30 Sep 2011

Week 32+4days – To the moon and back

Sweetie Berry of mine,
I imagine you with a lovely smile. I am sure you are going to be full of laughter and bring lots of laughter to the people around you. Last night I couldn’t stop laughing when you started pushing again the uterine walls, tickling me. I am sure daddy thought I am going nuts. But it is really funny and ticklish when you do that. Through all your tickling I can still sleep without suffering from insomnia – I wonder, do you sleep at the same time as me?week32-4days
Yesterday we went to the midwife and after my urine routine check she said I have to start chewing Cranberry tablets to prevent urinary tract infection which is common in pregnant women. She also said that if I feel a burning sensation when the urine pass, I have to contact her immediately, In this way she can prescribe antibiotics. God’s willing, I don’t feel any burning sensation or an urge to urinate frequently or sharp lower abdominal pain. I am chewing the tablets and keep eye on any strange symptom because it can cause preterm labour, we don’t want that.
She measured you in the belly and you are the right size. You are head down – hurray! You are such a good baby, you want to come out at the right time, don’t you? She said we will try to have you here in our arms in November – so you will be a November baby and we can travel if we want to. Today I noticed that my boobs are fuller.
I was talking to your grandmother, my mother, the other day and she said she dreamt of you and you have long hair and round lips. She also told me that she can swim. I don’t know how the conversation ended up there. Well, I was surprise to learn that your grandmother  can swim, I can’t wait to see her show off her skills when we take you swimming.
When she said that I realised that there are few things I know about my mother. For instance I know how hard worker she is, how she like Claudio Baglioni’s songs, how she liked to watch Amici – an Italian music show – but there are other things I don’t know about her. What are her favourite sports or her dreams? I talk to her about her past but I want to know more. tothemoon
Thinking about what I don’t know about my mother, I would like to start telling you about myself. About what I like and what I don’t like in upcoming letters to you. I would like us to know each other very well, first as mother and daughter, and later as mother-daughter-friend. I will explain some of my beliefs to you, so that you don’t find yourself surprised to learn that if I was rich I would like to take a trip around the world.
Until the next entry, my lovely baby. I love you to the moon million times and back,
Your mummy,
TOI.
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29 Sep 2011

Baby Shower and Registry

I just came back from Mrs Pancakes loving and exciting virtual baby shower. Being surrounded by lovely and kind people it reminded me of what happened last week.

So, last week hubby comes home and says:

  1. “16th October my boss’s wife and another colleague want to throw us a joint baby shower.”
  2. “They asked me if we have a baby gift registry.”

I was so touched by the thought of them hosting a baby shower for us. That’s so kind of them, it makes me all speechless and teary for happiness. I never thought we were going to have a baby shower because our family is all over the world apart from this little town in Canada; but here we are, going to have a baby shower. We are happy to be surrounded by such wonderful thoughtful and kind people. We feel truly blessed!

Then the question of baby registry sent us into a complete panic state. To do baby registry or not to baby registry?Gifts_for_baby

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That’s the question!

We never thought about baby registry. Now that they’ve been asked if we have one, we don’t know what to do. Hubby doesn’t like the idea of baby registry because he doesn’t want people to feel like they HAVE to buy us something. We were not expecting this kindness and whatever people feel like giving us will be more than welcome.

What would you do? Baby registry or not to baby registry?

28 Sep 2011

Cloth Diaper Search: Part 2

I now know which type of cloth diapers I want to use.

After reading all the conveniences and inconveniences of cloth diapers I like the concept of all-in-two and hybrid cloth diapers.

Hybrid cloth diapers combine traditional disposable diapers and reusable cloth diapering system. It consists of a washable outer shelf or diaper cover and an inner liner, which could be either disposable or reusable. The disposable insert is biodegradable refill. It offers the most convenience while help you on savings.

All-in-Two cloth diapers two part diapering system consisting a diaper cover and an separate insert which can be used for absorbency. The cloth diaper cover is sewn by a waterproof outer layer and a soft inner layer. These two layers are sewn together but left an open at the back, called a pocket. However, some brands don’t have this pocket. AI2 diapers are similar to pocket cloth diapers but the AI2 is purposely designed to add more inserts, in this way you can reuse the shell if is not soiled (I am learning new terminologies, LOL). Nowadays people can find AI2 made in a similar way to one-size cloth diapers which are designed to be use from birth to potty training. 

