Antiviral Herbs and Plants, Free Ebook

This is a free E Book to help you understand importance of antiviral herbs and plants. Viruses are responsible for a number of human pathogeneses. Herbal medicines and purified natural products provide a rich resource for novel antiviral drug development.

This free EBook is jam packed with information that you can start using today! The information is easily understandable and filled with recipes you can use to protect yourself and your family from viral attacks.

To receive this free Ebook, please enter your email below. The book Antiviral Herbs and Plants will be emailed to you.

Coronavirus, What you need to know part 1

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP).

Important Information About COVID-19 or Coronavirus

Note: This will be updated periodically as new info becomes available

  1. If you have a runny nose and a productive cough, you likely have a cold.
  2. Pneumonia caused by COVID-19 is a dry cough without a runny nose
  3. A COVID-19 related cough/sneeze can travel up to 10 feet.
  4. On metallic surfaces, the virus survives at least 12 hours, copper 4 hours, cloth 6-12 hours, in air up to 3 hours. Washing hands thoroughly or normal wash cycle for clothing takes care of the virus.
  5. Drinking a little water every 15 minutes is very effective for all viruses. As viruses accumulate in the nasal/mouth passage, they can be washed down by the water into the stomach where gastric juices take care of them. This is an opinion, not a proven fact, but makes common sense. 
  6. The virus will last only 5-10 minutes on your hand. I suspect the time is a lot longer, that is if anti-bacterial soap or wipes (this is a virus, not bacteria!) are being used since this disrupts the natural immunity living on the skin. In my opinion, regular soap is a better option.
  7. Remember, soap works by mechanical means, scrubbing the hands for at least 20 seconds will be effective at removing the virus.
  8. Gargle with salt water or echinacea in water.
  9. I emphasize, drink a lot of water!

COVID-19 Symptoms:

  1. Starts with sore throat 3 to 4 days.
  2. 5-6 days later moves to lungs. To test your lungs: hold breath for 10 seconds. Should be effortless and without pain. (Per the UK Department of Health and Social Care. My opinion: this only works if you have no previous lung issues)
  3. With the resultant pneumonia patients: experience high fever and breathing difficulties.
  4. 80% of the infected have very little in way of symptoms. The 20% remaining tend to be the high-risk group, the elderly, and the infirm.

Added note: It is becoming increasingly clear that the virus specifically targets elderly that are frail, the infirm, and those with chronic health conditions. I advise that subgroup of our population to not travel and avoid crowds.

Updated March 14, 2020. 

Lower Body Training – Triple Flexion and Stability (post Caesarean safe)

 

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Click this image to see full video

 

 

Training agility, stability and functionality is important for joint and muscle movement. For both beginners and professionals. For both speed and strength.

And especially for rehab and recovery- which is what I am using for.

Today’s workout is two basic moves:

1. Triple flexion
15 reps x 4 sets
2. Kb overhead lunge 15×4
15 reps x 4 sets

✅ safe for post partum cesarean surgery

✅ engage stomach vacuums and kegels

✅ recovery and mobilisation for lower body

Click link to see full video

 

Healthy Habits for Baby’s First Foods

I love introducing food to my (then) 5 month old. I love seeing him smack his lips and try to grab food before it’s even in front of his mouth. Baby’s are super explorers and everything in their environment will play with their senses. Baby’s have a natural instinct to put EVERYTHING in their mouth. So hand them a cucumber or carrot (not boiled) and let them explore the taste and texture.

Too often I see mothers complaining that their child does not like food. This always comes to the problem rooting in the behaviours of the mother – NOT THE CHILD. Impatience while dealing with babies who love exploring with food is teaching our kids to not develop a love for eating. You have to have the patience to allow your child to play with food, and make a mess. This is where we build trust with them, spend precious moments and let them develop the art of feeding oneself.

Here are my rules of feeding the baby. I noticed and noted my own patterns and I think it may help you too.

