Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reflections of my anxiety

Thank you for all your previous comments and your advice. I'm thinking seriously about the doula but I have some serious anxiety about it after my disastrous midwife experience. Just the thought of another person telling me to think positively cause it's good for the baby, (like stress kills babies-*eyeroll*) makes me almost as hysterically anxious as medical people who insist that mandatory c-sections save all babies. I need a middle ground people...why is that so fucking hard? It's like we all have to be either granola loving hippies OR women who want to be sedated and tied down during birth. I just start reading brochures or books about labour and I have trouble breathing. I need to mull this some more, since really what I want is someone to relieve my husband and take photos and be my support person, on my side. I'm just not sure I want to add someone else who has opinions to the mix. There are a hell of a lot of them already.

I phoned my organizer lady and booked her to come over. And after I posted and some of your comments came in---I decided that instead of the cleaning lady coming in occasionally, I'm getting her here on a regular schedule.

I'm still thinking about the nanny. I need to wrap my head around the concept a bit more.

My real anxiety comes into play over the fact that my husband and his relatives are driving me crazy with their handling of the last three weeks. I can't write about all the details on the net, but would you understand if I said that most of them are badly in need of mental help as well, but would never admit it, and so they are projecting all their own neurosis, and all their own personal prejudices onto the situation? Throw in some incredibly obnoxious sexism about what a "real man" would've done, and it's joy joy joy in our lives 24/7.

Plus they are frankly, putting too much trust in Doctors and the hospitals and social workers considering how completely fucked up the medical world is. Like they assume that the social workers will find my BIL an outpatient program and Doctors and take care of him....except that these social workers are all from the tiny little town where the hospital is and have no contacts in our city, and no fuckin' clue what to do beyond refer him to the nearest CCAC. (Community Care Access Centre, aka piece of junk that can barely organize a clown car with a single home care worker never mind proper mental health supports.)

And as you all know, I firmly believe that trusting Doctors leads to dead children, septic wounds, complex illnesses getting worse, (you know the usual shit that has always happened to me whenever I trusted doctors.) And yes, that is my own personal bias, but I have allowed Doctors to treat me, I just question and research everything they do, just in case I have to intervene and save my own life again. The difference here is that no one is questioning the medical people at all. They are trusting the's causing me the most painful anxiety, I feel like I'm watching my family wander in front of a speeding car and no one around me sees the impending disaster.

I'm just the in-law on the sidelines who isn't supposed to get involved.....

Yes, this saga has gone on too long, and I thought it was over, but it looks like it never will end at this point. I know I have you dear internets, and I appreciate it, it helps, but really, I still feel so shitty.

This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, and instead, it's hell. Utter hell.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I'm not sure how to handle this, so I may need to get some advice from the internets here. I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by all of this crap coming down in our house the last three weeks, and I realized that all my old issues about pregnancy & giving birth are coming back.

And I'm scared of the big giant needle that I need for the steroid shots.

Logically I know that the needle isn't so huge, and the pharmacist said that she thinks she gave me the wrong one (too big) and I should check it out---but damn I keep staring at this huge frickin' needle and almost faint. It's a 21.5 gauge needle and 4 cm long. I've read online that I can use 24 gauge....but ouch still. As I write I'm on the phone on hold hoping that I can find out what to use exactly.

Last time I got this needle, I never saw it. Sigh...I know its for the best, and I'll do it, but I just might whine about being scared and about my really sore buttcheek afterwards, okay? Hope you don't mind?

It's like with giving birth, I don't get nearly as scared about the pain, now that I know it's like really extreme period cramps until the blessed epidural kicks in. I mean, it's not like on TV where the woman collapses screaming on the floor clutching her stomach in 10 seconds flat. TV makes it look like she's being stabbed or shot. And I know it doesn't come on like that. It's very different.

Instead I get freaked out by the people who treat me like a piece of meat and talk to my vagina instead of my face. Or people who don't respect my boundaries and ignore what I need and just waltz in and start ordering people around. Or the bright lights and yelling and disorienting people running in and out. Or even worse? The asses who just stand there open mouthed and do nothing while I writhe in terror. I need comfort in a time of crisis. I need a hand to hold and to know that someone somewhere will take care of me.

I need a mommy, and I don't have one of those.

Why yes all of my psychological baggage comes into the birthing room with me. Doesn't yours? Mine comes with me every step of the way.

Even at night, during sleep. For most of my life I've had sleep problems which I've talked about this before on the blog. My husband has gotten in habit of gently waking me when he notices I'm having a nightmare. I start to breathe funny just before I wake up thrashing and yelling, so he wakes me up just enough at the start of the cycle to stop me from getting into the full freakout. Pregnancy makes this worse, wayyy worse. I start having vivid dreams, so vivid and real that I am sure I'm no longer dreaming, but that it's all happening to me that minute. This has two effects, first, I don't want to go to sleep because why would I when all the dreams are bad? Second, I'm incredibly tired and can't function the next day, so then I don't take my ADD meds so I can nap and I get even more non-functional.

It's a vicious cycle, and my shrink wants me to stop it and take some sleep medication at night, and go back on my ADD meds during the day and take care of myself. She also thinks I should hire someone to help more around the house while I'm pregnant and during the newborn period since we can afford it and it would reduce my stress. She definitely thinks I should either get an really experienced friend to help out during labour & delivery or that I should hire a doula.

And I know she's right, but it's really really hard for me to ask for help, ever. I'm just godawful at it. And I'm even more uncomfortable with the idea of strangers in my house putting things away. I didn't grow up with a housekeeper or a cleaning lady, so I always feel like Alice in Wonderland just talking about it, even though I pay a really great wage, and I treat people nicely. Still---very odd for a girl who grew up eating canned ham and powdered mashed potatoes and had holes in her clothes to suddenly have people working for her. And paying someone still doesn't replace a missing loved one.

I wish I had a mommy. I just wish I had one growing up even if she couldn't be here now. But I never did. I got cheated out of one, and it's so unfair. I feel like I mother everyone else in my life, but no one mothers me. My adoptive mother never did, never knew how, I always had to take care of her feelings, her world, it was always about her. My birth mother wants to mother someone else, the fantasy me she gave up and never existed, so redoing the relationship now doesn't work. If she had known me all long, during an open adoption, maybe we could be close, but it doesn't work now. It's too late.