I believe AI2 will be good choice for us because I can remove the insert when is dirty, add more than two insert for extra absorbency and reuse one shell for the whole day if the poop doesn’t explode out. That will save me time on washing and drying all the outer shell, everything thing together as in the case of one-size cloth diapers. {{most of the information was taken from enfantstyle and mommy’s touch.}}   

So far the following are few of the brands I am attracted to:

AI2 – AMP, MamaJo and Mommy’s Touch cloth diapers.

Pocket Cloth Diapers – FuzziBunz and Happy Heinys Huggers thumbnail1.asp {via}

Hybrid – GroVia and gDiapers (my sister-in-law is using the latter on her little girl and she likes them). 

The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that cloth diapering is economically and environmentally convenient. If we decide to have more than one child we can reuse the same diapers over the years, thus saving ourselves bunch of money. And if we keep them nice and clean we could give them to friends and families for their own little ones.

I am going to try different brands just to see which ones Berry prefers and which ones are convenient for our lifestyle – but I am overwhelmed by the choices.

I really want to cloth diapering from day one, but some people suggest I use disposable diapers initially – especially for the night and while travelling. This is the reason I think hybrid cloth diapers will be excellent to have, because I will be having my disposable and reusable all in one. In my opinion the disposable liner will have less impact on the environment than a disposable diaper. 

I was talking to Jo, the woman behind MamaJodiapersandpads, and she pointed out that

1) from an eco standpoint- it not worthwhile buying newborn diapers that will only be used a few months
2) from a moral standpoint: a new mom won’t cloth diaper right away- it is too much and she will quit. {She cloth diapered her second child right away but she doesn’t recommend a new mom do it.} One thing at a time.
3) In Quebec – where she lives – they sell kits for 1000 $ and everyone buys them and no one uses them

I just don’t know what to do! – Maybe I can buy biodegradable disposable diapers for when baby is very small.

Are you going to use cloth diapers on your baby from day one? Did you use cloth diapers on your baby from day one? Do you know anyone who did that? How did you find it?

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26 Sep 2011

Interviewed

Hello ladies,

how y’all doing? – I like it when in my head I sound American but if I try to speak I sound so different, LOL!

Anyway, how are you all doing? Hope well.

Here in my city life is getting enjoyably hectic. We’ve been up and down enjoying life.

Also in the blogsphere/websphere I am enjoying popularity – so to speak. Anna Deskins, a children’s writer, interviewed few weeks ago and today you can read the interview on her website. Hope you can stop by to read to learn more about me – bare in mind that Tatiana is my pseudonym, you can read about the name here!

See you on AnnaDeskins.com!

24 Sep 2011

Seven Things!

Thanks to Mrs Pancakes, today I am sharing seven things about myself. I want you to enjoy and allow you to get to know me a little bit better.

There are 3 simple directions to follow:

  1. Write 7 things about yourself.
  2. Give the ‘award’ to other blogs
  3. Inform them about it!

Here we go!

  1. Born in Ghana, moved to Italy at the age of 9 – some people ask me, do you feel more Ghanaian or more Italian? {I am Ghanaian with some Italian life experience, I experience life}.
  2. I have a diploma in optics, and used to work in an optician shop before getting my degree in English Lit & History, now I stay at home working at turning my dreams into realities
  3. AMI, my hubby, is a professor in engineering.
  4. I am writing a YA novel which looks at race identity and ED issues, I would like to get it published – if you are an agent/publisher please contact me :)
  5. Once baby is here and older I would like to get a certificate to become a yoga/Pilates/doula instructor
  6. I love travelling and I would like to go to South America, Caribbean Islands (all of them, from Bahamas to Jamaica to Haiti to Trinidad & Tobago), Japan, China, India, Ghana (again) and other parts of Africa, Singapore/Malaysia (again), road trip USA, Canada and Europe. Another place I would like to go is Hawaii to do water sports but I am an amateur swimmer!maui_waterfall{via}
  7. My favourite seasons are spring and autumn.

Hope you know a little bit better.

Now I pass the ‘award’ to

  1. Monique @Tipa Tipa
  2. Dani @Ok, Dani
  3. Elisabeth @YUMMommy

I enjoy reading your blogs and I would like to know more about you ladies :)!

