Wednesday, 26 October 2011


I made a maternity dress for myself yesterday which I wore to my hospital appointment today. Loved it! Just a simple jersey jumper dress with a sash on the empire line that accentuated my bump in a really cute way that made people give up their seats for me on the train. Ha! I don't usually like what I make for myself, thank God the hormones have changed that for me. I could have happily strutted down a runway in it. The best part is it only took me a few hours to put together and in terms of materians alone cost me roughly £4. Considering how stupidly expensive maternity dresses are - I'm talking about a full length maxi dress here - I can't wait to make more of 'em. I just might put up some pictures of me wearing them (if the spirit moves me that is. I'm not making any concrete promises).

The doctor said everything was okay, except my iron levels for which she prescribed iron tablets. My Glucose Tolerance Test was last week. I lied about eating 12 hours prior to the blood test when in fact it was just 11 hours because my butt was already feeling numb and I didn't want to sit there for 3 agonizingly boring hours. Still turned out fine. Phew! No Metformin for me then. Alhamdulillah.

It seems for the first time my body is working the way it should. I haven't been over-indulging, but I certainly have been eating things that I had sworn off pre-Bob; things like cakes, juices, biscuits, crisps, white rice, potatoes, etc. Still I've been able to restrain myself. Even my weight gain is mostly on my tummy, for now anyway, which is also good. I was starting to get worried though I'm not obsessing over it.


I got my first real kick from Bob today. All the previous ones seem like practice kicks in comparison. I'm talking a proper kick here, akin to being punched in the gut. The kind of kick that made me go wtf! under my breath and briefly stop whatever I was doing. I got it just below the ribs, which is what I've been praying for so it's all good.

His head has been nuzzled in my bladder since week 14. Even before I started feeling the kicks, I could feel something digging into and bouncing off my bladder (if that makes any sense). He changed positions to sideways briefly but now he's back there again. I hope he stays that way till birth.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Manage PCOS Naturally

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome seems to be an increasing problem in Industrialized, Westernized countries with as many as 1 in 15 women in America suffering from this disease (some suggest it may be as high as 1 in 5). Many medical professionals view PCOS as a problem to be managed -- often by drugs alone -- at best. There is increasing evidence, however, that PCOS may be managed naturally, or even reversed.

PCOS is a condition of hormonal imbalance in which insulin resistance and high androgen levels are present, and it often includes other variations of hormone imbalance. The effects of these imbalances include reproductive, cardiovascular, and metabolic dysfunctions. Symptoms include male pattern hair growth (excess and darker hair on the face, abdomen, or chest), acne and irregular periods as well as ovarian cysts, high BMI`s, and perhaps most notably, subfertility (difficulty becoming pregnant). The severity of PCOS varies from woman to woman, as do the symptoms. It is possible to have PCOS without ovarian cysts, without overweight, and without fertility trouble. However, these are the most familiar complaints, and PCOS is often thought of primarily as a dysfunctioning of the reproductive system.

One of the best places to start when trying to control or reverse PCOS without pharmaceutical drugs is through dietary changes. Evidence is increasing that shows that a low-carbohydrate diet is essential for managing PCOS w
ell. Science backs up anecdotal evidence of practitioners. Those with absent cycles had their cycles return in just a couple months and in all PCOS patients signs of high androgen levels began to subside after the same time on the diet.

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed significant improvements in women with PCOS when they went on a carbohydrate restricted diet. All the women who completed the study saw significant improvements in weight reduction, waist circumference, body fat, insulin, total testosterone, and free androgens. 57% of the study participants also saw significant improvements in their menstrual cycle regularity. 

