Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas!

As a child, I used to look forward to being Mary in the school play or the narrator that gets to recite (from memory) the story of the birth of Christ.  I think the excitement of Christmas turns me into a Christmaszilla (like Bridezilla) lol.  I can't help it, there is just no excuse that works for me to not be with your family on Christmas day.  I usually start weeks before Christmas getting hipped up about how beautiful everything is and complaining of the crowds in the shopping centers.  On Christmas Eve, I either attend mass, or recall the awesome memories of past Christmas or we pray and also wrapping presents and cooking in case people stop by on Christmas day.

Apple Cider, Abacha, Jollof rice, baked hen

sweet potato, plantain, moi-moi, garlic potato

cinnabon, beans plantain, porridge yam, ukwa

I cooked a lot since my husband always has a Christmas menu (it was something he started during the 3 years I lived out of state for residency).  Hubby felt like since he didn't get to enjoy his wife's cooking daily then I get to make up for it during the holidays.  The good thing about it is that we work together and really most of the time we gist and hence cooking goes very fast.  Well I actually didn't expect the menu this year since we now live together but...  The menu showed up :) it was presented so sweet that umm well I will be gone for 6 months and I will be eating  the crappy ship food and so on I felt he deserved it especially since I stressed him out on how he didn't put up enough lights for baby girl (who loves lights).

Though it was not as stressful as baby girl's baptism, I Hope there will be no Christmas menu for next year.
On Christmas night I secretly placed some threats and some small items in hubby and baby girl's stockings, and on Christmas morning I made them some home made cinnamon bun and we opened presents.

Baby girl just ate the wrappers she didn't really care for the gifts; hubby got some men jewelry that he loved (yes hubby loves jewelry) and I got the kindle fire (I love to read).
After Church
A couple of people stopped by since they know I always have food in my house and we enjoyed the company.  Then we spent the rest of the evening watching movies with my husband and we reflected on the gift of Christ and how it changed the lives of Christians all over the world forever.  We said a long prayer and gave each other a warm kiss goodnight.
Christmas is a wonderful time and it is not just one day for me.  I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baby Girl's Christianing

It was a great weekend for our family.  Let me take you guys back a few weeks ago; I was so excited to get her to join the other kids at church to pose with Santa.  She didn't obviously see what I was so hiped up about lol.
Refusing to Smile
Now back to my reason for the post- She got baptized this past weekend.  I had so much stress fun planning it, I put in so much work and then that day she had a fight with me because she didn't want to wear the dress that her diva aunty bought her.  And then just decided to cry through half of the day.  At some point I wondered what happened to my cheerful child.  She screamed and screamed but I had no other dress and I was not about to go late to church.  So I finally (dancing to her, making a fool of myself) got the dress on her and then learned that the dress was too fluffy for her car seat.  lol at me Urghhhh!  after contemplating everything I ended up strapping her as tight as I could and prepared myself to deal with the wrinkles at church.
This is baby girl's why me look?
This was a few days prior to the baptism
I also had to fight family from turning her baptism into a party and I was glad they listened because we just had the main people show up.  We had just the Godpapa and his wife; Godmama and her family; my siblings; and my cousin and her family.
Parents and Godparents (minus their separate families)
cousin ChiChi and family
God papa and wife (minus their five kids)

Godmama and family
There was plenty of food; I cooked a dish every night starting from 5 days leading to the Christianing.  I had fried coconut rice and dodo, ogbono soup, egusi soup, oha soup with pounded yam, chin-chin, meat pie, rice, beans and stew, baked chicken, pepper soup, ukwa/breadfruit.  For a woman with pikin,  I was quite proud of myself.  I was so thankful to see my dear cousin- ChiChi again (it had been since 2007) and to meet her husband and baby.
My siblings (minus one) in their funny pose
My siblings represented well even one brother had his high end camera with stick or pole and took some fancy pictures, the other had a video camera- I was very happy.  Every one of my siblings were present except for my older sister who was in Nigeria (planning her wedding) and my cousin whom I last saw almost 21 years ago was in attendance.
21 years later we meet again
We were so glad that Hubby could make it, he met us at the church and loved my hair.  It was the second time he saw it, he was not sure about it at first but thought he could get used to it.  During the day of the baptism, I'm not sure if it was the excitement of the day or what it was, he whispered how great (his exact word was sexy) I looked.
close up hair picture
Though at the beginning of the day, baby was so overwhelmed by all the new faces, she later warmed up to pretty much everyone.  She did great during the actual baptism because she loves water and thought she was getting a bath lol. Overall, it was a very fulfilling day, for it was our daughter's official initiation and the beginning of her journey through Christ.  My parents did not attend but it was ok because everyone felt at home and we didn't even notice those who were absent because of how blessed we felt.
I also found out that I passed my boards. Thankfully I am now board certified in Family Medicine. So many blessings and I thank you all for your prayers and support...I wish you all many many blessings as we approach this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Chopped It!

I had been contemplating going natural for a while now and I haven't had much encouragement.  So many tried to talk me out of it including my stylist.. "Oh your hair is so thick, how are you going to comb it when it is natural?" "you said it yourself that they called you stubborn hair" "oh you have healthy hair already so why are you going natural?" "you will regret it?" "It is a lot of work?" 
So I transitioned to get comfortable with the idea and to prepare myself for my future look.  I have always had long hair as a child but I was told that my hair was very annoying and stubborn so my mom chopped it all off (i.e. in my young adult days).  I rocked the punk style back then and loved it (sorry no pictures).  When I moved to the US ummm... yeah those mean high school kids picked on me so mama thought it was time to grow my hair (that was senior year of high school). By prom mom gave me my very first perm ever.  Since then I always showed my hair some TLC and got lucky enough to be blessed with thick hair.
My hair sophmore year in college- 2yrs of growth
 Then  one day decided I wanted a new look and chopped it to a bob.
Pic of bob already grown out
 And then it grew out even longer but became very difficult to manage and time was not my friend in residency so I always kept it shoulder length. 
Hubby & I at OCS graduation
I had brought up the idea of chopping my hair to hubby and he didn't like the idea of a change but the more I talked about it, the more he became sort of open to it.  So I decided to stop perming my hair this time last year.  Transitioning was very boring for me but I was motivated to keep going for fear of the horror in hubby's eyes if it came out very short.  But it started to get annoying dealing with the two textures and so I decided that it was time to do something about it.
this is my hair-u can't see the two textures because of my hair color

At the Salon Right Before

Baby Girl and I after the chop

I Love it!