I feel so alone.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yes, he's back, life is normal--weeee

So I've had my husband back for a few days now, and we've jumped up and down celebrating and the kids have forbidden him to ever leave again, and yes, I do care about what happens to my BIL. I had a momentary flash of selfish anger when I missed Mr.Cotta, but I'm feeling a tad more generous now.

(I admit it, I actually muttered, "Just leave him at the side of the road and run away, fuck it..." but I didn't really mean it. Same with the several times I declared that I would kill said BIL myself with my bare hands for putting us through this, if he ever recovered.)

Anyway, it turns out that he is seriously physically ill as well as all the mental/emotional issues so I am glad we brought him back to Canada. He's getting everything fully checked out and readjusted since of course any new drugs he needs will affect his liver and kidney function, etc, not to mention his cardiovascular system. Frankly, this sounds like the kind of thing most people need. I can't tell you how many times I've heard of people with medical issues having their socio-emotional issues overlooked, and how many times I've heard of people with mental illness having their physical issues overlooked. And then everyone is surprised when things fall apart later. Now I'm just hoping it all works out the way they claim it will.

So enough about that for the moment.


The baby is still kicking away and my tummy is getting bigger all the time. So far, no stretch marks this time...quick everyone knock on wood! I know I won't escape them totally, but I was hoping not to add to my collection. I mean---if my skin has stretched a couple of bunch of times already, then eventually don't I get a free pass?


I have to do my glucose tolerance test next week, so I'm trying to pick a day with as little barfing possibility as I can find, or at least as much time afterwards for me to recover. I hate the orange stuff they make me drink--blech. I'm hoping I can get something better tasting, but who knows?

After I do the glucose tolerance test, I can get my steroid shots. (My cervix was fine, 3.5 cm, so I probably don't need them but I begged and he gave in, nice man. Love my OB to bits.) Apparently, if the shots are done too close to the glucose test it messes up the test results? Dunno...anyway, I am trying to figure out who can give me one of the shots in my rear, since I can get the OB to do one, but the other one has to be exactly 24 hours later or before. And Mr.Cotta is squeamish about needles and anything medical related. If men had to be the pregnant ones and give birth, we'd be childless for sure....poor man. I'm trying to book an appointment with my GP but just in case she has no space, I need to line up some volunteers.

Anyone in the Big Smoke wanna shoot me in the ass?


I want to take my husband to the interior design show tomorrow, since the kids will be busy with other activities. (Mac is at the zoo, and Kaz is going on a school trip.) We need to start deciding on things we would like in the house and I want to get an idea of his taste, etc. so we can work on the house reno. He would rather stick a fork in his eye than go to it. Go figure...


I spoke to the patient advocate's office about the holter monitor, and between my digging around and theirs, we figured out that there is a way to do this without making women go braless. Basically, 18 months ago they got new monitors that are extra sensitive and if a bra strap goes directly on top of the pad they stick on the skin, they produce artifacts. So the techs just banned bras. Never actually occurred to them that a woman could adjust her bra straps so that they don't cover the pads....fuckin' idiots. So, I have asked that they tell every woman coming in to the situation and make it clear that they could use a sports bra or a camisole with a built in bra, or a bra extender, or whatever, and that the straps can't go directly over the pads, but have to be below or above them.

They seem to think this will be too hard for women to understand, especially uneducated women or ones with ESL problems. I think that if they simply say "No bras" that women will be less likely to get the test, especially immigrants or women who are well endowed, or women who simply have modesty issues, either cultural or religious ones. So, I battle on.

Same issue btw, for the window coverings. Turns out they aren't in the postpartum or L&D or high risk floors...the nurses went apeshit when some goof suggested those be installed over in that department. So I can sigh with relief on that one. As for the cardiology department, they insist no one can see in, but I insisted that is untrue, and even if it was true in some lighting and in some situations----most women don't feel comfortable stripping in front what they perceive to be open windows. Even if it's expensive to change the shades, they could put in a movable screen to cover the bottom part of the window. Exhibitionists can strip away, and the rest of us can put up the screen. Reasonable IMO, impossible in their opinion. So, again, I battle on.


I have to get my professional organizer in to help me move furniture around in anticipation of the baby coming. I'm not setting up a nursery just yet, but I'm thinking about where things will go, and it looks like Mr.Cotta will be losing his office. And our bedroom will be switched with Kaz's so we can get the baby at night easily without stumbling down to the other end of the hallway. Needless to say, I can't move all this furniture, and my husband has no time, so I'm hoping she can bring in her crew and we can get the place painted and sorted out without too much pain and agony.

So, there you go ladies and gents. A quick rundown of the miscellany of my life. Hopefully not too boring. Then again, boring is nice sometimes. In fact, it can be pretty great.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Almost over

We finally got P. here, and after much travelling and toting, etc, he is almost settled in a hospital. Tomorrow morning he'll be admitted, right now he's in a hotel being watched all night. And in a few minutes, my husband will be home, thank God. P. is being admitted voluntarily for now, btw, and I do believe that this is a mistake. I think he is bullshitting everyone that he is willing to change and get help. I think he is once again, working the system. But at this point, I simply no longer give a damn. I can't. Someone else has to help out and care, because we're at the end of our ropes.

My kids are falling apart, and I've lost my mind days ago. Their behaviour has deteriorated so completely, I have reached the conclusion that Mr.Cotta and I could never separate, never get divorced and never separate our kids from either parent. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to do any of those things at all, just sayin....

Holy mackeral, this experience has shown me that my kids at least, are serious creatures of habit, who need their routine and need to see, that just like every other day of their life, their Dad and Mom are right there every morning and every night. Now, if my kids were used to me doing shift work, or to Dad doing regular travel that was predictable, maybe. But they aren't used to this, any of this.

From now, I swear you will not see me say that kids can adapt to anything, that kids are resilient, that kids can adjust. Maybe they can after a long long time, with a lot of counselling and prep and support and help, but I'm going to have trouble believing it.

