A girl with a mind, a woman with modesty, a lady with class

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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Why I quit my job..

From the moment your baby is born the pressures on new mums are immense. You get judged for everything, whether you breastfeed or formula feed, make fresh food or use packet/jar baby food, whether you give a dummy or not, you carry them too much, you're not losing weight quickly enough etc etc etc. The guilt mums have themselves is enough to drive someone crazy but add the pressures and guilt everyone else put on you it goes through the roof and you spend  your days stressing if you're doing it right.

But there is no right or wrong way to be a mum, so long as your baby is healthy and happy you're doing just fine. It took me almost a year to get used to that idea so that I can confidently make decisions for my life and for my baby so that I can be content.

As my baby got to 7 months old I had to start thinking about work, if I was going to return to work, if I would work part time, who would look after my baby, how I would be able to balance work and home. Before I went on maternity leave I thought I had it all figured out, I had a great job in molecular imaging, working for a prestigious company on Harley Street. I would have my baby, take the full years maternity and then return to work part time, whilst my mother in law looked after my daughter.

Then my daughter was born 7 weeks early and everything changed.

For months I weighed up the pro's and con's of going back to work; I had studied so hard to get into the field, I worked my way up, I love my job and love meeting new people everyday, I love the fact that I'm helping people, would I get bored being at home all the time? Do I need a break from my daughter once in a while?

However, how could I leave my daughter at home in the morning and just go? She would wake up and not find me or her dad. She would only be little once and I'll never get that time back, I feel like it's my responsibility to give her a good upbringing, no one could bring her up the way I want her to be brought up.

I understand that for a lot of mum's they don't have a choice and have to return to work for financial reasons or just because they want to be a working mum. I thought long and hard, prayed that whatever decision I took it would be the best one for me and my family.

The more I thought about it the more I was inclined to resigning from my job and becoming a 'stay at home mum'. I came to the conclusion that if I did go back to work I would not be able to give 100% to my daughter or 100% to my job, in a job where mistakes have grave consequences I couldn't afford to not be on completely on the ball and I couldn't do that if my daughter didn't sleep all night or was sick. As a preemie baby in this 1st year of her life she gets sick a lot, she picks up a lot of viruses and needs to be on an inhaler when her breathing gets wheezy, she has so many appointments from follow up's at the hospital, to the GP when she's caught a bug to make sure her lungs are clear, to physio to follow up on meeting her developmental milestones, all of this means I'd be having to take time off work when she's not well as well as for all her appointments.

My biggest reason for finally deciding to quit my job was the fact that my job will always be there and if in another year or so I would just need to apply, I could always join agency somewhere to keep my skills up but work on my own terms. However, my daughter will only be this age once and I didn't want to miss a moment of it.

People still look shocked when they ask about my plans with work and I tell them I resigned. They tell me that I'm crazy for working so hard to get to where I am and wonder why I'm 'throwing' it all away, they tell me I'll be crazy bored at home and I'm making a mistake by leaving my job.

I may change my mind in the future but for now Alhamdulillah I'm happy that I'm in a position where I can choose to work or not work and that we have a good support network whatever I choose to do.

If you go to work and leave your child you're mum shamed, if you stay at home and don't work outside you're mum shamed, so there really is no winning if you're trying to do something that everyone else tells you is right.

It wasn't easy handing my resignation in, I even felt guilty for my manager and old colleagues because I felt like I was leaving them in the lurch but I had to do what was right for me.
Now that I've done it, I'm happy. When I think about it since age 3 I've been in education, I went straight from university into my job and haven't stopped. I finally have time to focus on other things in my life, it even gives me time to focus on my blog, painting canvases (which I miss doing so much!) and set up my hijab styling business (will tell you all about that in another post inshaAllah), I can really focus on giving my daughter a good start to life, take her to stay and play and to the library, enjoy Ramadan and really make time for myself.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

What to pack in your hospital bag

If you've read my previous posts you'll know that my daughter came 7 weeks early, which didn't give me time to pack my hospital bag. This meant that after she was born my husband had to rush home and bring me some things that I needed. Suffice to say he got me a whole bunch of random things and left me regretting not packing my hospital bag myself earlier.