 Hubby is away and will return in a few days to see it.  I did not warn him before I did it for fear that he might tell me not to.  But I told him immediately after wards lol via email and he was shocked that I actually did it and is worried about how short it looks and if I look like a dude.  I love it and I'm enjoying every bit of it. Also I don't plan to perm Mmeso's hair and if she ever asks me I plan on telling her that God took all the time in the world to create her so perfectly for her mama and papa.  I hope that she will not care to ask since mummy's hair will look just like hers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Tale of Mothers Wanting to Marry Their Sons

Ok I have not met any mom who actually tied the knot with their son but I know two young ladies who their mothers-in-law are doing everything in their power to drive them out of their homes.  I am not sure what to make of the craziness except the mother-in-law must feel like there is someone else out there better for her son.
Ok both ladies are very beautiful and great, hardworking mothers and were doing ok with their husbands until mother-in-law came to "visit", set up shop and refused to leave.  Both ladies have being married for at least five years with 3 and four children respectively. Their marriage had their usual ups and downs but nothing big really happened.
So these ladies (unrelated) called me within 2 weeks  telling me they are leaving their home with their children since the marriage is not working out.  So here I was, thinking it was one of the normal ups and downs a couple may have (I have my usual suggestions), and I brought up for them to try counseling, marriage workshops, even bring it to the attention of the family in Nigeria.... One of the ladies was open to it if it means her mother-in-law left their marital home (hmmm).  My husband added "easy fix! simply get a police order and uproot the woman from your home." The other made it clear to me that she is done since her mother-in-law said during one of their arguments that she actually does not mind marrying her son, and added laughing this is America anything goes.  really? I didn't know this?
The first wifey tells me that their relationship was not perfect so she thought that if momcy-in-law came she would help out more with the kids, so that her and hubby will rekindle their love. But it was the opposite.  Wifey would come back from school and work and the mother-in-law has prepared a meal, ate it with her son, and they both go to sleep leaving her three children till 11 pm on a school night (waiting for their mother to return and feed them). 
The man decided at the beginning of the year that to please his mom (who for some reason hates his wife) he will stop eating his wife's cooking and eat his mom's instead.
On the days he is feeling his wife he takes her out for breakfast (something they enjoyed doing together before all these) he lies to his mom that wifey is taking him to his doctor's appointment and the doctor asked that he fast prior to the visit.  (hmmm) As if it is not enough at night when he wants to be intimate with his wife, he brings their youngest child so that his momcy will not be suspicious. Of What! I screamed Suspicious of What! what de heck! is this April Fools Day? ok at this point my ear was having chills and I asked her for a break to think.  Her voice sounded like someone that had been beaten down and she said it is affecting my children please don't ask me to be patient, everyone has been telling me that.  I just had some questions about applying for nursing school. I asked how long this had been going on and she said three years.  So I advised her to do whatever she felt was best for her and her children.  I guessed at this point she must have tried sending the old woman back to wherever she came from but I didn't want to ask, she sounded so drained and ready to walk away.  I pray for God's strength for her.  We ended with me thinking of all the things I would have done if I was in that same situation....what would you do?
The other wifey, who is in a similar situation had mentioned in the past off and on about her mother-in-law but I always felt it is no different than if your annoying brother came to live with you. But this time she kept repeating "you cannot imagine" and went on to tell me that her mother-in-law formed a habit of preparing meals for only her and her son (mama-in-law by the way is jobless and not contributing to their life in any way or form even to teach the kids their local dialet).  On thanksgiving day, wifey asked that mother-in-law respect the fact that it is a special day and allow her to cook for her family (inviting her to join in as well).  The husband hears this and surprisingly did not object (as he normally does) but his mom starts shouting"ehn! I don't need you to cook for me, whether it is in the name of thanksgiving; is the stove not meant for four pots and why can't it fit the both of us; and my son pays for this house so I have more right to cook here and will cook right next to anybody i want  and I will see which one my son will eat." (this is in the wife's own kitchen) This whole time hubby is reading a newspaper. 
When the kids come home from school and look for their mama to show her their school, mother-in-law cuts in that she is a better mama and what do they need their mom for.  Next time they should run right to her.  When wifey would get a compliment at church, the mother-in-law will cut in proclaiming how gorgeous she was during her youth and if only her son knew he would have been more picky.  At this point I started to laugh because I feel like the mommy-in-law has gone coo coo.  Just imagine you had your time and refuse to allow your son his time and the sad thing is the son allows his mom to terrorize the wife.
Both of these young ladies both mothers-in-law love it when they and hubby fights.  In fact they will sit with their sons and make a mockery of it, sometimes the mother-in-law will lie to her son to purposefully instigate a fight. I guess it really is true that men have a weak spot for their moms but what I don't understand if these men in particular have thought it through or if they are thinking their wives cannot live without them.  Because my thought is, if the wives leave with the children, then what? do they live happily ever after with their moms? I pray for strength for these people because I cannot imagine living like this.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Really? An interracial Couple Banned In God's House?

I literally thought the headline was a joke.  This doesn't even make sense...are we still reading the bible? how many times did the bible make reference to Christ not discriminating name a few- did we forget about the Samaritan woman at the well, or the many times he sat to chat with the tax collectors and so on.  True love is color blind and the outcast of this couple is ignorant and not Christ like.  I hope this doesn't discourage them from their faith in God.

For Better For Worse

Mmeso being her happy little self as always :)
Thank you all for your comments and thank you also for sharing your experiences.  It is however sad that people can relate to this.  Not that I thought we were the only one in the world going through this, but that this type of thing should not be happening.
In truth, I never felt a necessity to validate my actions before but I had to blog about it because I felt very conflicted in my thoughts.  I had tried my best to stay in tune with all of my loved ones but I felt like the more that they saw that my husband and I were a unit, the more noise they made.  And no matter how we repeated to ourselves that we would not let it bother us, it slowly creeped its way in our many daily conversations; it started to disrupt our sleep and even started to affect our everyday life.  It had become too distracting and since our baby can now tell when mama and papa is sad it made me ask myself whether they were adding or subtracting from my happiness.
Our Ada Jesus!

I love my family very much and will always love them but my parents have sometimes pushed me to the point that I wanted to ask how much do I owe you for raising me? I never said it but so many times I wanted to. I realized a long time ago that I cannot divide myself into two and decided to always stand by my husband and will continue to do so.
Our daughter's happiness is so vital to us, it warms us up when she smiles and you can imagine she does so all the time.  I have chosen to go with my decision to lay low and whenever they receive God and choose to join in this our matrimonial sacrament, then so be it.  We have chosen to be happy and as adults we know what it takes to be happy and for peace to reign in our home. 
 I will continue to pray about it (and for everyone else that is experiencing anything close to this) and I will allow God to take charge.  For anyone else experiencing this, as you pray and await your miracle also remember to stand by the promise you made to your spouse, because hopefully you got married because you saw something great so don't allow anyone else (not even your family) to cloud your good judgment.  Again! I thank God for all of your comments and support.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pushed To The Wall (Your honest opinion please)

