First things first, I wish I had cooked a bigger turkey. Even though we had a small gathering for Thanksgiving this year, 16 pounds really isn't enough, when you love leftovers like I do.
Ever seen "A Christmas Story"? You know how Ralphie describes his dad's love for turkey? It's the same way here.
I LOVE turkey. I would cook a holiday meal once a week, if it wasn't so much fuss. The best part about the meal is the days that follow... sneaking cold turkey out of the fridge between meals, snacking on spoonfuls of homemade cranberry sauce, nibbling the remains of stuffing, mashed potatoes.... and then, who can pass up a good turkey pot pie or turkey soup in the days that follow?
Not to mention, my oldest son insists that I make THE best pumpkin pie in the world, usually from our Halloween Jack-o-Lantern.
Do You Know:
Not many people seem to be aware that you can eat a pumpkin. I always get remarks and looks of surprise when I buy pumpkins. I get asked a lot of questions at the check-out counter, mostly from people who wonder why I am buying multiple pumpkins, or checking them as thoroughly as I would an apple or orange I was going to buy.
No, folks, I am NOT going to carve four Jack-o-Lanterns. In fact, I probably won't even carve one. I mean, why waste perfectly good food?
Good Food? Did you hear that correctly?
Yup, good food.
Pumpkin is a squash. You can cook and prepare it the same way you would prepare any kind of squash. I prefer to bake it in the oven. Beans LOVES fresh cooked pumpkin, and begs for it as it comes out of the oven. It's insanely good for you and tastes better than most other squash I've eaten.
After baking down my pumpkin, I puree what Beans doesn't eat, and freeze it for making pumpkin pies (that's the secret to really good pumpkin pie... fresh pumpkin!) or pumpkin milk shakes (don't say "eeewwww" until you've had one!), pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and all kinds of other yummy treats. So yummy, you don't even know you are eating vegetables!
And DUH! Of course we save the guts. The seeds are great dried, roasted, seasoned... and a surprising source of magnesium, calcium, and various other nutrients.
The only parts you don't eat are the stem (unless you REALLY need some fiber!), and the stringy guts, but only because they really don't taste so good.
This is supposed to be about Thanks. And how I'm feeling thankful. Which is a good thing, because when I'm pregnant, I don't really feel so "thankful". Don't get me wrong... I LOVE being a mom. Pregnant? Nope. I don't love "pregnant".
This particular pregnancy has been a little nerve racking. No, no... don't panic. All is well with the New Little Nugget (who refuses to give us a definite view of the gender parts, by the way). The pregnancy is running along just swimmingly, all is healthy, progressing as normal, and now that I am well past the first trimester, I am feeling more energetic and generally less moody (though I'm sure J would disagree with that last bit).
The nerve racking part stems from the fact that eventually, this baby will want out. And while I am definitely excited about that particular day (did I mention I don't like "pregnant"?), I am definitely becoming aware of what labor and delivery in Alaska means.
Um, not only are we a good 5,000 miles away from any of our friends or family, we are a good 100 miles away from the closest hospital. And while I definitely would prefer to have a natural childbirth, MY idea of "natural" still takes place in a medical facility that has drugs they can offer me if I decide I really want to change my mind. MY idea of "natural" does not involve having a baby along a 100 mile stretch of road called the Richardson Hwy, in the backseat of my minivan. Or having labor assisted by paramedics.
Dude, I was a paramedic for 7 years. I KNOW what medics talk about when they get back to the station after delivering babies on the side of the road. Seriously, I delivered a baby per year for every year that I was a medic. Not only have I seen the miracle of birth (a little closer than I really cared to, for that matter), um... I have seen how a woman delivering a baby in the backseat of her car looks like. And besides, my husband, the Fire Fighter, works with the handful of medics that are available out here in the sticks. I mean, I like all those guys just fine, and they are nice fellas to talk to, but they don't really need to see me THAT close and personal, ya know?
Thanks, but I still prefer the hospital.