23 Sep 2011

Week 31 – 8 +/- Weeks To Go

Dear Berry AO,

we will see each other in 8 weeks +/- seven days from today. I dreamt that you are born on November 29th, the nurse winked at me and said “That’s the date with overdue date included.” You have a cousin born on November 30th 2008, so if you come on that date you two will share date of birth. But maybe you want to come on the 29th.

I was talking to your grandmother and I ask her if she felt much contractions when it was my time to come out. She told me that she was not aware when I was due, she just had me one day without feeling any contractions. Maybe she was thinking I was just kicking.

I love feeling your movements, they don’t disturb my sleep, in fact they make me giggly. You like to shift in there, giving me the funniest belly shapes. I am still trying to film you but without success. Maybe I will not realise you are coming and confuse contractions with nudges – that’s what I pray for.  week31

I will miss having you in my belly but that will mean I will have you flesh and bone in my arms. I will watch you sleep in your crib – which is set up but not completed, I will dress it few days before your birth or during contractions. Breastfeed you anytime you need food. Put on and lace my trainers without feeling as if I am putting pressure on your body.

Last week daddy and I took some maternity photos. I need more because they are not enough. I am still taking my own weekly photos and yesterday I went into the sun to take this week’s. I have to enjoy each autumn ray.week31t

I am still feeling energetic, and sometimes I feel as if I am not pregnant at all, but sometimes myself lower back pains a lot, maybe you are lying low in those moments, pressing again the pelvic bone. I need to buy some jeans for the last two months because the old ones are starting to be uncomfortable.

Only few more weeks to go, I really hope you are head down. Keep on growing strong and healthy for mummy and daddy.

Love you all around the universe and back,

Mummy!

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22 Sep 2011

The Ladybirds

I have a ladybird in my house. Oh wait, I have two ladybirds in my house. No, no wait, I can see a tiny one as well – that makes three ladybirds in my living room. P9224604 P9224605P9214594

What that means? Should I worry? Are they safe, no germs?

21 Sep 2011

The Brazilian

16th August after I got my glucose level tested at the hospital, I decide to go book an appointment for my first Brazilian. It must have been the sugar rush, but I felt that I was ready to go for this experience in the secret department. So after four months of consideration and with many encouraging comments, I finally decided to jump into the experience. I walked into the beautician shop and booked my appointment, feeling proud for myself – {it was the sugar rush!}

Two days later I went to the appointment.

Once in the little room, the lady told me to lay on the bench with my legs far apart. Most of the time I thought “Don’t feel too humiliated, she is doing a job that most have to be BRAVE to do. Maybe she is more shy than me.” I had to think about something, so I thought that. In the meantime I was sweating like a pig. She asked me if I wanted a cold towel for my forehead. I accepted.

The waxing lady asked me about my pregnancy to distract me, but my mind was exploding from the pain, I was in such agony and to make me feel better she said “Being pregnant doesn’t help the pain, because you are more sensitive down there. It is a little bit painful because you were blessed with coarse hair down there.”

Maybe she was right, but I don’t think that explained the blood on the waxing cloth. I was bleeding so I asked her why I was bleeding. To which question she answered “This is a good thing, because that means the hair will never come back again in that area.” I was not convinced but I am not an expert so I didn’t say a thing.

After the drama…

It felt good to leave the place without hair, my secret department felt smooth. However, after a week I started to feel uncomfortable because lots of after shave bumps started to appear on that area. They are huge and painful. My brazilian experience was painful and up to date I have the bumps and I must admit they are the worse bumps I have ever had.

It wasn’t a great experience, for this reason I can’t wait to go back to my favourite shaving creams after baby.

Until then…

20 Sep 2011

Who Got…

…the X Factor USA?large

OMG! It starts tomorrow. I am EXCITED, delighted, oh wish I can explain my joy! I am INTO X Factor UK, so I am so much looking forward to watch the USA one. Look how Simon is short standing next to Steven – he used to present a music show in UK.

I might become a judge myself in this new venture. Let watch and see!

Have you heard of the show? Are you going to watch it?

19 Sep 2011

Daddy’s Little Girl

VB couldn’t resist sharing it with her twitter fans in the first place. harper7Harper71
[via]
I, on the other hand, couldn’t resist sharing with you because I am a sucker for lovely scenes like these. They melt my heart! Ohhh, I was a daddy’s girl once.
[Baby Harper Seven cuddled by daddy DB.]

