My busy little 16 month old

14 Oct

Dearest little one,

This month wheezed by us as it has been filled with loads of fun activities for us! You’ve been to several water parks and we know how much you enjoy those visits when you’ll drag us back to the playground after we’ve clean you up nice and dry.

You’ve been really wonderful though, not throwing a fit if we don’t do as you please, you’ll whine a little but you’ll turn towards other things in no time.

3 weeks ago, you said ummi. On the same day you said emma. You’ve shown recognition towards people in the house as well as your paternal grandparents and aunt. It’s beautiful to see how you light up the faces of people around you when you address them personally with nyayi, atom, mami and even Arshad. You call your uncle by name?!…

You’re running short distances and you have been attempting to jump when your anne mukhlis jumps. Recently you climbed off the bed and walked out of the room on your own when you awoke from sleep in the morning.

Did I mention your love for pens? You just love to write! You like your crayons too! And you look adorable hugging your little bear.

Lots of love,
Your ummi

It has been 15 months?!?!?!?!

16 Sep

Dearest son,

Right now, I’m missing you badly. The weekend syndrome, a dose of too much  of DS, withdrawal symptoms has set in.
Fun. That would sum our time together succinctly. There is of course the need to cook, feed, clean you too but that can be fun too :) especially how we mess up your schedule during the weekend making it difficult for ummi to maintain milk supply and for Emma to take care of you on Monday.

Most of our weekends are filled. You’re still battling with cough so we have taken a break from swimming for now. Lots of oiling with young living oils especially more so when ummi is around.

You started to speak a little English but most times its babblish (baby babbling). Your Emma said she likes to talk to you because its like you are speaking back right at her. You’ve startwd saying bye bye in your own way. You’d listen intently when ummi speak to you over the phone from work. The clearest word is papa. You do say yah for ayah and akka, koko, jiejie and ba boom. I think it’s from a book on planes.

You don’t hesitate to express your interest or otherwise in books and songs. If you don’t like the book, you’d push it away and make a sound to express your displeasure. When ummi say it’s time to read books, you’d go to where we keep your books and point. After ummi takes some books, you’d sit yourself comfortably in ummi’s lap. Anna mukhlis likes to join us then.

Oh and when it comes to songs, you would move to the beat if you like the song and hum along. If you don’t like it you’d make a sound to indicate for us to stop, coupled with your facial expression.

You are fast. You started walking really fast, like running perhaps. You and Anna mukhlis have been racing recently. One moment you are in our room, the next you have entered another room at the far end of our home.

We are doing more art and I think you love exploring the various textures we are learning about. You also enjoy looking at the pictures and words when ummi show them to you.




I look forward to my weekend dose of our little family.

Misses and kisses,
Your ummi


DS ‘s first art piece

10 Sep


Sticky paint made from corn flour, plain flour, water and some white little bead stuff which is called sago seeds. I’m supposed to buy basil seeds but I think this works as well to create a nice different texture for little one to explore.

Oiling with Young living has been great!

9 Sep

I’m convinced that we don’t need to run to the doc every time something doesn’t feel right.

My family and I have been down with several bugs these past few months and it’s taking a toll on me BUT I know now that with lots of prayers, they will heal with all the oiling.

I have been reading loads to equip myself with ways to help the little one. I have been blessed with a sister-in-law as well a group of mothers I am in contact with to support me through this new terrain.

The very first time my SIL helped to oil him when he was down with fever. She mixed 3 oils and started oiling. I wasn’t familiar with oils then but I think they were peppermint, eucalyptus radiata and Theives. The blend with coconut oil was applied on his back and chest as well as feet – focusing on his belly button and armpits. His fever dropped within an hour. But his temperature didn’t remain low. As it fluctuated, I oiled. He was also having flu so we applied RC on his nose bridge, back and chest.

He was down with a flu bug twice and I started oiling him with RC EO in nose bridge, back, chest and feet. I also used thieves and peppermint EO. Raven EO and Frankincense EO as well.

We all came down with a stomach bug some time back. Applied Lemongrass EO and Fennel EO.

