8 Things you experience after a C-section

A C-section or Caesarian delivery is a major surgery. Whether your c-section was planned or an emergency, you can definitely relate to the experiences below.

When they remove your staples/stitches and you feel like your insides are going to fall out

Stool softener will be your best friend

Your abdomen muscles refuse to do their magic and pushing during constipation is impossible. The struggle is real!

You would realize the importance of farting like you hadn’t realized ever before

One of the side effects of surgery is that you would be extra gassy. Your insides hurt from the pressure but you can’t let it out

You thought getting out of bed was tough, wait till after your c-section.

You find yourself trying to literally roll out of bed and onto the floor as you can not sit up directly.

Pain meds! – Want them, Need them

You find yourself scrambling towards your pain medication every 4 hours

You think you are a superwoman and can go on a grocery trip in 2 weeks, only to find yourself sitting in a grocery store aisle holding your belly because your stitches hurt

We forget to take it slow

Your feet may swell even more after a C-Section 

You can’t laugh, cough, sneeze, or even blow your nose

Despite the longer recovery time compared to a vaginal birth, it is all worth it in the end, when you see your little bundle of joy smiling up at you. C-section moms, don’t let anyone tell you that you took the easy way out. Recovery from c-section is no joke.

Spring Summer 2019: Kaftans are all the rage in Pakistan

March and April are the months when I start my shopping for clothes for the year. This year I was surprised to see so many kaftans on instagram stories of various designers as well as on the PFDC Fashion week runway.
Kaftans are versatile in the sense that they can be worn as casual, semi-formal as well as formal clothes. Add a few embellishments and you are ready to attend the next wedding. They are also common in both western and eastern wear.

I have fallen in love and wanted to share the ones I liked the most. Some of the images below are fresh of the runway from the just concluded PFDC Fashion week 2019. Check out the designs below

Ayesha Somaya

Available here: https://www.ayesha-somaya.com/product/dress-code-12478-tea-pink/
Available here: https://www.ayesha-somaya.com/product/dress-code-12478-red/

Maheen Taseer

Available here: https://maheentaseer.com/collections/luxury-pret/products/sensational-pink?variant=12386625191985

Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop

Available here: https://www.perniaspopupshop.com/amaira-pale-peach-embellished-kaftan-with-inner-amkc021909.html
Available here: https://www.perniaspopupshop.com/amaira-smokey-grey-embellished-kaftan-amkc021904.html?fbclid=IwAR3oK24K052kI6YubyhEU16AWBKkLf7c-YyzPitseMjrZM7iyHAbtav4Lig

Zaha by Khadijah Shah

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwM22iHFEQb/
Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwM10rilYI8/

Chapter 2

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwKOi2gF2vd/

So Kamal:

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwMt9cvl7N6/

My First Pregnancy, Labor and Birth story

If I have to sum it up in one line, I would say that it was a very smooth ride with a twist at the end.

PREGNANCY:

I have PCOS so missing periods was a norm. This is why when I missed my first two periods, I just ignored it. I did a pregnancy test in week 12 and went for an ultrasound in week 13 when I missed my third period. My doctor had a good laugh that I didn’t realize that I was expecting for so long. Anyhow, my pregnancy was a breeze. No morning sickness in the first few months although I did develop an aversion to the smell of eggs cooking. I could literally smell breakfast eggs being cooked in my office’s cafe half way down the office. It was as if I had a new super power, the power of smell.. LOL!

I salute the people who are able to resist not knowing the gender of the baby. I just had to know or the suspense would have killed me. Even before I went for the ultrasound, I had a feeling it was going to be a boy and so it was. My parents were overjoyed as it was their first grandchild and even more happy as my dad’s side of the family had not had a boy for a whole generation (all my first cousins are girls). The usual baby showers happened along with baby announcements.

Lots of shopping happened and I tried not to get everything in blue πŸ˜€
I went from 51 kg to around 64 kg (no stretch marks.. yay!). I used to rub bath and body works lotion on my belly everyday before bed (as i have extremely dry skin) so maybe that helped. Thanks to winters, the only maternity clothing I bought were two maternity pants/jeans. All my tunic sweaters fit till the end. My parents came to Canada a month before my due date. I kept working till about two weeks before my due date.

