Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pregnant in America...

So, today I did it...

While my daughter was taking a nap, I forced myself to sit through the documentary Pregnant in America. I tried to watch it while I was pregnant with Faith, as many of my friends highly recommended that I needed to in order to "educate" myself...and I just couldn't get through it...

I guess, because I have a sister who is a Labor and Delivery nurse and I know that there is another side to the story, I was immediately able to see how incredibly one-sided and biased it was and it just made me mad. I wasn't interested in THAT kind of education- the kind where they only give one point of view and hammer how right their point of view is...I'm always a big fan of information, don't get me wrong, but I've also always been the kind of person that likes to see both sides of the coin before I make a decision and flip it...

However, with this pregnancy I've also joined a pregnancy forum online to get a little extra support since my family is so far away, and I can't always reach them if I've had a tough day or a question, and I've noticed a lot of stuff that I've found alarming...stuff that made me want to try to watch the documentary just because I wanted to see if I noticed the same attitudes in the people interviewed...

and I have confirmed the existence of what I see to be an alarming trend... the trend of being overly judgmental and close-minded.

Since joining this forum, I've been able to answer questions of first time moms and have other more experienced moms answer mine. I often find myself bothered by some responses. Sometimes a question posed with genuine concern or curiosity becomes a platform for people to be very negative and belittle one another's decisions when it comes to labor and delivery... the negative comments generally end in fights between people and the help that someone came for goes right out the window!

Call me crazy, but if people are asking for support the last thing they need to hear is that you personally believe they or their doctors are stupid for the decisions they are fact, in many cases people are asking for the input of others that have experienced the same thing and they get answers from people that have never experienced it, but because they have watched this documentary or read that book they think they have all the answers and that they are ALWAYS right, even if someone that has experienced it tells them that a scenario in a book or statistic in a documentary isn't always true for everyone...

For example, say "Abby" posts a question because her doctor has scheduled an induction for her at 39 weeks because the doctor is afraid that her baby is too big. Its her first baby, and she wants to know what to expect when it comes to the induction. Instead of getting responses of insight and encouragement from people that have been through it, she has to read through response after response telling her not to have the induction and that her doctor is a loon for inducing her before she is full term or late, they haven't asked for any background information- or how the conclusion of "the baby may be too big" was come to- they rail into her and tell her that she will be sorry for ever listening to that "quack"... I'm all for education, and I know that some people genuinely aren't aware that they have the right to refuse a procedure, the doctor can only suggest it and yes, ultrasounds are not always right- but if this person has clearly weighed all their options and feels that they can trust their doctor, why would you belittle them? Are you sitting in the doctor's office with "Abby" hearing all the test results? Are you in their head as they weigh the options and come to the conclusion that this is best? Why is it right to jump to conclusions and attack her without knowing the whole story?

If you've read my current blogs, you know that I was just diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.  The high risk doctor that takes care of my ultra sounds was the one that broke the news of my diagnosis and explained that, while my baby was measuring fine weight wise they had checked the circumference of her belly and it was a bit large ( I guess the extra sugars baby doesn't use end up stored in the liver.) Because of GD, the circumference of the belly can end up being bigger than the head, and, if unmonitored, can become a huge issue and cause need for a C-section because, while the head may fit, the belly won't. In many cases, they opt to induce if that circumference hits a certain point so that mom has a chance to deliver vaginally.

I posted a question about this scenario. I basically asked if anyone with experience could tell me if they would allow me to have skin to skin contact right away or if baby would need to go back to the nursery to be assessed, things like that...instead of getting the knowledge I asked for, I was inundated with responses telling me that I shouldn't let them induce me early. That the ultrasound scans are ALWAYS wrong, and things like ,"I've had a 10 lbs baby vaginally. They are just trying to scare you into the induction."  and other things about how evil doctors and hospitals are...

Let's just say, I didn't even give responses to people and deleted the question. I opted to wait until I could get a hold of my awesome L&D nurse sister to answer them.

If I had left a response to some of these women, it would have gone something like this:

A) I know that early inductions aren't always the best idea, but if they are medically necessary and there is genuine concern, I would rather be safe than sorry. I know well enough that I can honestly say that I wouldn't even be considering it if GD wasn't an issue and if my health and my baby's health weren't at stake. Yes, measurements can be wrong, but when it comes to MY babies, I would rather be safe than sorry.

B) I have been through an induction of sorts when my water broke at 36 weeks and my contractions wouldn't regulate themselves. I know first hand that they aren't ideal, I also know that in 20-30% of cases they end in C-Section- I was an hour away from a C-Section with my first baby...I get it, but, would I do it again and risk it in order to get my baby here safely- you bet your bottom dollar I would!

C) They were concerned with my last birth that baby's head was too big to fit through my pelvis and that could have been what was causing my slow progress...if my MIDWIFE was concerned about that, a woman who will utilize every natural method she can, I think its pretty safe to say that I would believe a high risk doctor who has specialized in tricky pregnancies about his concerns.

I would also reiterate to them that they weren't sitting with me in the ultrasound room talking to Dr. Huang. He never sounded like he was going to force me into anything. In fact, he made it very clear that he was just preparing me for one of the worse case scenarios. For all we know, we could go to the 36 week ultrasound and have baby's belly remeasured and they could decide that I will be fine to go into labor naturally...not all doctors want babies born on their schedule... or, they could tell me that they want to schedule a C-section right away...of course, in that situation there would be lots of careful prayer, study and contemplation that would occur before I would allow them to schedule the procedure...but I would make sure that no matter what, the choice was mine...