  1. SHOW THEM WHAT THEY ARE EATING
    This is first and foremost. Instead of forcing food into their mouth while they are distracted, show him the spoon / bottle. Bring it close to the mouth and wait for him to open his mouth. Gently, food the food inside and let him move it around, he may even spit it out – which is ok! Tasting food is delighting to the senses. He may or may not like the taste at first. First foods are not meant to fill the belly, but rather allow the gut to start processing whole foods; and let baby learn to swallow food – which is different to have milk. Show your baby the food, make eye to eye contact, this establishes trust. 
  2. DO NOT FORCE FEED
    This is absolutely important. Do not shove a spoon of food in his mouth. How would you like that being done to you few times a day? You would hate it and end up hating food too. This is a true test of patience for the mother. No matter what the age of your baby is. Force feeding is setting up troubles for the future. Having a healthy relationship with food starts by having feelings of welcoming food into the mouth, not by having it force fed.
  3. DO NOT DISTRACT BABY WITH SCREENS OR TOYS DURING FEEDING
    I can not stress enough how important this point is. With modern times, we have many modern habits that are damaging to the development of the child’s brain and personality. Screens are unfortunately, one of them. Yes, as a mother feeding and making sure his tummy is full is the first priority. Playing video while feeding may help you finish the food in the bowl, but it is also dampening the childs senses. He is not paying attention to the food and enjoying it, rather swallowing it like a zombie. 

    It is important to understand effects of screen time on the brain, particularly during stages of dynamic brain development in early childhood. Hunger and satiation is a feeling regulated by hormones. Keeping an eye on the screen is not allowing or teaching your child to listen to his body. 

     

     

    Screenshot 2019-11-22 at 1.16.58 PM
    Scans showed changes in the white matter – parts of the brain that affect language – in kids who had the most screen time, US scientists warned.                                            Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

    Children who spent the most time on electronic devices or watching TV, were more likely to have lower expressive language, as found by lead author John Hutton, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Scientists believe screen time fails to stimulate the brain in the same way as reading books and can reduce sleep – which is essential for a child’s development.

    Dr Hutton said: “This study raises questions as to whether at least some aspects of screen-based media use in early childhood may provide sub-optimal stimulation during this rapid, formative state of brain development.”

    The researchers found kids hooked on screens had less white matter – the part of the brain that enables communication between neurons.This can impair brain organisation and the formation of myelin – a protective sheath around nerves that allows impulse to move quickly.

  4. LET THEM PLAY
    Playing with food allows for the child’s senses of exploring to develop. He is still learning where his mouth is, to aim food in the mouth and practice using proper portions. Gagging and spitting out is part of this process of learning. According to a new study out of the University of Iowa, kids who smoosh, smash and even throw their food are actually learning as they play with their meals. The study also suggests that these messy eaters may be better and faster learners in the long run. Published in the journal Developmental Science, the study looked at how a group of 72 toddlers learned to identify nonsolid objects like oatmeal, applesauce and milk. The researchers found that the children who, quite literally, got their hands dirty playing and messing with each substance tended to learn words associated with these goopy items more quickly than those who didn’t. Playing with food allows kids become less picky with food.

  5. TALK TO THE BABY
    Do you speak to you baby in full sentences? Ask questions? Smile and interact? These are very important even at the earliest age of few months. This goes hand in hand with not allowing any screens. Speak about the food, and let the baby interact with you and the food. I like to give my son with a spoon of his own to play around with. I love talking about food too. 

    Lastly, let your baby watch you eat. Yes this may be hectic but it is so worth it. Let your child see you eat, enjoy food and love eating. This is super important in helping him love food too. We love food ourselves. This majorly due to allowing ourselves to explore different foods and try new things. Your baby is not different. Let your little scientist explore the world around them. Food is such a big part of life. He should enjoy every little chance he gets. 

If You Suffer from PCOS Supplement with Inositol

One particularly significant natural method of treating PCOS is inositol, a sugar alcohol chemical compound found in fruits, beans, grains and nuts (although it is not always bioavailable in these foods if presented with phytates). In nutrition, inositol is present in the highest levels in cantaloupeand oranges.

What Is Inositol?

Inositol is a chemical compound with nine stereoisomers, which is just a scientific way of saying that it exists in nature in nine almost identical forms. It’s technically a rearranged form (“isomer”) of glucose, which means it is a natural sugar. (1) This simple carbohydrate (most accurately defined as a sugar alcohol) is quickly broken down to be used as an energy source in the body.