Week 37 onwards, I was almost always tired. Turning in bed alone was a mission. Too much pressure on the bladder made walking difficult and I had to pee max every 2 hours (I hated it!!) Braxton hicks got really strong and my belly felt like a stone at times. I was expecting a normal vaginal delivery.

LABOR AND BIRTH:

I’ll mention everything in chronological order. 14th Jan I went to bed completely normal after watching Netflix.

15th Jan, 2 am: I went to the washroom to pee and saw the jelly-like mucus plug come out. I told my husband. A very mild discomfort started but I could sleep through it

6 am: I was going to turn in bed when my water broke, soaking my bed sheet. I stood up and there was a small puddle around my feet. I never thought it would be so much fluid haha!

7.15 am: Reached the labor assessment unit of the hospital as told by my doctor. By this time the contractions were like my normal period cramps

7.50am: The nurse told me that I was 1.5 cm dilated but as I was experiencing very regular contractions from the beginning 2.5-3 mins apart she asked me to take a walk around the hospital and come back in 2 hours. She told me that it could be hours before they would send me to the birthing suite as I was a first-time mom.

10am: I had walked around the waiting room for 2 hours and tried to have some breakfast from the Tim Hortons in the hospital. I could not speak through my contractions anymore and my pee had more streaks of blood then before. I went back to the labor assessment unit and asked the nurse to check again. She said I was still around 2cm. She gave me a birthing ball to sit on. This failed miserably. I could not make myself sit on it as it increased the pain. I preferred to stand.

10.45am: I asked for some pain relief medication as there was hardly any gap between my contractions now and slow breathing exercises were not working. The nurse asked me to lie down and attached a monitor to my belly. She told me that my doctor would be there in half an hour

11.30am: My doctor arrived and said that I was not that far along yet but since my contractions were strong she said that I could have a morphine injection while still in the labor assessment unit

11.41am: I got the morphine injection in my bum and was told that it will take some time to dull the pain. I was told that after morphine, they needed to monitor the baby’s heart more carefully so I need to lie down

12.30pm: I tried to breathe through contractions but lying down was very very uncomfortable and the morphine had not helped at all. The pressure on my bladder was so much that I wanted to pee every 15 mins. I walked back and forth between the labor assessment unit room and the washroom by myself. I wanted the nurse to give me something else for pain relief but she said that she was waiting for a nurse from the birthing unit to get free and take me to the birthing suites.

1.35pm: A nurse finally arrived to take me from the labor assessment unit to the birthing suites. She asked me to sit on the wheelchair so that she can take me but sitting caused too much pain. I put my arms on the wheelchair arms to raise my self a little while sitting. In the birthing suite, I had to pee again. The nurse asked me if I was just peeing or I felt like pushing. I told her that I just pee.

1.50pm. I got an IV while I was sitting on the side of the bed. I was shaking because of the pain of the contractions. My mum came and I put my head on her chest while she hugged me. That was I guess the most comforting thing during the entire labor (no breathing, no exercise, no massages can compare).

2pm. The nurse asked me to lie down so the doctor could give me the epidural. I knew lying down was going to be painful so I requested if I could get it while still sitting on the side of the bed. The nurse was hesitant but the doctor said it was ok as long as I did not move too much. I got the epidural while sitting. I did not feel any pain or pressure in my spine at all. Maybe the pain of the contractions masked it or maybe the doctor was so good at administering it.

2.05pm: The pain was gone. The nurse asked me to lie down so that she could attach the monitor and check my dilation. She said I was 8-9 cm. It took me 7 hours from when the proper contractions started to get here.

2.10pm: Nurse asked me to turn to my side. When I did, I felt a sharp pain in my ribs as if something was pushing against it from the inside. My nurse looked at the monitors and said that baby does not seem happy so she called the doctor on duty. He said that the baby’s heart rate was dropping so I should be taken to the operating theater.

2.12pm: They were wheeling me to the Operating theatre and on the way they were monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. As this was not a scheduled operation, they literally gathered doctors/nurses on the way. I could hear people asking around “Can you scrub in?”. LOL! Seemed like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

2.35pm: The baby was born via c section. I was awake in the beginning when the first incision was done but after that I was knocked out. Everything was so quick. My husband told me I was snoring a little during the operation. He came to the operating theater just minutes before they took out the baby.