Ah, I digress again... doesn't sound too thankful yet, right? Eh, hold your horses and keep reading. Or close the window and go back to surfing eBay. Either way, I'm gonna keep babbling.
So... in a moment of Pregnancy-Induced-Hormonal-Panic (it's a serious medical condition, ask my husband), I completely freaked out.
A word of advice: when you are pregnant, you should strictly avoid reading any books about labor and delivery. Especially if you live in the middle of nowhere, and might not make it to the hospital. And super-especially if you live 5,000 miles away from your friends and family that could be available to babysit your toddler, offer support, or at least make you laugh about "mooing like a cow" for pain relief during your "natural" labor. (That's a tip I read in one of those books I've just banned.)
I ignored my own advice and picked up a really good book about natural childbirth. And then I made the Pregnant Wife Fatal Error, and asked my sweet husband for his opinion on the matter. The poor guy never stood a chance, you know. I mean, someone should have warned him that ANYTHING he said was going to be the wrong answer.
The end result was me, sobbing hysterically on the couch about how I am going to have to labor alone, and if he thinks I'm "so strong" and how "natural is best" and how I should do things "like they used to back in the day", well then maybe I should just skip the hospital and go have my baby in cave somewhere, chewing through the umbilical cord and such.
In retrospect, this is not likely to happen. First, the caves in Alaska are VERY cold. Second, there are bears here, people! If you are a long-time reader of my blog, you know of my insane fear of bears. And while I have relaxed a bit (no, there aren't bears around every tree, after all), um, I still don't want to risk attracting a giant grizzly to my birthing cave to eat both me, and my baby. And chewing through an umbilical cord is just disgusting. Oh, I'm a nature lovin' hippie, but that's one "call of nature" I can peacefully ignore.
SO... poor J is now fumbling for the right words to say as I sob hysterically. The conversation is going something like:
J: "Baby, of course you aren't going to be alone! We'll hire a doula! We'll fly your friends in! We'll spare no expense! We'll do whatever we have to!"
(Spare no expense, huh? For a moment, my mind wonders if Tiffany's has anything that would make me feel better, then I remember I don't really like jewelry.)
Me: "Sniff sniff, WAHH! Just...sniff... leave...sniff...me....ah...ah...LONE! WAAHH!"
J: "Baby, no one is going to leave you alone. Come give me a hug. You're gonna be OKAY."
Me: "No I'm not! SNIFF! I'm going to end up having a baby on the side of the road! SNIFF! With NO ONE! WAAAHHH!!!"
J: "Awww... Even if that does happen, you won't have 'no one'! I'll be there! I'm still gonna have to drive you to the hospital, remember?"
Me: "Don't you even realize how stupid that sounded?!?!? WAH!!! I really am ah...ah...ah...alone!" Hiccup, sob, sob, sob... snorfle, sniff.
J: "Crud. How do I fix this one, so I can go pee and go to bed sometime today?"
(A short moment of disbelief as it registers that he would rather pee and go to bed than listen to me cry...)
Me: WAHHHHHH!!!!! Oh, just *sniff* leave *sniff* me ALONE!"
I think at that point, I stomped off, leaving the poor guy to figure out if it was going to be better to sleep on the couch or try to snuggle up to me in the bed. Like I said, someone should have told him he was never gonna win...
He DID come to bed, and I DIDN'T bite his head off, but I did pretend to snore and be asleep when he said, "I DO love you, ya know..." And then I think I mumbled something about how I loved him too, and if he was REALLY sorry, he would scratch my back until I fell asleep.
Well, as all other tiffs in our house, this one blew over. A good night's sleep and a cup of coffee generally fixes most problems at our house. J ventured off to work this morning, and after Folger's managed to clear the fog out of my own mind, I started looking for doulas.
That is where the thanks comes in... things are still preliminary, and we have meetings and introductions and contracts to look at, but I DID talk to a doula today who has lots of experience, good reputation, and qualifications. Most of all, she made me feel like labor and delivery was doable, and was not going to require me to be alone in any capacity, much less in a cave, surrounded by hungry bears.
