is incredibly dangerous for fetuses at any amount larger than a micronutrient and can be safely and completely replaced by beta carotene, yet overdose levels of Vitamin A supplements in multivitamins are sold everywhere. And it's not just fetuses, I know one specialist in adult toxicology who has been begging the government to ban Vitamin A for years simply because of the damage to adults, but they don't listen to experts...shit no, too easy. Politicians would rather pay medical bills and complain about the rising cost of health care.

My favourite examples are the new progesterone treatments for preventing early labour & the nitroglycerine patch for stopping contractions in premature labour. Progesterone is super cheap & easy compared to surgical cerclage, and less likely to leave a woman with cervical damage and scarring, and it's been around as a study for 3-4 years, yet almost no-one uses it. Same with the nitro patch. An old old treatment used for relaxing heart muscles having too many contractions, no one ever bothered to try it on pregnant women whose uterine muscles were having too many contractions. And one day, in desperation a Doctor did a study, and lo and behold, it worked.

But use has been limited. Why?

I think in the cold little bureaucratic hearts of the bean-counters our dead babies & lost cycles cost nothing. They see only the costs of childbirth and educating our living children, yet no benefit to their existence until they wonder where our economy will get workers and taxes 20 years down the road. They see no cost for funerals, or grief, or psychiatrist visits, or alcoholism, or unpaid job leaves, or broken marriages. No cost to the time we take off work for surgery or early morning Doctors visits, and they never bother to calculate the opportunity cost of what we could do with that money if we didn't have to pay for IF treatment.

They certainly don't bother to look at the cost of dropping birthrates, the shrinking tax base, the cost to our economy.

They don't want to give us ANY treatment, early or late, simple or hard, expensive or cheap.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hope is a Dangerous thing

This new study on estrogen pre-treatment is the FIRST new treatment anywhere that gives hope for women who have premature ovarian failure, or just plain high FSH. The whole text is in Fertility and Sterility, but I haven't searched for it this weekend. From what I've read, it will work for any woman with non-responding ovaries.

I've been reluctant to go back, to try again, to have any hope at all that I would ever be able to ovulate again, or come up with a decent set of eggs, that I think I had kind of just thought forget it. And then all my other cascading medical issues, my thyroid, my life in general.

And hear comes a treatment. It might be too late. It might be pointless, but dammit, I might have the guts to phone up my Doc and go back and give it a whirl.

This must be what couples with MF infertility felt like in the before and after period of the discovery of ICSI? Before, no hope, after, wow....but will it work?

And yes, this Friday is D-Day, when I pointlessly POAS and wonder if that spinnbarkheit I saw actually meant anything. Ehhh, maybe waste some money?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Many phone calls later...

First, thank you to all of you who have been supportive and kind in comments after my last post, and in various emails. I especially liked Leroy's comment, "If he is this way about most things Aurelia, he must have you on a pretty tall pedestal too. You had to be the perfect and only mate for him which I think every spouse likes to think." I'm taking that as a compliment! And yes, you are all right that we need marriage counselling, unfortunately, he won't agree yet, and so far, having my therapists analyze him doesn't work so well....especially because they've never met him. That said, I know him pretty well, even if he doesn't think so, and I'm willing to wait for him to make some more progress.

Strange as this sounds, he's improved a lot since we met years ago, so what the hell, maybe I'll keep working on him?

Oh, and for those of you who have read this saga, and are thinking, wow, that could never happen to us, we LOVE each other, I am so *eyerolling* you. We were lovey-dovey too once upon a time, and then life happened. I might talk some more about this at some point, but yes, you need more than just love to make a family work. Waaaayyy more....

Too answer a question from Niobe, yes, the kids get input into camp choices, but because they are so young it has to be limited. For example, my 10 year old, let's call him Kaz, really believes he can be responsible enough to take care of himself. Meanwhile, he rarely if ever remembers to flush and wash his hands afterwards. Not a big deal when mom is there to remind him, but a huge problem when he is out canoe-tripping in the bush and picks up a parasitic infection because he doesn't use alcohol hand sanitizer enough. So I'm a little leery...

