Thursday, 21 July 2011

So Sad

The sister of Dh’s childhood friend committed suicide recently, sparking numerous discussions on and off line. Generally people don’t think a young girl of 25 that comes from a wealthy home, had a very good job, was highly educated, beautiful and intelligent should take her own life. That she had been depressed for a long time didn’t make her suicide come as any less of a surprise.

There’s something about depression in Nigeria that makes people not take it seriously. Because unlike other conditions its symptoms have no outward wounds or signs, you don’t break out in hives, your nose doesn’t turn purple neither do your ears fall off. A depressed person is trapped in a silent, vicious cycle of self-doubt, insignificance, helplessness and loneliness. There’s something eating away at their soul and shredding their insides to bits. Sometimes all it takes to pull them out of it is for an acknowledgement from another person that the pain they feel is real and they are not alone. The more people try to remedy them by ignoring it or expecting them to snap out of it without talking to them about it, the worse it gets. And it eventually builds up to a climax. Only a sufferer can understand the internal turmoil that leads to a person taking their own life.

There are many rumours about what triggered her suicidal tendencies; apparently she’d tried to kill herself last year. I don’t know which of these stories are true, and I don’t want to repeat them here for fear of slandering the dead but what strikes me is the glee with which her tragedy is being reported, in a ‘serves her right’ tone. As if people who are materially blessed can’t bruise too. As if suicide is a rich mans disease. Whatever her problems were, I’m sure with proper counselling and support she would have pulled through. Whatever mistakes she’d made, she needed to hear that it’s not the end of the world.

A lot of Nigerian parents maintain an emotional distance from their children. How many of them say the words ‘I love you’ to their children? It’s not just enough to put a roof over their head and food in their stomach; those are the very basic duty of parenthood. I know you can’t give what you don’t have, but parents should be more discerning of their childrens emotional needs. Some children need more hugs than others. Sometimes children go through situations where they need to be told that they are loved and appreciated and valued and should never think less of themselves no matter what life throws their way. If this poor girl really felt less of a human being, she didn’t need more money thrown at her to make her happy again.

I can’t imagine how her family feel. It’s heartbreaking when someone you love dies, more so when they take their own life. 

Monday, 18 July 2011


The scan went very well. Alhamdulillah!

Dh and I were very excited we got there 30minutes ahead of schedule but only waited about 5mins to be seen. It was so clear right away! I could see the huge smile on Dh's face when he saw his little Bob. Some women would have cried but I'm not one to cry in public, haha...

We got to see Bob's head, eye sockets, hands, feet, spine, stomach, strong heartbeat - he looked perfect chilling in there like nobody's business. Just like his mum who loves sleeping on her stomach he had his back to us the whole time. The sonographer tried to jiggle my tummy to get him to turn but he wasn't interested. He occasionally turned to the side but that was all the cooperation we were going to get out of him. As a result the sonographer couldn't get a clear view so his neck couldn't be measured to access our risk of Downs Syndrome. The blood test option which is the alternative to neck measurement is too early to carry out because I'm 14 weeks. So he told me to come back next week Monday (at 15weeks) for a blood test. I told Dh I might not go because knowing or not knowing will change nothing for us.

Bob's measurements showed that I am actually 2 days ahead. The gestational age is 14 weeks + 2 days, which would put my EDD at 14th January instead of 16th. But he said it doesn't matter since it's not a big difference and left it unchanged.

There are many woman who don't leave their first scan smiling, and for that we were very grateful. We didn't get any pictures or videos though. I rather wait to see my baby.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

First Scan

Tomorrow is our first scan! Actually it would have been our first if I didn't have the previous 3 scans earlier. I'm excited and scared shitless nonetheless. I just want everything to be okay, really.  It's too early to tell what kind of Bob it is.

The scan would have been the perfect birthday present if it didn't come a day late though. Yup, it's official, this is the last year I get to use the phrase 'in my late twenties'. Dh gave me a big suprise with tickets to the London Eye later today. Yey! He's the only person that buys me gifts on my birthday. I haven't bought a present for anyone since I left high school not even for my Dh. Where birthdays are concerned, I'm not at all sentimental. I don't celebrate them in the conventional sense of celebration. My idea of celebration is being alive to thank my Creator for all my years here on earth, for my parents and for all He's blessed me with (I know, I'm boring). And if I was invited to a birthday party I'd bake or cook something rather than buy gifts. If you want shit, go buy them yourself!