16 Sep 2011

PAL – week 30

Dear Berry AO,

PAL-horzWe are 30 weeks and 4 days. I love feeling you in my belly. I still feel the warmth and joy when I know you are awake and want to play. I can still sleep quite well and I am still enjoying each minute of carrying you. Your daddy said “If Berry asks me how mummy felt when she was carrying me, I will say she loved you being in her belly so much that she wanted to have you there forever.” That said I am counting the weeks till I can see you and hold you in my arms. I hope you are in the right position.

Today is your maternal grandmother’s birthday. She is the woman who gave birth to me, who made possible for me to be alive to be able to carry you in my womb.

In her honour I wrote:PALBerry, there were times that I argued with your grandmother. There were times I did things that hurt her feelings and viceversa. But for all those years I’ve always known that blood is thicker than water and I would never let anyone say something bad about her because she is my pride, my admiration and love. I know that in the same way I am her pride, her admiration and love. She is my mother and father wrapped in one.

Family is a difficult matter, but always know that PAL has to prevail. I would like you to feel PAL for your grandmother, because, no matter the arguments, we are who we are because of her. week30

And you have to remember that sometimes we might bicker, but pride, admiration and love will be always what I have inside for you.

Always my biggest love,

Mummy!

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15 Sep 2011

Identity Crisis

Today on TC30s, there is a topic I believe we should all read and share our opinion on.

Please stop by TC30s and share with us :)!

14 Sep 2011

If I Was A Rich Girl: Elemis and Mama Mio

Yes, if I was a rich girl I would treat myself like a celebrity and get all the best body oils out there.

I have a list of products I wanted for my body when I was planning to become pregnant but I haven’t be able to buy them because… I am not living in London and some of these products seem to be hard to find here {{{blame it on the location}}}.

For instance I wanted to buy Japanese Camellia Oil by Elemis, an oil great for preventing stretch marks. Mama Mio tummy Rub stretch mark oil and boob tube bust & neck firmer. elemis-horz

1|2&3

VB used Elemis in all her pregnancies and she loved it. Jessica Alba used Mama Mio products and she says it smells yummy. I also know that all products are great for post-pregnancy, so I am going to buy them as soon as I can.

In the meantime I use these oils:oils

If you were a rich girl, which expensive body oils would you buy? What are your favourite body oils?

13 Sep 2011

Teardrop

Today something in the air makes me miss Britain and Italy. I believe it the cold air and smell of autumn (fall). For this reason I am listening to Teardrop by Massive Attack – so beautifully nostalgic.

The video is a classic.

Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word
Fearless on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me, makes me lighter
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Nine night of matter
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my...

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Of a confession
Fearless on my breath
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

You're stumbling a little
You're stumbling a little

Enjoy!

12 Sep 2011

The Midwife

I have a midwife just due to Almighty’s blessings. I give Him praise and honour.

I am lucky to have a midwife, because the city I live in there are only three midwives at the moment. In this city – or I believe everywhere in Canada, I am not sure – you can either have an obstetrician or a midwife. But you have to register with the midwifery system the minute you find you you are pregnant.  So, I call it luck because I was able to find a midwife three and half months after finding out that I am carrying Berry.

I received her call one morning and that day for some weird reason I had my phone one bed, next to me. She asked me if I could attend an induction. It was an induction for women due in February.

I felt bad leaving my OB, but I thought about what I was looking for in a midwife and opted to switch. I am so happy I did. Although I met my OB from week 12 up to week 24, I feel like I know my midwife more though I’ve met her only three times. I also met another of the midwives and I have the same sensation. Since getting to know my midwife, I am planning a different type of birth. I always wanted a natural birth, but now I have also the option of home/water birth. With the OB I only had natural/hospital birth.

I like going to see my midwife. Since week 28 I have to see her every two weeks and I count the days till I see her. She is patient and takes time to explain each question I ask. She answer my silly questions such as “Am I squashing the baby in this position? Is it okay to rub the belly in this way, am I am pressing too much?” as if they were important. I leave the appointment satisfied with myself.

She also tells me how Berry is positioned. Today I know that Berry is positioned head down, bottom up and back on my left side. I like to know the baby’s position to study the kicks and movements in details. In this way I can daydream about which part of the little body is stretching against my belly wall.  