I have been going through a lot of heartache from family members concerning my marriage.  Like many marriages, my marriage was not one of a united front.  Many things were said; he is not this, he is not that, why didn't he do this??? The main point is he is from Imo state and I from Anambra and it is too far and one Imo person from blah blah blah used to do this to their wife and so on (ignorant things basically).
 I met my husband when I graduated from the university, I was only 19 and so marriage was not on my mind.  It took a lot of convincing from my better half and as charming as he can be it was only a matter of time before he won me over.  When we were friends we never thought that anyone would be against us, we saw how perfect things were and never in a million years did we think we would have to prove our love to anyone.  I remember the very first time someone challenged our future marriage; hubby and I were so cut of guard, we couldn't speak for a second as if we were both saying "what happened to you, were did you come from?" "looks like love just messed you up and shoved you off the side walk."Hubby and I fasted and prayed because they were actually from people that mattered (Family).
So after many years of what I called 'prayerful waiting'  the issue was brought up and to our surprise close family friends and family had different single men and women waiting for us to consider.  Seriously? we thought...what is really going on? we even prayed harder because we wanted to hear a reason you know something other than his village is too far.  I mean I had never given dating a chance before I met my husband and even gave him a hard time but he came at the right time and I embraced the idea of a future and marriage but little did I know that it would be this hard.
So after lots of unwanted weight loss, exam failures, stress in general, I got the approval that I needed (at least I thought we did) and we got married.
First presentation at my trad wedding in 2007

looking for my better half

my mom greeting hubby

hubby and I still at the trad in 2007
3 months later in Florida (03/2008)

Our evening outfit at our wedding

 You can see how happy we were and we are still going at it, we felt like winners after 4 years; we thought it was over. Well there have been yet so many trials...i was so embarrassed at my traditional wedding at all the insults that happened in Nigeria (you would cry for me if I shared with you and you will be surprised as to how I pulled off so many smiles in my pictures) and to top it up we came back to the states and it didn't stop but at this point I was done.  I was ready to walk down the aisle myself.  I was ready to direct the attention away from me...I couldn't wait for the wedding.
Fast forward to the wedding everyone put their act half way together and it was a success (just for that day).  Ok basically I am writing this because obviously there are still hurtful things still said, even now that a baby is involved.  I've heard reasons like you married too early and your father wasn't ready and you know you were his favorite.  How can that be when he has made every attempt to deny me happiness unintentionally at first but now even after I had made it clear.  My husband and I have cried about this many times, had sleepless nights about this, been stressed to the point of a miscarriage.  What will you do if you were me? and this wasn't even your in laws but your own parents?  To make things difficult my in-law accepts me as their own, I wished for so many years that my hubby will get the same kind of treatment from mine or even their daughter may deserve a little good will but no! it has been too much of a favor to ask.
I had ignored them for a year, and my stress reduced to like 90%, I achieved pregnancy with no help (after 3 years of hubby and I trying but due to stress my ovulation was jumping ropes); I had no problems; the best part I got so many compliments that I seemed happier.
Hubby wanted this relationship with his in laws so bad that he pushed for me to try even harder until he realized what it was doing to me and kinda did his own thing.  He called them more than me but yet they never seem to appreciate any of it, he sent gifts but there was always something wrong, they crushed him with their words at any opportunity. And whenever they do they go back and dig up how much they hurt us at our weddings and how proud they were and they should have worked a little harder.
Well now they pushed my husband to the wall.  My husband for the first time (as quiet as he is has now said enough is enough).  With tears he begged me that he has no more strength to continue this. He has a family now and this is too much amidst all the other responsibilities that we have.  I am so lost at what that means but I am afraid to even ask.  I've gone for a long time without talking to them but I usually forgive them (my husband had never supported this and so never joins in on it) but you know how everything always seems to be his fault ... I am so lost and yet there are family members still saying keep trying.
Is it what the stress I mean to think it took a million people to plead with my father to come and see his first grandchild ... I didn't even want to open the door I was unsure if I wanted my daughter around such negativity.  I am still unsure because I did grow up with a lot of negativity.  And I still wonder did he come to visit for a better future or because people were starting to tell him how wicked he was and that his grandchild didn't deserve it. 
Well here goes another bitter day in my sweet bitter life.  Thank you in advance for reading, I welcome anonymous responses and please excuse typos I just poured my heart out and couldn't write it all since it can't all be said.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Catch Up With Us!

I'm baaaaaack.  Thanks everyone for your wonderful wishes- hope you are all doing well.  I just sat for my 9-hours-board exam this past Saturday and I will find out the results in 8 weeks.  Her Papa watched her while I was gone and seriously she didn't have any missing parts.  Just kidding he actually does a great job watching her.  I mean hubby fights to hold and care for her.  I can tell that he will spoil her though since he tries to ruin every routine I create whenever he returns- but he is learning very quickly. What did I do since I disappeared?  I peeked at some people's blogs and even couldn't help but add a few comments here and there.  I settled into Florida; at least for now I'm starting to get used to the whole idea of heat in the Winter (ummm Not! really what's up with that?).  I attended a close friend's wedding.
The Fam!
Mr. & Mrs. Okparaocha
I visited my sisters twice....the first time was to get out of town and the second time was for wedding shopping. Yep! Someone is getting married (so excited!!!!!)- my sister (aka runaway bride) is engaged and getting married in 3 months (like seriously cross your fingers).
My Sister & her Yori Yori
 My cousin got married and I unfortunately was not able to attend. My sister and husband to be did though.
Judith & her Yori Yori
I prepared a meal for hubby almost every day (not counting when his ship went to sea).  Hubby even acclaimed one day how grateful he is that I was no longer a million miles away.  I was going to ask if it was because of the cooking but I figured it was sweet either way you look at it.  I actually love to cook and he loves to help or do the dishes afterward.
It was very difficult studying with my quickly growing child.  She has gotten even more active and very easily bored.  One minute she will be entertained by something and the next minute she would want something else.  I learned her many different languages (I can tell you what every sound means and even when she is fake crying just for my attention)- my hubby is amazed by it.  I can be in the kitchen and he will have her in the room and I will scream out to him she pooped and needs her diaper changed.
 Mmeso cannot run up the stairs just yet ( but she climbs everything like the picture below of her in the bath robe - she was 4.5 months (we already had to drop down the crib bed to give Mama piece of mind);
she can sit without support (4 months old) ; says dada; imitates sounds; I thought her how to go to sleep on her own with the Cry It Out Method (this does not mean I let her cry forever)- she also sleeps from 8 pm to 5am (can someone say awesome)
singing children praises in her dress blues

plays with her hands and feet ; mouths everything in the world (scary); turns both sides; recognizes her own name (love it!); stranger anxiety is in full gear (:()
getting down to business with her book
 crawls backwards (this is hilarious by the way).
trying to crawl
First time she had rice cereal

