Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Seriously, everyone who has sinned by buying (or handing down) that encyclopedia of fear --What to Expect When You're Expecting -- should redeem themselves by buying this book. Written by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris, the duo behind the important website gURL.com, this is a straightforward, tell-all guide to pregnancy, birth and babies.
YES! All three in ONE book! No more buying a separate baby handbook, this one is super-comprehensive. Plus, they are not all judge-y and biased. They ask questions we all should be asking -- why can't we have a medicated home-birth if we wanted? Why does the birthing community have to be so divided? And much like the great Canadian pregnancy book by Ann Douglas, From the Hips is littered with great personal anecdotes to help drive the point home -- no two births are exactly alike.
Anyway, back to my fears, because really, this is my space and it's all about me. Today (while at Crabby Kate's for dinner for like the thousandth time this year -- she's really a gem and so far from Crabby most days) I was recounting a recent conversation with my mom. I recall my mother asking me to consider not using drugs for Nate's birth. "I should have listened to you," I said, "I had my mind made up that I would be having the drugs and I did no research as to the potential side effects. I was just so scared of the pain. Meanwhile, I had almost every side effect that I read about last night."
"Well," she replied, in a surprisingly non-I-told-you-so way, "You've always had to learn for yourself. Like if I told you not to touch something because it was hot, you had to see for yourself. Even if it meant you got burned."
She's right. It's a method I use on Nate even today. If I say, "Don't touch that, it's hot" he questions me. So I take his finger and put it to the mug for a millisecond. It sounds cruel, but he instantly gets that what I say is bond and it saves having to save him from third degree burns from knocked over mugs of tea.
So, of course, my mom has said to me that I should probably just have the c-section. That this is not about me, it's about the end goal -- the healthy baby. Now I'm like, should I listen to her for once, or should I trust my instinct? That my body CAN do this. That it will be the best for my family. That I will give this mystery baby a story of his or her own?
Or do I let my mind wander to bad places? Places where I think: am I going to harm this baby in my quest to have a better birth experience? Am I making this about me? What happens if I try for a VBAC and end up back in the OR anyway? Will that drive me into a deep depression that will ultimately bring my family down too?
I have honestly been trying to take the best paths for this pregnancy. No stress. (Hence the sparse blogging.) Watching my diet. Trying to exercise. Trying to use homeopathy as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. (OK, I am addicted to Rolaids -- the original mint flavour makes my tits hard for some reason -- but that's barely a pharma-crime.) But this time I know what to expect -- absolutely nothing.
I know from experience that any idea you have for your birth can turn on a dime. That birth plans are a nice idea, but not actually worth the paper they're written down on.
What else do I know? I know that lengthy epidural drug use (12 hours last time, it went bad after about hour 5) causes me major side effects. I know that by using homeopathy as part of my birth, I am putting a lot of faith in an unproven treatment. I know that I ultimately want what's best for all of us. I know that I can't freakin' wait to see who has been living inside me all these months!
It's a month away from my due date tonight. I still have no 100% feeling either way. Girl or boy? VBAC or C-Section? What I am 100% feeling is so excited, so happy to be carrying this baby, to be growing my family in my wee body with this giant belly strapped to my torso.
I CAN do this, no matter what happens.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The conference of all conferences for female bloggers is coming up. BlogHer is the penultimate outing for geek grrls who want to unmask themselves and bask in the glory of the people whom they read or who read them. I want to go. Bad.
Of course, if you haven't seen me lately, I'm about to pop. I am officially at the stage where I'm not supposed to travel. Like I can't even drive to Barfalo in good conscience to stroller surf at Target.
Also I can't really drink. And half the point of going to BlogHer is to get stupidly shitefaced with people you've never met, but know more about you than your mother.
It's bumming me out. Yeah, yeah. I know that just a year ago I called BlogHer "an elitist cult" but since then I've met (albeit virtually for the most-part) a ton of great women who work for the organization. When I did get the random opportunity to meet these women in the flesh, I had nothing but a positive experience.
Most of all I want to meet my virtual colleagues: the gang at ParentDish. Because the best part of that job is the behind-the-scenes chit chat we all have with each other. They are "my people". They get me. I even tried to send a plea to Oprah to have us on her show since we have never met and we're all parents trying to make a living in a unique way so that we can spend more time at home with our kids. I was like, "Yo, Oprah people. We'll make it easy for you. We'll even come to Chicago for this big blogging conference on our own tab! Just set it up so that we can all meet at last." Alas, no response. I shoulda got Marla to help me do up a care package or something.