I'm so excited about our outing! I prefer spending time together instead of another bottle of perfume. We've both been paying lip service to visiting the sights in London. If he's not away with business, it's always been one thing or another that comes up. Now with a baby on the way and us being less likely to have time to be tourists he figured the sooner we get it over and done with, the better. And a good thing too. I love that guy. I've wanted to have his baby from the first time I laid eyes on him.


As far as my symptoms are concerned nausea and sickness had abated whats left is a nasty taste in my mouth after I eat. I'm still tired but not exhauseted. Appetite has definitely increased although I'm not putting on weight. Bbs pain has gone away significantly. It still aches some days more than others, so do my nips but they're more tolerable and I can enjoy sleeping face down again. I'm not technically 'showing' yet though I seem to be piling on fat around my stomach even though I'm not putting on weight overall which is strange and slightly worrysome. I'm hoping it's not PCOS flaring up on me. I haven't been exercising though I'm still maintaining my healthy eating as best as I can.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Hospital Birth VS Home Birth

Yesterday the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists made a recommendation for more women to have their babies at home instead of the hospital. There’s been a lot of furore from proponents and critics alike. The RCOBG claims that home births are safer, labour is easier for the mother and leads to less complications. However, the statistics, critics claim are skewered because while proponents claim that home births are safer those that don’t go well and end up in the hospital are classified as hospital births gone wrong rather than home births gone wrong.

I was listening to Julia Hartley-Brewer on LBC yesterday and she was vehemently against home births. She had some valid points worth consideration, mainly that:

- Birthing should not be about ‘the experience’ but about getting the baby out as safely as possible while keeping mum as healthy as possible. For her it’s was a purely clinical procedure. She thinks its selfish of women to put their babies at risk giving birth at home knowing anything could go wrong at any moment and emergency medical intervention will not be immediately available. She herself had to have an emergency caesarean after baby’s heartbeat started declining. (She also admitted she was drugged to the teeth)

- A lot of fairy tales have step mothers precisely because childbirth was the single biggest killer of women since the early ages. A lot of these women died unnecessarily because something went wrong during home labour, likewise a lot of babies died when they could have been saved. She doesn’t see why women should shun the potentially life saving advances in modern medicine for an archaic method with an unfortunate track record.

- Infant mortality is lower in countries with advanced medical practices than in countries where traditional birthing practices are still in use. 

- It’s more expensive because you hog two midwives for a home birth, whereas in the hospital one midwife can attend to multiple woman simultaneously.

For her it’s a clinical procedure, like having a tooth pulled out. You go in, get medicated, get it out and all is well.

The advocates of home birth who called into the show also had some valid points:

- A woman is more comfortable in her home surroundings will be more relaxed and is more likely to have a shorter and comparatively less painless labour than being in a hospital.

- Being in a relaxed atmosphere she can manage the pain better, is less likely to need pain relief as well as episiotomies.

- Midwifery has come a very long way since the middle ages. Midwives nowadays are very capable and react accordingly should labour deteriorates and the woman needs medical intervention. They also work with the women all through their pregnancies to ensure they are making an informed choice and are aware of the options open to them.

- One medical intervention leads to subsequent medical interventions. For instance a woman that’s been given an epidural is more likely to require forceps delivery than one who was not given one.

- Finally, with hospital resources stretched thin and budget cuts everywhere women are better off giving birth at home so they can get the full attention they need at that crucial moment in their life rather than being cared for by frazzled, overworked midwives who are prone to errors.

I’ve heard and read personal experiences of women from both sides of the spectrum; all very subjective. None of my ‘mommy’ friends have anything good to say about hospital births. They had complaints like rude midwives, midwives that gave them episiotomies, midwives that didn’t give them one, feeling pressured into doing things that wasn’t in their birth plan. With most things related to the female species, what was a wonderful experience for one woman might be a horrible experience for another. However on the whole there are MORE horrible hospital experiences than there are home birth experiences. What’s weird though is that the women that talk about successful hospital births are mostly women whose labour took a turn for the worse and needed intervention and were ‘saved’.

I’ve been considering my birth plan so this discussion has come at an excellent time. A birthing center is the closest thing to a home birth. We have one that is literally across the street from us. There’s a hospital 15-20minutes away. The birthing center is 100% midwife run. There are no doctors or anaesthesiologists. Like a homebirth it’s only for low risk pregnancies. There are birthing pools, balls and all that jazz but you don’t get assigned a midwife, they work on shifts and if there’s an emergency they call the ambulance.