A lot.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

That old familiar feeling I wish would go away

I went for the Holter Monitor today and it was a nightmare. I'm having an anxiety attack as we speak and only barely calming down.

I walked in the see the tech, and figured I knew what would happen next, since I've had loads of these tests over the years. Literally every single time I've been pregnant and then afterwards I get hooked up and carry around this silly little recording thing.

Only difference is, that this time I had a bitch hooking me up. First thing? She asks me to strip off my top and bra in front of some filmy little window covering that everyone on earth can see through! She claims that it's opaque on the outside but being the reno queen that I am, I know that at the right angle and with the right lights, anyone can see inside. The salesman was probably a perv who just wanted to make a quick sale and get his jollies by sitting outside snapping pictures and jerking off in his car.

Yeah, you heard it here first, my favourite women's hospital has become a peep show galore. Apparently almost all the rooms have these piece of crap window coverings. Yes, even in the rooms with new moms, cause of course, every new mother wants to have sunshine pouring in at FIVE AM?!? RIGHT?!? Very very important to wake the newborns up after they finally get to sleep at 3 a.m. You can just picture my head blowing off at this point. I mean, I expect that kind of crap out of various hospitals run by men, because they don't care as much about being naked, but I do. Like that one hospital in the Northern part of my city, that actually built the birthing rooms so that the beds and therefore the woman's vagina was facing out towards the open doors? Seriously, they actually did that. All your bits hanging out so that every person walking by even a partly open door gets the full view, and the first thing anyone sees when walking in the door is surprise!! Guess what, yep, they didn't even leave room for a curtain and someone to sit at the end and catch the baby. The entire unit had to be scrapped and torn down and rebuilt. I think that the people who build maternity hospitals should all be female and all be women who have already given birth at least once.

So now, to add to me to do list, I have to go fix these blinds! Like I don't have enough to do. minimum they need to warn every women coming in that she should prepurchase blackout blinds, the temporary kind from Home Depot, and make sure her husband puts them up. I'm going to go get some window measurements and post them here later in case any of you need them.

But the best was yet to come....I've been doing these monitors for twelve years and I've always done fine with them, but this horrible woman informs me that she doesn't like it when women wear bras with the monitor on, and the rule is that you can't. Except that this rule is new, and no one has ever told me that, in fact, most techs have helped me position my bra around it. Which makes me think she a big fucking liar who is just trying to be a control freak on vulnerable sick women.

Now, I've mentioned that I have larger breasts while pregnant and that I'm pretty, umm, petite otherwise, but seriously, I still have headlights.

Big headlights.

And the last thing I want to do is flash them to everyone while walking around for the next 48 hours. Especially when it's this cold. So I'm freaking out here, and honestly feeling incredibly insecure and having an anxiety attack. You know the PTSD kind. And I have no therapist really just very very bad shrinks I never call.

Anyway, after telling the receptionist that I can't ever see that tech again, I ran out of there and went home and put on another bra and a different shirt that could hide the wires and the stupid crap. I have gotten rid of the paper bag she tried to make me wear to carry it in. Apparently, she was pissed that I didn't have a belt so that she could clip it there.

How many pregnant women do you know have belts?

Am I the only person with a brain left on the planet? Sometimes I wonder...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy V day to Us!


I made it.

Happy Viability Day to Me and Dinkypie!!!!

I know, it's not perfect, hell, it's unlikely he'd survive at 24 weeks if he was really born right now. But---prior to today, Dinkypie had a 0% chance of surviving outside of me, and now, our chances have gone up to 10 or 15%. And here at No Matter How Small we celebrate every damn thing we can get our hands on, right?


In other news, Mr.Cotta gets on a flight in a few hours, with my sick BIL and my healthy BIL and the three of them will be making their way home to a hospital. We were worried they wouldn't be able to fly, but they seem to have P.meds adjusted temporarily for the trip home. In the last few days, he was telling the docs he needed to take less Xanax and wanted them readjusted, problem was, they misunderstood and took that as a total refusal to take any meds, and of course allowed him to just not take them at all. Now, for those of you who are scientifically minded and reading this blog, I'd just like to ask, do you know what happens when someone stops taking Xanax cold turkey?

I do! I do! I do! Pick Me! Pick Me! OOO! OOO!

In fact, any moron with half a medical degree knows. Except of course for the morons who have been on shift for the last couple of days. Sudden withdrawal can cause seizures, and psychotic episodes and hellish paranoid delusions. And just what to do you think has been happening to P. for the last 48 hours?


Anyway, when my husband found out, he immediately asked for some of the pills, walked over to P.'s room and they forced him to take the meds, no questions, no bullshit. Within 45 minutes he had returned to sanity, depressed sanity, but sanity again, and was actually kind of horrified that the nurses and Docs had let him refuse. He does want to lower his dose of Xanax and get off it, but not like this, for Christs sake! He wanted to go down a bit a day, until he was off or could change to a different med, and not only did they screw that up, but they let a medically fragile person risk more brain damage. Even if he was refusing totally, this isn't about just shutting him in a padded room and letting him detox, like with an antidepressant. He could've DIED.

He's depressed, maybe bipolar, but he's not as insane as these medical twats and patients rights bozos. Thank God my husband was there to tell them to eff off and fix the situation.

If you are going through an airport in the next 18 hours and you see three very handsome men who all look like very similar wandering through an airport, that's them.

My guys...let's hope they make it home safe. Say a prayer if you are so inclined.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tuning back to the me channel

The baby is still moving and is at some points kicking up a storm. Very good news in my books! I went to the cardiologist last week and we chatted about the pregnancy and about my past history. He said that everything sounded fine and he was unconcerned, but he was still going to order some tests, etc. so that we could double check. And echocardiogram and a holter monitor were set up, and this past Friday, I got the echo done.