I would recommend packing your hospital bag as you go into the 3rd trimester and have it ready somewhere where it's easy to find in an emergency.

To make your life a little easier I've created a list of all the things you may need in your hospital bag. This is for mama's having a natural delivery, for C-sections the list may differ. The things you pack will also depend on how long you stay in hospital but it's better to just pack everything than not having the things you need.

Once you have been given your maternity notes by your midwife you should keep them on you at all times. This is very important as you could go into labor unexpectedly or if something should happened to you whilst outside, it will give the paramedics and those looking after you, all the details about your pregnancy and baby.

For baby:
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • 5 baby vests
  • 5 baby-grows/sleepsuits
  • Muslin cloths
  • Baby hat (& mittens if the sleepsuits don't have built in mittens)
  • Blanket
  • Coat/Cardigan depending on weather
For mum:
  • Maternity notes/birth plan
  • 2 sets of clothes (long night dresses are easiest for straight after birth & something to go home in)
  • Slippers/socks
  • Shampoo & body wash (for your shower after giving birth)
  • Maxi/Maternity Pads
  • Disposable underwear (not the best looking, but they do the job)
  • Moisturiser/body oil (or whatever else you use to moisturise after a shower)
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Breast pads & Nursing bra
If there are any other things that you think need to be added to the list, do drop me a message to let me know!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Living with the In-Laws

In-laws or out-laws? 
Here are my tips on trying to maintain a good relationship with your in-laws whilst keeping your sanity.

I feel like I need to make a lot of disclaimers before I go into this post because people's situations are different and I don't want anyone to take what I say the wrong way.

So, I understand that not all mother in-laws are the same and neither are daughter in-laws. If your in-laws are verbally, emotionally or physically abusive toward you then you need to get out, other people are not worth losing yourself for.
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh. 
Some people just can't live with their husbands parents and that's ok, it's not for everyone. Islamically, your husband should be able to provide a house for you and you do not have to live with his family, but you must still aim to keep the ties of kinship and keep good relations with them.

It is very common to live with in laws even for a short time in many cultures but, know your rights as a Muslim wife and make your wishes known BEFORE accepting the marriage proposal. This also goes for men, when you're getting to know someone for marriage and you know that you or your family would want your future wife to live with the family please make it very clear and known at the start, so that she can decide if she wants to go ahead with that or not. Generally, scholars advise men to keep separate houses for their parents and for their wife because of the problems living with in-laws can cause. Sometimes the in-laws are the ones that break a marriage down and sometimes a wife can be the reason for a broken parent child relationship with their husband. In these cases it's better to live separate to your in-laws.

However, there may be reasons for why a woman will need to or want to live with her in-laws, for example, the in-laws are elderly and your husband will need to care for them, you are not financially in a situation where you can have your own place right away, you want to live with a big family as you're not used to living alone.

I lived with my in-laws at the beginning of my marriage for a year and half before moving into our own apartment for a year and then moving back in with my in-laws at the beginning of last year when I was pregnant. It wasn't/isn't always easy but Alhamdulillah I'm blessed.

Over the last 3 and half years of marriage I have matured a lot in myself and have learnt a lot about myself and the people I live with to be comfortable with living with my in-laws.

This post is for people with 'normal' in-laws not the crazy, abusive ones who you cannot compromise with.

“Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship?