Even learning to drive her Papa's car
Mmeso is a joyful child and we thank God so much for her.  Though breast milk is still the majority of her diet, Mmeso started solids- I bought the baby bullet and I make her homemade baby food (it is easier and cheaper for me).
I have also enjoyed being the stay home mom and wife but is now working on getting out of the house more. Obtaining a Florida License has proven itself to be a nuisance- it takes a long time but as soon as I get that then on to employment.  On another note I started insanity workout and I am on my second week- maybe one day I will post about my progress.  I am also working on our Family's Christmas letter/greeting.
Hubby found out he was going to be underway for thanksgiving so I prepared a bunch of dishes and we marked thanksgiving on Tuesday and though Mmeso was sleepy I got a picture that will do for her scrapbook.  I thank God for my husband, family, friends and that includes my blog friend, I thank God that my exam is over ... I thank God for giving us so much to be thankful for this year.
Happy thanksgiving and I hope that you guys had a wonderful thanksgiving - what do you have to be thankful for?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stupendous Pick Up Lines on Facebook/ blog break

A few months ago, Hubby temporarily changed his facebook profile picture to the one you are looking at and in a few days he receives a facebook message that he found very irritating and disrespectful. The message was from a Nigerian dude named... umm .... so that we do not embarrass the poor guy let's call him "Boo Boo The Fool" well anyways below is his message to my husband (exactly as written)-

baby u are 2 hot with u by me l will just work and come back home thats no more club if not with u for who have u should not look other girls out thier for u are ok toosexy baby,just add me lest complet it as soon as l am back home if u are single and wishes so just add me and lest go on enyway l am in ltaly.

In Boo Boo The Fool's defense, I thought he forgot to check out the name on the profile or maybe he didn't pay attention to the sex and though I tried to explain my theory to my husband he found it genuinely disrespectful.  
Hubby shared with me how he forgot that he changed his profile picture and thought that the guy was hitting on him at first.  And although he came to the realization that it wasn't the case, he was very irritated that Boo Boo The Fool tried to hit on his wife.  So of course I laughed it off thinking that was the end of it.  
Until another day, hubby tells me to go on his facebook to read a message that someone sent to me through him and after reading the message, I find this other hilarious message- it is a reply from hubby to Boo Boo The Fool:

You are very stupid to write this nonsense. Your bad writing has already explained your iiitracy. You should be ashamed for talking to somebody's wife'. Since you did not go to school and you could not read, check the names and identify who is male or female.

And normally I would be flattered by Boo Boo The Fool's message but not this time. Partly because it seemed like Boo Boo The Fool dropped out of That School For Stupendous Pick Up Lines and not only that he sounded like he could use 2 or more classes in English writing as hubby pointed out in his message.   

But seriously guys and ladies who some how find themselves writing silly lines to people on facebook just stop it!  

On another note, I'm taking a blog break- I need to get on study mode since I plan to sit for my Family Medicine Boards in a few weeks plus I also need to get serious about job haunting :( I'll see you guys soon- miss you guys already.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Busy Body (BB)

For the purpose of this post I will call this good Samaritan- Mrs. BB.  Mrs BB came to welcome me as she somehow found out that I am originally from Nigeria and since she is from the same continent she wanted to welcome me.  I was very surprised and happy until she wouldn't stop talking and wanted to dive right into my private life.  Here are a few of her comments- "Ok! you just joined your husband?- good!" "Thank God your daughter looks like the father"- "It is time for the next baby? you know you are not getting younger"  I couldn't even respond to many of her comments/questions because she is very good at what I call sentence vomit.
It baffles me how some find it difficult to focus on just their life alone- you know the one that God gave them.  They almost seem to enjoy making unnecessary suggestions.  I wanted to respond to so many of her comments... Like what do you mean thank God she looks like her father! Can I completely enjoy this child before you pressure me to drop the next one or can I enjoy my husband a little before you arrive with your annoying comments. 
What was interesting was I thought I was the only one that found her annoying and promised myself that I will give her a chance before I draw my final conclusions especially since I am yet to make friends here.  So I went to this African Hair Braiding Salon and a group of women started talking about a "lady" and how annoying she can be with her suggestions and how she oversteps her boundaries.  One woman shared how "this Lady" suggested that her 5 year old daughter could get into better Universities in the future if she was in a gifted school.  And another woman mentioned how "the lady" told her that maybe she should sign her daughter for music lessons so that her daughter wouldn't suck at dancing ... I was quiet the whole time because 1) I love talks at salon especially African salons- since my hair takes forever I really seek out salons that have great gist :) 2) I thought it was hilarious at first to hear how angry these women were with "this lady" but then it went on and on and then the owner of the salon mentioned how annoying it was that when she tried to mention to "this Lady" of her bad habits and how it is starting to get to her customers.  "This lady" started shouting "which customers! what are their names!"and then the lady threatened to go elsewhere to get her hair braided and even mentioned that she will drag her friends with her.  The other women in the store chorused "leave her-let her go! which friends!"  I wanted to bust out laughing but they were very serious. 
And at that very moment a thought came to me that since I am new in town I really ought to know who "this lady" is so that I can avoid her, and to my utmost surprise she was Mrs BB.  How have you guys dealt with the busy bodies?

Gear Military Mode and The End of Our 3 years of Separation

We weren't really maritally separated for 3 years, we just lived apart.  I was just in one state (KS) for residency, while daddy was in another state (Fl) were he was based in the military.
So we (baby and I) finally made the move to Florida.  We are now in one house with daddy- thank God.  As some of you may know, I completed residency some months ago but we were waiting to accompany daddy on the long drive to Florida.  Why de heck didn't I fly? well na love do me oh ...
We were lucky enough to qualify for the military move- which they normally move everything except the car(s) (if the move is within the US).  So since the drive was 22 hours, I was afraid hubby may fall asleep if he didn't have us with him.  I was discouraged by many because of the baby but I didn't listen since hubby assured me that we will make stops as frequent as baby and I would need.
Well ... when we got in the car hubby got on "gear military mode" that means he only sees the finish line and does not hear either me or anyone for that matter.  I had to speak in many different languages (including joining my daughter to screame aaahhhhhh) to get him to stop to feed the baby or change her.  My legs were so tired, I started to tell my daughter be prepared this will be a very long drive but I think God gave us a girl so that me and you together will break daddy off this military crap.
One time he dozed off and lost control of the car for a millisecond but it felt like eternity with me screaming "Jesus help us! Jesus help us!" and can you imagine that after he gained control he went on back to "gear military mode." Haba! I screamed we have to stop, I can drive if it is that important to you that we get home- To no avail but he agreed to stop for coffee.  So I quickly called my mom and I told her that she should call my husband's phone and randomly encourage him to stop and told her off the divine intervention that saved our lives.
I turned off my phone so when she called hubby's phone
hubby- (asks me) is your phone on?
me- it is turned off because I am charging it (and he suggested that maybe my mom was trying to reach me, so I gave the excuse that I was nursing so that he would take the call.
My mom on speaker:
mom- Papa Mma kedu (how r u), I tried to reach Nenyenwa and it appears that her phone is turned off
hubby- oh ok, hope all is well?
Mom- yes all is well, how is the trip so far
hubby- great!
Mom- ok hope you guys are making frequent stops, because at times you may feel tired and before you know it you may doze off ... there is no race to get here it is better to get your family home safe than to rush ...
Hubby- I don't think that will happen, we are doing ok
Me (screaming from the back seat with the baby) ahh mummy it is not true oh! this just happened right this very minute ....
Jude finally rounds up with my mom and says to me wow! we should probably stop, this is like a divine intervention that your mom called right when after it happened may be God sent her to call us and warn us. God did send her in a way but through me, and I didn't think there was any need to share what actually happened especially since baby and I got to stretch our legs while daddy took a nap.
We arrived safe, and spent this past 2 weeks putting the house in order and getting baby's room cozy and warm for her.  Anyways, we haven't spent much time together so this morning when I got up with him to help him get ready for his first day back at work on a new ship.  I had a moment ... I realized that our 3 year time apart was finally over.  He asked me what I was thinking and when I told him, he said "I don't know about you but I was so happy when I drove you guys home from Kansas, I was so afraid that my stubbornness almost cost me my family- normally I will be calling you on my way off to work but now I get to kiss my family good bye knowing that they will be here waiting on my return."  We forgave daddy a long time ago, actually after we got to stretch our legs- he is lucky to have easy going girls.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birth Control