I also like my midwife because she is friendly and supportive. She encourages me to meet with other pregnant women to share experiences. To get to know other couples and today she said she is going to try to introduce us to another mix race couple. I don’t mind which couple we meet but I must admit getting to know other mix race couple in this medium size city will be nice. She told me the couple have two children, one is two years and the other was born in March. I am looking forward to meet them because we will have lot to discourse. I thought it was going to easy to get to know parents but if your midwife doesn’t suggest websites to browse and expecting parents events to attend then we would have been clueless.

Each midwife appointment lasts about 1 hour.  

This kind of dedication is one thing that the OB never gave us – the appointment was about 20 minutes, 5 of which was spent waiting for her to come.

If it was not for my midwife I would have never known about natural prenatal birth classes. We are attending three prenatal classes with the hospital and from Wednesday we will start an eight week prenatal classes with a doula. This class will more personal.

I feel so lucky also because every service I am receiving at the moment – apart from the hospital prenatal classes – are free, because hubby is paying the tax. We are so blessed. I am so happy to have a midwife and live in Canada.

God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good!

9 Sep 2011

One Love – Week 29

Dear my sweet Berry AO,

Last night I dreamt about your smile, which in the dream is the same smile as your sweet daddy’s. I love his smile. In the dream you have a dimple. I don’t remember anymore because I woke up at that point. I hope you will have a loving smile on your face all the time. week 29

I was still thinking about you when daddy came in the room, he got up before me, and asked me if I wanted breakfast. He brought my breakfast in bed. While eating he rubbed the belly and said “My baby, A!” He loves you very much. You are surrounded by pure love, sweet baby. He makes me feel the happiest and luckiest woman in the whole world. I am sure he is going to make you feel the happiest and luckiest child in the whole world. We are blessed my child, we are blessed!

Your daddy is supportive and encouraging. He is kind, loving, protective and the greatest man of my life. I am glad he is your daddy. I LOVE HIM very much, it feels like I am underwater – weightless and in peace. He can’t wait to meet you, he says that every day now – and I can’t wait to see you in his arms. Can’t wait to share you with him, because at the moment I protectively hold you through my belly each moment you turn in the womb. I try to guess how you are laying. Of course I allow him to rub the belly sometimes. Once you are here he will take care of you as much I will. I can imagine him coming home early because he misses you.

My belly button is 3/4 out. I believe by next month it will be so out I wouldn’t know how to dress it. Daddy is going to take the maternity photos. One labour day (05-09), after swimming pool, we did a trial. I like them so he will be our photographer, LOL.

Him and I = one love, YOU!

Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One Love)
There is one question I'd really like to ask (One Heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
Believe me


One Love, One Heart
Let's get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One Love)
So shall it be in the end (One Heart)
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
One more thing

I hope this song will be one of your favourites because both daddy and I love it. Bob Marley is one the greatest musician to ever live. His songs are uplisting and full of powerful messages. Daddy one said if there is a problem we can’t solve we will let AO listening to Bob Marley. I dedicate One Love to you :)!

All my deepest love,

Mummy!

*************

LADIES thanks for the support! PLEASE keep clicking, one a day :D!

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Thank you again,

TOI.

P.S: I am working on the nursery. The colours are white and yellow. The theme are Winnie The Pooh and Safari, but I am indecisive.

Questions: One theme or both? Any ideas?

8 Sep 2011

Life Threatening Illness: In The Hands of a Neo-Neurologist

Disclaimer: before I go into details about childbirth, I want to share with you an important story about my life which is going to influence  my wishes. You can read The Symptoms and What Is Meningitis? to begin with

___________________

Thanks to the prompt intervention and appropriate medications, few days after my recovery I began to feel better. By Wednesday, 11 August 1999, I could eat normally and dance again. Although dancing was still a little bit strenuous, I couldn’t resist moving about to reassure myself I was still alive. I read magazines when I was too weak to do anything else. However, I was happy because few days before I couldn’t do any of of what I liked doing.

However, the senior doctor, to determine the condition of my meningitis, scheduled a lumbar puncture (LP). It was needed to collect and look at the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.Spinal_needles

{via}

During a lumbar puncture, a thin needle is carefully inserted into the spinal canal low in the back (lumbar area). Samples of CSF are collected, then studied for colour, blood cell counts, protein, glucose, and other substances. Some of the sample may be put into a special culture cup to see if any infection, such as bacteria or fungi, grows. The pressure of the CSF also is measured during the procedure.