The hospital is where my endocrinologist works. Last year he said he was looking forward to having me give birth with them. We only met once but he made me feel comfortable. I’m hoping his attitude is a reflection of the maternity ward (wonderful logic there). It’s the closest hospital and if something were to go wrong (God forbid!) I’d definitely end up there.  On one hand I would feel comfortable walking across the street to have my baby and walk ing back home to rest after that. On the other hand I’m thinking, this is my first baby, I don’t know how my body is going to react. For now I’m classified as low risk, but anything could happen. No woman prays for it, but that’s the reality – you just never know what’s gonna happen. In any case I don’t want to regret not doing a 15 minute drive should something go wrong.

In a few months time I’ll get to visit both places, have a look around, speak to the staff and maybe get a chance to talk to some fresh mums about their experience (if I am allowed to) before I finally make up my mind. I think its important to know what options are available so one can make an informed decision. 

Meanwhile the debate continues. 


Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Sede, I'm just seeing your reply today in the 'junk' comment. I have no idea why it flagged your comment. I'm really sorry if you thought I purposely didn't publish your comment or was ignoring you. 

Stupid blogger!!!!

You've been through a lot. I'm sorry the ovulation induction didn't work. It might have just been that your internal system is too inflamed to respond. You are on the right track though! One thing I will say is FIGHT FOR METFORMIN! You have to be your own advocate. Not all RE's are ‘adventurous’ enough to take the Metformin route with thin cysters, however there is evidence to suggest that even thin cysters do benefit from Metformin. Do check out SoulCysters, there are links to scientific/peer reviewed articles that you can print out and take to your RE on your next visit as evidence to suggest that even with thin cysters using Met with Clomid (ovulation induction) has been shown to be more effective than just clomid alone. You've done a lot and clearly your body is still not ovulating, at this point it's worth a try. Some women have to beat down the doors of their RE's before they listen to them. If he/she isn't listening, then change RE's.

Piling on fat around the abdomen is a classic symptom of IR even if your blood work comes back normal. My fasting glucose was normal, so was my testosterone. Apparently the typical glucose test doesn't pick up IR. Sometimes a woman can still have pcos but her hormone profile appears normal.

I’m glad your Dh is supportive (screw the inlaws!). There is a lot he too can do to improve the quality of the swimmers. Eating organic food has been proven to boost sperm quality. I read somewhere that organic male farmers have their sperms in the range of 50million or so… (can’t remember exactly).

I know how you feel and it’s a good thing you’ve decided to go down the natural route but don’t put too much pressure on yourself in the process.

Do you know how people always say you should relax and it will happen? I swear to you I’ve heard it so often I felt like stabbing people in the eye whenever they said it to me. But there is some ring of truth to it because the cycle I got my BFP I had abandoned all hopes of conceiving that month. I reluctantly BD’ed and I was even jabbing my left ovaries in frustration when I realized I was ovulating from the left tube that month. And it happened.

So please, do try and relax, even though it's easier said than done. Look at the positives: your tubes are open, everything else is normal and Dh’s swimmers can be boosted. The acupuncture will help regulate things down there. Go easy on the herbs though. You can use OPK’s to monitor your cycles in case you get any surges to see if your body is trying to ovulate. You can get highly sensitive ones off Ebay at a ridiculously cheap price and trust me they work just as well.  

Tips to bring on AF – you’re already doing most of it!  Since you’ve just started the natural approach it might take a while, but you are certainly on the right track. Having estrogen dominance (you can Google natural ways to reduce estrogen dominance) can disrupt the cycles. Adding lots of fibre to your diet helps with that because fibre helps get rid of excess estrogen. Cutting out refined carbs – sugar, white rice, white potatoes, anything made with white flour REALLY helps trim tummy fat. So does regular exercise, which you are already doing. I go the extra mile to avoid cosmetics that contain endocrine disruptors like paraben. I only use natural oils to moisturize. Eating organic food, regularly detoxing also helps. Other tips, in terms of what I did personally –

- Having a glass of diluted vinegar or fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning and during the day before each meal.
- Regularly consuming flax seed (linseed) to increase omega 3 levels which also help reduce oestrogen dominance. I noticed this the very month I started taking it. The whole seed works best, but if you can powder it and use it immediately that too is good. I prefer the golden one to the brown, but they’re essentially the same.
- Also I forgot to mention us African women living in the non-tropics tend to be vitamin D deficient compared to the average Caucasian. You can take vitamn D3 supplements or get more sunshine if you think you’re not getting enough. Some women have brought on ovulation just by increasing their vitamin D levels.
- Cinnamon with meals. If you can’t stand the taste you can go for the pills.
- I read that turmeric helps reduce inflammation. Didn’t try it personally but you can research it.
- Green tea. Lots of it. It’s high in anti-oxidants. Some cysters swear by it.
- Spearmint tea and peppermint tea. I personally swear by them.
- Try not to eat heavy meals after 7pm because its more likely to be stored away as fat.
- Try to eat as much raw food as you can in terms of fruits and veggies. An alkaline diet as a result of cooked foods worsens inflammation. Juicing helps!