We brought DS to Jurong Bird Park and unfortunately it poured. We were stuck at the Lory feeding place which was outdoor. Not sure if it was the rain or the place but he was bitten quite badly by mosquitoes or some insects. I started with Lavender EO the day after when I saw the bumps on his hand and feet, around 4 spots. After 2 days of oiling, I saw slight improvement by the end of the second day , perhaps because I didn’t oil often enough. On the second day, I also used Purification EO. By the third day, it was improving but much faster after applying Melrose EO. He scratched the site so there was some open wound so it dried up and some spots were flattening. Alhamdulilah.

DS also developed high fever of around 39 degree Celsius on the day after our trip to the bird park. After 2 applications of Lavender EO, Peppermint EO, Lemon EO and Theives EO. His temperature plummeted to around 37.5. Alhamdulilah. I continued oiling him around 2-3 times till morning as his temperature fluctuated a little. He was back to his normal temperature by day 2 night. (24 hours) Alhamdulilah.

Right now, dealing with his phelgmy cough which is so stubborn. I tried all sorts of oils but I’m trying something different now, to stick to 2 oils Myrtle EO and Lemon EO. InsyAllah he will get better with plentiful do’a and tlc amidst the oiling.

14 months

19 Aug

Dearest child,

14 months of gently kissing your cheek before I fall asleep every night
~ I read that we should always do that and I dont want to lose that. We should always be able to express love for one another freely


14 months of breastfeeding since 14 June 2013 and counting, Alhamdulilah. Journey filled with joy, pain,  amazement, gratitude, discovery and so much love. The following photo was taken at Jamee mosque in Chinatown.


14 months which seemed to have flown by in the blink of an eye and you grew from a vulnerable baby into an independent toddler wandering about.


14 months of watching your every milestones and trying to document them all.

14 months of so much changes…

It’s so fun too play with you right now…ummi is introducing a number of different fine motor skills activities and it’s so fun. We recently threaded through flour and mixed flour with water to make dough which didn’t turn out quite right but what matters is we had fun :)

This is also your second Eid, one which you have been an active participant of since you’re so mobile now. We captured beautiful memories as a family, Alhamdulilah.

Time we headed out more and have more fun as we discover new experiences together.

With love,
Your ummi

14 months

14 Aug

Dearest child,

14 months of gently kissing your cheek before I fall asleep every night
~ I read that we should always do that and I dont want to lose that. We should always be able to express love for one another freely


14 months of breastfeeding since 14 June 2013 and counting, Alhamdulilah. Journey filled with joy, pain,  amazement, gratitude, discovery and so much love. The following photo was taken at Jamee mosque in Chinatown.


14 months which seemed to have flown by in the blink of an eye and you grew from a vulnerable baby into an independent toddler wandering about.


14 months of watching your every milestones and trying to document them all.

14 months of so much changes…

It’s so fun too play with you right now…ummi is introducing a number of different fine motor skills activities and it’s so fun. We recently threaded through flour and mixed flour with water to make dough which didn’t turn out quite right but what matters is we had fun :)

This is also your second Eid, one which you have been an active participant of since you’re so mobile now. We captured beautiful memories as a family, Alhamdulilah.

Time we headed out more and have more fun as we discover new experiences together.

With love,
Your ummi

If I had to do it again, i would choose you again…

24 Jul

A nice overview of marriage:

An Islamic overview:

What I remind myself through the challenges of motherhood especially when sickness visits. These trials take a toll on marriages…

Walking @ 13 months 4 days

19 Jul

You’d think it can’t be getting better but 13 months later, you’d be surprised!

14 Jul

Dearest son,

A feeling like no other. An experience like no other. You are a gem, so precious, there is only one of you.

It’s been a wonderful journey of sacrifices and new experiences, sweat and tears of joy, cuddling and smiles. A year and running of the most amazing time of new discoveries and challenges.

You look and play with your toys differently from just a few months ago. I think you couldn’t decide on the interesting texture of sand but you just know you like it. You don’t cry at the waves washing over your tiny feet saddled in your Barney sandals your maternal grandma bought for you.