Another study published in the same journal showed similar positive results, detailing their study of protein versus glucose on women with PCOS. This study showed an immediate drop in cortisol and DHEA levels during a protein challenge and a spike in cortisol and DHEA levels during an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. DHEA is a precursor hormone and is often too high in those with PCOS, as is cortisol. They conclude that:

"Glucose ingestion caused significantly more hyperinsulinemia than did protein, and it stimulated cortisol and DHEA. Protein intake suppressed ghrelin significantly longer than did glucose, which suggested a prolonged satietogenic effect. These findings provide mechanistic support for increasing protein intake and restricting the simple sugar intake in a PCOS diet."

Detoxification is also helpful in those with PCOS, as toxins can adversely affect hormone production. The average American lifestyle no longer includes physical activity, which can impair natural detoxification pathways such as sweating and regular bowel movements. Talk with a qualified health-care practitioner about your options.

Weight-loss is also key, and studies have shown that women with PCOS with overweight who lose just 5% of their body fat can improve their cycles and ovulation.

Other aids that should be considered include getting sufficient sleep (In one study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found that insulin sensitivity decreased in subjects by 19%-25% after only one night of poor sleep) and taking supplements B-12, B6, folic acid, fish-oil, vitamin D, cinnamon, and anti-androgens, such as saw palmetto and spearmint tea.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

What Does PCOS Mean?


Someone recently asked us, "what does PCOS mean"?

PCOS is short for "polycystic ovary syndrome" or
"polycystic ovarian syndrome".  A "syndrome" is a pattern of
symptoms that frequently appear together.  It's not a specific
disease such as cervical cancer.

We have identified at least 30 different signs and symptoms
that may indicate you have PCOS.  You may have only a
few symptoms, or more than a dozen of them.

You can see a list of PCOS symptoms here:

The most common is "polycystic ovaries", which means an
excessive number of underdeveloped follicles on your
ovaries.  However, you can have polycystic ovaries but not
have PCOS.

The most distressing aspects of PCOS are inability to
ovulate and become pregnant, w e i g h t gain, h a i r  loss,
unwanted facial and body hair growth, and acne.

But PCOS has quite a number of serious consequences that
are not always so obvious, including liver disease,
hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, appetite disorders, depression
and anxiety, high blood fats and blood pressure, and
impaired lung function.

There are also longer-term consequences of PCOS that you
will definitely want to prevent.  The most prominent ones are
a much increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease
and some cancers.  A less prominent one is possible brain

Perhaps you're hoping that when you reach menopause,
your symptoms will simply go away forever.  Your
symptoms may change, but the underlying health
consequences of PCOS do not suddenly vanish when you
reach menopause.  Studies have shown that they persist
beyond menopause.

So what does PCOS mean?
Your challenge is that PCOS is a systemic, complex
disorder that needs to be actively managed by you for the
rest of your life.  It is not the type of disorder that can be
effectively controlled in the long run by short-term measures
such as taking birth control pills.

You need to go to a deeper level and develop certain health
practices that will help your body to naturally minimize the
symptoms and long- term risks of polycystic ovary

If you don't get to work on improving your health practices
today, you may pay a heavy price later on.

You don't need to let PCOS ruin your life.  You can take
action to build and protect your health.  You can still live the
life of your dreams, but it will take some dedicated work.

A good place to start is by reading The Natural Diet Solution
for PCOS and Infertility e- book, which describes health
practices designed specifically to help you get the upper


Monday, 17 October 2011

Sewing for Bob

Sorry if this blog is more about impending childbirth than the trials and tribulations of PCOS. I know reading all this is extremely un-interesting when you're not in the pregnancy phase yet. In the past I've unsubsribed from a few PCOS blogs after the Cysters got pregnant and were gushing on about it. I was happy for them and all but it was supremely boring to me. I'll try and put up PCOS stuff from time to time, when I come across something interesting, otherwise yakking on about pregnancy is just how the cookie is crumbling at the moment.