Inositol is used in the body a few different ways. For one, it’s essential in the process of building cell membranes. It’s also a “secondary messenger” in your central nervous system, which is one reason it’s known to increase the impact of neurotransmitters in your brain and, maybe, why it causes some mood-boosting effects in certain people. In addition, two forms of it together (myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol, in a 40:1 ratio) increase insulin sensitivity. (2)

This molecule has some pretty powerful health benefits. Researchers typically use the various forms in powdered extract (supplement) form, but there are many foods that are rich in it.

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photo credit google images

Supplement with Inositol

One particularly significant natural method of treating PCOS is inositol, a sugar alcohol chemical compound found in fruits, beans, grains and nuts (although it is not always bioavailable in these foods if presented with phytates). In nutrition, inositol is present in the highest levels in cantaloupeand oranges.

Most sources investigate inositol in supplement form, although the specifics can get a little tricky as there are two types of inositol: myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. However, the research seems to support that inositol can greatly improve PCOS symptoms. Multiple studies have shown that supplementation may improve insulin resistance, decrease male hormones in the bloodstream, and lower blood pressure and high triglycerides. The recommended dosage for naturally treating polycystic ovarian syndrome is a 40:1 ratio of myo-inositol to D-chiro-inositol, typically 2000:50 grams or 4000:100 grams. (3, 4, 5, 6)

Most notably, inositol seems to promote ovulation, which, in turn, may support fertility. In one study, only 6 percent of control group participants experienced menstrual cycles versus 86 percent in the inositol group, results that seem to be supported by follow-up research. (7)

Using inositol supplements and eating foods high in this nutrient may also help combat some of the mental risks involved with PCOS, since inositol has been found to combat these in several human studies. Examples of this include:

  • Depression (8910)
  • Panic disorder (1112)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (49)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) (13)
  • Anxiety (14)

Other that inositol, PCOS requires nutritional therapy that can help balance hormones. If you have not been considering your food intake, this may be your wake up call.

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photo credit google images

While not every natural solution will work in the same way for every woman with PCOS, there are many natural remedies for PCOS that may work effectively. Nine examples of these are to:

  1. Give your diet a makeover (with a keto or anti-inflammatory diet)
  2. Get enough rest
  3. Exercise in an appropriate way
  4. Avoid exposure to endocrine disruptors
  5. Supplement with inositol
  6. Try acupuncture
  7. Get more vitamin D
  8. Try other PCOS supplements (magnesium, zinc, calcium, omega-3s, chromium, N-acetylcysteine and folic acid)
  9. Visit a chiropractor

Need a support group? Join our women only support group Total Transformation by Marina Farook. 

Exercise for Glowing Skin

I get the most compliments on my skin right after a workout. It’s not a secret, a regular intense workout routine is a big part of my skin care regimen. You don’t have to purchase too many cosmetics for glowing young skin. You can keep tight plump skin as you age.

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Exercise Daily
Breakouts are caused by inflammation. Working out regularly lowers cortisol levels, therefore lowering inflammation in the body and preventing acne. Exercise of all types decreases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and increase endorphins, which improve mood and reduce perception of pain.

While exercising can increase cortisol, people who exercise regularly actually adapt to this. So it’s more common to break out if you’re new to exercise. Sauna has many benefits, including opening up your pores and starting your body’s natural anti-aging process. Think of it as a workout and steaming your face at the same time.

We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant.

Exercise – The Best Cleanser

By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin. The job of neutralizing toxins belongs mostly to the liver. But by increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system. You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.

Less Wrinkle & More Glow

A lifetime of regular exercise slows down aging, study finds. Researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London have found that staying active keeps the body young and healthy.

Exercise is now the first scientifically proven “anti-aging” medicine for humans. The muscles of healthy seniors who did six months of resistance training actually rejuvenated. Read this interesting study on this. 

A good workout will actually help your body in the production of collagen and this keeps your skin firm and supple. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Easy way to get more collagen is to eat more red meat, fish and whole eggs. The best source is to have beef shank with bone broth.

When you get your heart pumping from aerobic exercise, your skin receives a good dose of oxygenated blood. Your skin also starts producing more of its natural oils, helping skin look healthy and naturally moisturized.

Feeling Stressed? How Your Skin, Hair And Nails Can Show It.

