My Birth Stories + Nuroo Baby Giveaway!


Apologies for the silence around here, if you are familiar with me at all you know that I recently had a baby. Even though I hadn’t planned to take so much time off, once I met my little angel I was just obsessed with her, and I decided it would be good for me to just unplug a bit, from blogging, social media, and pretty much everything else in my life, in order to focus on the miracle in front of me. It was an easy decision because I just want to stare at her all day anyway, whenever I look at her my heart fills with so much love and joy I just want to cry (and to be perfectly honest, I often do).

As of today we are one month in and enjoying every minute of baby Sophia Rose!

To celebrate, I am teaming up with the fabulous Nuroo Baby and giving away a multi-use cover (pictured above) and a pocket tee! I love my pocket tee (see me wearing it here) because it allows me to have skin to skin time with baby, she loves it so much and almost immediately falls into a deep sleep every time I wear it. You can also get 20% off of your online order with my code: LOVEZAHRA, which is good through 2017! It is also a great gift for any mom to be.

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Winner will be announced one week from today – good luck!

My Birth Stories

Since this is my first post back after my ‘maternity leave’, I thought it would be fun to share my birth story. Since I’ve given birth twice now, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. Hopefully there will be something positive for you to take away!

First off, having Sophia couldn’t have been any more different than Adam. For Adam, I had gone to great lengths to make sure I had my idea of a blissful natural birth. I even switched doctors mid pregnancy because I felt mine had a rate of c-sections that was too high for my liking. Side note: one thing I’ve learned after having two babies – no matter what you do to prepare, things don’t always go as planned.

With Adam I was in labor for two days and it seemed to be no end in sight. I had only dilated 3 centimeters and it didn’t look like anything would change. Tom sat next to me and held my hand, with a helpless expression on his face every time I had another painful contraction. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much as I did then. After all of that laboring, I ended up with an emergency c-section due to baby’s falling heart rate. I remember everything happening as one big blur, and Adam was out in less than 15 minutes. I was so thankful he was healthy, but also sort of in a state of exhaustion and shock from the whole experience. Postpartum I had many issues, my legs and feet filled up with fluids and looked like balloons and I had to get a few CT Scans to make sure I didn’t have serious blood clots (thankfully, I didn’t). I was so anxious to get back to my normal routine, that I started cleaning almost immediately after I was discharged home. I ended up with an infection in my incision, which actually ruptured while I was vacuuming my room – and I had to go to the emergency room and get it stitched up again. I strongly advise against too much physical exertion after delivery – even though its tempting – there is a very good reason why they say to hold off on exercise for at least 6 weeks. I’m pretty sure I was traumatized afterwards, and that might be what made me hold off on plans for a second baby for such a long while.

For Sophia Rose,  I decided on a scheduled repeat c-section. I could have tried for a Vbac but according to my doctor there was still a good chance we could end up with an c-section anyway. It may seem crazy but, part of me felt guilty for making this decision because I felt like I was being selfish thinking of my own comfort, and I also imagined people would judge me or possibly think less of me for not even trying. Then I talked about it with my husband and other family members, and once I felt their strong support of my decision, I didn’t care about anyone else’s opinions and, more importantly, I stopped being so critical of myself.

Going in for a repeat C-Section is like going in to the hospital for any major surgery. It is scheduled for one week before your actual due date, I’m assuming so that you don’t go in to labor before it. I started off getting prepped in the operating room, where I was given a spinal block that numbed me completely from the waist down. When I looked around the room I saw all of the medical instruments laid out on the table that I knew would soon be used to slice through my abdomen. All of the sudden I was stricken with fear and my body went stiff while I imagined the worst-case hypothetical scenarios that might leave my children mother-less and husband wife-less. I squeezed Tom’s hand the whole time, praying that nothing would go wrong. Despite all of my fears, Sophia’s birth went smoothly, with just a little trouble getting her significantly large head out. Tom and I always joke about how huge his head is and how small mine is, and though I was holding my breath and fighting tears throughout the entire surgery, as soon as I heard the doctor exclaim ‘wow, she’s got a huge head!’ I laughed out loud, exhaled deeply, and cried tears of joy. Tom brought Sophia over to me and I felt a huge wave of relief.

I love that at my hospital they never take the baby away from you, not only because of my irrational fears that somehow my baby will be switched at birth (probably a result of watching one too many Dateline’s – ha!). Immediately after surgery I am transferred to the recovery room where I start skin to skin time with baby. It is so amazing how many benefits there are to skin to skin with mom- including (among other things) regulating the baby’s body temperature, accelerating brain development, and improving their quality of sleep.  Also further proving the theory that women are super-human creatures ~

I stayed in the hospital another three days, on a strict liquid diet the first two until my body could handle more. I struggled to walk around at first, but my desire to shower and change out of my gown was stronger than my pain.