I was asked to do a post on birth control and also highlight what I use (thanks for reading my blog). I will mention that my intention is not to promote any specific birth control method.
Though we commonly use the term "birth control" to mean oral contraceptives, it includes several other techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or pregnancy interruption at its various stages.
Main point think about it before sexual intercourse, and if you are already pregnant talk to your partner about it at the end of your second trimester and discuss your decisions with your doctor.
Contraception methods that prevent fertilization includes barrier methods such as condoms or diaphragms, hormonal contraception (aka oral contraceptives), the patch, and injection contraceptives (such as depo provera). Contragestion methods include post sex birth control (i.e. preventing implantation of blastocyst) that includes IUD and emergency contraception aka morning after pill.  Then there are behavioral methods, which is controlling when/if the sperm meets the egg and that includes fertility awareness, coitus interruptus aka withdrawal, to some extent Lactational Amenorrhea Method, and having sex but avoiding semen near the vagina since semen can travel along vaginal lubricating fluid.  There is also total abstinence which is total sexual abstinence but some have revised this in some way or another that it works for them.  Then there is surgical sterilization (i.e. tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men) And finally, there is abortion and that is the removal or expulsion of fetus or embryo from the uterus.
Many people decide on birth control based on the effectiveness and its compatibility to their lifestyle.  For example, oral contraceptives is a hormone pill that is taken at about the same time everyday (esp. to achieve success); the patch also releases hormone like oral contraceptives but it sticks on your skin and is placed once a week, another is nuva ring also the same mechanism but it is a transparent, flexible ring that goes in the vagina once a month.
Condoms- is placed correctly on the male penis ad used every time you have intercourse, this also helps protect against STIs but not genital wart. Depo- is an injection administered every 3 months; Implenon- is a small implant that goes under the skin and lasts for 3 years; Merena- intra-uterine device that lasts for 5 years and so on.
Birth Control effectiveness is measured usually by how many women achieved pregnancy while using any one of the above mentioned methods during the first year of use except for surgical sterilization, which I believe is usually measured in lifetime failure rate after a negative semen analysis.  You really do have to do the research in order to decide what works best for you, and you have to give each birth control about 3 months to decide how it works for you.  That been said, the overall consensus is that the best in terms of effectiveness does depend on regular user action (s).  By that I mean that if there is less work for the user it has been shown to be more effective overall.
Although surgical sterilization is reversible, the goal should please be with the intent of never having to reverse.  I understand however that things change but you should never jump into this decision if there is even the slightest doubt in your mind that you may change your mind, place a mirena instead to buy yourself some time to think.  Usually the reversal procedure is not cheap, not guaranteed and it is done by reconnecting the fallopian tube in women and vasa deferentia in men.  Its effectiveness totally depends on the original procedure, how much damage was done and the patient's age.
So here is the effectiveness summary:  if you decide on surgical sterilization, Depo provera, implant, IUDs you have a failure rate of less than 1% (again since they require little to nothing from the user- well except for depo since you have to physically go get your shots every 3 months to the tee- can't skip days otherwise you've got to follow the essential waiting period).
Then hormonal contraception, oral, patch or ring, fertile awareness methods, lactational amenorrhea method if used perfectly also have less than 1% failure rate but can be as high as 5-25% if used incorrectly bu user.  Condoms have a failure rate of 14% and if used perfectly 3% and cervical barriers have a failure rate of about 20%. Withdrawal if used consistently and correctly (that means men who claim to be pros) have a 4% failure rate.  If you combine withdrawal with something else you can improve the failure rate to 2%.
One important thing to note is that the world worries so much about preventing pregnancy and many times forget about preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). With pregnancy you have options but there are existing STIs that are not curable.  Seriously, there is no harm in you and your partners getting tested for HIV, Hep C, syphilis and so on; there is also no harm in using condoms every time; keep in mind also that if condoms break you not only have to worry about achieving pregnancy but also all the many STIs you may have contracted.  Sorry guys you also cannot screen by looking at people, or getting to know them or trusting they will tell you because many don't even know they are infected.
For me, I practiced total abstinence until I met my husband.  Before our marriage I schooled myself on birth control options and decided that my best would be fertility awareness, specifically Billings Ovulation Method.  In summary this involves monitoring and charting your cervical mucus and its consistency.  God made us to always have a form of discharge and it has to be of a certain characteristics for the sperm to get to its destination.  For example, when a female has a dry discharge it is difficult for a sperm to get to its destination. (Learn more about it) I chose this because I felt like I didn't know anything about my fertility partly because when I was 14 some doctor recommended to my mom that I go on birth control since my period was very minimal.  Though I stopped it myself when I was 18 since I refused to pay for it myself, I was too busy to care enough about my fertility.   However, my experience with oral contraceptive was that it helped my acne; I didn't notice a difference with weight gain- since I was trying to loose weight at the time and accomplished it; it helped a ton with period cramps-winner for me; I did see my period every month and at that age I wasn't really happy about it :(; for me it didn't matter whether I took it at the same time everyday or if I missed because my goal was not to prevent pregnancy and I didn't see why anyone cared if I had a period monthly.
Anyways, before my marriage I studied and learned my cycle using the Billings Ovulation Method it was a great option for hubby and I since it included him as well.  He could look at the calender himself and know that we could do anything other than sexual intercourse on those marked fertile days.  I really believe it can help in bringing couples together especially on days that you are forced to be creative (fertile periods) and also you don't feel rejected because you have previously discussed that you want or don't want to be pregnant.  It was also a great tool for when I tried to achieve pregnancy (since hubby lived in another state and left on military assignments for at least half of the year.  It helped though that I knew the exact day we got pregnant and matched the ultrasound to the day- it helped for later decisions when it came close to the birth of my daughter.  It helped me learn a lot about my fertility and about fertility in general.
Now I don't have to chart because I know and understand my fertility very well.  It is free but does require some back to school elementary knowledge of the female reproductive system. After the birth of our baby girl I still feel very confident in the Billings Ovulation Method and hence still use it, its failure rate is also less than 1% if used accurately.  Also although not for the intention of birth control I solely breastfeed my daughter and hence I also use the Lactational Amenorrhea Method- I do not plan to substitute with anything else until she is 6 months old.
I hope this helped, good luck with your decision.  Please feel free to add to what influenced your decisions on choosing a contraceptive that worked for you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Raising A Child

That is a picture of me trying to make my bed. 