Now I'm used to ultrasounds, but mostly those have been below the waist. So it was kind of funny to have to only take my shirt and bra off and put on a gown up top. The tech did the test and all the scans and I asked at one point of we could sneak a look at the baby as well, and she said yes! (wand was not the right kind, too small, but still a good view) Great news, Dinkypie has decided to go head down, and yes, I know he could move back breech, but my biggest fear has been that Fred and Voldemort, the fibroids were blocking him from turning. Now that I know he can turn and it's only a matter of preference, well, the little bugger better be head down when the critical moment comes or I swear I'll dock his very first allowance.

The tech said the echo looked great and just because I knew someone reading this blog would want to know, I peeked on the report screen and my ejection fraction was just over 69%, (normal, but not olympic gold medal status) and considering I'm big pregnant tired and breathing heavy from trudging through all this horrendous's perfect thanks.

My holter monitor goes on next week, and I once again will become the bionic babe. Have I told you how much I love the heart monitor leads they use, especially when they use sandpaper on my chest and various stinging cleaning agents so the pads will stick for 2-3 days? Yeah, maybe I missed telling you. Anyway, that pain isn't as bad as when they rip them off later, hopefully I'll get the nice tech this time, the one who uses cream to loosen them first instead of just ripping them off quick. WTF came up with that idea? Probably someone who had never had to have them ripped off.

Hopefully they have made the little monitor I have to carry with me even smaller this time. 12 years ago when I did my first one, the damn thing was as big as a cassette tapedeck. Come to think of it, it actually was a tapedeck. Between the wires and the string and pouch you have to carry, it's not a strong fashion statement people. I hope we've hit Ipod size by now.

As for how I'm doing this with the Boys, while alone? Well, right now Mac is on a playdate, and Kaz is watching a video, and I've been making some executive decisions about how things work around the house.

First of all, let the bloody school deal with homework. I just don't have the patience. Kaz is now going into study hall everyday and if he does bring home anything, it gets done first thing, no whining, no BS, or he loses privileges, serious privileges.

Other things that have gone out the window:

-lectures about elbows on the table (as long as they eat, and are sort of polite, I'm just ignoring some stuff)
-getting to stay up an hour later to watch TV. (It's early bedtime every night from now until hell freezes over. I'll DVR shows and they can watch them later.)
-practicing piano everyday
-formal food for dinner. (We still do family dinner at the table, but Kraft dinner with chicken pieces and some frozen veggies is good enough)
-dishes done and counters cleared all the time. (Screw it, too tired)
-brushing teeth, evening showers, lectures on picking stuff up and tidiness.
-Kaz is no longer staying home by himself while I do short errands with Mac.
-No more control freak bans on kids from the kitchen. Kaz can handle a stove and chop stuff with a french knife and Mac can make himself a PBJ sandwich without the universe falling in. So a dish got broken this morning, one got hurt and I read the paper for the first time in days.
-I'm not going to yell anymore, instead I just quietly threaten to take away a treasured possession. Less headaches, right?

Yeah, Mr.Cotta will want to change things back when he returns, but whenever he comes along, he can. Until then, I have to let some things go, and deal with the house a bit differently; a little bit of letting go here and a little bit a tightening up there won't kill anyone.

I'm trying to keep a baby alive and a house running, and my admiration for single mothers is growing by leaps and bounds.

This week I have another growth check and a cervical length check and we'll decide whether or not I need steroid shots just in case. I think yes no matter what, cause hey, why the hell not? If nothing else, it relieves my stress, and like I give a damn about a needle in my ass compared to a preemie with poor lung development. But my Doc wants to see if my cervix looks funny or short first. So we'll see what it shows, and I'll just bug him again until he gives in.

So there we go, lots of fun me stuff for your viewing enjoyment.

What do you do differently when your spouse is away?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Plans are underway

First, no my dear internets, I wasn't referring to you when I said I didn't want support, I was referring to various i-yi-yi relatives.

I LOVE your support. You are the only thing keeping me sane while Mr.Cotta is gone!!

We seem to have things in hand now and my husband will be back Tuesday, they are all flying in together and going directly to a hospital. Hopefully they can get him admitted right away and start working on his treatment plan, of course, that would require P. to admit that he has a problem. As of today he has stated that his near death experience was just a small thing, a nothing, he is perfectly fine, and should instead just get an apartment and see a therapist once in while.


That got shot down pretty quick. I figure if he isn't willing to admit that he actually almost died, and needs some serious medication and therapy, then we have a problem Houston. (He can barely walk and still has dialysis tube scars. I guess they are decorative body art?) We love him too much to let him kill himself. I know some people might disagree and say that he should determine his own treatment---but right now, he is barely aware of where he is, and really really wants to try to finish the job he started. If he is left alone for any length of time, he will try to die again, so at this point, I just don't trust him.

I know many people don't believe in involuntary commitments, or locked wards, and I respect their feelings, truly. But when someone is in extreme crisis, and no longer in touch with reality, there really isn't any other humane option. We can't let him be homeless and wandering, and if we got him an apartment and set him up to live alone, he'd forget to take the meds again and forget to pay the rent, and fall into the abyss one more time.

He has NHS insurance and a Doctor in the UK, but he let his apartment go and has no one to take care of him beyond a few friends and business acquaintances. He has no insurance in Belgium and no place to live there and his almost ex-wife is incapable of doing anything helpful for him, even if she would. And he can't see his children in this state. It would damage them incredibly to see their Dad acting so totally unlike their Dad. Social support is critical to his recovery, but he has no-one in Europe who gives a shit about him except two little kids.

He does have family support here, and he is still a citizen, he just needs to reestablish his residency to regain health coverage. Meantime, we're sending him to a hospital that looks more like a 5 star luxury hotel, with locks on the doors and doctors we hope he can't bullshit. (I have very little faith in Docs as you know, but hell, we need some help at this point.) It's costing a few pennies, but as soon as OHIP kicks in in three months, the rest of his treatment will be free. Meantime, we're gearing up the lawyers since he will undoubtably use every legal avenue to refuse treatment.

Apparently here in the developed world, people have the right walk out the door and kill themselves and the people who love them are all supposed to just stand around slack jawed and watch it. Or at least that's my current view on the "rights" of mental patients and the pathetic Ontario Mental Health Act.

Fuck, someday we have to work out, ohhh, I don't know a BALANCED approach, instead?