Its all about learning from observations now for you, whatever Anne mukhlis does, you copy. It’s sometimes difficult for ummi to let you boys rough it out but I’m slowly letting go. My motherly instincts just don’t want to let go but I think it’s time you learn how tough life is and you got to fight your way to get what you want. There will be bigger and older people who would want to push you around and show who is boss but you stand firm my boy and you’ll do fine. I’m also letting go so that you can get all the love you need from as many people as possible – the more informal support you have, the better InsyAllah.

You’re talking your way through baby talk and you seem to have spoken your first word and it isn’t ummi but papa which we figured you mean your maternal grandpa – vaapa. You differentiate between all the people in the family from ummi to baby Shukri. You’re learning to control your strength so you can gently stroke the little baby.

I miss you terribly while at work, worse on some days. Ummi have also recently started a 10 months course and I hope that would not take me away from you even more.

This Ramadan, ummi is fasting and nursing. It’s taking a toll on me but I’m persevering and Alhamdulilah Allah make it easy. You are coping well too. Now you eat normal food as well after your porridge and the cereals you eat. You just love to eat and discover many many tastes. Bread. Porridge from the mosque, egg and the ketupat in lontong, dates etc. You also laugh at the word ketupat!

At times when ummi is teaching you some cards, you sit and listen as you interact and grab the cards.

You are also faring well in your fine motor skipping stuff we are exposing you to, Alhamdulilah.

We have removed the cot so you can play freely and independently on the floor mat.

Month of transitions.

With unending love,
Your ummi

Natural birthing

25 Jun

I had a baby…at home…on the bedroom floor. I had no choice because I wanted a natural birth. I wouldn’t have minded giving birth naturally in a hospital, but my OB GYN doctor of eight years – a “John Hopkins trained prestige,” could do my emergency ectopic pregnancy surgery but was not a fan of the natural birth. I was out of her comfort zone she said, and my birth plan put myself and my baby at risk.

Really? Having a vaginal birth without unnecessary medical testing and intervention, the way women have been giving birth since the beginning of time (save the last 200 years), puts my baby at risk? And how are doctors getting through medical school and residency without being proficient in natural birth?

While most women were looking for a doctor who could handle the “worst case scenario” I was looking for a doctor who knew how to let a woman have a baby, and they all said the same – find a midwife.

That was an excellent idea, except that traditional midwifery is illegal in the great state of Illinois (and the nearest birth center was four hours away). Seems a bit irrational don’t you think? Midwives aren’t equipped to handle births so we’ll either force a woman to give birth alone or in the confines of a hospital. Ah yes, the “my way or the highway approach.” So I did what any educated, normal, determined person would do:

I chose my bedroom floor.

Times have changed. What used to be a sacred, respected, safe process carried out by a woman, her closest confidants, and midwife has turned into a 3-ring circus complete with flashing lights, ring-side seats, popcorn, and enough technology to re-wire a circuit. What used to be an event where women were engaged, connected, and present is now a detached process with intervention and discombobulation.

We live in a country that led the way in women’s rights and claims to empower women with endless options, encouragement, and an open oyster; but apparently the birthing industry (yes, that’s what it is) never got the memo.

From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, she is bombarded with everything but her options. From the minute the intake form is filled out at the doctor’s office she becomes part of a “process.” Blood is taken, pee is collected in a cup, there are ultrasounds, monthly appointments, bi-weekly, than weekly appointments, flu shots, vaccinations, gestational diabetes testing, group b strep and genetic testing. You’ll be given a due date because really, babies are entirely predictable.

There is no establishing a relationship with any doctor because they only have five minutes to see you and chances are, they won’t be the one sitting in the delivery room with you when you give birth anyway. Actually, chances are no doctor will be “sitting” in the delivery room. They’ll move you along, come in to catch the baby, and off they’ll go. Instead of trusting a person and developing a relationship, you’ll have to yield to the system and hope that whatever doctor you get, yields to your birth plan. 

When it gets close to your “due date” you’ll feel pressure to hurry things along. If your water hasn’t broken by week 40 you’ll be “scheduled” unless you have a really cool old-school doctor who knows babies don’t conform to schedules.

You’ll waddle into the hospital when you are one centimeter dilated because you felt the first twinge of pain – you weren’t told that laboring at your house is much more comfortable. Then you’ll be subjected to your first vaginal “frisk” of many, as if pap smears weren’t uncomfortable enough. 