Being a seamstress/designer can come in pretty handy when you're having a baby as I've come to learn. Sure there are some things you can buy cheaply that aren't worth spending hours working on like onesies and such (unless you want to customize it specifically for your baby or recycle some old stuff rather than chucking them away). But at the end of the day it's a labour of love. You're not making it because you can't afford to buy it, but because you are making it for your own little one. On the other hand, there are some things that are not really worth buying especially if you can make your own. Like nursing and maternity clothes, for instance, which you only wear for a few months. It's easier to knock something up in a few hours or nip and tuck your old clothes, saving a fortune.

Being a generally hands on, self-sufficient person - if not that we live in the city I'd be growing our food, raising our livestock and spinning our yarn, lol - I prefer to make things rather than buy. When it comes to DIY around the house, I'm the one that fixes things up while Dh, the total opposite to me, just stands there looking befuddled. I can easily change fuses, light bulbs, and knock things around without breaking a sweat. Heck it was even me that set up our digital TV when we decided to stop paying for cable. It's odd that he is a computer techie but totally useless with little things around the house.

On a side rant, he really annoys me when he wastes half a bottle of washing up liquid whenever he does the dishes. I stand there leering at him as he pours it on the sponge and proceeds to wash dirty dishes under a running tap. I tried rationing but that didn't work. Now, I'm not known to be a nag, but I've had to do it to get him to realize the folly of his ways; wasting washing up liquid (money) and wasting water (money). Thankfully he is well adjusted now.

As I was saying, when it comes to Bob, birthing and nursing, there are a few things I figure I could knock up that would save us some cash. Doing my research on what I'll be needing vis-a-vis what can be made and what can be bought has saved me rushing out to scratch the proverbial shopping itch (not that I have any these days). When I do get an itch to shop it's more for fabrics than anything else. I'm a fabric whore!

So, I've made a list. I already have the materials for making most of them lying around. My hope is to cross out each item in the coming weeks.I'll mostly be using modified patterns from free online tutorials. There's so much one can do if one had the time and the skills. I may add a few more things if the need arises.

For Bob:

- Diaper bag
- Diaper changing mat
- Burp cloths
- Nursing covers
- Blanket
- Towel
- Diaper roll

For Me:

- 2 Front opening night dresses for labour (I'm eyeing a bed sheet for this)
- Nursing pads (loads of pure linen pieces lying around)
- Dressing gown (with a hood)
- Winter maternity/nursing dresses

For now it's just basic baby stuff. I think making clothes for Bob will be better appreciated when he's much bigger.

I'm so excited, I just need to get one final order out of the way for a client over the next couple of days then I can stop sewing for other people and focus on me and Bob for the next coming weeks. Yey!


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Getting There Slowly

Today we had a tour of the Birth Center. It was fantastic! So calm and homely; almost like a hotel room except with an imposing white bath in a corner of the room. It is en-suite with a double bed, TV, CD player, exercise ball and spacious balcony. Now that I think about the balcony, I'll be giving birth in the dead of winter so it won't be a great idea sauntering out there to walk off my contractions. Unlike a hospital you can have an unlimited amount of visitors at any time of the day. Also unlike the hospital where you get booted out the minute you're able to stand on your own two feet, you can check yourself out whenever you're ready to leave. You get a midwife to yourself. A WHOLE ONE. Not one midwife flitting between 9 different women in labour.

What's not to love about all that? Of course it's all predicated upon me being low risk or no risk. We'll find that out at 34 weeks.

The only snag in all this nicely flowing bits and pieces of my fantasy birth is we've just moved out of that council and it's a good 25 minutes drive away from where we currently are. Dh has traveled and he didn't want to leave me alone by myself because he wasn't sure how long he'd be gone for. Also we plan to move into a bigger place before Bob comes so he thought it would be a good idea to stay with his brother pending when he gets back and we find a suitable place.

I don't know how long I'll be here. I'm not sure if we'll be lucky enough get a new place in the same area so as to be able to use the services. As a result of that particular uncertainty I'm reluctant to discharge myself from there all together. Considering if I were to go ahead and have Bob there I won't be able to be visited by midwives while still living here because we will be outside their catchment area which then puts me and Bob in an awkward position. Arrrrgh! This is too much for one pregnant woman to digest right now...