Pending job cuts at the office. Back-to-back final exams. A messy divorce. An unexpected surgery. What do they all have in common? In a word – stress. While everyone knows that stress can take a toll on a person physically and psychologically, it also can lead to dermatologic problems, such as acne, brittle nails or even hair loss.

When a person becomes stressed, the level of the body’s stress hormone (cortisol) rises. This in turn causes an increase in oil production, which can lead to oily skin, acne and other related skin problems. Dr. Mayoral ( dermatologist Flor A. Mayoral, MD, FAAD, clinical instructor in the departments of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Fla.) noted that even patients with skin that is not affected by acne tend to develop temporary stress-related acne due to increased oil production. Read more of this interesting study here.

When to Workout

It’s never too late to begin a proper workout regimen. Check out this article if you need help designing your workout routine. Have you started working out to improve your skin ? What is you favorite routine? Let us know below.

From Me to We – Shaheena Chowdhury’s Birth Story

“9 o’ clock sharp,” I reminded my then-husband the night before the surgery. 

“I’ll be there well before 9,” came back his tired voice.

I put the phone away and shut my eyes. I tried hard to fall asleep, but anxiety got the better of me. I tossed and turned in the uncomfortable hospital bed all night. The padding underneath the sheets did little to soften the thin, coir mattress. The room felt warmer than normal – maybe it was just my body. My mum-in-law was fast asleep in another bed across the room, and for the first time I envied her. 

So many thoughts raced through my mind. “Why isn’t the sedative working?”

“Did I remember to take all the medications?”

“Where does the enema go – through the mouth or the butt? Is it painful?”

“I just had my meal and I’m hungry again! I had no idea my digestive system was super-efficient!”

“Will the baby take after me or his dad? Oh Allah! Make him resemble me!”

“They will probably give me an epidural, won’t they? Or, will they? Is it necessary for a C-section? I know some women give birth without the epidural. Wait now! What does an epidural do?”

“Subhanallah! They’re going to cut me open in a few hours and I’m feeling so helpless!”

“Why did I get married in the first place? Why did I have to start a family? Why didn’t I think through all of this?”

The call for fajr prayers interrupted my thoughts. I prayed 2 rakat and stopped worrying for a while. I was too exhausted to worry anymore. 

At 8 o’ clock, thin beams of sunlight fell on my face.  I made a trip to the lavatory which was surprisingly smooth considering my struggle with constipation since the time I conceived. I was assisted to a wheelchair after my parents showed up. No sign of the baby’s dad yet. 

I was wheeled to the operating suite which was brighter and cleaner than the rest of the hospital. A member of the hospital staff accompanied me to a changing room. She disrobed me and made me put on a thick cotton gown with rear flaps and a distinctive laundry scent. She wheeled me further into the far end of the suite where the operating room is located. We passed by surgeons and technicians who went about their business, oblivious to an 8-month pregnant woman with rat-tail braids sticking out of either side of her head. It was awkward for me since I wasn’t allowed to carry any extra articles of clothing with which to cover my head. 

The operating table stood in the centre of the room and was surrounded by machines of all sizes with red, yellow, and green buttons, and pipes attached. A male technician grabbed my elbow to help me ascend the steps to the operating table. I shrugged him off and turned around to scowl at the female nurse who simply stood and watched. She got the message and hurried towards me. She helped me lie on the table. Minutes later, I was pulled up by the arms and made to sit. I was held in that position while the epidural was injected. I was horrified to see that my request for a female anesthetist was ignored. 

The epidural acted instantly, giving me a piercing headache. The pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t utter a sound. My mum-in-law, who was allowed inside the room because she was a practising GP, heard my moans and mistook it for panic. She kept telling me it would be alright and then I mustered the strength to tell them what was really bothering me. The anesthetist responded promptly and adjusted the canula on my left arm. After a few seconds, the headache was history. 

A catheter relieved the pressure on my bladder as the obstetrician scraped through layers of tissue, muscle, and fat. From the operating table, I could view scalpel, scissors, tongs, sterilized gauze, gloved hands, and masked faces. A screen over my chest prevented me from seeing what went where. But, since I was awake, I could feel everything that was being done to me on the other side of the screen. 