Many of the Debbie Downers cited "Pregnant in America" and "The Business of Being Born" as resources I should use to educate myself about the "realities" of hospital birth...telling me how stupid I was for allowing the doctor to get me to jump to the conclusion of induction...mind you, they never tried to answer my real question about whether or not, in their experience with GD, my wish of skin to skin contact and breast feeding right away would be possible in the case of a vaginal delivery...they saw the words "early" and "induction" and I was automatically a stupid person who needed to be educated...

So, why do I stay a member of the forum? I stay a member because there have been times where I have gotten valuable advice from people, and there have been times where I have been able to help  someone who is genuinely confused and not getting the answers they are looking for...I stay because, while it seems like fewer and fewer women are choosing to be non-judgmental of other's choices, there are still a few out there that show genuine love and concern for their sisters in arms and are ready to help with encouragement, support and honest,tactful, knowledgeable answers.

So, I decided I needed to give "Pregnant in America" another whirl...  It was just as biased as I remembered, but it also spouted some ideals that made me sad for the people who were eating up every word...It almost seemed like the women, midwives,  and "experts" that they interviewed weren't just trying to sell the idea that western medicine is evil and bad and doctors shouldn't be trusted at all, and that nurses are always just there to help the bottom line of the hospital that has been turned into a big business (which is really what it seemed like to me.); it also seemed like many of them were saying that women who opted for inductions and epidurals were mindless sheep who were trying to take the "easy" and streamlined way out of pregnancy... that in having a trust for certain western medical procedures we were degrading ourselves and becoming less brave...

I get that with any medical procedure there are risks, and, as an example, Pregnant in America wasn't shy about the scrolling list of possible side effects of an epidural- no matter how remote they may be... but I also believe there are some benefits to western medicine and being open to it. Every coin has 2 sides, remember?

Many people said over and over again in the documentary that women have been giving birth for millions of years without the aid of western medicine and doctors, and that is just how it should be...Well, without western medicine, how many more stillbirths were there even 100 years ago? how many more women died in the valiant efforts to bring their baby into the world...? Western medical advances have been able to give women the miracle of being able to see and monitor the growth of their baby while at the same time being able to monitor their own health more closely. Conditions such as Gestational Diabetes and Pre-Eclampsia that took the lives of countless women and babies in times past are now detectable and treatable! How lucky are we? I'm sure if our pioneer women ancestors had been given the opportunity to see and monitor their baby closely during pregnancy, they would have eagerly taken it.

In my estimation, as fatality rates of women and babies have decreased thanks to western medicine, we should be grateful that it is there as an option- we don't necessarily have to take it (to each their own and all that) but its there and I believe that it is a blessing from God!

Of course, when it comes to western medicine, there are always going to be exceptions to the rule and horror stories, but, when it comes to homebirth and birthing center births, I'm sure my Labor and Delivery sister nurse could probably shock people with the rates and tales of homebirths gone wrong that she has seen after they've been rushed to the hospital she used to work at (she now works at a different hospital where they don't transport emergency birth situation). She could also tell you of lives that have been lost or narrowly saved after a birth gone wrong in a birthing center that was finally referred to a hospital for care and treatment- stories of women and babies that could have been saved if they hadn't had to wait for an ambulance to get them to the hospital or other transport... the reality is this: planned home birth has an infant mortality rate that is triple that of hospital birth according to THIS study...and there is even THIS website where women go to post stories of home births and birthing center births gone awry...

I've also had my spine crawl hearing stories about midwives in birthing centers or watching a home birth who refused to call for help because they don't like doctors and ended up losing a patient or their baby...In fact, there is a birthing center close to my home town (well, not super close, about 5 hours away in a much bigger city)  that was recently closed down when the state and the medical board received complaints from people dealing with huge medical bills because of complications that occurred to the mother or the baby when the midwife refused to call for help, or because of the death of the mother or child because, again, they refused help from doctors or waited too long and only asked for help when people attending the birth insisted or called 911 on their own...

Its birth, your body goes through more pain than it should be able to endure to bring a baby into the world. Nothing is 100% foolproof, and things don't always go the way you want them to...accidents happen, dangers occur, but when you make your choices you accept the possible consequences of those choices, good or bad. My point in sharing these is NOT to downgrade or diminish the home birth or birthing center experience. I have friends that have done both and were point is that there are statistics that show the bad both ways, unfortunately, today it just seems like one side is getting louder than the other and more and more people are just listening to the louder side and judging those that aren't listening and agreeing with them.

I delivered with a midwife during my first birth experience, and she was WONDERFUL. I wanted to try to be all natural, I had that idea in my head too, the idea that women were built to give birth and I wanted to try to do it all natural without any drugs of any kind- I wouldn't have changed a thing. I even asked her if she did homebirths. I didn't think I would opt for one, but I was eager for her knowledge.. she said that, after her 20 something years of experience, she would NEVER encourage a home birth, she would only deliver at the hospital because there were just one too many things that could go wrong that she wouldn't be equipped to handle. That is why she had delivery rights at a hospital and worked with a doctor in case something went wrong.

Not all midwives feel that way, and that is great, because women that want a homebirth need options too. But I was grateful that she felt that way. I felt the desire to be at the hospital should anything go wrong.  I was so grateful for her and her attitude!  I was grateful to work with somoene who was on the same page as me and was more concerned about my well-being and my baby's than her one experience at one time with a doctor who didn't appreciate the assistance of a midwife...To her, western medicine wasn't evil, it was a tool she could use to foster a healthy and safe birth experience for me and my baby.  Like I said, I was close to a C-Section with my first baby, and if I'd been at home or in a birthing center, I hate to think how scary it would have been to wait for transport and pray that everything would be okay.