Such are they whom Allaah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight”
[Muhammad 47:22]
Pro's of living with in-laws:
  • There is always someone to talk to 
  • If you don't know your husband that well before marriage it sometimes helps having other people around to help you settle into the marriage and it's not so daughnting being alone with someone for the first time.
  • Your in laws can be a huge help when you're not well, when you have children etc. Alhamdulillah I'm so grateful for my in laws and how much they've helped with my daughter, I think it would have been much harder to adjust with a newborn if it hadn't been for my in laws.
  • You can share the workload. On weekdays my mother in law used to cook and have dinner ready for when I used to get back from work. On weekends and holidays I would help her with cooking or cook something of my own for the family. 
Con's of living with in-laws: 
  • You might feel like you don't have the privacy you want, for yourself and with your husband especially if you don't have a big enough house
  • More likely to have disagreements or arguments, just because there are more people in the picture that you have to compromise and share with
  • You may feel as though you can't come and go as you please because you have to take the other people you live with into consideration
  • Your in-laws may not be the easiest people to live with
  • You may not feel properly 'married' or 'grown up' because you still live with parents who do the 'adult' things for you
Don't marry a mummy's boy

I say this in the nicest way possible but everyone that has married a 'mummy's boy' has really suffered with their in-laws. Your husband should take care of his parents but it is not correct for him to go to his mum for everything when he is a grown man and ready to marry. He should know the difference between his mum and his wife. He should be able to keep neutral in situations of disagreements and not take sides. If you are wrong he should be able to tell you, if his mum is wrong he should be able to speak to her as well. He should be the one to diffuse the situation and try to keep everyone happy and not just say his mum is right and you need to apologise.

Your husband is responsible for you and although you need to respect your in-laws you only need to answer to him. So if you want to go to your parents house or go out with friends, you should ask him/tell him, if he says it's ok, then it's ok, you shouldn't need to ask permission from your in-laws, they don't own you. Out of respect you should tell them your plans as you live together, out of love and respect you should take them into consideration when you make plans.

Know yourself

Before marriage you have to be really honest with yourself and know what it is you want from life. Are you the type of person that finds it difficult to share a room or house with others? If you have arguments with your own parents or family will you realistically be able to live with someone else's family? It's very important to know yourself and your spouse before accepting the conditions, once you're in the marriage it will be difficult for you to change yourself or change others, so you need to know if you can accept your husband and his family, as they are, before marriage.


When I first lived with my in-laws I had a really hard time adjusting and wasn't very comfortable because we lived in a small flat. I was always used to being part of a being family, growing up with all my extended family but it was still extremely difficult to share a small space and utilities. This is one of the reasons we moved out.

Now my in-laws have a much bigger house, we practically have our own floor, own bathroom etc and this makes life a lot easier. I don't have to always wear my hijab to just go to the bathroom for example, we have a big enough kitchen and everyone has their own space so we're not living top of each other.

So space is another thing you need to think about, what will you have to share with everyone else and are you comfortable with that?

Start as you mean to go on

At the start you're just getting to know your husband properly and his family, this is the same even if you knew your husband before marrying him. You don't really know a person until you live with them. As the new person into the family you just want everyone to like you, you want to do everything you can to fit into the family. But you need to start as you mean to go on.

Be true to yourself and be honest with the people you live with. If you don't feel comfortable doing something speak up and tell your husband or in-laws why. For example, you are not the maid in the family, if your husband has siblings they need to also help out with chores, don't put it all on yourself because you will regret this later. If you start doing everything for everyone in the house you will not be able to change this 6 months or a year down the line. Set your ground rules from the start. You will not do other people's laundry and everyone who is old enough should clean up after themselves.

Don't start waking up extra early to make everyone's breakfast if that's not something you want to do, they survived before you came into the family perfectly fine. If you start doing crazy things like that at the beginning they will expect you to carry one with it, if it's something you want to do every now and then, then great but if you do it all the time at the start it will be expected from you.

If you work outside the home don't come home and start cooking and cleaning for everyone, figure out a schedule that everyone can stick to, one that is fair on you and everyone else, and stick to your guns on the things you wont compromise and do all this from the start.


You are both women whom your husband loves dearly so for his sake and for yourselves it's always best to talk to each other directly rather than through him.

Alhamdulillah my mother in law is quite young and we get along well. From the start she has said she will tell me whenever I do something wrong just like she tells her other children. I respected this from her because I'd rather have her be open and honest with me than always wonder what it is I've done wrong. Tell your mother in law that you want her to be honest with you and you do the same. Obviously be tactful in the way you say things and always speak with love and respect.