At some point during the procedure, the inevitable happened. The obstetrician pulled out my bundle of joy! I was expecting to be shown a glimpse of the handsome little fellow, but he was rushed to the next room where a pediatrician received him with an incubator on hand. The room was filled with squeals of happiness which followed the newest member of the family. 

The obstetrician and her team stitched me up and left without a word. Suddenly, I found myself all alone in the operating room. I was lying on the table confused and clueless about the post-operative procedure. After a long while, two sari-clad ladies arrived and transferred me to the post-operative room on a mobile bed. I stayed in post-operative ‘care’ until evening with a fresh catheter and only a couple spoonfuls of sweet corn soup. 

The baby’s dad didn’t make it in time due to traffic. I relied on him for moral support. I feared the worst as I was being taken to the operating room. My child deserved another month inside me, but the abnormal position of the placenta made me bleed throughout the pregnancy and caused him fetal distress. After the third hemorrhage, it was the obstetrician’s call. I had no say in the matter.

The whole experience left me with zero energy, lots of pain, and twice the anxiety. The sight of Ibrahim’s tiny hands and feet punching the air from his cot gave me brief moments of relief and excitement. It was great to know that he survived the complicated pregnancy unharmed. Also, Allah answered my dua – baby Ibrahim was a carbon copy of his beautiful mum. Alhamdulillah!


Do you have a birth story you want to share? let us know below and we will get in touch with you.

 

Back at the Gym

9 weeks post partum and I finally ventured out to the gym with Baby Mansa. It was not easy! I was feeling super guilty and a “Bad Mom”. I judged myself super hard and it was nerve wrecking. Was I being selfish to think of myself and make Baby Mansa uncomfortable? What if he started crying and I couldn’t workout? Would it be a bother to other people to see a stroller in the gym. Yes I was thinking things I never thought before. The entire car ride to the gym both Yousuf and I was quite just thinking about how to handle going back to gym with a baby.

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Thank goodness and thank you sweet child Baby Mansa (masha Allah); half way through my workout I realised everything was OK and Baby Mansa was doing great! He was fed and didn’t get fussy. He loved going around in his stroller and seeing everything. The gym members were so excited to see us back and with a baby. I even got a change of diaper in between. I had a great 45 mins of HIIT cardio. A big sigh of relief!

It is recommended to wait 3 full months before working out, but walking is necessary for healing. Off course I am not back into hardcore lifting yet. For now, I am walking alot and doing HIIT on the elliptical. On the treadmill I am only walking.

HIIT

My Elliptical / cross trainer HIIT was the following:
1 minute on : 60 seconds of going medium paced
1 minute off : rest for 60 seconds, no movement
repeat for 20 mins.

I am not running yet. The heavy jerking from running is not safe for a recovering uterus. This is where the elliptical plays an important role during your recovery workout. Read this article to find out why ellipticals are better than treadmills. Safe and correct Exercise during Caesarean recovery is going to make sure your have proper blood flow to carry nutrients to your abdominals. Speaking of abdominals, have you started doing Abs, Core and Pelvic floor recovery exercise? If not then watch this video to understand how to measure your Diastasis recti and get started.

Stretching for Mobility

During pregnancy your body makes changes to your joint structure. (There is more water retention in your body to make these shifts.) The hormone relaxin helps soften and relax these ligaments, making the pelvis elastic, rather than rigid; allowing for expansion. Remember your extreme bone pain? Yep, this is from the bones moving apart. After pregnancy it will take the body time to go back to previous structure. With proper stretching you can being to feel normal again.

I did some basic stretches and poses. See this video so you can follow along. While stretching take it super duper slow. Understand what your body can do, there is no rush. You may feel pain in your groin, or gluteus or both – this is normal.

I am super excited to go back with Baby Mansa. Just an hour in the gym has recharged me and I feel so refreshed. I shared my raw emotions of going to the gym first time in instagram insta-story. I got some amazing advice too! Turns out all mothers get this “bad mom” feeling and it is absolutely ok. Taking care of myself ensure that I can be there for my family ( husband and baby). Here are some amazing advice I received.

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Do you have a Bad Mom story to share? Let me know below 🙂

Reading to my Baby

By now these scenes have become inevitable: A group of toddlers at the restaurant table, eyes glued at screen, volume on loud, parents oblivious that others are trying to enjoy an evening out. Another: Parent pushing stroller down the street with one hand, their other holding a phone, where their attention actually goes. The tools “connecting the world” once again keeping those in close proximity from connecting to one another.