When the day came for me to go under the ‘operation’ I thought about the positive side of the procedure.  I am going to get out of here after this thing. They are going to reassure me that I am completely recovered.

The neo-neurologist came into my room and asked me to lie on my right side, facing the hospital wall. He asked me to draw my knees up toward my chest.

19078

{via}

Nicely curled up, he marked my lower back (lumbar area) with a pen – it tickled, but I was looking forward to get out of the special unit. He then cleaned the area with a special soap and draped with sterile towels. After that routine he used numbing medicine (local anesthetic) on my skin.

But when he put the thin needle in my lower back I felt the pain overtaking my positive thoughts. Yet, I didn’t scream, I put all my bravery into action and bit my lips. The neurologist removed the needle and I let out a sigh of relieve. But soon he replaced the needle in another spot. At this point he told me “I couldn’t get the fluid, I have to try in a different area.” The pain was out of this world. In that moment I was thinking The anesthetic is not working.

I wanted to scream but I kept my cool. However, at the third attempt I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and my thoughts turned into negative He is going to ruin my back, I am going to stop walking if he doesn’t get the fluid and stop poking my back with the needles. I started to cry out loud. He was distressed therefore decided that he would stop the lumbar puncture for the day.

Even after two hours he was gone, I couldn’t stop crying. I was still curled in my position and tears streamed down my cheeks. I had to lay still to prevent fainting sensations. I was so scared and sure that I was paralysed. At that thought I couldn’t stop tears  from falling.

Few days later the senior doctor came to do the lumbar puncture and surprise-surprise I didn’t feel pain or even the needle going through my spinal canal. The result came out fine. I was safe from meningitis. I was lucky to recover totally from the meningitis within weeks but, although the last lumbar puncture was successful, my fear for needles near my lower back survived.

I am sure that experience scarred the neo-neurologist as much as it scarred me. 

Up to date, whenever I thinking about it, I am still terrified. I am aware that lumbar puncture is very different from an epidural, I am still scare because it entails a needle going near my lower back. 

I recently read an article about a girl whose spine was permanently damaged during an operation to remove gallstones at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This happened because she had been given an epidural anaesthetic to control the pain, but the anaesthetic was left in place for too long.

For this reason and bad experience with LP, I wouldn’t mind going through all the intense labour contractions without an epidural. Yes, I am so petrified by the idea of an epidural. My midwife is going to schedule an appointment for me to go see anesthesiologist, who can answer all my concerns just in case I want one in a state of delirium. But I pray Almighty to let me go through labour without one.

Questions: Do you know anyone who had an epidural during labour? Did you have one? Would you have one? Any bad experience with needles? 

Please share with me.

7 Sep 2011

Life Threatening Illness: What Is Meningitis?

Disclaimer: before I go into details about childbirth, I want to share with you an important story about my life which is going to influence  my wishes. You can read The Symptoms to begin with.

_____________________

I didn’t know what meningitis was until that summer.

Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord. Aseptic-Meningitis11

{via}

Delay in treatment causes deaths and a severe stage of meningitis. If the level of consciousness is low then mechanical ventilation is required to treat it. However, most people affected do recover [I am one].

Anyone can get meningitis, but age is one of the main risk factors. Babies are at higher risk of bacterial meningitis than any other age group. Toddlers are also at increased risk of meningitis. Teenagers and young adults are at risk mainly from meningococcal disease, a different term used to describe the bacterium which causes the illness. Meningitis affects people living in both developed and under developed countries worldwide.

The Meningitis Research Foundation states that

… one in ten of us carries the bacteria for weeks or months without ever knowing that they are there, and for most of us this is harmless because, fortunately, most of us have natural resistance.

They are passed from person to person through prolonged close contact: coughing, sneezing, breathing each other's breath or by kissing someone who is carrying the germ [I kissed a guy the night before]. The bacteria are so fragile that they cannot survive for more than a few moments outside the human body. For this reason, they are not very contagious; they cannot be carried on things like cups, toys, furniture or clothing.

Most survivors make a full recovery without long-term after effects, but some are left with disabilities or with problems that can alter their lives. A quarter of survivors find that the effects of the disease reduce their quality of life.

To be able to cure the illness a neurologist have to perform lumbar puncture (LP) on the patient to analyze the cerebrospinal fluid. This checks and terminates the herniation of the brain. When performed correctly, the LP procedure can be rapidly completed with little discomfort or risk to the patient.