I have come to truly embrace that saying "it takes a village to raise a child."  Some of you know that though I am married, I was by myself during my pregnancy and after the birth of my daughter I had help for some to most of the time.  When I went back to work, I had just great grandma who wasn't very reliable (I needed to tell her things a million times).  Grandma left like as soon as I was done (it was mutual by the way) and then it was just me and baby girl for about three weeks. 
It was as stressful as I imagined since I had to take her everywhere- to get last minute things done, to the store and so on  What was worst was trying to get ready for the big move to Florida with her.  I couldn't bend down with her in the front carrier, and I felt bad bending so much with her on my back since I wouldn't like to be turned upside down multiple times in a day.  I just couldn't get anything done and this resulted in a very stressful move.  She also felt very ignored and so spoke very loudly to the extent that I wished she could understand so that I could yell at her (yeah by the way she found her voice at 2 and the half months).
Then I thought of how much my friends and family back home in Nigeria take for granted and I made a decision to not pack while she was asleep but instead to call a buddy of mine to voice my frustrations.  Here is a synopses of the conversation:
Note- my friends and I speak a mix of broken english (pigin), igbo, some yoruba and regular english but they are all highly educated.

My Friend: Eyaa! mama Mmeso wassup! how una dey? (how r we?)
Me: wassup? we dey kampe? how far now momcy nko? (we r fine, how is mom?)
My Friend: Momcy de jo, a go tell am se you de hail. (my mom is fine, I will let her know you asked of her)
Me: a dupe jare (thanks)
My Friend: you sound tired, se is just you and baby?
me: yes oh my sister
My friend: wow! it is not easy oh, se you can work on one of these people... ah abi na Uh Pear (au pair?)
Me: o di gi easy my sister (it is not that easy)
My friend: my sister if for say na here, a for don send you one of my sister's pikin- she come holidays for my house (she wished she could send me one of her sister's child that is with her for the holidays) I have no idea how you are surviving- do you even leave the house?
Me: yes na
My friend- Chi what you are doing is not normal- it really does take everyone's help to raise your child to become a vital member of society.  No wonder oyibo is always talking about psychological this and that and postpartum depression. Think about everyone that took part in raising you. 
Me: postpartum depression is real sha but you are right that it does make things worst when you feel by yourself.   And you are also right about how much help my parents had without realizing it.

You know after that conversation, I thought about my childhood and realized how right my friend was, because I remember a lot of people.  My uncle Onyeka helping me with my homework; Mr. Appiah encouraging me to come out of my shell because I am destined for greatness.  Aunty Ngozi teaching me how important it was to keep my home; Mama Onitsha telling me that books just doesn't cut it for a woman "you must to learn how to cook" she would often say; Sr Faith teaching me the morals of the bible; Mama Nawgu showing me the ropes of farming and reminding me of how important school was so that I could help her keep her read the bible; Mama Obi tattling on me to my mother when I was somewhere I didn't need to be; Mama Oke watching us for my mother and even disciplining us in the absence of my mother; Mama Emeka preparing us several home cooked meals when mummy was in the hospital; gifts of bags of rice and palm oil from family and friends when things were hard during the holidays, not to talk of my traditional wedding when all my mothers (aunties, great aunts, mom, grandma and so on) came together to cook while gossiping, joking and making fun of each other (missed that). 
I am not sure why we have that pressure that we need to raise our child ourselves.  Sometimes we feel guilty having a good time and leaving our child with a trusted person.  We want to give up every part of our youth so that everyone realizes how motherly we are.  You cannot keep your house clean, go to work, be a wife, cook all by yourself- women are truly super but having that mind set will set you up for failure and eventually depression.  Share tasks with your spouse and seek help when you can.
I am now 15 weeks as a new mom and I am enjoying every bit of it. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Pierced My Daughter's Ears

I didn't realize that ear piercing was somewhat cultural.  In fact I carried my childhood traditions with me.  I did not remember my ear piercing because it was done a few days after I was born at the hospital.  But I do remember that my younger sister came home from the hospital with an ear ring.  We all looked at her ears and screamed with excitement she is a girl!
When I asked my mom if she came out from her stomach with her ears pierced my mom laughed and at first answered yes.  Then she later answered no with a long explanation- the summary of it all was that it is not just her earrings that made her a girl and she tried to explain to me the differences between me and my brother.  I recalled it being a boring talk because I wanted to join my brothers outside to plat football and wondered how I landed myself a talk.
Well anyways I always knew that when I had a girl, if it were possible I would want the doctor to pierce her ears and if I had a boy I would want him circumcised.  Well our Dr. Banjoko, at home in Nigeria would just pierce it before my mom brought us home but not here  it is recommended that you wait at least 2 months.  I waited 3 months partly because I was a chicken and didn't want to torture her.  I did find a pediatrician to do it for me, he was great but it was very hard hearing her scream but she stopped by the time I got her in her car seat (within minutes).
Before I had it done, I tried to talk myself out of doing it and hated that it wasn't done when everything was been done to her at the hospital.  But I had pressure from my husband and my family, and then I thought well why wait? she will get old enough to mess with it and end up with an infection? or should I wait until ... well what exactly am I waiting for it was normal to me that girls have their ears pierced and boys didn't.  In fact, it was how I always told them apart until I was older and saw the world with an open mind.
Some people had some brutal things to say about it though, "why will you pierce her ears at this age"- "that is just hurtful'; "is it for her or for you?"; "why not let her decide when she is older?" "your daughter cannot care for her ears at this point?"; "what if she doesn't want her ears pierced?"; "this is just ridiculously selfish of you" ... I didn't expect those reactions so I didn't have an answer right away.  So I started paying attention to some of my colleagues children, some had their children's ears pierced and some didn't.  When I asked the ones that didn't do it why? they said that their parent's waited till they were teenagers and it was something that they looked forward to and so they wanted that for their children.  The ones that did it, some said it was traumatic waiting and so they didn't want it for their children, and others said that they felt that it makes girls look cute and well duh.
If you looked at my childhood pictures, my sisters and I wore the same earrings till we were about 3 (it was a gold earring with a hook) and then we all had a gold very small dangling earring until about 16 and then my mom bought us two different earrings as a gift and that was sort of our permission to change earrings as we pleased.
I don't plan on changing her earrings as an infant, I am actually not that fancy so unless she looses it, I probably won't think about it.  I didn't pierce her ears in the name of fashion, it was just something that I carried from childhood that girls pierced their ears and boys didn't.  It is amazing how many decisions you will make for your child that will get you looks or opinions of others but remember that you are the parent and as long as your decisions are not harmful to your child, you will make the right decisions.  Good luck with parenting.