When I woke up some 45 mins later, I was parched and shivering from the cold of the operating room. They were keeping me there so that they could do an x-ray to see that they had not left anything inside my belly. In a scheduled surgery, they count their tools beforehand so that they can count them again at the end and confirm that nothing was left inside. My husband was still there sitting next to me, holding our baby. I started crying as soon as I saw them together. I cannot describe the feeling but I remember telling the nurse: “I don’t know why I am crying”. πŸ˜›

My husband gave the baby to the nurse so that he could go tell my mom that everything was OK and that she had a grandson now. Once the doctor confirmed that everything was OK in the x-ray. The nurse gave my son to me, to hold skin to skin. My bed was then wheeled out. I stayed in the hospital for 48 hours before getting discharged.

5 Must Have Baby Gear Items

There were a lot of hits and misses among the things I purchased in preparation of welcoming my first baby. After 2 months of use, I thought of making a list of 5 things I loved for other first time moms-to-be. Feel free to comment below about other things you loved.

1- Uppababy Cruz: Getting a stroller is probably one of the toughest decisions that a couple makes due to the options available in the market. I spent hours pushing around strollers in stores and reading reviews online. Uppababy Vista seemed to be the popular choice here in Canada and I could tell why, while testing maneuverability in store. Due to the price tag, I was still conflicted if I should get one. I was doubtful if the bassinet was going to be useful. My baby was born before I could decide. He happened to be in the 95th percentile for height which meant that he would outgrow the bassinet really quickly. That is when I started considering Uppababy Cruz. I could use it in full recline position for my newborn. As my baby does not have a sibling, we did not need the option to add another seat. Hence, I went ahead and got Uppababy Cruz . I did not even have to use the infant insert when I used it for my 1 month old baby. I am super pleased with the purchase as it offers almost the same benefits as a Vista with almost half the price for a family with 1 child. It also weighs significantly less so I did not have to ask my husband for help to load and unload it from my car’s trunk everytime πŸ˜›

2- Graco Playard

We got Graco quick connect Playard in Darcie (the one that comes with a lounger and changer) as a gift. It quickly became my favorite. The lounger can be used for naps while fixed on the playard or on its own. The changing station is super convenient and easy to clean. When the lounger and changing station is removed, the playard can be used as a bassinet. The playard has wheels on one side so you can easily drag it around the room. Unlike a wooden crib, it is easy to collapse and carry around the house. I personally have carried it from the living room, to my office room and to the nursery so that I can easily keep an eye on my little one as I do my chores around the house. It is also a great item if you are travelling a lot.

3- FisherPrice Swing

I got the Fisherprice Snugapuppy swing. This is the perfect item to use when your baby wants you to rock him/her or is fussy and fighting sleep before nap time. Your shoulders will thank you for this purchase. There has not been a single instant where my little one has not calmed down when I put him in the swing. He enjoys looking in the mirror above and the music on very low volume helps him fall asleep.

4- Diaper Genie

With a newborn, you already have enough things to do on your hand. Diaper Genie will help take one thing off your to do list by taking care of disposing diapers easily. It does not look bad in the nursery and it takes care of the biggest problem i.e. the smell.

5- BBLuv’s Trimo Nail File

Trimming nails of your newborn can be a very stressful job. If you are like me, your hand will shake when you attempt to used a trimmer. BBluv’s electric nail file helped solved that problem for me. I am able to file my baby’s nail while he is asleep without waking him up. The dial which has the file, automatically stops rotating when it comes in contact with skin, thus reducing the risk of over trimming. Happy trimming!

Link: https://bbluvgroup.com/product/bbluv-trimo-electric-nail-trimmer/

My 13 favorite Halal food places in GTA

Since I am a foodie, it is not surprising that my first post is about food :D. Recently there has been an influx of new halal options in the GTA (much to my delight!!). The burgeoning population of Muslims in the area makes this industry very attractive for new ventures. Below are my favorites that I frequent the most (in no particular order). There are other good places as well but these are the ones that remain top of mind for me.