Your in laws cannot read your mind and you cannot read theirs so always strive to open the doors of communication.

After becoming a mum myself I tend to be more open with her and we have little chats throughout the day, whether it's during breakfast or with a cuppa in the evening. Try to break down barriers and be more friendly with your mother in law, she is not your enemy.

Take her out for a meal on your own or plan days out together, so that you can get closer and get a better understanding of each other.

Think of his family like your own

Although it's hard sometimes, you need to think of your in-laws like your own family. If your mother in law says something to you, don't take it to heart, just imagine it's your mum who said it and let it go. If your mum says something to you that you get hurt by, you don't hate your mum, you just let it go, if it's something that really hurt you then speak to her about it and be honest, but if it's not really that big of a deal then just let it go through one ear and come out the other.

Same with sister in laws, we all argue and have disagreements with our own sisters, sometimes that will happen with your sisters in law, keep calm, communicate and let things go if they aren't a big deal but speak to them on a level if it does bother you.

Don't hold grudges about everything, keep a positive and free mind. Try to take everything in a positive way, if someone says something to you that can be interpreted negatively encourage yourself to see the positive in it.


There can never be 2 heads of the household or so they say.

I think there can be 2 women of the house but in order for it to work there needs to be compromise. You need to understand that your husbands family were brought up differently to you so they will do things differently to you or your parents.

Going into a family you have to carve your own space, but always remember that this family has always done things in a certain way, you may not be able to change everything. Often mother in laws get upset because they feel their daughter in law has come in and started to change everything, again communication and honesty is key in this instance. Try to come to a balanced solution for everyone.

Remember that everyone has off days, if your mother in law, father in law, brother in law or sister in law is being off with you one day when they are usually ok with you, don't take it to heart, think positively and just remember that everyone has off days.


Like I said at the start, sometimes it's just not reasonable or suitable to live with in laws and it definitely not easy. The situation isn't for everyone and often to maintain a good relationship you need to have your own place. But living with in-laws for a short time or even long term is not always so bad. It's often difficult but it is doable.

As our family grows we will need our own place, but inshaAllah we can always maintain a good relationship with all our family.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Newborn Essentials Checklist


I hope you're all doing amazingly well at the end of this freezing February month.

So when I was pregnant with my daughter I spent A LOT of time looking online and asking friends and family what I need for when the baby comes. My mum being extra cautious and superstitious and all didn't let me do any baby shopping during the Xmas sales and I left everything so last minute that when my premature baby came 7 weeks early all I had was one pink blanket. I wanted to create a checklist for all you guys expecting or know someone who is expecting for the first time and would like to know about ALL the things they may need to or want to buy for their baby.

First off I will just share the checklist with you all which falls into 5 categories:  Sleeping, feeding, clothing, cleaning & traveling because I feel like these are the essentials for a newborn. I will give you information about all the different options available in these areas and then tell you about the things we bought and why.

  • Sleeping pod (like the sleepyhead deluxe pods)/Moses Basket/Cot/Cot Bed
  • Mattress
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bag/Gro Bag
  • Mattress Protector
  • Fitted Bed sheets for cot/cotbed
  • Bottles
  • Bottle cleaners (bottle brush)
  • Steriliser (steam/milton/microwave)
  • Breast pump (Medela Swing)
  • Muslin cloths
  • Bottle warmer/Flask for hot water
  • 5 Baby vests
  • 5 Baby grows (sleepsuits)
  • Hat & mittens
  • Cardigan
  • Coat/Snowsuit (depending on weather)
  • Nappies (micro/preemie for very premature babies or number 1 for newborns)
  • Cotton wool for cleaning during newborn stages (you may choose to move on to baby wipes for when baby is slightly older)
  • Nappy sacks to dispose of nappies
  • Baby bathtub 
  • Baby bathtowel
  • Baby Flannel
  • Shampoo/Body wash 
  • Oil/moisturising lotion
  • Nail Clippers & Baby nail files
  • Car seat (rear facing)
  • Pushchair/buggy 
  • Carry cot
  • Sling
  • Baby Changing bag with lots of compartments 
What we bought and why..