But my experience was different.

To be continued – In The Hands of a Neo-Neurologist.

6 Sep 2011

Life Threatening Illness: The Symptoms

Disclaimer: before I go into details about childbirth, I want to share with you an important story about my life which is going to influence  my wishes.

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Summer 1999, after a wonderful Friday night out with a friend and some guys I went to bed happy. But, in the middle of the night severe headache, fever and chills woke me up. I was home with my uncle because my mother was on holiday in Ghana. I called out for my uncle and he came from the other room just in time to give me a bucket in which I vomited my ‘guts’ out. After vomiting I curled under winter covers to be able to warm myself to sleep. It wasn’t hangover!

The following morning I went to work as usual but I couldn’t concentrate or eat. To make sure I had something in my stomach my boss ordered my favourite breakfast – crossaint and ACE (orange, carrot and vitamin E) juice. I couldn’t take a bite or a sip. He could tell it was very serious, because normally I wouldn’t let that delicious breakfast stay there untouched. Plus, the morning light outside increased my headache.  He sent me home.

In the afternoon, after a long sleep but still feeling rotten, my uncle phoned my cousin who came to take me to our local hospital. Once there the doctors gave me fever medication. I felt better and went back home. My cousin’s girlfriend helped me take a bath. After the cold bath, I started to be chatty again. However, for precaution my cousin decided to sleepover.

It was luck because in the early morning of Sunday, the fever and chills took hold of me again. I needed to vomit and my senses were limited. I remember my cousin carrying me on his back, because I couldn’t walk to his car. The last thing I remember was insistently telling the doctor that I didn’t have malaria, because I haven’t being out of Italy for the past seven and plus years.

One of the doctors listened to my hallucinations me. I was recovered. My cousin and uncle were worried, because my mum was not around. What if something bad happened to me while in their care. They didn’t want to tell her anything to worry her. I don’t know what they said when she phoned each day wanting to talk to me while I was recovered.

Sunday morning the senior doctor, a smiling lady, visited me. I had to follow her to one of the testing rooms but I couldn’t walk. I was so feeble I had to hold on to her. She laughed and said: “Wait and see when you have to give birth. I can’t imagine how you coping well when you are in labour.” I turned to look at her with my sleepy eyes and said “I am not thinking about labour. I want to get well.” My breath seemed to have departed my soul. She could tell I was suffering and wasn’t in the mood to joke. She did the test and sent me back to my room.

Sunday afternoon she referred me to the special section of Verona’s General Hospital, my case was an emergency. The nice female doctor was not certain, but she suspected I had a life threatening illness.

While in the ambulance on my way to the hospital, half conscious, I thanked God for His protection – for waking me up in the middle of the night instead of letting me sleep through the night. For my uncle who didn’t sleep but stayed up the whole night to look after me. For my cousin who came and stayed with us in case I needed him. For the doctor who listened to me and didn’t send me home with fever tablets. For the nice female doctor who recognised the emergency of my situation.

The following day, Monday 09 August 1999, at the Verona hospital, the senior doctor confirmed the suspicion. I had the a life threatening illness, meningitis.

{To be continued} – What is meningitis?

4 Sep 2011

Home Grown Vegetables

Apart from growing a baby in the belly, we are also trying our hand at growing our own vegetables.

It is our first time trying to grow our own vegetables. Initially we were worried nothing will come out of the soil, because we didn’t plan anything. We just went row by row, and the beans we collapsing as they grew, we didn’t see anything on the plant until few weeks ago. However, we are eating what we sowed. homegrownhomegrown2 homegrown3It makes us happy to be able to hold in our hands something little we put in the soil at the beginning of spring. It fels me with pure joy.homegrown4Everything was delicious, but the potatoes were, OMG, so SO buttery. Home grown stuff are great. We are happy we tried. We still have sweet corn to pick. This was a great lesson, next year we will be little a bit prepared.  

Hope your Sunday was nice and relaxing.

Unknown Mami

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2 Sep 2011

Week 28

Berry AO,

yesterday we went to see our midwife. She is very nice. She told me that based on the last scan everything is in the right position. week 28 She measured my belly and we are banged on the measurement we should be at this week. That means you are perfect size for your age. I was so happy to know that. We listened to your heartbeat, it is regular and healthy. Berry you are doing very good.