Perhaps a new study from Rutgers University, published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, will help correct the expectable response from such parents, that “it’s the only way I can get them to quiet down.” It begins, as our greatest narratives do, by turning open the pages of a book.

According to the study, led by Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School assistant professor Manual Jimenez, parents that regularly read to their toddlers are not only less harsh overall, the children are also less likely to be disruptive or hyperactive. Better kids, better adults: A win-win.

These findings are part of a long line of research on the necessity of parental interactions with their offspring. As 80 percent of brain growth occurs during the first three years of life, with an average of 700 synapses forming per second, babies that hear more from their parents learn more words by age two. By contrast, babies that are spoken to less display learning disabilities for the next six years.

As research has shown, adults that read are more intelligent and empathetic. If this skill helps make better humans, it makes sense that infants that are read to would be less anxious and more in tune with their surroundings. It’s also understandable that parents that read to their kids would be less harsh to them, given that reactive parenting involves an emotional regulation deficit.

Ok, so you’re thinking isn’t reading to a 8 week old too early? Well no. Let’s face it, reading for baby is super good but we as adults also need to work on our reading habits. Although reading children’s books may not sound interesting but the earlier we start reading to them the be easier it will be to read to them as they grow. 

My Birth Story

12th June 2019
We sat in the doctor’s office. My mom was on my left side, my mother law on my right side and my husband Yousuf sat next to his mother. My doctor was wearing a green silk sari, green beaded necklace and as usual has a thick layer of eyeliner on the bottom of her sincere eyes.

“Here is my plan, ” she started, ” we wait until 17th. If you do not have spontaneous labour then by 17th, then on 18th morning you get admitted to hospital and we start induction on 18th. We take it from there and monitor your situation carefully. Everything is fine and you had a great healthy pregnancy. I have no concerns except for the fact that the baby is big. On 18th you will be at 41 weeks and 3 days now so we will monitor that and move forward.” Yousuf looked at me and smiled, “Yes that sounds like a good plan.” We smiled at the doctor, thanked her and left.

13th June
No contractions, no sign of labor.

14th June
No contractions, no sign of labor.

15th June
No contractions, no sign of labor.

16th June
No contractions, no sign of labor.

17th June 10.30pm
“Well, tonight is the last night being only 2 of us,” I said feeling overwhelmed. Yousuf didn’t say anything. We let the silence and darkness of midnight cover us. I don’t remember when we fell asleep.

18th June 12 noon
I woke up and had a good long shower scrubbing every corner and inch of my body. I knew my body was going to be seen and handled, no need to be shy anymore. Thank goodness I had female doctors and nurses. Shower done, I stood in front of full length mirror and had one last look. My tummy was hanging so low now, the stretch marks fully covered my stomach, and came all the way around my lower back, down to middle of my thighs. Yousuf came in and we both admired the bump together. We are going to meet you soon child. Not too long now.

We pulled up into the emergency, and followed instructions. I was super anxious. I had no clue what to expect. Baby was moving as usual, kicking along. I had known his entire sleep and wake routine. Everyone was excited and laughing and cracking jokes.

2pm
Nurses set me up on CTG monitor. 20 minutes of monitoring – foetal heartbeat was normal. Very light contractions, nothing major.

5pm
My doctor comes in the room, puts on gloves and asks for everyone to leave. A quick cervical check. She was quiet.

“Ok you are dilated only 1 cm. I have done some cervical sweeping so hopefully that should get some things moving along. We will start the induction now, nothing to be worried about let’s keep monitoring.” She smiled at me the same sincere smile that I will always appreciate her for.

The nurses came in to start my induction. They put a cannula in my hand – the quick pinch of the needled scared me. Truthfully, I was more scared of pain. I had never had any hospital experience and anything blood was just gory for me.

6pm
The IV bag was hung and they pushed in the Pitocin. I was very anxious.

7pm
Nothing yet.

8pm
Nothing yet.

9pm
Nothing yet.