I think about would have happened if I would have been having my baby before the invention of Pitocin, a pioneer on the trail somewhere...I could have died, but more importantly, Faith almost certainly would have. I labored for 4 days before my amniotic fluid started leaking, and once it started leaking the contractions would not regulate themselves. Without antibiotics to keep me and my baby safe from infection and without the Pitocin to get my contractions to regulate, Faith would have almost certainly been stillborn by the time I delivered, either from an infection, or lack of oxygen because I would have been in labor for a long, LONG time...

Am I less of a woman because I allowed my midwife to order the Pitocin? Am I less brave because after 10-12 hours of saying no to the epidural I finally gave in because I needed relief?  The epidural saved me from a C-section! I know my experience isn't typical and my savior could be someone else's destroyer, but, in my case, because of the epidural, they could place an internal contraction monitor and discovered that my contractions were actually too hard to cause any change. They were able to change the dose to make my labor more effective and help move baby down into position...because of the epidural I was able to sleep for the first time in 4 days so that I could be prepared to push the next morning when the time came...

I still soldiered through my labor just like any other woman who does it natural all the way. I still felt pain, and in the end, I still became a mother. Kudos to those women who have cooperative bodies and fortitude to make it without, but I don't think I'm less of a woman or less brave for allowing western medicine to intervene to make my delivery safer for me and my baby.

Now, I know that the documentary I watched wasn't telling all lies- there are some doctors out there that will encourage early inductions and C-sections...but, if you know your patient's rights, you will know you can refuse a procedure and if they won't comply, you can always find another doctor...its as simple as that.  However, if there is a genuine concern, does it hurt to hear the doctor's opinion, do some research and possibly ask for a second opinion?

Also, let's be honest, the last few weeks of pregnancy SUCK- how many doctors have changed their policies because they have so many women come through the practice that BEG for inductions, to have their membranes stripped, and even people that insist on selective C-Section because they don't want to go through the pain of be a doctor is to be in the business of customer service in a way. I can honestly say, from reading question after question from first time mothers in the pregnancy forum that I am a member of, that many women just don't understand how dangerous begging for ways to naturally induce at home at 35 or 36 weeks can be...mostly because they just hear the "no" when they ask their doctor to do it and don't listen to the reasons why.  Until they experience it, they don't understand...but isn't that the way everything is?

I guess my point of this rant is this: Its great to be educated and hear different opinions, but when did it become okay to lose courtesy and respect for the power of other people to make their own decisions? When did it become okay to belittle people and tell them they are stupid because they don't share your point of view?

When it comes to babies and childbirth, when did it become okay to think that you're superior because your body cooperated for you to do something when someone else's didn't?

Of course, I've shared my knowledge with first time moms who haven't got a clue that an induction at 35 or 36 weeks gestation isn't going to happen unless there is a medical necessity and why. But I never NEVER would belittle them for how they are feeling.  It sucks, they are sick, they are miserable and they just want it to be over...the last thing they need is someone calling them profane names, and being unkind.  They need support and to know that they aren't alone.

We need our sisterhood back.  We need to stop judging each other when it comes to the decisions we make when it comes to how we bring our baby into this world. We aren't into each others' miserable at 38 weeks may be the miserable for someone else at 32 weeks... My truth may not be the same as someone else's.  When someone asks a question, instead of jumping to conclusions, we need to be willing to ask questions in return to understand a situation fully before giving a hasty answer.

Yes, there are times to be blunt. If you hear something that makes you concerned, then you should mention TACTFULLY what exactly concerns you about a situation.  We need to be willing to educate one another in a loving way...

More importantly, as mothers and mothers to be, we need to be willing to recognize that no matter how they finally end up in the world, being pregnant and having a baby are both hard work...Just because one person opts for a C-section or an induction doesn't mean they are taking the easy way out and birthing in a birthing center or at home does NOT mean someone is kooky.  We all have agency, we all have a right to make those choices for ourselves. We should be supportive of those choices when options have been weighed and someone has decided that one way is better for them than another and that they are prepared to deal with the consequences of that decision.

In short- loving and supporting each other is way more important than fighting to prove that you are right and someone else is wrong. Just remember, every decision has pros and cons. We don't always have to agree, but we should always be willing to hear the other side and agree to disagree.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adventures in Low Carb Cooking: Creamy Garden Veggie, Tomato Basil Soup

What? Two posts in one day...whatever am I going to do with myself!?!?

However, my dinner experiment tonight was too good not to share.

So, without further ado, I give you Creamy Garden Vegetable, Tomato and Basil Soup with Quick Cheesy Garlic Bread.

The picture doesn't do it justice! (well, I have a crappy camera, and a slightly messy kitchen, so what can you expect?)  It is chock full of creamy, healthy deliciousness! Its filling, hearty and just downright tasty...

I know what you're thinking:

What? BREAD! I thought you were low carb!  Well, being low carb doesn't mean that you can't have some of the things you love every now and again, and if you're eating whole grain bread and limit your serving, you shouldn't have any problems helping it to fit into your lifestyle in a healthy way!

AAAAAaaaand the soup is a crock pot recipe! Gotta love that. You won't heat your house up during the summer months, and you can pretty much dump the ingredients and forget them until the end of the process, which is lovely!

