Long story short; I did some serious damage to my finger with my new Wusthof knife.
At the time I was home alone with the baby, who simultaneously woke up from a nap as I lopped the end of my finger off.
I was being really stupid with my knife. I was rushing to get a few jobs done while the baby was asleep, one of which was prepping dinner. I really REALLY stupidly held up a big piece of pork I was working on to score the thick skin with my knife. I had to apply quite a lot of force to break through the pig’s skin but when my knife slipped off the piece of pork and onto my finger, my lovely new knife slid through my own flesh like it was butter.
I have had a few nasty cuts over my years as a chef so my instincts led me to hold onto the cut with my other hand and to hold it over the sink, basically saving me the job of having to mop the floor later on top of anything else. I scanned the kitchen for something suitable to wrap it in to stop the bleeding (a tissue would have been ineffective) and found a flannel which I wound round the gushing finger a few times and clenched my fist to apply pressure. Then to deal with Captain Screamalot upstairs.
I went up to the baby and realised that I couldn’t even pick him up due my leaky hand which was, by then starting to soak through the flannel and down my arm in warm sticky drips. I held my bloody hand up and used my other to gently rub his chest whilst trying to say soothing things. At this, he thankfully stopped crying and started to stare and reach out for the shiny red thing in Mummy’s hand. I considered knocking on a neighbours door to ask them to hold the baby for ten minutes while I tried to do a better job of stemming the bleeding and maybe phone round for someone to pick Audrey up so I could go to minor injuries but I assumed that they would all be out at work or would think I was an incompetent mother. I phoned a few local friends but they were all out. I phoned my Mum but she was on the M25.
As I am in my thirties now, and have two children, I do feel that I need to just get on with it and cope in most situations, but at that particular moment what I really wanted to do was just have a little cry and for someone to make me a cup of tea and bring me a chocolate biscuit and just sort everything out for me.
After realising that that was not going to happen I pulled myself together and wrapped a massive muslin around my whole hand and sort of tied it up at my wrist. This enabled me to pick him up and take him for a rather impressive one handed nappy change.
I called in reinforcements after remembering that the Mum of Audrey’s best friend at preschool lives down the road and is on maternity leave. I gave her a ring and thankfully she came round to deal with the baby for a bit while I dared to unwrap the wound, have a look and wrap it up properly to at least stop the bleeding until I could get to minor injuries.
After this incident I am definitely definitely going to stock our first aid box with things other than Peppa pig plasters and lollipops. In the end I fashioned together an effective bandage from breast pads, sellotape and a very tightly wound dribble bib. My wound dressing even had a Velcro fastener!
I managed the preschool pick up with my gigantic bandaged finger. After we got home and it was just me and the kids Audrey was a bit upset about my bandage and kept being eerily well behaved and forcing me to have bites of her chocolate digestive biscuit.
I put on a film for Audrey and then snook off to cram digestive biscuits in my mouth in the kitchen and call Sam to have a whinge about the whole situation. Five minutes later my in laws phoned up to offer some help,
“No, no, I’m fine, we can manage.” I say with both kids crying in the background, phone lodged under chin and using non injured hand to spread a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Have you ever tried to spread anything onto bread using only one hand? It’s so much fun especially when the bread is lovely and soft and crumbly and the butter is hard from the fridge. My finger starts throbbing again and I can feel the blood starting to loosen my sellotape/breast pad bandage.
Should’ve bought the lansinoh pads. They are definitely the best.
“Actually, um, if you’re not doing anything, um, maybe some help would be good.”
Grandma and Grandpa came over and I got my finger fixed up at Minor Injuries with steristrips. I was very relived not to have real stitches after my last experience.
I feel so grateful for the existence of steristrips. If only they could be applied to any area of the body.
My last experience with stitches was one of the worst 30 minutes or so of my life. I had no idea that it would be impossible to anaesthetise certain areas of your body or that the universe could be so cruel that after labour, childbirth and multiple tears of that area, the next thing on the agenda would be to have someone shine a spotlight down there and spend a good half an hour turning it into a cross stitch tapestry. They let me keep the gas and air but no matter how sharply I breathed in, it really didn’t take me to where I wanted to be which was, at that time, in a totally unconscious and pain free state.
The worst thing about it, was that as soon as they had finished stitching up one area, another bit they had just finished would start to come undone, so then they went back and started over again. I swear they did one part three times. The third time it unravelled I refused to let them carry on.
Really when you think about all the trauma involved in childbirth, it really is just awful awful awful. And yes of course it is worth it and no, not all women have a bad experience but it is easy to dismiss someone’s experience, which, good or bad, is still important to them.
I mean, what wouldn’t you go through for your child? Mothers or Fathers? Wouldn’t you go through any torture or pain for their lives and if, by some weird horrible incident, you were put through torture for the life of your child (which included the ripping apart and tearing of your genitals and then someone spending half an hour poking into the wounds with a needle) wouldn’t you feel a bit dismissed if someone just said,
“Oh well, never mind, they’re worth it aren’t they?”
Yes, they’re worth it but OH MY GOD what just happened to me? That was not ok.
I realise that this is not a nice thing to read for someone expecting a baby and would just like to say some things to reassure you if that is you;
1., You will probably not be as unlucky as me. Most women have no complications.
2., Normally when they do stitches they can make it pain free and anaesthetise it all. I was just unlucky with where the tears were.
3., The labour part was fine this time and loads faster, went in pool, did it with gas and air, felt (can’t bring myself to say good) natural and kind of calm.
4., When I picked him up out of the pool and held him in the water all by myself and said “It’s a BOY!” to everyone and kissed him, it was one of the best moments of my life.
5., I refused to have some of the stitches done and the rest came out a couple of days later and guess what? Everything healed up just fine anyway without the bloody stitches so you could get them to talk through not having them done if they cannot do it pain free for you.
Anyway, when they develop steristrips for the vagina it will be a good day for women. I was so relieved when the nurse at minor injuries got the steristrips out to fix my finger. It did hurt a bit when they washed the little lopped off part with salt water and when they pushed the edges of the cut together to tape it all up but really, it was not too bad at all.
Besides, once you have have had three different parts of your vagina stitched up, several times in one sitting, without pain relief, you are practically Jack Bauer.
Now to work on my sleeper hold.