Sleepyhead Deluxe sleeping pod

We bought this because I had read lots of good reviews about it online and I'm so glad we did. We used some gift vouchers we had been given and bought it from John Lewis. The reason I bought this was because I didn't want to buy a moses basket. As cute as Moses baskets are your baby wont sleep in them for a very long time. Once baby can sit up on their own or starts rolling it's no longer suitable, this can be as early as 4 to 6 months. Moses baskets are pretty big and we don't have the storage space for when our baby outgrows it. I chose the sleepyhead because I could just place it into the cot and once she outgrows it I could put the pod away and she could sleep directly on the cot itself.

Our cot didn't come on time so baby had to sleep in our bed while hubby slept on the floor for the first 2 months or so when baby came home from hospital. In this instance the sleepyhead pod was great because baby was safe on the bed and I wasn't concerned about her becoming suffocated by my duvet or rolling over on her or anything like that.

The sleepyhead is also portable, so when I was in the living room I could take it with me and she could sleep in the living room too. It's also great for traveling, it's really easy and convenient to fit into the car and take with us when we were going to stay over at my mum's or uncles house as she could once again sleep in the bed in her pod.

Cot or Cotbed?

We chose a cot bed because its adaptable as baby grows. There are sides on the cot bed for babies but when your little one becomes a toddler you can change it into a junior bed for your little ones own room. We bought the Rachel cotbed from John Lewis because it's not too big for our room and came at a very reasonable size. Cots are generally smaller than cot-beds so factor the space in your room when deciding which one to get.

Sleeping bags or Gro Bags are great for babies because it keeps them warm at night without you having to worry about baby sliding under the blankets/covers.

 The guidelines for safe sleeping say that babies should sleep on a firm mattress with no pillows/blankets/duvets until they are one years old to avoid sudden infant death syndrome. So make sure you get fitted sheets that cover round the edges of your baby's mattress.

A mattress protector will prolong the life of the mattress and make cleaning a lot easier as it has a waterproof layer to catch all the little accidents (runny poop, vomit, pee).


Breast is best so all mums should try to breastfeed if they can. Because my baby was in hospital for a month I invested in a electric breast pump (manual ones are rubbish, take my word for it). The best one hands down is the Medela swing breast pump. Breast pumps are also great if you want to teach your baby to breast feed and feed from a bottle so that you can leave baby with someone else if you need to be away from your baby. It's good for when you need to express after your baby feeds directly from you aswell to fully empty. The Medela is the best one for your money, it mimics baby's sucking and is overall just really effective.


If you decide to solely breastfeed and your baby takes to it well you will only need some muslin cloths to help mop up spit up or just wipe around babies mouth once they're done. We went through a lot of these when my daughter was a newborn and they come in very handy so get yourself between 5 and 10 muslin cloths.

Sometimes babies don't breastfeed or you can't breastfeed, in this case you will need a few other things.

Baby bottles

You need to chose the best bottles that suit your baby but also your budget. Sometimes it can be a bit of trial and error to see which bottles your baby takes to.

My daughter started off on the Dr Brown's preemie bottles so she carried on with them as she grew. These bottles come with a vent to avoid swallowing air and developing colic, they are a nightmare to clean but alhamdulillah my daughter never suffered from colic and learned to feed in the neonatal unit with these bottles.

Sometimes you can get bottles in a set with a steriliser, bottle brush among other things. However, the problem with that is your baby may not take to all the products that come in the set, which is what happened to us. We bought Philips Avent set and only ended up using the steriliser and bottle brush with our Dr Browns bottles, because she we didn't feed her with the Philips bottles or use the pacifiers and things that came with it.

