16 October 2013

The Post That's Not for the Faint of Heart or Weak of Stomach

This week has easily been one of the most eventful of my life.

On Friday night, while in the process of trying to create a low-carb version of loaded baked potato soup, I had an accident. It was an accident that necessitated a trip to the Urgent Care and resulted in my current attempts to become at least partially right handed.

I amputated part of a finger.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Amputated. As in, I am missing a rather decent size chunk of my left index finger (I also managed to gouge my thumb along its entire length). You may also read this as: I am never using a mandolin slicer again. EVER.

I am beyond grateful that The Husband and Princess were home to help gather BabyA, wrap my gushing finger (I do not handle blood well if it belongs to me or my children), and drive me to Urgent Care after dropping the girls off at my parents' house. Amazingly, though I lost vision a few times and felt nauseated, I didn't actually pass out until I'd made it through triage and was sitting in a procedure room, waiting on the doctor.

God love The Husband. When I was attempting to keep pressure on my appendages while simultaneously directing Princess in the care and car-loading of BabyA, I turned to find him handing me a tiny tea cup full of ice. Being in shock, I didn't question it, and I'm glad I was sitting down and safely buckled into his truck before he told me that the cup contained the portion of my finger that had been removed. Just in case. I almost passed out when I saw it.

To ease your anticipation, let me just tell you now that, though the doctor was excited to see the fingertip, she made no attempt at reattaching it since the bone was (mercifully) still in tact. Though it was visible, and I could feel the doctor grab it with the clamps while she was tying off my severed blood vessels.

Notice the aftercare paperwork says "Fingertip amputation is a common injury." Somehow, I have a feeling this is not the truth.

I was given prescriptions for narcotics and antibiotics, and advised (I'm sure my face clearly said I would not be taking the pain medication) that the pain meds would not hurt Minion. While the pain was certainly not fun, I opted to take some Tylenol at night and avoid the narcotics altogether. I don't even like taking those types of things when I'm not pregnant. Besides, I needed my full faculties in order to be able to manage BabyA with limited use of my dominant hand. I also had to return to Urgent Care every other day to have my bandages changed and make sure the same doctor was keeping an eye on the healing process because there was a chance I'd have to see a surgeon.

It's now been five days, and my thumb is healing nicely. The doctor says my finger is, too, and I'm taking her word for it. I'm certainly the hit of the Urgent Care every time I go in (thankfully, I'm being trusted to care for my wounds at home for a week now instead of returning to Urgent Care every two days for care), and The Husband and my younger brother have had a lot of fun sharing the gruesome pictures. I can't say I don't enjoy some of the reactions I get when I show people pictures of my finger. As the doctor said on Friday night when she saw my thumb, "that's just not very interesting." Ironically, the cut on my thumb has been more constantly painful than my finger, and has made my life more difficult than the loss of my finger.

The swelling still hasn't completely subsided in my left hand, and I have numbness/tingling at the base of the injured finger. I am still basically useless when it comes to anything requiring fine motor skills. I've spent most of the week at my parents' house because changing BabyA's diaper is outside my ability unless she decides to cooperate (which is less than once a day, usually). I also had to switch to *gasp* disposables because I can't snap my cloth diapers with my fingers bandaged, and can't risk getting poop in my bandages while attempting to clean poop out of my diapers.

Tomorrow is going to be my first attempt at staying home since the accident. The Husband technically has the day off, but he just got done working 70ish hours in the past 5 days, and Thursdays are usually his "catch up on sleep" days.

Wish me luck...and keep your fingers crossed that BabyA doesn't decide to try and remove my bandage by force (again).

Bandage-free pictures after the jump...

10 October 2013

MommyCon and The Babywearing World Record

On Sunday, BabyA and I attended MommyCon Los Angeles and the Babywearing World Record. I'm not even sure that I can explain in words how excited I was to have the opportunity to attend a MommyCon event after BabyA and I both got sick the week before MommyCon Las Vegas and missed out on the trip.

I saved every bit that I could, and literally counted the pennies in my change jar (the change jar that was formerly a "tattoo savings" fund) to make sure I'd have money to make it there and back. Alas, I didn't have money for a VIP ticket, but I was still excited to have the opportunity to meet some of the "celebrities" in the natural parenting world and spend the day with some of my good friends and their babies.

I was also excited to wear BabyA in our Beco Soleil. Without launching into a huge soliloquy on how much I adore that carrier, let me just say that I was incredibly surprised at how long I was able to wear BabyA comfortably, despite my already sore back, hips, and pelvis. It's wonderful and I highly recommend it.

The trip to Los Angeles is a tricky one. Typically, barring too much traffic, it can be made in about 2 hours. However, I've been in situations where it has taken well over 4. We had an SUV full of 2 toddlers, 1 infant, and 3 mommies. One of the toddlers decided that she hated her carseat before we even left the driveway, and the other decided she was going to be angry at her friend for crying so much. Thankfully, they both eventually fell asleep, and we had a relatively uneventful trip down.

I appreciated the kid-friendly set up of the event. On the rare occasions that BabyA did want down, I didn't have to worry about her running too far since the entire event was contained in one large room, and there were security personnel posted at the open doors. However, having the vendors in the same room as the speakers posed several problems for those of us trying to hear the speakers.