1- Maro’s (Middle Eastern, Lebanese)

Located in Oakville, Maro’s is a quaint little place. I came to know of this place because it was close to work. It can get very busy with long wait times during peak hours so go early if you can. My friends and I used to send one of us ahead of the rest so that they can order and save a place for everyone coming later. My favorite is their beef dish pictured below, called Memories of Persia. The serving size is quite big so most dishes are enough for two people. The small patio outside is very pleasant for sitting and eating during fall. Menu: https://www.doordash.com/store/maro-s-oakville-206394/

Memories of Persia

2- Gilaneh (Persian)

It is located in Westin Prince Hotel, in North York. You can make a reservation but my friends and I have always been able to walk in as well. The menu is on the pricier end compared to the rest of the places in this list but the serving size is good. My husband and I usually end up here whenever we are taking another couple for dinner. My favorite is their Golbarg kebab which is a beef and chicken dish i.e. Char broiled pieces of boneless chicken wrapped in strips of veal tenderloin. Go here for pictures: Menu: http://gilaneh.ca/entree/                     PS. The interior is great for taking pictures πŸ™‚

3- Darbar Persian Grill (Persian)

I stumbled across this hidden gem while driving by. Make a reservation before you go, especially on weekends. It is a great warm place to dine with family. All the persian grill items on the menu that I have tried were great . Pictured below is my favorite, Vaziri Kebob. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/Darbar-Restaurant-Wine-Lounge-338899699524823/menu/

Vaziri Kebob

4- Bamiyan/Watan Kabob/Kandahar Kabab (Afghan)

To me these 3 are almost the same in terms of menu options. These places are almost always packed which speaks to the quality of food. Apart from the main entrees, one can eat boxes and boxes of their yummy Firni.

5- Affy’s Premium Grill (Steakhouse)

Great family place when one is in the mood of some steaks. Entrees other than their steaks (e.g. chicken fajita) are great as well. Make a reservation during peak times to avoid delays in getting seated. Menu: http://www.affysgrill.com/#steaks

AFFY’S CLASSIC NEW YORK STRIP STEAK
Chicken Fajita

6- Black Stone Grill (Steakhouse)

This is a low key place serving great steaks on lava stones. The presentation of food sets it apart along with the ability to cook your steak to your liking. The appetizers are great too. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/blackstonesteakhouse.ca/menu/

Calamari
Tenderloin Steak

7- Istanbul Kebab House (Turkish, like the name suggests)

One of the best, if not the best place to get a taste of Turkish food. I have enjoyed every single meal here. The place is cosy and usually packed. It would be difficult to fit in a group bigger than 8 because of how the seating arrangement is done. I like the chicken options better but that is just my personal preference. We usually order Pide and doner. Menu: https://istanbulhouse.ca/menu/

8- Hakka Ren (Hakka chinese)

This place has a huge menu with almost everything being great. I usually start with their hot and sour soup and Drums of Heaven (lollipop chicken) for appetizers and then Mango chicken and Szechaun Chicken as the main course. Menu – https://www.hakkaren.ca/menu

Drums of Heaven aka Lollipop chicken
Mango Chicken and Szechuan Chicken

9- Nandos (Portuguese-style chicken dishes )

Peri Peri chicken needs no introduction. My usual order is garlic bread, double skewers, half chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and Coca cola freestyle (I get peach fanta from the machine). When going out as a family of 4, the familia platter is more than enough for all of us.

10- Ziafat (Pakistani)

The list would not be complete without a desi Pakistani restaurant. Ziafat is a new casual dining restaurant that has become a must for me due to the prices as well as the taste. They offer a number of grill and gravy options. My dad is a fan of their goat paye. The desserts are great as well. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/ziafat.canada/menu/

Seekh Kebab Lahori, Chicken Tikka Leg and Tikka Boti
Paye (Goat) and Chicken Handi
Pineapple souffle, Rasmalai, Kheer and Tiramisu

11- Gladiator (Burger)

The list would not be complete without some burger joints. Gladiator is the one of the recent additions to burger joints in Mississauga. Some of the burger options can be hard to fit in the mouth but I love it none the less. Most of the offerings are beef. The only issue I have is lack of chicken options for people with dietary restrictions. My go to burger is the “Warrior”. Menu: https://www.gladiatorburger.ca/

12- The Burgernator

Burgernator, located in Toronto, has more variety of options than other joints. My go to burgers are “commander” and “Hasta la Vista”. Menu: https://www.theburgernator.com/index.html#menu

13- Chunky Chicken

If you are craving fried chicken and you are close to one of their Markham/Toronto restaurants, you have to try Chunky Chicken. It is good enough for my husband and I to drive all the way from west end of Mississauga to Toronto. My go to is the Peri Peri burger but even their pizza are so good. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/chunkychickencanadamarkham/menu/