So, here is the recipe for the soup (makes 4 one cup servings)

1 can diced tomatoes with juices
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/2 of a sweet red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp Basil
1/4 of a bay leaf
2 cups water
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1/4 c flour
1 c half and half
1/4 c butter
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

In crock pot combine tomatoes, celery, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, oregano, basil, bay leaf, water, and bouillon. Set crock pot to low and cook for 5-7 hours.  In the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove as much of the zucchini as possible (its okay if you get other veggies too, I just used a slotted spoon) and puree in a food processor or blender until it is your desired amount of chunky (I wanted a smoother soup for dipping. There were still some lovely little chunks of tomato and celery left in the crock pot to add some more texture.) Return puree to the crock pot.

Then, over medium heat on stove, heat the half and half with butter to melt together. Add the parmesan cheese and whisk in the flour to make a rue.  Whisk the rue in with the crock pot contents.  Allow the crock pot contents to cook for another 15-30 minutes on low. Stir in the salt and pepper to taste as you stir the soup occasionally to keep it from getting lumpy, allowing the flavors to melt together.

Quick Cheesy Garlic Bread:

Take out your desired number of slices of bread (suggested serving is one piece per person)
spread butter onto bread, sprinkle with garlic salt and garlic powder. Top with mozzarella cheese (I just split up some string cheese and laid it on the top.) Broil in oven until the cheese is melted and the bread is browning and crisp....its best eaten dipped in the soup! (Think of it as a take on tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches...) is your carb breakdown for the soup:
 Per each 1 cup serving you have:

Tomatoes= 1 gram carbs
Celery= 0.25 grams carbs
Red Pepper= 0.25 grams carbs
Zucchini= 0.5 grams carbs
Onion= 1. 5 grams
Parmesan Cheese= 0.5 grams
flour= 6 grams

Soup Total= 10

Quick Cheesy Garlic Bread (1 slice)

Bread= 15 grams (per package, I'm sure you could find whole grain, or low carb bread with fewer carbs)
Butter=  not enough carbs to register...we're talking in the hundreth place after the decimal point...
Mozzarella= 0.5

Bread Total= 15.5

Meal total= 25.5...most people with insulin resistance or diabetes are asked to keep it under 30 grams of carbs in each meal...this meal is filling, hearty, and you won't really feel like you need to eat anymore than one serving of anything.  My husband said he'd eat it again, except he wished there had been some corn in it. Perhaps when I'm not as crazy about having to count carbs I will make it again and add some corn in the last 30 minutes (corn is a VERY carb filled and sugary least that is what I remember from working with dieticians.) I suppose if you wanted to forgo the bread, or don't care about the carbs, you could add a cup of corn to the soup. It would add another 7.5 grams of carbs per serving.

Oh, and by way of updating. I don't know if I was bloated on Saturday at the doctor's office when I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, but I think I should mention that after a few days of sticking hard core to a low carb diet, I found out today that I lost 2 pounds- that is,  according to the doctor's scale today at my regular OB's office. I'll keep you posted.  To be honest, my doc had hoped that I would only gain 15 lbs at the most with this pregnancy and so far I've gained 20 (which is amazing when you consider I gained 50 with Faith and still had 20 to lose when I found out that Miss Cupcake was coming) So, I don't think my doc will complain if I lose a little weight here towards the end, especially because they are going to be monitoring my baby's growth more carefully via ultrasound...and neither will I, since it definitely gives me hope for my success in dieting after Miss Cupcake gets here.  Let's be honest, when you're THIS pregnant (almost 33 weeks for those of you keeping track) you pretty much just sit around and do nothing because anything and everything physical is super uncomfortable and, in some cases, painful.

All in all, I was pleased with my efforts...Bon Appetit to anyone brave enough to give my madness a whirl!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Adventures in Low Carb Cooking: Cauliflower Pizza Crust Pizza

Last night, we braved the Cauliflower Pizza Crust that I've been seeing so much on Pinterest. 

I wish I had pictures to show you, but alas I could not find the camera. It is hiding after our trip to Idaho apparently... However, my pizza didn't turn out as "pretty" as the pictured  pizza in the recipe I used, so maybe you don't want to see it...

My husband has given me permission to try again some other time so I can work out the kinks. In his opinion, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing enough that he'd want to give up regular pizza crust...I thought it was good, but could have been better. I think I just need a little more practice at it, and need to work out a few kinks that I found in the recipe as I was making it.

 I used THIS recipe.
(photo courtesy "Stick a Fork in It")

Again, I wish mine had turned out this pretty....

As we didn't have any dried garlic powder and I was feeling lazy and didn't want to mince or crush any fresh garlic last night, I used onion powder in lieu of crushed garlic. I actually would highly recommend this change. It added another dimension of flavor and I think that with just garlic it would have been overpowering or fallen flat...

As far as the rest of the recipe is concerned...

I used the suggestion to use half the suggested amount of cheese. I somewhat wonder if the crust would have set up better if I'd used a whole cup instead of half a cup...because mine definitely DID NOT look as good as her picture. However, I didn't feel like using half the cheese was a detriment to the flavor in the long run, so if you're concerned about fat content, I say go for it and use half.

I also think the crust was WAAAAAY too salty.  I would highly recommend only using half the salt in the recommended recipe.

When it comes to ricing the cauliflower (grinding it up) I would say just go for the cheese grater. I tried using my food processor and it kept just getting stuck. I finally moved to just quartering large pieces and using the cheese grater to rice the cauliflower and it was MUCH, much faster.  