My Kid Ran Up The Stairs at 4 months

A conversation between me and a friendly stranger.

Stranger- (with a warm smile) your baby is gorgeous
Me- thanks (smiling back at her)
Stranger- can she walk?
Me- no- she is only 3 months old (I really wanted to say Are you flipping kidding me??? why would I have this heavy child in a carrier if she could walk!)
Stranger- how old did you say?
Me- 3 months
Stranger- well my kid ran up the stairs at 4 months
Me- ehn! (thinking this lady must think I'm dumb)
Stranger- yes oh you really should start doing some leg exercises and carry her less, she may surprise you.
Me- (with a fake smile) thanks for the advice.

Being a new mom is hard in itself but on top of that you have to deal with all of the advice, both good and bad and even crazy ones.  If you are not careful some of them will make you doubt yourself.  Some will even make you feel like you are a bad mom and not doing enough for your child.  The truth is no one will ever love my child more than me; no one will ever make as much sacrifice that I've made so far and the ones that I will make in the future. 
Seriously, this stranger's story obviously does not make sense, in fact I will be very concerned if my daughter got up and walked on her own today.  I wanted to laugh because I thought at first that she was joking but then I noticed the serious look on her face. IT IS NOT THE NORM so don't let people like her convince you otherwise. 
First of all did I tell her I wanted to sign my daughter up for some developmental milestone competition- see me see wahala.  I am enjoying her and would love her to take all of the time she can- I don't want to miss anything.  Did I tell her that I was tired of carrying my pikin? nope! but rather I was minding my business when she saw the look of new mom written all over my face and thought she would throw in her two cents.  Well nice lady I may have new mom written all over me but I am not dumb, my mummy friends, mom, grandma, cousins.... gat my back lol
On a more serious note,  I have learned in these three months that the advice will keep coming- both good and bad but the important thing is that they all mean well and my answer to them is always the same, thanks for the advice.

How do you respond to people's advice concerning your child?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Crying Baby

What a day? My daughter has been showing all of the teething signs- drooling, low grade fevers, increase fussiness, excessive biting...  It has been very hard to get a good night rest and since I am by myself, trying to pack for my move, preparing for my boards ... it has been quite a challenge. 
Well every night has been different sometimes she is fussy and some nights she is not fussy at all and goes right to sleep but in the morning she is a different person-very jovial usually.  My daughter is so jovial that it is very sad for me to watch her even be slightly troubled by this that I at first challenged myself to help her get through this (Now I'm sure all the mothers are starting to laugh at me).
First I let her bite my fingers and that didn't work because it started to hurt, then I tried my palm but that didn't work either, then I refrigerated a wet washcloth and every night I would go find it and let her bite on that and that only worked for a short while.  And then I dug out each teething toy we got at the shower and refrigerated some and it worked for some time and then stopped, then I went out and bought some more teething toys.  You may laugh but I was very determined, her cry hits me hard that I feel like I should be doing something.
At these point I'm thinking oh boy! what do I do now.  Then I went to the food for thought store and found a numbing balm, that seemed to work for only a few minutes and then I tried tylenol, which is by the way a battle to get her to swallow it but that helps some.  I'm now exhausted and well I now realized that like I tell my patients it is a phase she will pass.  So everyday around the same time she begins to fuss I give her a warm bath which perks her up like in the picture.
Then after I dress her then I read to her and then she breaks out into her crying spell and I try to help her by dancing to classical music, nursing, holding her close to me.  When all fails, I gently place her on her crib and kiss her good night and she fusses for a little bit (while I sit behind the door with my hands in my heart and my ears piercing at her via the video monitor hoping that tonight will be shorter than last night)- it feels like forever.
But today started off different she woke up screaming ahhh (with her hand between her gum) and did this all day except when she was asleep, any caller was annoyed by her constant ahhh.  I was very confused as to why she would change our routine and so as the doctor I am I started to search for a different culprit but found nothing.  I was exhausted and needed a break until I saw this missed call- it was from a good friend of mine, Jon.  I hadn't heard from him recently, it was really nice to catch up with him and his family.  He makes me laugh and talking to him usually takes me back to college.  For some reason my daughter was mostly quiet throughout my conversation with uncle Jon.  It is fair to say that this conversation was the highlight of our day-we learnt that he and his wife are expecting a baby boy yipee! (I am constantly hoping that all my friends get pregnant and lately I've been having some interesting dreams-I actually dreamed about this one) and our other friend Matt and his wife also had a baby.  We also got to see a picture of his sister's twins- gorgeous! I was so happy that my daughter and I chatted about it through bath time and tonight she must have overwhelmed herself with her all- day-ahh, that tonight was less screaming.
How do you or did you deal with your crying baby?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Breastfeeding and Work

No that is not me in the picture- I borrowed a random person's picture online.  This post is from a request and I still do not feel like I am quite the expert at this, but I will do my best to give my tips.

So breastfeeding was most challenging during my first two weeks. The first five days were colostrum and my daughter was loosing weight.  Colostrum has high calorie and fat and though very thick and so you may not be able to pump, your child will be ok.  But this was hard for me because I had everyone around me giving me look and asking are you sure you don't want to supplement.

I was so determined to nurse her that I refused to go out and buy formula.  It was very difficult but I knew if she got it elsewhere (i.e. formula) she would not need to work hard to get her food from the breast.  I was so desperate that I set alarms every 2-3 hours to get up and pump first for 10 minutes (at the beginning I got nothing) before trying to nurse her and then eventually my milk supply came plenty. This back fired since my brain felt that I had twins and I ended up with an overproduction. It is however better to have this problem than the opposite, especially with my type of job.

My mom was the generation that formula was starting to be promoted more than breastfeeding both her and my grandma had their opinions, to my surprise they did not support me completely, whenever the baby cried they would tell me it is because I am not providing her with enough nutrition.  It was hard for me and I almost gave up at that 2 weeks mark when everything else also seemed to be failing but started going to the breastfeeding clinic once a week and sometimes twice a week and the wonderful lactation nurses encouraged me and I was able to tell how much she was getting with each feeding.  Usually she will be weighed pre and post nursing and we will subtract the weights to get the amount in ounces.  Her weight gradually increased and I became quite the defensive one whenever anyone questioned she was not getting plenty.  I brag about how much she weighs and even add in, that she is all breast fed.  She is 13+ pounds (5.91 kg) at 11 weeks (all breast milk lol).

I had mastitis and a painful nipple bleb and so on; i had everything that could discourage one from nursing.  Men! I remember when I would cry when the baby would first latch and my husband had to help me with her- you can't imagine how far I have come.