10pm
Nothing yet. The nurses come in to stop the induction. They remove the IV and bring in my dinner. I eat as much as I can, feeling anxious. My mom waits until 10.30pm, speaks over the phone to my doctor, hugs me and goes home. Yousuf was going to stay the night. We both was a bit of t.v. and stay quiet in each others loving company. I am peeing more often.

12 midnight
The nurses come in and switch on the light. The bright light over my head woke me up,
She checks my cervix. Still no improvement, I have not dilated more than 1cm. She says we will start induction again tomorrow. I try to fall asleep. I am peeing alot that night.

19th June
I am anxious.
1pm, we do a CTG. Baby’s heart beat is 145 bpm.
2pm, Doctor requests me to do an Ultrasound and check for amniotic fluid.

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My biophysical profile score

The amniotic fluid is low, and the biophysical profile score is low.
A score of less than 8 means my baby may not be receiving enough oxygen.
She has a slight worried look on her face. I walked out of the ultrasound room and went to my room on the third floor. My mom and Yousuf walked behind me in silence.

4pm, I am waiting for my doctor to advice, she was not available at the hospital so the resident OB came in. She says we should wait few hours and wait for spontaneous labor, we should NOT induce labor since with fluid low, this can hurt the baby.

I was stressed, anxious and angry. I sat in my room for 45 mins and at 5pm asked for the resident OB once again. I am angry. I am rude with her. I said I want to start inducing again and keep monitoring baby’s heart beat every 30 mins. She hears me out and walks away. She bring a file and makes me sign it stating that if any harm happens to the baby then the hospital will not be responsible for it. My heart starts to beat really fast. What should I do? I speak over with my husband for a long time. Something inside of me was not wanting to sign that paper. I sat and thought it out and did ending up signing. What was I thinking!

6pm. we start inducing and check baby’s heart beat. Doctor takes more time than usual. baby’s heart beat is 114 bpm.
7pm, nurse comes in and stops inducing. I am very stressed. I call my doctor and talk to her. She is not at hospital yet. She tells me to wait she is on her way.
8pm. I am waiting, my heart is racing. My palms are sweating and I am crying inside not knowing what to do. What is the right thing to do?
9pm, nurses bring my dinner, I shove food in my mouth knowing that it is for baby not me.
10pm, my doctor walks in and quickly walks by my bed side. She looks anxious and tells me everything that I already know.

“baby’s heart beat is irregular. Last time it was 114bpm and you have low fluid. At this point what ever you decide will determine the outcome. With low amniotic fluid we can not continue with inducing. It is a big risk. And your baby is big, if we increase inducing then the pressure of contracts may cause damage to baby such as causing meconium aspiration, we have risks to think about.”

“shall I do c section, ” I ask the question with tears rolling down my eyes.
“yes dear, this should be the best for you and baby. you are already overdue and now it is the baby’s health that matter, ” my doctor said, standing with her team of nurses and resident OB.

“when will we start?” I asked whimpering
“right now,” she replied.
I look at the clock, it was 10.30pm. It was getting too late.
“ok, i will do c section, ” i say and start crying harder. the nurses rush to my side to bring me and yousuf files to sign. my doctor leaves. my mother in law comes next to me and hugs me and says not to worry. the nurses change me into a operating gown. Yousuf signs the file and hands it to me. I don’t even both reading, just scribble my name down. A wheelchair is brought in and I sit down in it. I can barely see anything because I am crying so hard. I don’t see my mother. I see Yousuf running into the bathroom and changing into a black shirt, the black shirt he wore when we first met. He says he wants to meet his son with this same shirt.

As I am wheeled out of the room, I start shaking uncontrollably. I was shaking from fear of having a major operation. I am wheeled into the operating theatre. The big bright light was blinding me. I moved onto the operating bed. The nurses and anthesia team were all talking amongst themselves. They were talking about a cricket match! I felt so alone and even more scared. The patient – me – was sitting right on the operating bed, and they were talking about a game ?! As I am shaking and crying, the nurses open the back part of my gown and bend me over. They were literally ignoring me while prepping me for a major surgery. Hello, God, are you there?!