Anyway, the bloom is coming off the Camp rose for Mr.Cotta. After a nice long discussion with the camp director today, (the great-grandson of the original yadda yadda hoo-ha who started the whole thing), we have an interesting discovery here. It turns out that enrollment is down in the camp biz, and especially at rustic camps, in fact, Wasp central isn't nearly as popular with the anglo crowd as it once was.

No more stiff upper lips, and the cold showers have been converted to hot showers at the behest of moms like me. Mr.Cotta is slightly resentful at this, "WE never had hot showers!" I expected him to tell me next how he had to walk to summer camp 20 miles in the snow, uphill, BOTH WAYS. Poor man, it seems that they also are quite nice and kind to the children! They feed them hot food and let them sleep on sheets and everything!

Truthfully, though there is still an air of affluenza, they've also had to lower their standards and let in the plebes and children of plebes like ours. It turns out that most parents aren't willing to abandon their kids for eight straight weeks anymore. Modern parents only want two weeks, or even just 4 day long weekends. They haven't gone the way of some camps, which provide cleaning and maid service to the campers, (and I think this is only appropriate for the youngest of campers myself) but they are being forced to adapt.

We're going to do two weeks there, since the owner practically begged and all. (And I am a sucker for a man who kisses my heiney, truly.) And a weekend at another camp, very different style. And no I haven't figured out how to pay for it....but at least I won on most of my issues!

Maybe the Kates of the world will win over the Wills' in the end, eh? Working on them bit by bit...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

rambling part II

To get some backgound on how I feel about this issue, you have to read here & here, and know that I have spent LOTS of time researching camps, etc. and Mr.Cotta has responded by completely forgetting our compromise and everything that went with it.

I am so annoyed with him right now, I am spitting nails.

It turns out that to him, there is only one possible camp, one acceptable choice, one camp on earth that is appropriate to send his children too. To him, there are no alternatives.

It's his way, or no way.

Which is unnecessarily rigid, IMO.

I have called ten or twelve different camps, spoken to directors, checked out prices, references, facilities, programs, food, access to emergency medical facilities, distance from us and our city, whether or not kids can call home, bullying & discipline policies, basic due diligence in my opinion. I have drilled it down to 2 or 3 I kind of like, and am willing to send my kids.

The ONLY camp he likes is one that is up north, far away, incredibly expensive and WASP central, both the insect kind and the snobby kind. Roughing it doesn't even begin to describe the conditions. Stiff upper lips & lukewarm showers are handed out at the door, and pedigrees are checked & approved. It's boys only, and every one of the campers & counsellors looks like something out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad, except for the children of Asian billionaires who attend. They have very rustic cabins, certainly not bug-proof, and I'm going to have to send him with a full set of bug netting so he can get a decent night sleep, and trust him to take care of himself, cause no-one else will.

In blackfly season, in the bush, in Northern Ontario.

To people who've never seen a cloud of blackflies, you simply can't comprehend it, but animals who have been attacked by them have gone mad, and humans? Well, there is a reason that no other country will ever be able to successfully invade Canada, and blackfly season and winter cold are pretty much it.

Never mind the whole, "we have no money for this" problem.

Worse than all that, is the problem of us communicating about how to raise our kids. We love each other, we love the boys, that issue isn't even relevant to the discussion. We both want the best for our kids.

The problem happens when we each try to define what the "Best" means. Mr.Cotta comes at it from the point of view that raising a kid well means that we should replicate everything he had as a child. That there is only one "best" way to do things. Mostly it works well, since he was given many wonderful things as a kid, many great opportunities. But lots of things he didn't get to have or do. There were many things good and bad about his family life. And the rose-colored glasses he dons when he looks back at that childhood betray his bias, I think.

It is at the heart of the conflict we have. And the heart of many of the conflicts parents have about the right way to raise kids.