I wish he had never gone to Europe, or had decided to move back here with the new bride a long time ago. Wandering all over the earth is great when you are 25, but sooner or later we all get old and sick and we need a community of friends and family to rely on. Moving from one glamorous city to the next glamorous city sounds fabulous, but never having a place to really call home---is a bad idea. I hope that now finally, we can introduce him to to concept of a nice steady boring stable routine.

So this is our plan, and so far, it's the best we can do, however inadequate it is. I don't know what else we could do.

I have to blog more about me now, this is getting to be too much. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh Dear God, no more support please

Tonight my husband's family has been emailing like mad and going on and on about everything, and someone noticed I'm alone so one SIL came over for dinner. We ordered in, she paid. Except that I dragged my ass and ordered a bit late, then the food took over an hour to arrive, and Kaz refused to do his homework again and dissolved into tears.

And after weeks of calmly asking and talking, I finally lost it and screamed at him for faking all this emotional crap just so he could avoid his homework.

All in front of my SIL. The one with no kids. Who kind of gets it but who can't really because she doesn't live with it every single day.

So embarassing.

And then my other SIL called ostensibly to wish me Happy Valentine's Day and give me "support." You know---the passive-aggressive kind. What she really wanted to tell me that she had already told everyone yesterday all the information that I had sent my husband by email, and that her information was right, and therefore mine was wrong. I waited until halfway through the phone call to let her know that I had gotten my information from someone at the Minister of Health's office so she could stop referring to my sources as uninformed opinion, but she didn't. Sigh...

We do have someone in the family and some friends who can pull some strings for us here and there and maybe get a him a bed for a week or two, but seriously, in the era of patient's rights, you just can't lock up the mentally ill for months and hope no one will let him out. 30 years ago before decent antidepressants were invented, and budgets were slashed to the bone maybe, but nowadays---they'll adjust his meds, make sure they work for maybe a week, give him a plan for outpatient group and individual therapy and send him merrily on his way.

Funniest part of all these conversations? The assumption that the Doctors will take charge of his medical care in some way!


I'm trying desperately to picture a Doctor taking charge of anyone's treatment plan. I mean, please, we all know in this community what good it does to trust those fuckups, right?

But hey, what the hell do I know? I'm just a mother of dead children.

A little more whine please

Can't have any cheese, being lactose intolerant. Or real wine, being pregnant and all. So I need to whine.

But first, a medical update, last night I found out that P. has come out of his coma, and has no physical repercussions. Unfortunately, he seems to have brain damage of some sort, or else he underwent a total personality change while asleep for 72 hours. He sounds and acts articulate and intelligent, but doesn't seem to comprehend anything that has happened. It's like the antifreeze and pills destroyed the parts of his brain he used to use for executive functioning. And this used to be such a gentle kind wonderful man, a CEO, a brilliant guy who had such class and dignity. He had depression and was taking medication for it, but he was still himself. Now, even my husband, his own brother, barely recognizes him. Unfortunately, his wife is pretty damn useless when it comes to a tough love approach to serious mental illness. She has no idea, (hint lady: consult a psychiatrist and a neurologist? Then force patient to follow through, stop feeding his issues and making them worse). She is completely helpless in any situation that doesn't involve a credit card and designer clothes.

Never mind.

So yes, ladies and gents, the worst case scenario has occurred, he lives, but not well, and may never again. I feel such agony for my husband's family right now.

The current fight, by the way, is how to get him to either be committed there, or here. Here in Canada is better because he will have no choice but to focus on his own issues, and can't show up sick in front of his kids, but oh how hard it will be to be so far away from them. I'm hoping that when he feels a bit more even keeled, we can get them to come visit, and he may be able to be keep it together for them. Maybe they won't have to grow up without a Daddy.

I have hope that there is worse and better in this situation. He'll never be perfect ever again, but he can be better than he is now, and that's all we can strive for now.


Back to me for a moment if you don't mind; I'm feeling kind of bitchy and tired since I am alone without my husband and big and pregnant and tired and my kids are acting up and there are a zillion inches of snow, and well, FUCK.

I know that it is selfish of me to be upset about being alone on Valentines Day when my husband is trying to help his sick brother, but would you all understand if I just need to whine a little and not be stoic?

I'm just so tired of being stoic. It takes a lot of energy. Energy I just don't have.

Plus anyone I've spoken to in real life about this just keeps saying stupid things that imply that he is at fault in some way for being sick because he must be such shit to live with and his wife must be some sort of long-suffering martyr----except that SHE ISN'T. She is in fact the polar opposite of a supportive spouse. Oh happy day, no one in blogland has said this stuff to me, and thank you thank you thank you for that. I just want to hit some of those real life twats, because when they start in so smugly on how hard it is to live with "those people" it feels like they are implying that he deserved whatever he got and somehow anyone who attempts suicide is characterless and a write off as a human being.

Oh, I know that isn't coming out of their judgemental lips, but it feels like it.

So I'm sad and frustrated and all alone on Valentines Day. Not precisely the romantic day I had planned.

I'm going to go drown my sorrows in cupcakes now. Specifically chocolate cupcakes with pink icing and sprinkles.

Lots of sprinkles.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A little more news

I'm not sure if it's good or bad news but we know a little more now. My husband arrived at the hospital and saw his brother in the ICU early this morning.

He is still in a coma which they say is a good thing for now. They hope to finish cleaning his blood by tomorrow using dialysis and then try to wake him. The prognosis is fair to good, though we have no idea what the permanent damage might be, if any. His heart and bp are stable for now.

Trouble is, that if they are able to remove all the poison from his body, but they leave him brain damaged for life, a walking shell---this is frankly, not the ideal situation IMO. My husband thinks that the doctors there are doing a really great heroic job and are doing their best to save him. I guess I'm just feeling nervous because I'm wondering what that hospital's version of "saved" is....I've seen many severely brain damaged adults who end up as vegetables in nursing homes, or on the other side, adults who simply can't function properly. They look fine to the outside world, but are afflicted with serious personality changes and serious cognitive dysfunction. Can't work, can't be around their families, rages, anger, other issues. My husband logically knows all this, and he would hate to see this happen as well, but some Doctors just won't tell the family the truth, they lie, they omit, they are afraid to break the bed news, and the result is the family thinks the patient will be fine. But they really really aren't.