Definitely cook the riced cauliflower for the 8 minute time mark. I think it would have helped to mash up the cauliflower a little more and would have made it set up better. I only cooked it for 6 minutes. I also would suggest using half the water to steam it in the microwave. When I poured my crust out to shape it, it was very watery. Maybe I just had a pretty "juicy" cauliflower, but in my experience, you can always add more water, its harder to take it away, especially if you don't notice that its watery until you're pouring it out...

I think I also formed my crusts too thin. The recipe said it is supposed to make a 9 inch crust, I think next time I will err on the side of an 8 inch crust. I think it just needed a little more thickness to get crusty and crispy as it baked up.

When it comes to preparation and clean up: I used my spiffy Pampered Chef measuring cup/tupperware thing to mix the has a spout and has the cup measurements along the side. It made clean up a breeze. I say, if you have a way to mix and measure everything all at once, go for it!  As far as ease and clean-up of this recipe are concerned, I think that was one of the best parts. It made much less mess than a homemade pizza dough does.

As far as serving size is concerned: ITS HUGE! This recipe is a single serving 9 inch pizza, and when I worked out the amount of carbs per this serving it seemed too good to be true, but it is.  Here are my measurements. We had pepperoni and mushroom pizzas.

Cauliflower- 2.2 grams carbs
Cheese- 0.7 grams carbs
Egg- 0.24 grams carbs
Mushrooms- 0.5 grams carbs
Pizza sauce- 1/4 cup at 4 grams per serving (I didn't use that much, but I don't want to sit down and figure out how much of a percentage of 1/4 cup 3 TBS is....and some people like really saucy pizza so...there you go...)
Pepperoni- 16 slices= 1 gram carbs

So, your own personal, giant 9 inch pizza is 8.64 grams of carbs!!!!

(Somewhat related but unrelated side note: I found a new favorite website to help me out:  it has carbohydrate measurements for practically EVERY food you could eat.  I will be referring to it a lot more and as I post recipes I will be trying to give you a carb total for each one so that you can see how much you're getting in a serving. )

I only ate half of my pizza with a side of salad with balsamic dressing, so I didn't even get that many. It was so big I couldn't eat it.  So, that myth of not being able to get full off of "diet food" is dispelled! 

I'm pretty sure my husband only ate half of his as well, but i also have to wonder if that has more to do with him not being 100% thrilled with it, and him having snacked all through the afternoon. (He's such a trooper. We bough a multi-pack of potato chips for snackage for our trip to Idaho and he's been eating away at them so that I have no temptation in the house. Didn't I marry a sweetie?)

In short, we will definitely be trying it again. Judging by how it turned out last night, I'd give it 2 out of 5 stars... Maybe, when I try it again with the adjustments I've thought of, that rating will go up.

All in all, if you're dieting and you have to have pizza this is a good alternative. Its not as 100% satisfying as a greasy, bready slab of pizza is, but it did kill the pregnancy craving I'd been having for over a it was pizza enough for me.

Bon appetit darlings! Let me know if you use some of my adjustments and how it turned out. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Raindrops Keep Fallin'....

We made the trip to Idaho to say goodbye to my husband's best friend. Spc. Cody Moosman.  The funeral was lovely. I think the only thing I found in bad taste was the news camera that followed the funeral processional from the church up to the cemetery... I get that its news and a big deal, but there also has to be a level of tact.   According to Cody's family, the news media wasn't supposed to do that, but they didn't even notice- so I suppose we can chalk my offense to it off to pregnancy hormones.

Our trip up was very nerve wracking. About a mile outside of Cedar City, our car decided to beep at us, and the engine shut off, leaving only the electric motor running to get us safely to the side of the road.  We got there, shut off the car, and started it again. It appeared to be working fine...until it did it again on the way up the hill...and again a while later on another hill...Jeff, being the genius he is (seriously, my husband is brilliant!) realized that it was happening when the car went over 3000 RPMs.  So...we nervously kept going, keeping the car under that 3000 RPM mark...meaning that for much of the trip we were going anywhere between 45 and 60 mph on the freeway...we stopped at a Ford servicer outside of Nephi, UT, but they didn't have anyone that was certified to work on we nervously made our way to Salt Lake City, UT.

Let me tell you, the most terrifying words you can read on a sign are "No shoulder 17 miles." Needless to say, the ride through the construction in American Fork and Provo was definitely NOT a picnic.  Especially because much of that area (coming back to Idaho) is an uphill drive. I prayed the whole way through that we wouldn't break down and cause a traffic jam.... we were almost through Provo when the person in front of us decided to stop and let someone on the on ramp into traffic. We almost rear ended them because they stopped so suddenly, and in return were almost rear ended by a giant yellow semi...fortunately, we AND the semi had good brakes...fortunately, Heavenly Father was looking out for us...

Our Tom Tom is out of date, and we refuse to pay the arm and the leg to update it (maybe we should, but we find for the most part it gets us to where we want to go.) So we had a little trouble locating a Ford servicer. It would say there was one in one place, and it wasn't there anymore...fortunately, my husband is also not afraid to stop and ask for directions. We pulled off at a Sears Auto Store to ask for directions to one. They were super helpful... but Jeff turned too soon and we ended up back on the freeway headed we had to turn around...After a very, VERY long drive, we finally made it to help.