We'll just have to see. In the meantime I will not to fall too much in love with the birth center and brace myself for a possible hospital birth just in case.

It won't be easy moving as I get closer to my due date, but I'd rather have it done and dusted before Bob arrives no matter how inconvenient it will be. I pray really hard that our prayers are answered, insha'Allah. There's nothing like bringing a baby home to its own home. And again being in your own home its easy to settle into a routine and to have things exactly the way you want it. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Don't Give Up!

It's hard when you have PCOS, you feel your body has turned against you. It's even harder when you're trying to conceive and everyone else around is getting pregnant. It's annoying when people say things like, 'your time will come', or 'relax, it will happen', over and over again. Aside from the infertility aspect of it, it's equally annoying when people look at you and think you're a glutton and wonder why you just can't lose the weight and be normal like everyone else. It is really hard for us, and not just the physical aspect of it, but the psychological aspect too; depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, etc.

Everyday is a battle; a battle with your body, and a battle against those that just don't understand and are all too eager to venture unsolicited opinions.

Whatever life throws our way, I personally believe that everything happens for a reason and God does not place a burden on us that's more than we can bear. God does not make mistakes. He gives us challenges so that we become stronger and seek a deeper meaning to our life.

Having PCOS has taught me not to take things for granted. It's taught me not to envy others for what comes easy to them; knowing full well that we all have our unique challenges in life. It's taught me not to let other peoples opinions of me get me down. Being diagnosed explained a lot of things, and helped me understand myself and my body. I know now that this body has been entrusted to me and I am responsible for it. It may not always do what I want, but must take care of it to the best of my abilities.

With PCOS you can either get philosophical about it, look at the positives and rise above it, or you can chose to let it drag you down and wallow in self-pity. I choose the former.

Overcoming Infertility.
Early this year I realized something; that it's possible I may never have children. No woman wants to be told this, no woman want's to hear it and no woman wishes it on herself, but the sad reality is that NOT ALL women will be able to have children; PCOS or no PCOS. It dawned on me that what if I was one of them. Why then should I be miserable, grumpy and angry at those that pop out baby after baby effortlessly? Why should I bow to society's closeted definition of what I ought to be? Why should I feel bad when people make stupid comments and why should I look away, slightly ashamed and deflated when others look at me with pity, as if I was lacking a major appendage, when they ask how many children I have?

I remember that day clearly. It was on a weekend and Dh had traveled. When this realization came to me I was overcome with grief. I grieved that day for the child (children) I may never have. I cried my eyes out as if I'd truly lost a child. For hours, I just cried. I let out all the anger, pain and frustration. Then I dried my eyes and for the first time I understood, and it finally sunk into my head that everything is by God's Will. I promised myself not to be miserable, to approach conceiving with a very level head and to do my best, and to accept whatever comes to me. After that I was able to be happy, genuinely happy, for others whenever I heard about their pregnancy or child birth.

It's a personal journey we all have to make. For me it wasn't the end of the world. And if it turned out that I couldn't have children despite everything and I was blessed financially, I would adopt orphans instead. That was my Plan B; to enrich the lives of others rather than wallowing in what I didn't get. I've always loved children. It breaks my heart to see them suffering through no fault of theirs.

I am thankful for all I have now, for Bob who we wanted and waited for but never saw coming, and I always pray for those that are trying to succeed in their quest for motherhood. May all you Cysters be blessed in your efforts; whether it's seeking a healthier life or trying to have a baby.

"May God grant us all the serenity to accept the things that we can't change, the ability to change what we can and the wisdom to know the difference."