We'll know more tomorrow, for now, we wait. Not my strong suit. My husband will be away at least until Sunday, and of course, we have yet another major snowstorm rolling in....and my house is in disarray, and my kids have lots of activities and appointments scheduled. And just now, my oldest gave up on his homework and is in tears. Apparently, definitions of spelling words are just overwhelming at the moment. I can hardly blame him.

On the bright side, I saw Dr.Placenta and since I'm doing so well, so incredibly amazingly well, he told me to just see my regular OB from now on in. If anything looks funny on my US's I can come back, but for now, the baby and my placenta look healthy.

Such a bizarre thing for me to hear, and such a bizarre place for me to be in. The baby is fine, and my brother in law is dying. I feel like Alice in Wonderland...up is down, and down is up.

Our take away message for the day folks----the next time you wonder if suicide is the answer, remember that you may not succeed. In fact, you may wish to god you had succeeded, because there ARE worse things than death, and much worse things than taking a pill and talking to a Doctor.

So don't do it. Just don't.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Everything can change so fast

*Baby and I are fine---just saw the Doc today, everyone breathe out, it's the rest of the family this time.*

My husband has just gotten into an airport limo and is flying to Belgium to do his duty for his brother. There are 7 kids in his family, or as they always put it, his mom had 8 children, 7 are living.

And by tomorrow morning, there will very likely be only six living.

You might remember my BIL P? After last March's hospitalization, he was put into rehab in the UK, got his meds readjusted, and started back trying to live his life again. He had a place to live in London and was working out and taking care of himself and his AD's and/or whatever other drugs they had him on were working. Some members of the family had reconnected with him on Facebook and he had sent us several touching, perfectly coherent emails. My husband had spoken with him on the phone several times. Various people had visited. Although he had never quite gotten a job at the same financial level as he had before, he was supporting himself decently.

So what changed in the last few days? I think his inability to see his children regularly finally sent him round the bend. Truly, they were the only things he had left to live for. And when he couldn't see them more than once or twice a month, he viewed it as a serious loss, the kind that he simply could not recover from, after losing custody of his first child, my nephew. He had done everything required of him, by the almost ex-wife and by the courts and still he would not be able to live with them, to coach the teams, to see them after school, to see their joys, and their sorrows.

For a devoted Dad, that's agony.

As a grieving mother, I do understand his sadness, but I wish he had found another solution----other than the one to try to take his own life.

We got a suicide email at 5:00 am our time and since he has a pretty sophisticated understanding of science & medicine, we knew he would know how to do it. He drank a large amount of antifreeze, and took a lot of pills. And then drove to his ex-wife's house in his delirium. We got the phone call from the police later that morning telling us he was in the hospital on a ventilator in a coma.

Because it is a conflict of interest for his almost ex to make any end of life decisions, my husband, and a few of his sisters and brothers are now converging on the hospital, wondering what will happen, praying they don't have to do it themselves. I have very little faith he will survive the night. If he can't make it back to health and a decent quality of life, I really hope that he dies quickly and painlessly, because I can't imagine any person, much less one I care about remaining in a vegetative state for months and years.

I feel so helpless. This didn't have to happen. It's just so fucking wrong.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I've been driving myself far too hard in the last week and it really is coming home to roost. The baby is moving, but I feel sick. Mr.Cotta went on a business trip and I've been here alone with the kids, coincidentally during one of the worst snowstorms in Toronto history, and during the week when Kaz had a particularly enormous amount of homework since he had a project for school due yesterday.

Plus he couldn't sleep properly.


Anyway, as for the sleep, my pediatrician can't see me until next week, and most infuriatingly, is acting like this is something that has suddenly come on, therefore it must be psychological, or due to sleep hygiene issues or some other stupid thing. She knows us well and knows that we are not the kind of people who keep our kids up late and let them watch TV or let them sit on their rear ends and not exercise. But because 90% of children's sleep issues are related to poor sleep hygiene she assumes we must be in the same category.

Oh pleeeease! Like I'm ever in the same category as other people--I'm always the exception, and so are my kids. Why can't Doctors simply accept that fact and carry on accordingly? Dumbasses....

I ended up using benadryl and tylenol early in the evening on him, and then getting him up extremely early and sitting him in front of my light box. And no more Ikea loft bed. I don't care how much he likes it, we've banned it, because I can't climb all the way up there to reach him and wake him up right now. Even if I felt safe on the ladder, my belly won't fit, and I can't picture how this will work when the new baby comes. So we made him sleep on an air mattress, and today we're buying a new bed and desk.

A really wonderful guy who lives on my street came over and dug us out, after I broke down and cried Thursday. It took the boys and I half an hour of hard digging and ice scraping to get the Volvo out. I was so tired, I really wanted to lay down and give up right then and there. As for my strong backed and very generous friend; the front walk and back path to the car took him over an hour to shovel and we have a pretty small yard compared to most people I read on the net. I offered to pay him, and he refused to take any money, but I am going to find a way to pay him back.

Kaz had to work on a science project and although he could do the project himself, and found the solution and wrote it up, he isn't very artistic and wound up needing my help to get supplies and bristol board and take pictures and help him with the visual bits. I hate homework, and really think it does ruin children's lives and families lives at the elementary level. And guess what? The research agrees with me!

Mr.Cotta is back now and is digging out his other car. We have to go have a full day of activities now including birthday parties, playdates, swimming, piano recitals, and more....I am regretting getting out of bed, I think.

So tired.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

le sigh

I changed the background color on the blog to yellow, cause although I like red, that color was too much. Ketchup is tasty to eat, but not so much as a visual site, you know?

Plus the world is gloomy and dark and cloudy and snowy. Not helpful. So we need some sunny yellow.