And then the real fun begins: You’ll be given pitocin to speed things up and then an epidural which will slow things down. You’ll be attached to an i.v., unable to move, and confined to your hospital bed on your back, complete with the dignity of a catheter. The lights will be on, the room will be loud, and you’ll feel completely detached from the process and from your body. Sounds like a party. At least you won’t have to get up to pee right? 

And when labor slows down, and the uterus gets tired and baby’s oxygen decreases from the forced contractions, and the heart rate decelerates, and your body is plum wore out because you’ve been starved during the most rigorous process the human body will ever encounter, you’ll be escorted to a front row seat in the operating room, where you’ll lose your right to a vaginal birth for the rest of your childbearing years unless you find a special hospital and a doctor willing to take you on.

If you were lucky enough to avoid the embarrassingly high 33% c-section rate in this country, you’re probably in the cold, uninviting, delivery room waiting for someone to tell you when and how hard to push. Hopefully, baby won’t get stuck and you won’t need a vacuum or forceps because you’re on your back – a biologically uninviting position. And hopefully, you won’t tear. But let’s face it, you probably will. 

Good thing someone is there to repair the tear that wouldn’t have happened but-for the medical interventions, anatomically incorrect positioning, and poor “coaching” you got from the back-seat driver. 

Your man? He’s probably munchin’ on some chips tuned into the t.v. detached from you because you’re detached from the process. Hey, at least somebody get’s to eat right?

Of course nobody told you about the amazing experience the absence of pain and forced labor would rob you of. Nobody told you that the drugs administered to you have not been proven safe for babies and have side-effects that increase the likelihood of intervention and mortality both during and after birth. Nobody told you attachment might be hindered and your milk might not come in, and if it does, you could have trouble breastfeeding and bonding with your baby.

What did your first-rate U.S maternity care (the most expensive maternity care in the world) cost you – a whopping $30,000 – $50,000. (Maybe that just seems like a lot since the home birth kit I ordered online was $46…with shipping).

Oh snap, where were the birthing options on the intake form you filled out?
This is the United States of America right – where women have an endless array of reproductive choices and “it’s your baby your body” is the female national anthem? Except when it isn’t; reproductive rights only apply to sex, contraception, and abortion…not childbirth. 

Here’s a clue, there weren’t any other options because today’s births are tailored towards the 2% of women who are considered high-risk and require a controlled, medical, delivery. That’s great for them but detrimentally harmful to remaining 98% of us. 

This could be why the United States has a c-section rate that is over three times higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended threshold of 10-15%, why we are ranked 30th out of 31 for infant mortality, and have the highest maternal mortality of any industrialized nation.

Despite spending more on healthcare than any other country, it is five times safer to deliver a baby in Greece, four times safer in Germany, and three times safer in Spain. Two women will die today in our country during childbirth and more than a third of all women who give birth (1.7 million each year) experience some type of complication or adverse effect to their health. Yes, please sign me up for that.

But wait, it gets worse, we also have the highest first-day infant mortality rate of all industrialized countries, and rank 131 out of 184 countries for pre-term births. We are squished between Congo and Nigeria people. This is bad.

Of course, the remedy for these issues is always more intervention, more drugs, and more technology. That sounds like a great idea since all of the countries that rank higher than us use less technology, fewer interventions, and have higher natural birth numbers. Many of them encourage home births and midwifery for low-risk pregnancies.

And then there’s America. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology holds that a woman has autonomy over her birth, but we all knows that’s not true. They also have this stance towards home births and midwives:

“ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) reiterates its long-standing opposition to home births [...]. ACOG acknowledges a woman’s right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery and to have a choice in choosing her health care provider, but ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births. Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what’s fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre.”

A home birth (circa day 1?) is fashionable and trendy, yes that’s totally why more women are going rogue. It couldn’t be because a planned home birth attended by a registered midwife is associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death, a substantially reduced risk of obstetric interventions, a 50% lower risk of pre-term birth, significantly lower rates of mother mortality, and a 97% birth experience satisfaction rate.  It couldn’t be because modern obstetric practices applied to the population have made birth more dangerous. 