My biggest complaint about the entire day is that there was no specified "break" in the agenda. Because of the pregnancy and gestational diabetes, I try to stay on a decent schedule with regards to meals, and the food options inside the convention center were expensive and not ideal. Because we didn't want to miss any of the speakers, our small group made a mad dash for the food court area (leaving before The Leaky Boob was finished speaking and getting back well after Birth Without Fear had started). For an event that caters to mothers, I was slightly irritated with the apparent disorganization and lack of time to enjoy the speakers while tending to my needs and the needs of my child.

Frankly, I expected a little less chaos and more organization from an event that has been running for nearly a year and has held conferences in several locations across the country. There was a lot of non and miscommunication with regard to the Babywearing World Record and many of us were very confused at what actually took place.

The major highlights of my day were meeting some of the people whose work has inspired me. Jessica The Leaky Boob and January of Birth Without Fear are two big inspirations of mine, and I was thrilled to finally meet them in person. They are both really as sweet and awesome as they seem online. I am really hoping the BWF Conference does so well in Texas this year that they start holding it in different locations (preferably somewhere in Southern California!).

A few of my favorite mommies and babies (plus BabyA and me) posing with January from Birth Without Fear

04 October 2013

Soup Weather on My Mind

I am trying really hard to stay on this blasted diet, even though it means I am cutting out almost all starches in an attempt to keep my blood sugar in the range that's approved by my OBGYN. I see him again on Monday, and I know he's going to be irritated that I have about a week of missing tests because I kept forgetting in between everything that happens when you have a LIFE (not to mention a toddler).

Tonight, I made beef and vegetable soup. I really wanted beef and barley, but I put half of the beef I bought in a freezer bag so I can make beef and barley soup once I'm cleared to eat grain again. In related news...only 8 more weeks! According to my handy pregnancy app, only 55 more days!

Anyway, the weather here has been seriously bipolar. We had a few days of really nice temperatures, but have since been fluctuating between "almost hot" and "almost chilly." It's done a real number on my sinuses, and BabyA and I have been walking balls of mucus every morning for the past week or so. To the casual listener, I'm sure our combined morning sneezing and hacking would indicate that we're dying of some awful disease. The sinus pressure makes me feel like a steaming pile of dog poo all day, so I've been trying to eat as much spicy food as possible (which isn't really a hardship since I crave spicy things while I'm pregnant anyway).

The cooler temperatures made me long for soup. Of course, the day I finally have everything I need and the time to make soup, the temperature is back to 90 and I'm cursing the fact that I live in a valley where autumn is basically nonexistent.

Tonight's dinner was the result of a craving and nicely embodied my desire to flip the bird to this awful central California weather. Plus, it was only 82 today.

Of course, I had almost none of the ingredients I needed to make the soup I wanted, so I carted my butt to Von's (I hate shopping at Von's) after going to the bank, cloth diaper store, and hair dresser. After taking advantage of the better quality produce and clearance meat (I refuse to buy full price meat at Von's), I headed home where I was greeted by an energetic BabyA who wanted to "brooos" my hair with her soft bristled brush (hello, frizz!) and a sullen The Husband who had been surviving without Internet for approximately an hour and a half. Trust me when I say that things only deteriorated in the following hours before the AT&T service guy showed up to fix our Internet.

While The Husband was trying to figure out the meaning of life without online games or Netflix and BabyA and Princess were facing a similar quandary (the Internet died in the middle of BabyA's viewing of "Stitch," her favorite movie, on Netflix), I started dinner and told the girls to *gasp* play with some of the thousands of dollars of toys that are in their bedroom.

I don't have a recipe for beef stew. I'm sure there's one someplace in my collection of cookbooks, but it's one of those things that lends itself nicely to being "thrown together." Of course, when you're in my kitchen on any given weeknight, chances are I'm just throwing things together and hoping they taste good.

I started with some beef stew meat. I typically buy a larger piece of meat and cut it myself, but the 3 lb package was on sale, and I knew I could get at least 2 dinners out of it. Side note: I always cut the pre-cut chunks a little smaller and more uniform so that it stretches a little farther.

I browned my stew meat with white onions, salt and pepper, and garlic powder in my 4 quart Dutch oven. Once the meat was browned, I added a quart of beef stock and a cube of beef bouillon and brought it to a simmer. Then, I added about 1.5 Tablespoons of tomato paste.

While my beef was browning, I peeled and chopped 4 large carrots, 4 medium potatoes, 4 large ribs of celery, and half a pound of button mushrooms. I added this to the broth and beef along with 2 bay leaves and a drained can of peas.

Then, I sat on my rear end and drank ice water while my girls brought me all of the delicious plastic food they were cooking up in their bedroom.

I let the whole mess simmer on the stove for about an hour. I added worchestershire sauce, tobasco, cayenne, nutmeg, garlic powder, and a little more S&P and let it simmer for a bit longer. Then, I turned off the burner and let it sit and thicken for about 30 more minutes.

In reality, I would have served it immediately, thickening be damned, but the stinking AT&T repairman hadn't yet left, and The Husband was busy following the repairman around like a curious watchdog. I tried to tell The Husband that I didn't think the repairman was going to steal any of our worthless junk, but The Husband gets really weird about having people in the house.

The result was marvelous.

The problem with making something so good, though, is that I end up having seconds. I haven't yet tested my glucose to see if that was okay...and I'm kind of procrastinating because I'm afraid of what the carrots and potatoes might do.

Right now, however, I'm a Rhett Butler kind of mood. If you don't know what that means, please do yourself a favor and read Gone With the Wind.