I should mention here, for family that is wondering...
The biggest concern is that we don't have someone to watch Beans. OK, OK... we have a few friends here that in an emergency, we would call. That said... Beans has NEVER been away from both parents, and she hasn't left MY side for more than a couple hours, like maybe once, when I got a haircut. Plus, she's "still" nursing, and I expect her to "still" be nursing then, too.
I know, I know. Most of you (one best friend and probably at least one mom) are thinking, "Get over it, find a sitter."
Yeah, just remember, I'm your weird best friend and weird daughter. This is one of the things I'm really weird about. I don't like leaving my daughter with a non-family member, and I'm not a fan of leaving my kids with sitters until they are old enough to tell me what happened while I was gone.
I know, I'm crazy, Get over it. Different strokes for different folks, right?
Besides, Beans could test the patience of Mother Theresa on a GOOD day. If she's going to test some one's patience on a bad day, I'd rather it be someone who has a lot of experience with that, which leaves me and J, and just a hunch... I think I might be a little too busy while I'm in labor to handle Miss Beans' antics.
The current plan is for J and Beans to stay in a hotel near the hospital, and for me to labor with a doula.
I DID find out from the doula I spoke with today that the Fairbanks Hospital is a little more progressive than Bean's birthplace, and J and Beans will both be allowed in the labor and delivery room, as well as visiting with me and the new baby for the duration of our stay in the hospital. She also mentioned that would be a good way for J to not actually miss the birth, but still have the flexibility to take Beans out and about if he needed to. They don't have the old fashioned rules about having to stay in bed or not being allowed to go pee or take a shower.
Well, the plan all along was to find a doula for labor and delivery. But my moment of Pregnancy Induced Hormonal Panic pushed me toward actually making some calls. And I'm so glad I did. That's really where the thankfulness comes in. It's nice to feel like there IS a solution to the situation. It's also nice to know that it's not going to cost quite as much as I thought it was going to (though in my PIHP, I probably would have paid triple what the actual fee is anyway). And it even costs significantly less than it would to get one of my friends off their duffs and on an airplane to laugh at me "mooing" my way through labor and delivery. (Seriously, I'm NOT going to moo. I'm telling the doula up front... NO mooing. I won't be able to handle it if I look and feel like a farm animal AND sound like one, to boot.)
For family and friends: we have a consultation with the doula in December. Hopefully she's everything her website and our conversation today claims that she is. It was nice talking to her, and seems like we had a good rapport. She asked lots of good questions that set my mind at ease about laboring in front of a total stranger, and her fee includes several prenatal visits to get to know each other and have some "education" about labor and delivery.. though if I don't know what to expect on my fourth delivery, well... then I need more than doula, probably.
Meanwhile, poor J is still wondering why on earth he keeps breeding with me, when every time it turns me into some crazy, hormonal, crying-over-Reading-Rainbow woman who keeps threatening to give birth in a cave. Oh, that poor guy. I'll have to remember to be nice to him, when I'm done being pregnant. (grin) JUST KIDDING... I'm still MOSTLY nice to him.
Of course, it wouldn't hurt for the guy to remember NOT to say things like, "Well, how bad can labor be, really?" or "Wow, you're really cranky today!"
So... the current update status is:
Healthy, pregnant, not sure of gender. The first ultrasound, the tech said she thought she saw boy parts. The second ultrasound, she was "confident" telling us it was a girl. Hmph. Meanwhile, I plan on just picking out two names and packing something in green or yellow to take to the hospital. So much for modern science, right?
Oh... the important part of the ultrasound DID reveal that everything looks healthy and progressing normally. So that's good.
Meanwhile, I'm off to read more natural labor and delivery books (I know, I know. I banned them. But just like horror flicks, you can't stand to watch, but can't stand to turn away either!), and indulge myself in a Pregnancy Right... taking the last piece of pumpkin pie, and not sharing a single bite.
Until next time...
Happy Moose Trails!