And then there was the morning battle with my oldest. We had a huge fight this morning to get him out of bed, and then he just had a crying screaming tantrum. Not good when the kid is almost as tall as you. It turns out he's been up, wide awake in his dark bedroom, unable to sleep at midnight, & one a.m. and of course, can't get up in the morning, and since he has to get up for school, that means he gets no sleep at all. His whole circadian rhythm is messed up. Even when he is off his ADD meds, he is now unable to sleep, which tells me that this isn't about ADD meds, but about his messed up sleep patterns.

I'm hoping his pediatrician has some solutions because that stupid sleep clinic at the hospital had nothing. You know what they do? Teach parents to put their kids to bed at night by 8 or 9 pm. (Duh?!?) and teach them not to give their 3 year olds coca-cola in a bottle at bedtime and Timmies frozen iced cappucinos for dinner. Well, since I'm not a crack addict---sorry not sure I need to be taught things like that. I kind of already know them.

I was hoping for maybe---medical advice? Another light box? Medication help? Note for school?

Or maybe that we could avoid all this until the teen years. If this is him without hormones, oh I don't even want to imagine what comes next.

Puberty was no fun for me, and menopause was worse, the thought of going through puberty with each of them is scaring the shit out of me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

48 hours

Lots of things to think about and say.

Monday morning we went for another growth ultrasound and checked the baby. And since it was a day off school and too early in the morning for a babysitter, we had to drag the kids along. I made them sit in the hall, luckily there were hardly any other women in the waiting room.

Anyway, Dinkypie was 22 weeks gestation, and ta-daahhhhhh drumroll please---measures 23 weeks, 3 days. They think he is already 1.3 pounds. Amazing! I know that growth measurements by U/S can be off, but still, he's a big baby. Just like my other guys. My BP is 110/65 and my his heartrate and mine were both good. No protein on the peestick. One little concern?

He's breech and apparently likes it that way because every U/S shows him that direction. I'm know we have lots of time and he will likely move several times, but I have to admit, I hate the thought of breech because here every breech baby is automatically a c-section after the term breech study the hospital participated in. And c-sections aren't risk free walks in the park either. Complications for baby and me mean a worse recovery and well, you just know I wouldn't be the woman with the section that goes like a zipper! More like a jagged butter knife. Personally, I think that babies can turn, even during labour and I don't want to schedule anything and make assumptions, but gahhh....after 2 vaginal births, I know I could successfully do this, sigh....getting ahead of myself again, aren't I?

I spent the rest of the day with the kids, and Mac had a little friend over for a playdate, so we all went tobogganing in the park. Okay---technically I stood in the cold in my big boots all bundled up and watched them go down the hills. I kind of feel guilty that they haven't been doing very much outdoors since I'm wiped most of the time and my husband has been very busy with work so he hasn't taken them anywhere.

I'm trying to register them for some good March Break & summer camps this time, give them a better time than last year. Maybe make a few playdates with parents who actually let their kids go outdoors or something. Yes, between the horribly wet icy slushy weather and the cloudy doom and gloom---it's been crappy to get out, and I have made zero effort. Too tired. Bad mommy award.

Couldn't help but notice this and this in the news. Read them....I'm not sure whether to be amused at the rewriting of facts in the first article, or confused about the last bit in the second article. Apparently she is writing "two adult novels, the first of which will be about the shenanigans of parents of private-school children". Well, on behalf of private school parents--trust me, we're not that different from public school parents, kind of normal actually. Based on what I know of parents at other private schools---they'll be a lot of made up stuff, exaggerated, overblown. I know the real life people who love their kids and actually want to take care of them won't make enough "shenanigans" for her, so I assume some very nice people will get hurt. Shameful, IMO.

Mac's appointment in the urology department of Sick Kids to followup on his testicular torsion was this morning. I insisted on seeing the staff doctor, not that there was much point---even after I explained the whole crazy story, they kept telling me that at this point they have no idea whether it will ever happen again, or if there is any diagnostic test that can predict it, or even if he is fully okay and recovered now. They think he might be fine and they think he has no scar tissue, but no one can tell for sure.

I'm so glad my tax dollars are at work. (frustrated grinding of teeth....)

I need to find another pediatric urology department at another hospital and ask them a few questions. Maybe get some different answers---so I can sleep at night.

I want to stay up and watch the Super Tuesday results roll in, but I have a feeling I'll be drooling on my pillow by that time. I hope I can anyway.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Terror and Relief

Last night my head cold reached epic proportions, and I realized I had to break out the asthma medication and the prescription to drain my nose, or I would never sleep again.

My heart was pounding, and my head hurt, and I was really exhausted because Friday night I had such a realistic full colour nightmare that I barely slept afterwards and got up Saturday morning pretty wiped. I spent the rest of the day in a fog and finally went to Costco and spent my little heart out.

Very difficult to do when the Costco you go to is filled with stupid people. I usually go to a Costco on the other side of town during the week, mostly adults or moms and babies young enough to stay in the baby seat of the cart. But this one is closer so I thought what the hell give it chance, right? Bah....

Instead I end up with idiots who bring their overtired underfed toddlers to the store and let them run around. Kids who are crying and screaming and won't stay in the cart. Not a smart safety move in a warehouse store with 200 pound boxes on high shelves just waiting to drop on the kid's head. (One time, I actually saw a kid get run over with a giant dolly covered in boxes and the kid got stuck underneath. A bunch of us ran like hell and started chucking the stuff off the cart, and pulled the kid to safety, just in time for the mother to run up and take the kid from grandpa. He was *watching* the kid for her----I'm sure in his mind, he'd been doing a great job. Mom looked like she was going to kill him.)

My kids are old enough to help me shop, and when Mac is too tired and can't pay attention, I leave, with no stuff bought, just leave. WTF is wrong with these people? Leave elderly grandma with her cane and the toddler and one of the six other family members at home. They really aren't having fun people. Dragging through Costco isn't a joy-filled trip when you can barely walk. Seriously.

So after all that exasperation, I was pretty tired and went to bed feeling sick. I got up this morning feeling not much better, and realized that I couldn't feel the baby move. I drank some juice, and got some breakfast, all the while terrified. Kids are running around, husband madly acting nuts, since he is hosting some guys for a Superbowl party and has bought enough food for an army. I kept thinking it would be fine, just fine, stop worrying so I didn't tell him.