I think that many of the things I was raised with were inappropriate. But some of it was okay. The average normalcy of my experiences, living in a middle class small town , even if we didn't personally have money, means that I am not so enamoured of money and class climbing. I never had much, so I feel like right now we're doing really well. Mortgaged but not overly debt-ridden anymore, living on a budget, being able to buy some things we like, but not being able to buy anything we like; I'm fine with that. Content, even. I like the neighbourhood we are in. I want to renovate, but I have zero desire to move to the Mansionville neighbourhood in my city.

I don't have affluenza, and I don't want my kids to get it. There is a middle ground and it is vast and has lots of options for us to pick from.

Mr.Cotta disagrees. He thinks that there is only one school/high school/university, one career for the boys, one camp, one neighbourhood, one kind of vacation, one type of life to lead. Achieving those things are his only goal, his only dream, everything else, not good enough, not acceptable. He is wants these things, and cannot understand any other point of view.

And what happens when it doesn't work out? When the "perfect" camp fails to meet his expectations, (Considering the build up he's given it, it can only fail, let's be honest. Heaven isn't this perfect. *eyeroll*) I worry that when life comes along and holy mackeral, his children might have opinions & preferences of their own and don't like it, or the camp does something stupid, or makes a mistake, he will be crushed.

I will be sad for him, I will not tell him "I told you so." But I will wonder how the hell we are going to make it through the rest of our lives without killing each other, if he can't open his mind to the possibility that other choices are good as well.

I feel like the Kate Middleton to his House of Windsor in this whole thing, and I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I am too freakin' tired to think right now. I've had a very long day, dealing with the last appointment with my therapist, and some heavy duty abandonment issues. Plus we are trying to finalize my older boys camp arrangements for the summer. Which I hate, because of course, it's just the final nail in my ability to parent my kids the way I believe is right.

The next time someone tells you that all you need is love to raise kids, slap them for me, okay? There's a whole 'nother thing about shared values, beliefs, ethics, about class, and money, and parenting philosophies that matter wayyyyy more.

It's not just about infertility or staying pregnant or getting the live baby. (And I know you guys know this already, just indulge me here.)

I'll elaborate more tomorrow, but in the meantime, in my honour, have a nice chat with your partner about the real practical bits of childrearing in your future, like Reading curriculum: Whole language or phonics? Kid's clothes: Too much skin? Too many labels? Table manners: elbows on or off the table? Music lessons: mandatory piano or optional pick-their-own-instrument?

These tiny little things which seem like nothing when you aren't pregnant yet, have been the cause of more divorces and custody battles than I care to say. They aren't really small, they are symbols of bigger things.

More rambling later, I promise.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Laugh or cry?

I've talked about my size before, and people who have met me IRL know that I am small, short and kind of skinny. When I am pregnant, I become as large as a house, in fact, one person joked that I was as wide as I was tall. But since I was having a long-awaited baby I didn't mind. Too much.

And at other times, I have added on 10-20 pounds and not worried about it, unless I couldn't fit into newer clothes I had just bought. But in the last six months, I have added 20-30 pounds solely due to thyroid and illness issues. Which sucks, because I view it as my body jumping up and down yelling, "Nyah, nyah, you're screwed!"

And after 5 extended pregnancies and multiple early miscarriages, I have no stomach muscles, at all. In fact, I have more extra skin....than I care to describe on this blog, sweeties!

Well, the combo has done me in. The only place I've got weight right now is my stomach, not my boobs, not my ass, not all evenly around my body, just my stomach, on my tiny rest-of-me body. I look 5 months gone, I swear. But nobody has said anything IRL, so I figure, maybe it's my imagination? Maybe I'm just projecting my insecurities about female body shape and society?


Yesterday, a staffer at my kid's school walked up to me and patted my stomach, and tilted her eyebrow, "So...?"

My shocked reply, "I'm not pregnant, I'm fat, but thanks for pointing that out!" I nervously laughed, and she nervously laughed, and we both uncomfortably walked away. I didn't know what else to do, I was so floored.

What do you guys think? I guess I need to buy some control top underwear or something. Shit....