The dealership was super kind.  They originally had asked if there was any way we could leave the car overnight and let them look at it in the morning, but when they found out that we were on our way up for a funeral the next day, they bent over backwards to help us. I fully intend to send them a good old fashioned thank you note sometime this week, that is for sure.  The manager of the mechanics asked one of his Hybrid guys if he was willing to stay late to take a look and possibly fix it, and explained our situation. The mechanic agreed...we probably ended up paying through the nose for it when it came to labor- but it was very nice of them to be willing to do everything they could to get us out and on the road before they closed.  3 hours and $817 later, we were back on the road...


However, in a way, we can see the hand of the Lord in it. We had just recently paid off a huge chunk on our credit card, making it possible for us to fix the car...also, if the problem had gone unchecked there may have been a possibility of us needing a $9,000 transmission repair...that's what we paid for the car... so I will take an  $800 bill over $9000...thank you very much! Heavenly Father was being as good to us as he could be...and I'm grateful for what little silver lining I can find when things seem to be going badly, that is for sure.

Of course, already agitated by burning up $800 on our credit card, it didn't help when we pulled out onto the freeway to make the rest of the trip to Preston, ID and a cement truck lovingly flipped a rock up and cracked our perfect windshield...I think my husband's exasperated cry of , "Come on! Is there anything else you want to throw at us? BRING IT!" said it all for both of us- we were at the end of our rope.... we drove, watching the crack spread and listening to the sounds of our 9 month old screaming in the back seat... the last 2 hours of the trip were a little slice of heaven, let me tell you... I think the only thing that made it palatable was discovering that Faith thinks the "Mahna Mahna" song by the Muppets is hilarious. She stopped crying momentarily and giggled every time the "doo dooo dee doo doo"s came on...

Things seemed to calm down almost immediately once we got to Preston. We unpacked the car as quickly as possible and put the Little Diva to bed...of course, she wasn't happy. She wanted her crib and all we had was a measly Pack and Play that was hard and didn't have a lot of room for her to roll around, but her exhaustion managed to win after about 10 minutes of screaming and she was out like a light.

The funeral was the next day (I've already given my thoughts on that.) The whole town came out to support Cody and his family...literally. Businesses that were along the route of the funeral procession closed their doors and all the employees and customers stood along the road holding flags or their hands over their hearts. All the scouts, cubs, and their masters were along the funeral route holding flags...some of them were literally giving all they had. It was a warm day and a couple of the cubs close to the church ended up passing out in the heat while holding the flags!  It was crazy, but once they were revived, they came to and insisted on continuing to hold their flags.  A national group called the Patriot Riders came and made sure there were more flags being held at every entrance to the church and along the route. They even rode ahead of the funeral procession to make sure there were flags being held as the procession pulled into the cemetery...Jeff said that Cody never would have believed he could be a celebrity for a week or would have wanted it, but that is what he got.

We visited Cody's mom and dad on our way out of town and she said that the military had offered to let him be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. She was touched and in awe of the offer. She knew that her son felt he was just doing his job, and she felt that way too. She said it was an honor even to hae the offer, but she wanted him close so she could visit.

Well, we spent the rest of the trip seeing family we haven't seen in almost a year. We had to travel around to see Jeff's busy brothers and sisters, each stop was wonderful and we were so grateful that they were able to take time out of their days to accommodate us.  My family managed to throw 2 was somewhat impromptu at my little sister's house (she wasn't anticipating we'd be there in time for dinner and had invited my parents over, but was all too gracious and amazing and invited not only us, but my older sister and her brood as well so that everyone could get time with me and my little fam! You rock Kiersten Lynn, you rock!)  My older sister also threw an awesome BBQ at her house on Monday. It was fun to watch all the kids run around and play and the burgers and salads were delicious! Thank you to you too Amber Sue!  

Things would have been much more fun on the trip if the Divine Miss Cupcake hadn't decided to drop on Sunday.  I was pretty much miserable the rest of the time and having scary pregnancy symptoms, some that I knew were normal, but since I didn't experience them with Faith they made me very nervous... Since I was feeling so "off" I checked our insurance company website to make sure that I would be able to get medical care if I needed it and had no luck. There was no hospital in even a 200 mile radius that would take our insurance.  I continued on, feeling miserable and worried for the next few days and finally asked my husband if we could cut the trip a few days short...he heard my concerns, agreed with me that something was off and we decided to head back sooner...

It ended up working out in the end. The day before we planned to make our departure, the doctor's office that I get my ultrasounds done at called and asked if I wanted to come in on a Saturday to get my ultrasound and work done instead of on Monday at my original appointment time...we agreed and hit the road on Friday. The trip home...was a breeze...

Saturday morning, we got my answer about why I was feeling "off"...3 weeks ago I took the Gestational Diabetes test. My doc orders the long form of the test first instead of messing with the 1 hour...the high risk doctor at the place where I do my ultrasounds broke the bad news...I was positive...

I have been kind of upset about it. I took the test 3 weeks ago, and no one bothered to call me to tell me it was positive? The best explanation my high risk doc could give was that the Independence Day holiday may have backed up test results at the lab that my regular OB outsources to. He said they had only received the test results that Friday from my regular OB, so its possible that they hadn't had them for long...

If anything, I'm kind of glad that the high risk doc broke the news. He was very kind and gave me lots of good advice for what to expect. He also reassured me that he will be more involved from now on (which gave me comfort considering how my OB treated me at my last regular appointment. He is usually so nice, but at my last appointment he was kind of a jerk.) and that they will be doing everything they can to make sure that my baby gets here healthy and safe and that I remain healthy and safe in the process.