After 2 hours of not feeling much of anything, and drinking a gallon of juice, I was beyond panic and terror and had moved to resignation that of course everything had gone wrong and the baby had died, and I was picturing in my head what I would say to the nurse at triage, the birth, the funeral....had the whole thing planned out in my head. I had catatrophized myself into a corner.

Then he kicked me.

Then again.

Then a few minutes later a punch.

Crying with relief, I got a shower and got dressed. I'm tidying up for the party now, and Dinkypie is partying away in my uterus.

My name is Aurelia, and I'm paranoid. I'm 21 weeks, 6 days, and this was the gestational point that Matthew died so let's just call this hump week. I need to find a little faith cause I don't know how the hell I'm going to make it through 'til June. And there are no 12 step meetings for deadbabymamas like me.

Any words of wisdom?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Take care of your heart

Thanks for all your lovely support and advice, and a special thanks to those of you who "came out" and admitted to imperfect marriages. Damn, I'm really not alone!

As for me, I'm hanging in and Mr.Cotta and I are talking again. We had had a huge fight over something stupid. He did some stuff that was really ticking me off, and I called him on it, and he got hurt and angry. Mostly because I used one particular word that pissed him off. Anyway, after 24 hours of not speaking and crying, I noticed that my blood pressure seemed higher, and my fingers were swelling up. This could've been unrelated...but in the meantime, I needed to get my rings off before someone had to cut them off, so I went out and bought a very nice expensive gold necklace to hang them on. And made sure it was charged to him.

Then I bought some chocolate, and wrote an email apologizing for using that one word he doesn't like, but made it clear in the email that other behaviour he had engaged in was unacceptable, and we should talk about it, but in the meantime, we had to discuss the meeting with the architect and our plans for the reno. Whether he likes it or not, life goes on, and we have kids and a house to run and sometimes we both have to suck it up and forge ahead before the roof falls in.

So, is it possible I'm going to get preeclampsia? Maybe, but I have no protein in my urine, and my blood pressure has been good at the office checks so far, so I'm going to cut back on salt for now, and talk to my OB Monday, and call my cardiologist to double check on my SVT. I think with the heparin and aspirin I'm going to be just fine, but I know they'll want to double check some things.

That clotting disorder I have? PAI-1 4G/4G causes endometriosis, (yes, definitively) and has been linked to placental dysfunction, miscarriage, stillbirth, IUGR, pre-term labour, preeclampsia, and in non-pregnant patients, sudden cardiac death, heart disease, septic shock after trauma or any serious illness. It's the latest hottest subject of research among heart and stroke researchers, but not many front line Docs know about it. So I try to keep on top of it. More later, maybe I'll finally finish that post about it during the boring football all this weekend.

In the meantime, it's time to think about hiring that office temp and getting my professional organizer in to help me around here again. And maybe try an ADD coach? Never had one before, but some people swear by them. Anything to keep me calm and relaxed I guess. I don't know if my benefit plan will cover it, but it's worth trying, right?

So why does this blog look kind of red today and for the weekend? Because today is National Wear Red Day for Heart Disease awareness in Women. I plan on wearing red today for me, for women like Msfitza, who is dealing with a holter monitor right now, Akeeyu, who gets the joy of heart palpitations while pregnant, but so far thank god is okay, and to honour a very dear friend who came down with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy after the births of her children, but had such a hell of time convincing Doctors she was actually sick and not just a complainer that she became very very ill and almost died. (If any of you ever want to dispute my contention that most Doctors are careful, I will win on anecdotes just like one, in a fuckin' heartbeat, okay?)

She is going to live long and well, I think, but for various reasons cannot raise awareness the way she wants to right now. So I will.

In her words:
I have heart failure, related to my pregnancy. It's called peripartum cardiomyopathy. I had a defibrillator implanted. Had I been treated in time, the defibrillator and permanent heart damage could have been avoided. Awareness needs to be raised to help future women with PPCM avoid the unnecessary progression of this disease. Would you help me, by forwarding the following information to friends and family?

We don't normally think about "HEART FAILURE" and "PREGNANCY" together. We should. Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), a serious disease resulting in heart failure in young women during or shortly after pregnancy, occurs in the USA every 2500 to 3500 births, and even more frequently in some other countries.

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, swelling, and palpitations are some common PPCM/heart failure symptoms. These presenting symptoms are often dismissed as just a part of being pregnant; but death, heart transplant, left ventricular assist device, implantable cardiac defibrillator, and permanent heart damage are common results of PPCM when undiagnosed/delayed diagnosis or untreated/inadequately treated.

With awareness, mothers and their doctors can avoid delays in diagnosis and apply the best conventional heart failure treatment (diuretics, ACE-inhibitors, and beta-blockers) resulting in survival and recovery of full heart function in a very large number of women. The diagnosis is easy if an echocardiogram is done.

There are additional tests that may indicate that something has gone wrong in the heart. These include Blood High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (HS-CRP), Blood B-Type Natriuretic Peptide, and Blood Cardiac Tropinin. Elevated results indicate a possible inflammatory process in the heart, in which case an echocardiogram should follow. A new tool, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, may also show affected areas.

Initial reports suggest that an elevated plasma level of HS-CRP in excess of 10 mg/L is associated in many patients at diagnosis with acute myocarditis, viral myocarditis, lymphocytic myocarditis, inflammatory cardiomyopathy, PPCM, and many cases of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDCM). The HS-CRP test is readily available in most labs at a cost of $15 - $30 in the USA. If positive, more testing will be needed.

Will you please help us get the word out by forwarding this email to your family and friends?

To view the 2006 "Lancet" article on peripartum cardiomyopathy:

This is a forum site that has a lot of information about PPCM. It's called A Mother's Heart.

PPCM isn't the only thing you could have, there are many things that can go wrong with a woman's heart and because heart disease is the number one killer of women and yet is so rarely diagnosed in women, it's important to pay attention to symptoms and demand to be taken care of even if your doctor tries to dismiss you or act like all you need is some antidepressants for female stress. *eyeroll*

Women need to take care of hearts, and safeguard our health from the boneheads who minimize our very very real physical health issues.