Long, long, long intro to point out how the women at MommyBlogsToronto are not only going to BlogHer but have set up a Canadian version of Cooper and Emily's fantastic BlogHers Act. Now Cooper and Emily can do no wrong in my eyes. They are activists to the highest power, refusing to sit on their asses while the world goes wrong. They got crazy involved with the Hurricane Katrina efforts, and now they've come up with a plan to get women talking about politics online.
The BlogHerAct Canada is much the same. We're voting on important issues that affect Canadian women (OK, the constituency so far is mostly mothers, so many of the issues focus on children and parents) and we're taking the top issue as far as it can go. We want the government of Canada to know that we're not going to fit into the passive Canadian stereotype anymore. We're going to shout from sea to sea to sea until we are heard.
I'm working on my argument for the issue I think should be at the top of the pile (though they are all important and several are dear to my heart,) this week, once I scrape my huge ever-growing ass off the couch. In the meantime, you can vote, or debate your desire for the top cause on your public venue of choice.
So when I cracked open my fortune cookie today, I got a bit of a chill. Clearly I'm having a "glass is half empty" day, because I took this negatively:
Make Fortune Cookies at Smoke420.com
Did I not join a Facebook group and piss someone off? Did I decline someone as a friend? Because the universe is sending me a message that I should watch my back and now I'm spooked.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Many people diss Toronto, and I don't mean people who live in other parts of the country. I mean people who live in the surrounding areas. There is one key reason they are so down on Toronto: they come into the city for work and then leave. They might come down for the occasional dinner or show, but that's rare.
If you are actually involved in this great city, on a cultural or civic level, there is no way you can't love it. Sure, Toronto will piss you off from time to time, but that comes from your deep-rooted passion for the city to be all that it has the potential to be.
Last night was the perfect example of why I love Toronto. Kate, Marla, Jen and I went to The Jon-a-thon (see post below). Unfortunately, none of us thought to bring a camera, so you'll have to rely on my descriptions to visualize why it was so great.
The benefit, put on by the friends of the Purdy-Flacks family, was meant to raise money for Jonathon Purdy-flacks and Sick Kids NICU. It was a star-studded event, with Kids in the Hall funny man Bruce McCullough hosting ("Every morning I wake up and I say a little prayer: Please let my pants fit.")
The show opened with my new favourite band, Sho, Mo and the Monkey Bunch. These people are real rock stars, but for kids (I would argue for all-ages) and they make the Wiggles look as lame as Barney. Their performance was the perfect ice-breaker/warm-up for the crowd and I would take my kid to see them any day. In fact, I think I'm going to buy their album just for me -- though what's up with it not being available on the Eastside?
Also, I now have a HUGE crush on Mo, though I gotta give Sho props for totally givin'er.
(from their website: Each song pays tribute to a different musical style that speaks up to kids with musicality, humour and a little bite. The first half of the album wakes you up and the second half rocks you into sleep. If you like the music /humour of: The Who, The Beatles, Shirley Temple, Spike Jones, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Steve Martin, Sarah McLachlan, but you’re still working with pull-ups then “Sho, Mo and the Monkey Bunch” has a song for you. This CD is for parents who love music and want their kids to do the same. )
Some very nice acts followed, but I will just give a wrap-up of my personal highlights:
* Purdy-Flacks family friend and former tenant, Dawn Whitwell, did a set of stand-up that had me wishing I'd wore something for this damn pregnancy incontinence. There was an opening bit about her bangs that had Kate and I gasping for air. I don't get out to see stand-up much anymore, but I would totally keep an eye out for her name and go to see one of her shows. http://www.dawnwhitwell.com/
* Well-known comic (who happens to be a lesbian) Elvira Kurt had me at "Eastern European mother." Anyone who knows me knows my deep love of mother jokes, particularly if your mother is an ethnic downer like mine. http://www.elvirakurt.com/
* Women Fully Clothed is a show that all moms should see. Their skit about two Western University friends who run into each other in a cafe, one now a mother and one a travelling party girl, was pitch perfect. We've all had those sorts of encounters that make us feel totally lame for being moms. It's a big reason we often stop hanging out with non-moms, because really, we mamas don't need you to make us feel lamer than we already do.
I want to see the whole show now. http://www.womenfullyclothed.com/about.html
* Colin Mochrie of Whose Line Is It Anyway fame, did a wicked improv set with the Women Fully Clothed chicas. Though the actual highlight for me was out in the lobby, when Marla reached for some much-needed tissues for blubbering, hormonal me (there was a very touching slide show set to that sad charlotte's Web Sarah McLachlan song in the middle) then gasped, "I just rubbed up against Colin Mochrie's privates while trying to grab you some Kleenex!"
* Super hot actor Peter Kellechan from Made in Canada -- I loved that show and he is just that deadly combination of super funny and thick eyebrows that totally gets me everytime. (Have you met my husband?)