In short, there is a very real possibility that this baby will have an August birthday instead of a September birthday. We will know after we have another ultrasound at 36 weeks to determine if her belly is getting any more distended than it already is from the extra sugars in her liver.  Apparently, the big concern, if baby isn't showing signs of being high birth weight, is a distended belly that is bigger than the head and can't fit through the birth canal. So, while my baby is measuring to be on track to be an average 7 lbs baby, the belly is measuring a little large in circumference. Again, we will know more in about a month.

So...this means I get to be on a no/low carb diet for the next little while. I will be posting recipes as I come up with them, because at this point I'm at a loss. Its funny, when I was first diagnosed with Insulin Resistance my freshman year of college, I lived and stuck to a low carb lifestyle for years, but as my condition has improved and my medication has worked to help my body process sugars better, I've been able to be a little more lax and let bread, potatoes, and rice back into my life...its so funny that this is such a hard adjustment and that I am having a hard time coming up with things to eat.  I guess I have the added factor of a hungry husband who is already very skinny and losing carbs isn't a good idea for him...which means I have to find more ways to compromise than I did when I was single.

However, I've decided that my silver lining is this: I'd already fully intended to go on a low carb diet after baby got here to lose baby weight and to start feeling healthy again, so this will just give me practice and get me back into the groove a little sooner. Since I'm pregnant any not only my health, but also my baby's health is at stake, it will make it much harder to want to cheat because it would mean that I could be hurting baby, and we definitely don't want that.

Again, be watching for recipes. I will post them as I come up with them as well as tips to include carbs for the people in your house that want them or need them to survive.

I'm not sure how long they will have to monitor me for the diabetes after baby comes, so I will definitely be talking to the diabetic counselor about low carb diets and breast feeding. If I come up with any juicy info for those of you out there that are expecting, or recently had a baby and are breastfeeding and would like to know, I will be sure to pass that information along too. I am supposed to meet with a diabetic counselor this week sometime, so you can be looking for that information as well. :)

In short, as I conclude this little post, when it rains it pours...but I can say how grateful I am that I have been able to stay in the mindset to be looking for the blessings in my trials where I can.  Things in life may not always be perfect, in fact- often times its downright hard. However, I am so grateful for a loving God who is cushioning the fall when bad things happen.  He doesn't give us anything that we can't handle without His help. We just need to remember to be looking for him... remember that at the end of a storm there will be a rainbow in the sky just waiting for eager eyes to discover it!

I won't lie, when we were paying an $800 bill to get the car fixed, and when I was fighting through the anger of having been positive for Gestational Diabetes for 3 weeks without being informed (and having eaten all the junk I did while I was on the trip...)  it was hard and I wasn't looking for God...but I am so grateful for the knowledge that He hears and answers prayers because when I prayed, I was able to center myself and I was able to start seeing where He was working his magic to make my life a little more bearable through the hard stuff.

Here's to a new journey starting...low carb, here I come...and Baby #2...Hopefully if anyone is out there struggling with similar problems I can be of assistance. I am excited to see the diabetic counselor and update my education on living a healthy low carb lifestyle, as well as how to continue that lifestyle after baby so that we both can benefit.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Veggie and Pesto Skillet

So....I will start with my husband's critical assessment of tonight's dish...

Quote 1: "Its so good-its almost disappointing because its so healthy, but then there's the bacon."
Quote 2: "This is really, REALLY good. Definitely a make again."

Isn't he so convincing when it comes to trying my culinary endeavors?

When I'm pregnant, I find myself craving certain flavors and I usually find that I'm a little more adventurous in the kitchen than I normally am...sometimes the results are disastrous, but then there are nights like tonight where all of the flavors that I want marry together into one harmonious dish.

The bonus of tonight's dish- Its actually semi healthy.  Yes, there is some butter when it comes to getting a nice crisp hash on the potatoes and the bacon....but other than that, its all summer veggies that you will find in your garden or really cheap in the store right now because its all in season.

Originally, I had intended the zucchini, bacon, and onion sautee part of tonight's dish to be on a bed of linguini tossed in pesto sauce...and you could totally do that (it would probably make it a bit more healthy because you're not cooking with the extra butter...) but I was craving potatoes tonight and decided we'd give it a whirl, if it was a disaster then, oh well...

Here's what you'll need:

4 medium red potatoes, diced
2 medium zuchinni, sliced
1 small red onion (or regular onion would work, red is just what we had in the house.)
1/2 package of bacon, cut into bits
2-4 Tbs of butter
1/4-1/2 c Pesto (to taste, you may like it with more or less pesto mixed in.)
parmesan cheese (optional, topping)
diced tomatoes (optional, topping)
onion salt (optional topping)

Here's what you do:

In a frying pan, melt the butter. Put the potatoes into the pan and cover with a lid for about 5 minutes to tenderize them. Add garlic salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste (keeping in mind that you're going to be tossing them in pesto later) Allow them to fry on each side and turn them to get a lovely hash/fry on each side.  Remove the potatoes from the pan to a large bowl

Add the raw, cut up bacon and allow it to start cooking down. After about 2 minutes add the onions. Cook together until onions are translucent (aka getting a bit of a sautee, about half done) add the sliced zucchini and salt and pepper to taste(they will take less time to sautee- keep in mind again, as you season, that the zucchini are going to be tossed in pesto)  Cook until the zucchini is sufficiently sauteed and them mix in the bowl with the potatoes (trying to drain off as much of the grease as possible as you transfer it over.)