I thought nursing Sophia would be easy but it turned out to be incredibly difficult. We had a hard time getting a good latch so I ended up with cracked bleeding nipples that would scab up and then bleed again whenever I tried to nurse – and yes it is just as horrible and painful as it sounds. Every time I would feed I would wince with pain and hold my breath until it was over. I was nearly going to give it up, but since I had nursed Adam for nine months and loved it, I was determined to try everything possible to get it right for Sophia. What helped me was having a meeting with a lactation consultant to diagnose what I could improve upon, and also watching numerous youtube video tutorials. The key for me was to get comfortable and relaxed before feeding, which was difficult in a sterile hospital room with people around me constantly. At home I sat in Sophia’s room away from any noise or distractions, with lots of supporting pillows. I also had to position her in a variety of ways to find her favorite, which was the ‘football hold’. Once I was relaxed and comfortable, my milk let down much easier, and if she wasn’t latched properly, I was able to gently take her off of me and try getting her to latch again, instead of just bearing the pain and adding to the damage to my skin.  In order to heal more quickly, the lactation consultant advised me to express a small amount of milk on to the broken skin, and let it air dry. That as well as a a lanolin cream soothed and helped me get through the roughest period. While my scabs healed I nursed for shorter periods of time more often. It took a good two weeks of trying, and what seemed to be nursing around the clock, but now I am enjoying the beautiful bonding connection that nursing a baby brings, without any of the pain.

I was lucky enough to have my mom stay with me for almost an entire month after, helping me with baby duties and cooking really great healthy meals so that I might heal more quickly. But even with all of the help I had, there were still moments when the sleep deprivation and pain was overwhelming for me and I would burst out crying. When that happened, I would stop doing anything I was planning on doing and I just slept. Along with getting as much sleep as I could, I made sure to stick with my pain meds – which for me was absolutely key to both my recovery and my sanity.

Final thoughts – When it comes to giving birth it is so important to be able to go with the flow – (also a key skill for parenting!). Be prepared for things to be wildly different than what you had imagined, and also different from anyone else’s personal experience. In the end if you are left with a healthy baby, that is all that matters. Other tips I swear by:  take recovery seriously, rest often and eat really, really well!

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  • #bts shooting something cool with @abayaaddict! Even cleaned up the closet for this - let’s see how long it stays that way! 🎥 @sobound #chicagoblogger #styleblogger #shoecloset
  • Fact: My favorite color is leopard. 
Two things I missed most while being away from home are also the things I often complain about: 1) cooking my own food and 2) watching children’s programming -- I seriously bawled watching Coco today and it was my 574763 time watching it 😂 (but for real if you haven’t seen it you should it’s SO good) #ootd #leopard #summerstyle
  • The ‘hurry up and take the picture so I can eat’ face 😂. Also - a fly may or may not have landed on one of these babies (sitting outside probs) and I may or may not have still eaten it 🙈🤷🏾‍♀️ #sorrynotsorry #sashimi #noms
  • Feels like yesterday I was bawling my eyes out after dropping him off to Kindergarten and now I’m counting down the days for school to start! Just kidding – kind of ;) This year, I’m partnering with @Staples – the back to school specialists! Staples has everything you need for school in one place, and they have in-store specialists that are ready to make shopping easy and fun, because this is basically like the holiday season for them. Did you know @Staples also has a long history of supporting teachers and students to ensure they are set up for success in the classroom? A new blog post is up with all the details!  #BackToSchoolSpecialists #ad
  • At my dad’s store! 🙌🏾 If you know, you know...😂 #brownpeopleproblems #apu #simpsons
  • Our trip is almost over so that means eating all kinds of weird combinations of food we bought because I HATE leaving anything behind. I take it as a personal cooking challenge - am I just a freak or anyone else do it too? 🙈🤷🏾‍♀️#beachbabes #mommyandme #vacaystyle
  • My entire makeup bag fell into the toilet thanks to a little help from curious Sophia... 😫🤢 but I’m still smiling because: funnel cakes. Also what is your favorite brand of makeup brush? I will be replacing...linked to a similar cover up to the one I’m wearing on my ‘shop’ page ~ #summerstyle #ootd #momblogger
  • Last night’s look for seafood dinner overlooking the marsh - everything is  so picture perfect around here! Swipe to see our view 😍 outfit details on the ‘shop’ page of the blog 💕 #ootd #vacaystyle #momblogger
  • I’m so honored to be featured on @yahoostylebeauty today talking about modest fashion from the Muslim perspective - along with some major boss ladies I truly admire! I feel like as Muslim women we are constantly trying to prove to the world that we are not a stereotype or monolith, we are individuals - with nuances, we have different ways of expressing our faith and modesty. This article does a great job of showcasing our diversity. Check it out - link in my bio! #muslimwomen #modestfashion #chicagoblogger 📸 @jamieberg

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