Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Deb Johnson

I'm a stay at home mum of two beautiful girls that are currently 6 and 8. Their names are Victoria and Sarah respectively. My older girl had Amanda's boy Aerik in her class last year as a reading buddy to one of her classmates. She recognized him from one of Amanda's Facebook pix.

I met my husband, Tim, at college. We both attended Kemptville College through quirks of fate and soon noticed each other. It was a case of love quickly blossoming. We tried to avoid getting pregnant (ha!) but after I got married to him after 5 years of knowing each other we started trying in earnest. No babies forthcoming. I got testing done, but really fell between cracks of crappy doctors, crappy medical service in Quebec. So, finally declared myself a resident of Ottawa living at my mum's address and went to the Fertility Centre. Finally ended up in the IVF program there. We were successful on first attempt! At 38 y.o. finally I had my first girl to love and hold. She was born Sept 3, 1999. Story about it all here Never really expected to get pregnant again on our own. We'd just started the process for a 2nd round, after 1.5 years of having Sarah in our lives. But what a shock for a 40th birthday present: a double line (actually found out on Victoria Day weekend). My birthday was on June 5th, and that was one 40th birthday party that didn't have the person toasting with champagne/wine. Such a miracle. She was born Jan. 19th (yup, just turned 6). Named her Victoria because yes, I'd done all the work, denied myself the treats, the alcohol, and just said hey, I want to name one daughter Victoria. So, thankfully Tim let me.

We so badly wanted a 3rd baby, and tried hard. But after 3 devastating miscarriages, including one where I needed to go into emergency for an emergency D & C at 11 weeks, finally I accepted it wasn't to be. Very hard, but finally after about a year I could just say it, and not cry about it.

One thing that was a bit hard to accept was the fact that I found out after Vic's birth was that I had bipolar. I'd always been a bit on the wild, crazy side, but this wasn't me. The partying, the staying out past decent hours, the not knowing when to stop drinking, and man, the mood swings. So, thankfully when I seriously considered suicide, got myself to a doctor, and got help. I'm on meds now, and likely will be for the rest of my life. I see a psychiatrist and a psychologist regularly. Thankfully, life is good.

I'm your typical Gemini personality. Easy talking to anyone, always the life of the party, two faces, and very much the talkative person who doesn't keep secrets well. *blush* Yeah, but if people TELL me to keep them I do.

I'm a life-long fan of the Myst novels and games (Myst, Riven, Myst III: EXILE, Myst IV Revelation, and Myst V: End of Ages) I love reading Dr. Kathy Reichs, and Patricia Cornwell novels. Listening to a wide variety of music like Paul Colman, Newsboys, Creed, Live, Linkin Park, Avril Lavigne, and Coldplay, and Theory of a Deadman. Some classical too LOL.

Been blogging since Dec. 2004 on life, thoughts, feelings, and you name it. Whatever strikes my fancy. My strong point is finding out information on the web. I just have a knack for that. :)

An addition as to why I call my own blog Toria's Thoughts. For 4 years now, I've known as Toria in the Myst/Uru community, and in the online game Uru Online: Ages Beyond Myst. Yes, it's a short form of Victoria's name, and just one that I liked, so I decided to use it. It's easier for me to just sign in as "Toria", but hopefully it's clear that Toria = Deb Johnson. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Amanda Knox

Allow to me introduce myself. I just have to make my way out of the office with a laptop while simultaneously dodging baskets of dirty laundry and navigating through a sea of action figures. Now where's that couch?

This is my life, the one I always wanted and never thought I would have. Growing up, I wished for a wonderful partner and three children. I found the first quite easily - my husband, Mark, whom I met nearly 15 years ago. The quest for children didn't go quite as I expected, however.

Mark and I found out we were expecting a baby in 1996. I'm 31 in 2008, so do the math - wait a minute.. Do moms even have time to do math? Never mind. I'll do it for you - I was 19 and had been living on my own for three years. In many ways we were ready to become parents. In many other ways we were not. But once our little Aerik ("little"? Try 10lbs 6oz) emerged we knew the adventure was just beginning.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in the year 2000, after trying unsuccessfully to have second baby.

No ovulation = no baby.
No baby = very sad Amanda.

The thing I noticed most about secondary infertility is that people weren't as sympathetic as they would be if I had had no children. And while I was very grateful for the rambunctious preschooler barreling through our house at top speeds, my heart ached - nay, broke - every time he asked me when he could have a little brother. It made the miscarriage in 2001 worse, too. So much worse.

That little brother finally arrived in 2002, after some outside-the-box fertility treatments (better to do something while one is waiting to see the specialist than nothing, right?). Declan (10lbs 4oz - seeing a trend here?) was born just before Aerik's sixth birthday, and our family was complete.

Wait a minute... Didn't I say I had always wanted three children, you ask? Very observant! I did say that. When I was a child and thought babies were easily created, fell delicately out of the womb and slept as peacefully as my doll, I did. Oh, and none of my dolls were hearing impaired. Both Aerik and Declan were diagnosed with genetic hearing loss and both sport hearing aids (when they're not broken and/or lost, which they frequently are). We decided in 2006 that we were finished our family and made plans to close up shop. It's not that I think their hearing loss severely impairs them, it's just that we were unsure of what other genetic issues could run amok with our babies.

Isn't it funny how life works? Two weeks after that decision I peed on a stick. I was really tired and really hungry and figured it must be because of low iron or something.

Two lines = shocked Amanda
Shocked Amanda = wandering around the house in a daze trying to figure out how to tell my husband that we weren't quite done yet.