That’s all I can remember for now. If any more come to mind I’ll add to the list. I didn’t do all these things overnight. They became a habit over a period of time, so do take it easy. You’ll get there, I believe you’ll ovulate by God’s Grace. Remember you’re not trying to batter your body into ovulating but nourishing it and healing it so it can do its job properly. Have faith and think positively. Don’t poke your ovaries out of frustration, hehehe… I truly and genuinely wish you and your Dh the best.

Do keep me posted I'd love to hear about your journey and if there’s anything else you think I can help with, I’ll be more than happy to help, :)

Friday, 1 July 2011


A while ago I blogged about how the Channel4 program Embarassing Bodies tackled the embarrassing symptoms of PCOS by prescribing drugs rather than advising sufferers on how to manage their condition through lifestyle changes. They seem to have taken a cue by trying alternative methods, because in last weeks episode another woman with hirsutism (excess hair) came on the show and rather than been sent away for laser treatment, she was told to try and loose some weight. And it worked! She lost some weight and all her excess hair went away. No need for drugs, no need for expensive laser and she was all the better for it. Needless to say, I was really pleased for her and for the show, for prescribing a drug free approach.

I’m bemused when I read women complaining about their PCOS symptoms. I’m especially annoyed when I read women say things like, ‘I’ve tried everything, and nothing works.’ Have you really tried EVERYTHING? What exactly have you done and how long have you done it for? PCOS takes years to manifest, it’s not going to go away after a few weeks or even a few months; but you will notice improvements almost immediately if you are doing the right thing.

There’s a PCOS support group on Facebook that I participate in. I’m seriously thinking about unliking the page because it doesn’t seem as if any of the women there is serious about the condition. The advocates of natural methods are in the minority. Over 90% of women there are medicating their symptoms. Very few believe in the exercise/natural/lifestyle change route. In fact they even slated the owner of the page once for posting the long term effects unmanaged PCOS can have such as increased chances of heart disease, blood pressure, miscarriage and type II diabetes. A recent study showed that women with PCOS have arteries that are 10 years older than their actual age! That’s something to seriously consider if you think popping pills alone will make it all go away.

I may sound harsh; but this is my pet peeve. Women would rather bury their heads in the sand than face the reality of their condition! Then the same people moan about how nothing seems to be getting better and they wonder what they are doing wrong. Women who only listen to what their doctor says even though it’s obvious they are not getting better.

You have to believe that you have some control over your body. You cannot control your genes, but you can control what you put into your body that can cause a gene to express itself. Take insulin resistance, for example. You may have a natural predisposition to being insulin resistant. But if you don’t eat refined carbohydrates, sugar, and junk food, your body will never have cause to trigger insulin resistance.

It’s also important you educate yourself so you don’t get taken for a ride. Just because you can afford fertility treatments does not mean it should be your first line of action. I’ve read about women who’ve spent tens of thousands on IVF only to end up going down the natural route and falling pregnant. In reality, if you are overweight, no self-respecting doctor should prescribe fertility treatment (unless for very specific reasons) because losing as little as 7-10% of one’s weight is enough to jumpstart ovulation. Imagine the amount of money wasted and the emotional turmoil you put yourself thorough, only to find out at the end of the day that doing a low GI diet with regular exercise was all that was needed to get pregnant?

Do your research. Even conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism also linked to PCOS all have a genesis. These conditions didn’t just spring up on you overnight. There must be something you are doing too much of or not doing enough of that’s causing the condition to linger. Remove the cause, give your body the right fuel it needs to heal and you’re cured. Put your health first. Even if you don’t have the money, I’m proof that with very little money you can still afford to eat healthy and exercise. I walk everywhere, and I mostly shop in farmers markets where you get more bang for your money’s worth of fresh produce!

If you believe your PCOS is something you have to ‘suffer’ with, that’s exactly how it’s going to be for you. But if you believe it’s just a bump in your life that you can get rid off, and lead a healthy, symptom free life, then that’s exactly what you’re going to get. It all comes down to you, how proactive you are, how dedicated you are and how far you’re willing to go to take control of your life