Add the pesto and toss. Be careful how much you add at first, depending on the pesto you use, you may need more or less.  Allow the dish to sit for a few minutes so all the flavors can "marry" together.

Dish into a bowl or onto a plate. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, then tomatoes, then sprinkle onion powder to taste...enjoy!

The perks of this dish?

If you want a vegetarian option, you can TOTALLY forgo the bacon and just use a bit of butter or oil of your choice to sautee the rest of the veggies...

If you're not a potato person, you can always opt to toss a pasta in the pesto and then cover it with the veggies and toppings, so its versatile.

Its in season right now- everything is probably getting ready to come out of your garden or is already sitting in your fridge right now.

For those of you trying to keep your "bikini bod", its light and semi-healthy so you don't have to feel like you need to do a million crunches to make up for eating it.

Its fast! It literally took me 20 minutes to cook everything so A) it won't heat up your kitchen B) its technically a better option than a fast food salad because it probably will take you longer to find your keys and drive somewhere...

Bon Appetit

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence Day Round-up

Well, another July 4th has come and gone.

We had planned on spending the afternoon at the park, having a picnic and letting the Little Diva play in the splash pad...but the weather decided not to cooperate.

Sadly...this is the only picture I have to show for our Independence Day
We did manage to have our picnic, but it was very windy and heavy rain was threatening to pour down on us at any while we did have the camera, it didn't even make it out of the diaper bag. We ate as leisurely as the weather would allow and then decided it would be best to take off when the clouds started getting blacker and we started hearing thunder...

The Little Diva wasn't very pleased with all the wind, but she managed to end up pretty content while my handsome husband and I ate our lunch as she had a sippy full of apple juice all to herself.

The weather kind of matched the mood of our day...

Our morning started with us trying to finalize plans...deciding whether or not we wanted brave the fireworks that night with a cranky 8 month old who would, undoubtedly, make it not so fun to be out that late waiting (her bedtime is usually between 6 and 7 at night and the fireworks didn't start until 9) We also were considering what would happen if the weather cleared up and if I, in all my third trimester of pregnancy glory,  could handle sitting in the heat...the plans were decided...we'd definitely shoot for a picnic and bring stuff for the splash pad in case we felt weather was good enough, but after that the tone and the meaning of the day changed completely...

I was logged into Facebook, checking to see what friends were up to and I ran across a piece of news that stopped me on a friend dedicated their status to one of my husband's best friends in the whole world, who had apparently lost his life the day before fighting for our freedom in Afghanistan.

I shouted out a shocked, "WHAT?!" and Jeff, being a good husband, was intrigued...but I didn't know how to tell I just told him.

He had been playing Call of Duty on Xbox, his controller dropped and he sat there for a minute and then came and took over my computer. He logged into his Facebook account to try to get to the bottom of what was going on...after a few minutes of disbelief I saw my sweet, strong husband cry for only the 3rd time ever.

I think we're still trying to make sense of everything.

Only a few days before his friend had been able to log into Facebook before being sent out on another mission and had left a status saying how much he loved and missed all of his friends and family and that he had hoped they were having a good day.

Only a few months ago, Jeff was talking about trying to get online with his friend to play on Xbox before he left for Afghanistan...I may not have ever had the pleasure of meeting my husband's friend in person, but he was a presence. He and Jeff kept in contact frequently, and it always seemed like they weren't living across the country from each other, like they'd only just seen one another...

My heart is a little sad because its hard to watch Jeff be sad. All day on Wednesday our conversation floated between normal every day life and this big giant elephant that I could tell was sitting on my husband's chest- his grief for his friend and his friend's family.... As we listened to the radio in the car, the kept saying "Happy 4th of July" and Jeff said, "You know, its called Independence Day for a reason."  He talked about how just saying the day of the week doesn't do the sacrifice that our service men and women make on a daily basis justice.

I guess, for my little family, Independence Day took on a whole new meaning, and I hope I never forget it, I hope we never forget it...and I don't think we will. Private Cody Moosman, one of my husband's best friends in the whole world, gave his life while defending a patrol in Afghanistan on July 3, 2012...and because of his brave sacrifice, Independence Day will forever have a new meaning in my heart...I am somewhat ashamed to admit, that while I was fully aware of the sacrifices that the men and women in our military have made and continue to make on our behalf, until this year it has never had the impact that it should have. My dad was even in the National Guard and got a purple heart for goodness sake, and it still just hadn't sunk in. I've always been proud to be an American, but now Independence Day is about so much more than just being thankful for my free country...

There are so many who have given and continue to give so much to keep my family safe, to keep other people in other nations safe...I am in awe of the selflessness that goes into that kind of a sacrifice. My thoughts have been drifting back and forth between normal life and silent prayers for Cody's family, friends and the family and friends of other men and women that were wounded or killed in that fire fight that took Cody.

As my husband said on Wednesday," Freedom is not free, and no amount of money can replace the blood spilled to preserve it." 

It is going to be my humble prayer that I can make sure that my children will know my husband's friend, and his sacrifice...and from now on, our Independence Day celebration will include a moment where we talk about the brave men and women who continue to fight and pay the price with their blood so that we can be free. That our day won't just be about mindless celebration, picnics and barbecues, but that we will have a time that is devoted to those amazing people who love their country, their family, and their friends enough that they are willing to give their lives if necessary to preserve their way of life and keep them safe.

Join me?

Hugs and Loves until next time darlings.