Baby Jackson (10lbs 2oz) was born in October 2006, completing our family and causing us to move to a larger house. Today, my life looks like this: I'm a stay-at-home-mom to three boys aged 11, 5 and 1. I live in the Aylmer sector of Gatineau as I have most of my life. I'm a writer, a postpartum doula and a wife, as I've surprisingly managed to not only keep my marriage together, but to love my husband even more despite all the chaos we've made for ourselves. My home is always a mess, my brain is always fried, I actually do have low iron now, and I drive a minivan.

I'm also a huge fan of coffee and all things coffee related. And blogging. I love blogging.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Joylinn Renaud

Where to begin. Well I am the odd ball of the group. I am the young single mom. I am currently 28 years old and I have a 9 year old girl child, Emma. She is my one and only, other then my cats ;)

I found out I was pregnant with Emma when I was 18 and had her at 19 years old. I did a lot of growing up in very little time with her.

At 28 weeks in utero, I was scheduled for a sort of higher end ultrasound to check on the baby’s heart because of a defect both her father and his twin brother were born with. During this ultrasound the Doctor asked if he could look over the whole baby. I of course agreed and it was at that point they discovered a mark on the brain. Because she was still in there and we were out here it was told to me it could be one of 2 things – a birthmark or a tumor.

From that point on I had ultrasound every 2 weeks to ensure the mass was not growing at a rapid rate. She was due the 11th of December and had absolutely no interest of coming out of that cozy nook so I was induced the 15th and had her the 16th of December, 1998.

Miss Emma May Joanne came out perfect. 7lbs 3oz, 20 inches long, 10 fingers, 10 toes and a perfect little head on her. Unfortunately this meant things were about to get worse cause that meant the mass was all internal.

It turned out the mass was a type of tumor called a Hamartoma, basically extra brain cells in the wrong spot. I like to tell people she was too smart for her own good. It was the size of a kiwi in her little new born head and it was removed on January 7th, 1999 by an absolutely amazing surgeon, Dr. Ventureyra.

The scaring left behind has left us with quite a bit to handle but we have dealt with it and she has come thru amazingly. She has a form of cerebral palsy called hemi-paresis, a seizure disorder, ADHD and a learning delay of about 3 years. But I had a few doctors tell me that there was a good chance this little monkey would not walk or talk and she runs and never shuts up.

Her father and I spilt up when she was about 6 months old. We have had our ups and downs over the years from hating each other, to court, to being friends to trying to get back together to now, back at friends.

Emma is with her dad every weekend so I then crawl out of mom mode and into party mode. I am the wild, free bird, dating, pierced, tattooed, love to laugh young mom. Not even remotely close to finding ‘mr right’ and just livin life.

Of course this is a very coles notes version of our story and I will definitely dive more into it as time goes on.

If there is anything you would like to know about my life with miss Emma, please ask. I am an open book.

Joylinn xoxo

Ottawa Moms Beginnings

All long-term bloggers we eventually found each other and the idea was born for Ottawa Moms. While we intend to make many things specific to the Ottawa area there is still lots for Moms outside the capital region to read about and enjoy.

We hope to cover all sorts of topics on Ottawa Moms and our broad range in lifestyles, living arrangements, kid's ages and viewpoints promises to keep things interesting around here.

Suggestions? Comments? Ideas?

Email us at

Brandy Jackson

I am originally from Athens, a small town southwest of Ottawa. When I finished college in 2002 I started work in a construction materials laboratory in Ottawa, my then boyfriend and I moved to the big city. After three years of slinging dirt and crushing concrete they promoted me to manager.

That was the year my grandfather passed away, he wanted hubby and I to live in his house after he was gone.

It was a big decision. I would be neighbours with my parents, my commute would change from a 20minute bus ride to an 1.5 hour commute by car. Hubby would have to quit his job and we would be back in the country. In the end it was a no brainer. Ditching the $1200 a month rent for a "free" house seemed like a good deal. So in May of 2005 we moved home.

In July 2005 hubby and I got married. It was a wonderful ceremony and reception held outside with all our friends and family.

I commuted to Ottawa for two years, 120km one way. It was tough, but with hubby working part time in the summer, and not working in the winter we needed the income.

By the spring of 2007 something had to give. I was starting to hate my job as manager, and hubby was starting to hate being home all day with no money, and no career. He decided to go back to school.

This starts a chain of events that would make 2007 a year to remember.

Hubby became a truck driver, and got his first driving job. It was part time, but good experience. At the same time I found a new job, a wonderful position with Parks Canada only 30 minutes from my house. Within a month both hubby and I had started new careers.

August 2007 was a month of don't-look-back for hubby and I. We had reached a low in our marriage and were struggling to find a way through it. We had been together 10 years, married for two. We both deeply loved each other and after going through hell; on my birthday August 31st, we promised to do what ever it takes to stay together. Then, on September 3rd I found out I was pregnant.

We are currently expecting our first child, a boy, in May 2008. I have since quit my job and am a stay-at-home pregnant lady. Hubby now has full-time job, and I plan on staying home permanently to raise our children.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Shauna Vaillancourt

For 10 years I have lived in the Ottawa area ever since moving from southwestern Ontario on January 1, 1998. After dwelling in a variety of apartments peppering the west end of the city I met my husband ~ Eric ~ at the end of 2002 and moved briefly to Gatineau before getting married and buying a house in the Ottawa Valley in 2004.

Eric and I tried to have a baby for 2 years before successfully getting pregnant through IUI (2006) at the Ottawa Fertility Centre. Danica was born in April of 2007 and now, I am at the tail end of my maternity leave and am enjoying every minute I can with my baby girl.

A blogger of nearly four years, I thought of starting this local Mom blog after seeing Mommy Blogs Toronto. Now see how I cope with going back to work and figuring out if I want to try to have another baby...