* Kids in the Haller Mark McKinney (who has a special place in my heart for being in Spice World) closed the show with Bruce McC and I gotta say, I really miss their dark, fucked up humour.
The whole thing made me wonder why I don't go to events like this more often (though I think we know the answer to that) and, more importantly, how come I don't have any lesbian friends in my crew? I just kept thinking about how much fun it would be to hang out with their crew, and I'm wondering if any of you straighties out there hang with lesbians or is this one of those things where we automatically segregate ourselves into groups?
Anyway, I hope that all the energy and love in that room last night gets Jonathon well and home in a hurry.
Friday, July 13, 2007
(Oh, I did have you Loula -- and that was a godsend.)
Then one half of the lesbian couple who lived above us came down with lemon meringue pie and a book called Bear With Me by Diane Flacks. Now, I had kinda sorta met Diane Flacks, a young veteran of Canadian stage and screen, while volunteering as a coffee whore on an indie film for the Canadian Film Centre. So naturally I was curious to see what she had to say about new motherhood. But the only other mommy memoir I had read to that point was Knocked Up by Rebecca Eckler, and well... it hadn't exactly made me want to jump to the next book starring a mommy.
I got engrossed in the new baby manuals, but finally got around to Bear With Me. And you know what? It was funny. LOL funny. Read sections outloud to your partner funny. I often joke about how Armenians are basically Jews for Jesus (I mean how many races do you know that are so annoying, wiping them out as a whole seemed like a good idea to a whole lotta people?) and Diane's Jewish "God forbid" paranoia felt like, well... home.
Then serendipitously, years later, I ended up working for the company that prints Bear With Me. I got CCed on an email saying something about Diane and a podcast and could we put a link to it... and at the end of it was a link to a blog. Well you don't have to say blog to me twice to get me to click a link -- let alone when you've finished a book about a couple struggling with new parenthood that left you thinking, "I wonder how they're handling it now?"
The blog was a heart-breaking account of Diane and Janis learning that their unborn son had a birth defect -- a rather severe one. How they were told to terminate. How they decided not to. As I continued reading, Jonathon was born. He had the problems the ultrasounds had detected, and Janis and Diane were about to face some pretty stressful times.
I have been following intently since then. When they have a bad day and little Jonny goes into some form of crisis, I hold my breath until I read that he has survived another obstacle. I try to send big strong good vibes to the little cutie over the interweb. But the toll on this awesome family is palpable in the posts.
Thankfully, they have great friends. Friends who are putting on The Jon-a-thon this Monday night. The show is sold out, both fortunately and unfortunately, but they make it really easy to donate to Jonathon's benefit fund. Please take a minute to visit the site and poke around and see if you have any change in the couch cushions to donate to this incredible, truly Canadian family.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Yesterday I had a huge opportunity through work. I was meant to oversee an interview between two of the biggest wigs in Canadian publishing. As someone who hopes to get published someday (assuming I ever get around to working on that manuscript that's burning a whole in my head and my soul) I was rather excited at the prospect of being in a tiny room with them. Especially since one of the two had his first novel make the New York Times Notable Books list and has a Wikipedia page. I was going to spend an hour surrounded by greatness.
I left our downtown office in good time. Plenty of time to make it midtown by 11 am. I decided to take the Jarvis/Mount Pleasant route and boy was I making good time. Until I hit the Leaside village on Mount Pleasant.
Wasn't there a little patisserie right here somewhere? No, no. Not that snooty over-hyped patisserie. No, I'm pretty sure... ah yes, THIS** petit patisserie! OMG they have Illy coffee too!
Before I knew what I was doing, I had a fresh buttery, Paris-worthy croissant in my hand and a lovely latte.
I fancy myself a croissant connoisseur. My sis, BFF and I have had enough real French gems to know good from bad. It's a competitive thing the three of us have, who can track down the best baguette or croissant in Toronto. The arguments over Celestin, Rahier, Clafoutis tend to turn into a heated discussion. "Are you sure it was better? Well, I'll have to try it and see for myself."
The croissants at Jules were fabulous. Perfectly crisp on the outside -- not burnt -- with a soft, buttery inside. Mmmmm...
I get to my destination after some blunders with parking and construction. It's now 5 minutes to 11. Crap. I should have been a bit earlier. I get to the office, am greeted by the assistant and walk into the interview room with croissant crumbs on my boobs and belly and a latte foam 'stache. Classy.
They had started recording.
Thankfully, my obvious physical state lets me get away with a lot. But first impressions are first impressions, and I had just chosen a pastry over my career. Awesome.
** For those who have frequented the Eastside for a while, you may recall Tournayre, the lovely patisserie on Queen East. Jules is the new venture by the former owners of Tournayre and therefore, really farking good.