I feel the anaesthesia team poke my lower spine and look for the correct area of insertion. His finger pokes send me shivering even more. Oh God, how can my body be so much out of my control? I am talking to myself at this point. Gibberish only I can comprehend. Calm down, stop shaking, stop crying, this is normal, they do this on thousands of people, nothing will go wrong. The nurse on my side holds me and squeezes me trying to make me stop shaking. I feel a sharp pinch of the insertion of the epidural needle between the spinous processes of the lumbar vertebrae. But wait, they take the needle out again and I hear them go quiet. No one was talking now. I have a slight panic attack, I thought I might faint from shaking. The needle goes in me again. A short pause. The needle comes out. Again! The put the needle into my flesh and I feel the same pinching sensation. It’s deathly silent and I can hear the clock ticking loudly. I feel a warm tingle go down my right leg, as they quickly move away from me and tell me to lean back. The place a divider in front of my and start wiping my tummy with a cold liquid. I start to wiggle my toes. Is this supposed to happen? Shouldn’t I be numb now! I am panicking fully now!

What as they doing? The epidural has clearly not worked as I can move both of my legs. I see my doctor walk into the room holding up her clean hands.
“I can move my leg!” I shouted at the top of my lungs as my heart is beating nearly 200 bpm.
My doctor wheels around and looks dead into my eyes, “are you sure? raise your leg.”
I raise both my legs.
She flashes at the anaesthesia team and shouts, “what is the matter with you? Do it again and do it right, ” she shouts at them. I am raised up again and still shaking violently. My doctor holds me from the right side and speaks calming words to me. I feel the anaesthesia team move towards me quickly, poke my lower spine and insert the needle. Within 30 seconds I feel a deep warmth pass over both my of legs – as if i was lowered into a tub of hot water. I start wiggling my toes but I can’t wiggle them too much. They start to feel very heavy. I don’t know how long it took but very quickly my legs became hot and dead – I can no longer move it. Althought my bottom half was not in my control, my arms – tied down onto the bed- were still shaking. I am looking around frantically.
“Where’s my husband, ” I ask.
I am ignored.
“Nurse, please call my husband, I am very nervous, I am not feeling well,”
I am ignored.
“Excuse me brother, ” I call one of the anaesthesia doctors, “please can you call my husband I am very nervous.”
I see him move towards me with a needle full of light yellow liquid. He moves next to my left arms and pushes the liquid into my canola. I start to feel dizzy and lose ability to form a sentence.
The lights dim down and I feel sleepy.
I open my eyes again – I don’t know how long it’s been.
I see a tall black shadow next to my left.
I see Yousuf’s face.
I feel like vomiting. I drift into sleep again. I start shouting that I need to vomit.
I wake up again – seems like I have been sleeping for hours.
It’s dark and heavy in this sleep world. I have never been here before. I have no control of my thoughts. No consciousness. Am I dead?
What was only less than 45 minutes felt to me like 45 hours.
I open my eyes and see a small red face being held up to me. I try to kiss him. I can’t feel it. I fall back into my blackhole of silence.

The next time I wake up in my room with Baby Mansa by my side. My mother glowing and my husband looking exhausted beaming with happiness. We were safe and healthy, Baby Mansa and I.

I get to find out later from Yousuf that my amniotic fluid was very low and Baby Mansa had no vernix covering him. The fluid was thick. We did the right thing by deciding to do Caesarean. If we had waited and been adamant about NVD, we could have risked some serious distress on Baby Mansa. I am grateful to my team of doctors and nurses who took the best care of me in their realm of knowledge. It took my weeks to get my head straight and remember the details of that night – what a night to remember!

———-

Note: Although my doctor and I had planned for normal delivery for months, we are never sure of what happens in the end. I am so glad I did Caesarean. Lately, there have been many protests against cesearean and claiming that doctors are forcing c sections on women. Although we do not know the case of every individual women, we should never claim that doctors are doing their jobs only for money and greed. For example, every pregnant women goes through a BIOPHYSICAL PROFILE SCORE, if this score is low it indicates that foetus may be under stress. truth is, we can never be 100% sure what is exactly going on in the womb, but we have technology to show us what “may” be happening. so when this technology shows the womb or mother or baby is under distress, the doctor will take the best step to save mother and baby. we should never jump to conclusions. the best step forward is to educate ourselves and keep clear communication with the team of doctors and nurses. I am thankful to my team of doctors and nurses, who answered all my questions and did the best they could.

If you or some one you know would like to share your birth story please get in touch with me. I am looking to feature birth stories.