I still like it when you surprise with a nudge. That’s a game between you and I. Oh, talking about games, daddy likes to crawl on the floor and surprise me. He says I have to get use to a little person crawling on the floor. I join him when he comes crawling. It’s funny, we love it and we can’t wait to try that with you.

Today I drove daddy to work and saw some students going to school. Some schools opened this week. I love classrooms and seeing students make me miss school. I hope you will love education like daddy and I. I miss the smell of old books in the school libraries. My favourite subjects are Literature and History. On the other hand your dad likes Science and Maths. I hope you will like reading, it is my favourite way to escape when I want to dream.

We are going to buy stuff for your nursery tomorrow. You and I are sharing the studio I’ve set up in our house. I had to clear half on the room so daddy would agree, because he believes my books are everywhere. He thinks a baby’s room should be empty, with a mirror on the floor so you can see yourself and learn about yourself. I’ve cleared more than half room for you. I am excited to start putting everything together. I have the theme selected – maybe I’ve already told you this. I hope it is nice once everything is put together. I am going to keep my part clear of clutter.

One of daddy’s work colleagues and his wife want to give us some baby items because they have like two car seats, baby carrier and other stuff they don’t use. We will then start buying baby clothing for you. The time is getting closer and I am just thinking about labour and how to receive you in the world.

I am looking forward to the cold and snow because of you. I really can’t wait to meet you and hold you in my arms. You are going to be our special water bottle.

Loves,

Mummy!

1 Sep 2011

First Childbirth Experience and Other Inspirations

Monday we went to our first session of prenatal classes, the one hosted by the local hospital.

It was interesting to attend, because I wasn’t aware that some women are so scared of labour. Many of the women I follow on the blogsphere show the positive side of labour and that’s very important to me. It was interesting also because hubby learnt that the pain of labour is not the pushing itself but the contractions that the pregnant woman experiences in the first stage. This phase can last hours.

We watched a video of women giving birth as part of the class. After the viewing the instructor asked “What are the four letter words that come to mind when you think about labour?”

Some women shouted “Work!” “Pain!” “Fear!” “Help!” In the meantime I was thinking Happy! But that’s five letter words. I don’t think about fear or all the negative side of labour. Then I thought Love, but it was too late for me to say it out loud, because the instructor said “It is true that labour is work, that’s why it’s called ‘labour’. But don’t forget the most important word BABY!” That was the word that my subconscious translated into happy! I am thinking about labour with a happy and positive mindset because it will give me a healthy, strong, happy loving baby! Those are the most important words labour brings to mind.

When I think about labour I am not scared – though before considering the journey to pregnancy I was. I know it can be very painful, many women will agree, even those who had a wonderful experience. But I know that the pain passes that’s why women can have more than one child. I also know that I will have something special after that moment. At the moment I am looking up to one of my sister-in-laws.

June 2005, she asked me to be her support partner at the birth of her first child. 

Her waters broke in the middle of the night – around 2am. My brother, my mother, my sister-in-law and I went to the hospital together. She was in pain but she was so composed and managed the pain so well. I was impressed. While she was knocking her fingers together I was telling her “Don’t worry if you want to shout, don’t worry about letting out the pain.” That’s what I would have done in that moment. I would have cried for the pain, but still feeling the love within me. She didn’t get all the preparation I am fortunate to receive through prenatal classes, because the doctors don’t offer to women in Italy.

She went through the contraction pains by knocking her fingers together. Even when it was time to push, she didn’t scream in pain or nothing dramatic as we see in films. She kept focusing and praying throughout – now I know it is called hypnobirthing. She really made childbirth look easy. After 6 hours of active labour she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

She is one of my inspirations. I know I might cry at the first stage of active labour, but those will be tears of joy. I will try to focus by listening to love songs and Christian songs. Another inspiration is my mother, I know she gave birth to me and my siblings through natural birth – I guess, it wasn’t the prime option in the seventies and eighties. And currently I am inspired by all the women who are not fortunate, unlike some of us, to have all the medication at their fingertips. I wonder how they do it, I am sure they take childbirth as a natural process. 

Getting inspiration from all the strong women around me, I am getting ready for a home-natural-water birth. I am not a fan of epidural (I will explain in another post). But if in emergency I have to get the epidural, I will not feel like I failed, because all I want is a healthy and happy baby at the end of the push. 

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