Some tips
1) it is going to be challenging but you will survive
2) decide if you want to do it and stick with it;
3) don't compare yourself or your milk supply to anyone else.
4) Take all the positive support you can get- i was fortunate to have free breastclinic and the wonderful lactation nurses to go to.
5) remember your supply is dependent on how often your baby is on the breast, so if she is not on the breast at least every 2-3 hours for that first few weeks, your supply will be less.
6) At night may be tiring so pump during the day (best time is early in the morning) and save so that your partner or help can do one or two feedings to let you sleep.
7) It is very common for new mom's to have mastitis, if you can latch her and yes it is safe- it is the only way your breast will heal, if you can't stand her latching then take a nursing holiday and pump for 24 hours- you will feel better.  I didn't need antibiotics in less than 48 hours chills, fever, and pain were gone.
8) Your nipple will hurt at the beginning that is because, your baby is learning how to latch and you are learning how to nurse, change positions until you are comfortable, use a nipple shield as well as lanolin to keep breast from cracking, avoid soap around your nipple when you reach the third trimester and throughout nursing.
9) If you don't have breastfeeding clinic in your area, then carry your baby and weigh yourself with her in a clean, dry diaper, then nurse her and re-weigh immediately without changing her diaper.  Subtract and that should tell you how much she got from each breast.  She should get roughly add 1-2 to how many months old she is every 2-4 hours.  So if she is 0 months 2 oz every 3 hours is ok, remember their belly is very small. I have enough milk to feel her up with one breast but sometimes she finishes off with another breast especially now that she's bigger.
10) do what you can but if you are not enjoying it after 2-3 weeks, don't torture yourself
11) and take vitamin D or give it to the baby if you are solely nursing.
12) catch them when they are rooting, smacking or showing other signs of hunger rather than when they are hysterical and screaming.
13) again for the first few days latching will hurt, make sure her mouth is wide enough, and she is not getting just the nipple but the whole areola is in her mouth- your baby has to learn this- she gets more out this way and she causes mom less pain.
14) No pacifier for the first 1-2 months. Or until she learns to suck from the breast.
15) If you feel that your breast is not empty, pump, this will help keep your supply.  Pumping eventually gets old but you cannot get lazy in the beginning stages.

Why in the heck did I do it?  It seems like hard work but I felt useful, everyone fights to hold your baby, but they will give her back for you to nurse and there's no formula to make and feed. My reasons are:

For baby:

1) Because I wanted my baby to have the best and I feel that breast milk is genius! and God given and is better than man-made milk/formula.
2) I wanted all the bonding with my daughter because I know how demanding my job can be, my daughter knew me by 3 weeks old and gave me all the right cues to show that she recognizes me.  I can literally walk in on my daughter having a screaming tantrum and she hears my voice turns towards me, stop and smile.  Sometimes my grandma is surprised that she isn't even hungry, she just wants her mama's affectionate touch.  Nursing is one of your baby's soothing mechanism, and soon she begins to recognize your smell, touch, and your voice and even your face. It is heart warming when she stops and looks at me, learning my face.  As she gets older she will recognize you as well.
3) I saved money! I literally bought a ~$400 pump the advanced free style medela pump and if I were buying formula all these while I would have spent ~$470 by now purchasing formula. Now this has changed for low income earners because of WIC, especially if for some reason you are unable to meet the demands of your growing child.  WIC is a government sponsored program that provides formulas and milk for families who meet their criteria.
4) My baby has a stronger immune system- this is because your antibodies gets passed on and hence less sick days off work because my baby will not get sick as often.
5) I would like to think it will make her smarter but I am unsure how this works- I believe genetics, reading and interacting with your child may have more to do with this.  But hey anything from God is genius! and possible.
6) she will have a lower risk of leukemia, heart disease and MS; I told you in a previous post that as doctors, we see the worst hence, we tend to err on the side of caution.  I can also remind her of how mummy protected her from these things, so she better listen to me more than her dad. j/k
7) she will have fewer ear infections- this is likely from your antibodies and if she is solely breastfed she is less likely to accept a bottle in bed (very bad!!!!!).
8) she will be leaner for life- this is partly from expert opinion and in my experience, breast fed baby have to work to get their food, and hence they learn to stop when they are full.  It makes sense right? who continues to labor or farm when there is already abundance.  They tend to carry this on as they grow.  You cannot force them to finish the breast milk :) that being said if you have to bottle feed when your baby is full, remove the bottle from their mouth and try not to encourage them to finish it, I know it is expensive but it is bad for them and don't give em a bottle every time they cry- they are not always hungry.
9) it is easier on their gastrointestinal tract compared to formula

Benefits For mom:
1) I get to form the strongest bond with my daughter and the satisfaction that she will not confuse me for anyone else who cares for her.
2) The satisfaction that I am providing her with my best natural food that I can provide
3) I don't have to get up to warm milk or make formula; I just half asleep stick out my breast facing her and then after she falls asleep lay her on her bed.  I don't have to carry a bottle with me when we go out- just my nursing cover and my breasts are all I need.
4) I lower my risk of breast and ovarian cancer- while nursing you decrease your body's exposure to estrogen, which is associated to the risk of developing these types of cancer.
5) I help loose weight and hence obesity related illness such as heart disease, diabetes and so on- I had a c-section so I could not do anything for 6 weeks, but at my 6 weeks check up I had lost 40 pounds (18 kg) and with work (still no exercise routing) I am now fitting in most of my clothes.  My belly is yet to be back in shape but maybe I will write a post in the future about it.
6) Studies have shown that nursing protects against osteoporosis later in life- I cannot explain this because it makes sense to me that it causes osteoporosis but pregnancy itself helps with bone density.  That being said I love evidence based medicine and studies have show this.
7) again- save money!!! diapers and everything else are too expensive.

When you go back to work be sure to buy the hands free pumping bras- they are awesome! just go to a private corner and wear them over your nursing bra and pump both breasts at the same time. Remove them, then fold and store. Pump as often as she eats so that your supply does not decrease too much (typically every 3 hours).  Be sure that two weeks prior to going back to work, you pump in the early morning (your highest supply- oxytocin is high between the hours of 4 and 7) and store in freezer.  No bottles or pacifiers during the first month, or until she learns to latch/nurse and then you can do as you please.  Start introducing bottle the 2 weeks before you go back to work so that she can get used to the bottle.  My daughter hates pacifier's and rather use her hand or my nipples to soothe herself.  I don't discourage it- at this stage they need to soothe themselves and if she doesn't like the pacifier then o well.  My job is extremely busy and I had to make time as a resident doctor by planning each day ahead of time, i was able to pump and keep up with the others. I had a good pump so that i could pump effectively.  I got so good that I can do my paper work for admissions while in my private pumping corner.  Every 3-4 hours was my goal and maybe one or two times I got close to 5 hours but you don't want to make a habit of this.  I came home with bottles, poured them out in a bag and froze them, I had almost a month supply in the freezer prior to starting work because I had an over supply but it is ok because she is growing and will one day use them.  With my type of job, an oversupply is not a bad problem to have.

I hope these helps some of you, who plan to nurse. I realize that this may not be difficult to those who do not have a durable electric power supply (i.e. NEPA) or this may not just work for some people. What works for me may not work for you. What did you guys do?