There are thousands of studies that can confirm the above, yet, it’s slightly amusing that the few studies that show results to the contrary are done by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and state something to the effect of: “Yeah a home birth reduces your risk of everything but significantly increases infant mortality three-fold.” They cut right to the heart don’t they? Do all this or your baby may die.  

Not only is that data conflicting to the thousands of studies out there that show otherwise, it supports the degrading, and frustrating medical birth that lines their pockets, justifies their poor stance on pre-natal, maternity, and postpartum care, and gets impressed upon every pregnant woman in America.

We do not have to tolerate this. If you were given the option to have a natural birth at home, it might look something like this: 

The Natural Birth, Home Birth Experience
Somehow you managed to find out about a natural birth. It wasn’t at your doctor’s office so maybe you heard from a friend who knew a lady who had a home birth and used a midwife who through begging and pleading disclosed her top-secret name and phone number.

If you choose a natural birth (whether at home or at a center) you will establish care with a midwife who will work with you throughout your entire pregnancy. You’ll build a relationship with her and she’ll answer all your questions, lessen your fears, and calm your concerns. There’s no pressure, minimized testing (that you can easily opt out of without a speech), and the freedom to birth without confines preferably in the comfort of your own home.

If you hit 40 weeks and nothing has happened you’ll remain in this mode of nothingness until something does, usually around 41 weeks and 1 day since that’s actual gestation. Silly babies, they’re unpredictable and your body knows best, not your healthcare provider. Hopefully you’re still not hanging out at 43 weeks although this is perfectly safe for most women. You might do gentle things to encourage the process along like sex (not gel, stripping membranes, or pitocin), reflexology, walking along the street with one foot on the curb and one off, herbs, tea, or a little castor oil. 

You’ll eventually go into labor and you’ll move about in your own space in your own time. Maybe you’ll watch “Swing Vote” on the couch or put cookies in the oven. You might want your man meat to rub your back or hold you during contractions. Maybe you’ll lose the pain in the tub. Maybe you’ll have an orgasm (seriously though, I can’t quite wrap my mind around that one).

Your midwife will be there doing what she does best, watching and waiting. You have a relationship with her so you feel comfortable with her in your space and peace because she is there. Your contractions will build and with that the pain and the amazing hormone concoction (that’s inhibited by the epidural) that keeps your body in constant communication with baby’s. 

Your uterus isn’t forced to contract so your baby gets plenty of oxygen and rest too. Oh, you’re hungry? Go ahead and stuff your face. It’s your house, your body, and your rules. But what about the enema and pooping? Hey, no worries because there’s none of that going on here. You could care less if you poop because you’re zoned in to giving life breath and you’re going to give birth in the anatomically correct position so there will be less pressure on your pooper anyway. 

You’ll want to die, but your support knows your intentions were to have a natural child-birth and they’ll respect it and empower you to finish strong. And baby is born (in any position you want) in the quiet of your sacred space (tub, bed, floor) and immediately placed into your arms to nurse. You’re way too high to think about the pain you just went through and your uterus is already shrinking. Your midwife nurtures you as you nuture baby. No medical intervention was needed and the emergency plan a good midwife always has in place can remain on the dusty shelf because it’s rarely ever used. 

Your man meat wasn’t binging on chips. He was holding you because you needed him. You needed each other and it was a moment you shared together.

My body. My baby. My birth.  
A home birth may not be an option for everyone but a natural birth should be. You should be presented with and have the opportunity to employ the best maternity care whether that be from a midwife, doctor, or both. I say “employ” because your doctor (or midwife) works for you and like any boss, you call the shots. 

You should be able to opt out of any interventions you choose, and should be able to give birth where and however you want. You should be empowered and encouraged to truly experience birth, not fearful, threatened, or ignored. Your birth plan should be respected and revered as holy. 

Until birth is geared towards the 98% of women who do not need a medical birth, I’m going to go with the “fashionable and trendy fad” that’s been around since circa day one. With or without midwife, unless life or limb is in peril, you’ll find me on the bedroom floor – because it’s my body, my baby, and my birth. 


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