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Times Two

It seems when you are with child everything is twice as hard. I've had a nasty cold/flu thing going on for the past week and oh boy, let me just say I've never felt this way before. This would be the second bout of cold since Bob came along. The first one was equally nasty. Normally I bounce back quickly from my colds. Because what I normally do is douse myself senseless with Night Nurse and let my body fight the battle. After a couple of days I'm back on my feet.

Obviously I can't drug myself, so I have no choice but to let it run it's evil cause. The first night it snuck up on me, which was on a Tuesday, I woke up with a throat that looked like a bunch of footballers had been running around them in their spiky boots. I rushed to the hospital only to be told off by the doctor. After waiting for over an hour, she said she only agreed to see me because I was pregnant, otherwise I can't just waltz into the hospital and expect to be seen; unless I'm bleeding, running very high temperature, suffocating or the baby is not moving. She then sent me on my way with paracetamol and advice to drink lots of warm tea with lemon and honey.

Every week we read stories in the papers about people who visited their GP's only to be told 'its nothing'.  Unfortunately it turns out to be something and next thing they're dead, like cancerous pain in the leg that is diagnosed as muscle pull. Or we hear about people dying from illnesses that could have been treated early because they were afraid to cause 'a fuss' by going to see their GP. Also I've been told by my pregnant friends that things like this are bound to happen. They've warned me not to be afraid to go to the hospital; that it's better to be told off and have peace of mind than to sit at home worrying to death and putting baby at risk. I completely agree. So didn't mind being told off by her one bit.

After all I'm not a hypochondriac. Truth is I felt really horrible that morning. My throat closed up and I couldn't even swallow water. I couldn't imagine making it through the rest of the day feeling that way.

That was last week. For the past few days I've been having bouts of coughs that end up with me doubled over in the bathroom throwing up. I'm sure I've consumed the equivalent of a truck of lemons, and still, I wonder when I'll start to feel normal again. I feel sorry for Bob, who kicks me when I cough hard. Plus when I sleep I'm off for about 9 hours, I just hope he's not starving because I don't even have an appetite. I'm frightened to death every time I wake up and don't feel him move. 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Forgetting Labour

My major fear about pregnancy was not losing my figure, developing unsightly stretch marks, the eventual post breastfeeding saggy boobs or even the acne specking my skin. It's the labour, specifically the tearing that has got me trembling in my bones. I have a very short un-flexible perineum which tears from time to time whenever we do the deed after going for weeks without it. So I figured with a huge baby popping out it can't be too happy about taking all that pressure.

My fears were allayed today when the midwife said that for most first pregnancies tearing is very common, but massaging the area beforehand helps mitigate the extent. It was a relief when she said also that they prefer women to tear on their own than to issue episiotomies because self-tearing healed better and faster. They only perform an episiotomy if the baby is in danger and they have to deliver it quickly.

I've concluded that they don't call it labour for nothing. It's painful quite alright. At the same time the pain is not so great that a woman decided after that to never have a child again. Between my grandmother, mother, MIL and sister they have 24 children, all born naturally without medication and pain relief.

For a first time mother I'm fussy and worried to death not knowing what to expect. I'm equally aware that no amount of reading can prepare me for labour, natural though I want it to be. I can only cross the bridge when I get there. What I am discovering as I go along is that at that moment it will feel like the worst pain in the world, and I might scream for them to cut me open and pull the darn thing out, but once it's over, I have a strong feeling I'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. Even if I had 3rd degree tear (God forbid) and I was in pain for weeks and months, I'd still want to do it all over again half a year later.

Even now my early morning sickness feels like a distant memory. It doesn't feel as horrible as it was then. If you'd asked me then to rate my discomfort I'd give it 10 out of 10. Right now I'd probably give it 2 out of 10 because I can barely remember how bad it was.

I've stopped freaking out because nature has a way of taking care of these things. I just need to trust my body, train it as best as I can and leave it to do its job. Women have been giving birth for thousands of years, my aunts would pop one out and be back on their feet the following day with house chores, and Bob's your uncle!