We bought enough bottles for a full day. At the start she was feeding every 2 hours so we bought 12 bottles, this might sound excessive but because our baby was in hospital we couldn't keep up with the washing and sterilising whilst having enough at the hospital for her. When she moved on to bigger bottles we bought 6, as her feeding is more spread out. The number of bottles you buy is totally up to you. We did spend a lot but it means we only wash all the bottles once a day. You could buy just 2 and keep washing and sterilising and using the same 2.


There are different types of sterilisers but we used a steam steriliser which came with our Philips starter kit. We now also have Milton tablets for travel because its easier than taking the steriliser with us.

Bottle Warmer/Flask

If you bottle feed you will need to make the formula up with hot water, you can either use a bottle warmer or a flask. We use a flask with boiling water, make up the milk and then cool it down.


Newborn babies don't really need a lot of clothes, they don't sweat or get really dirty, you will also notice your baby outgrows his/her clothes very quickly so getting lots of one size is generally not a great idea. 5 vests and baby grows should do you ok.

Mittens or baby grows with built in mittens are great to stop your little one scratching his/her face accidentally.

Your baby will need a baby hat to help regulate body temperature whilst they are very small.


As I said earlier babies don't sweat or get very dirty so at the start you can just wash them with plain water. As they get older you may want to start using a mild body & hair wash. We use the Aveeno baby body & hair wash as well as the Burts Bees shampoo which is great for cradle cap.

For moisturising we use olive oil and I found this to be best on delicate skin because it's natural and keeps the skin moisturised. My daughter developed a bit of dry skin on her chest and arms so I started using Aveeno baby eczema therapy cream which has really helped alhamdulillah.

Baby nails at the start are really delicate and don't need cutting so you could just file them with baby nail files (don't use adult clippers or files) to file them down so they are not so sharp. As they grow you can use baby nail clippers designed for little fingers & toes.


To bring your baby home from the hospital you will need a rear facing car seat suitable for newborns. In the UK you will not be able to bring you baby home without a car seat, even if you don't have a car, so this should be a priority. Please research this area and invest a little more in your child's safety than in other areas.


There are a huge range of buggies and pushchairs out there and it really depends on how you get around. We bought the whole shebang and only ended up using the carrycot twice. If you walk or use public transport a lot then a carry cor might be more useful for you. Babies should ideally spend most of the time flat on their back so a carrycot is good for that reason.

We use the car a lot so used mainly used our car seat. Our Mama's & Papa's buggy came with adapters so that we could put the car seat directly on the buggy without taking the baby out and putting her into the buggy. This is great for when she falls asleep in the car and we don't want to wake her and take her out. (review on our buggy coming soon)

Mama's & Papa's

Baby sling

I bought a cuddlebug sling off Amazon when baby was coming home. This was great for when she was really little because it meant I had my arms free and she was always so cosy inside it that she wouldn't fuss and would fall asleep really easy. The downside to the sling was that in the summer it got very hot and sweaty, also as she grew and got heavier it wasn't the easiest to put her in and take her out.

Baby changing bag

I bought a pretty cheap one online and used it for a while but always felt like it was never big enough, so hubby ended up getting a bigger one from Cath Kidston. It's pretty big but I still feel like it's not big enough for all her things. I guess no bag is ever big enough when it comes to changing bags.

I hope this post was useful in helping you decide what to buy for your newborn. I will be doing another post on what you need for your hospital bag/new mum essentials.

Friday, 23 February 2018

My Premature Baby

One minute I was at work, next I was on my way to the hospital.

Being a first time mum there isn't much support out there during pregnancy, due to cuts to the NHS or whatever the reason, when you're classed 'low risk' there isn't much patient - midwife interaction like there should be.

I had a few appointments with the midwife for check ups and booked myself an antenatal class at 35 weeks. Nobody told me what to look out for, what were supposed to be worrying signs or anything like that so my best friends during those months were google and netmums forums.

April 2017 and I was in mild pain for a few days, I called the midwife who told me it was Braxton Hicks (false labor pains) and that I should just take paracetamol. I thought nothing of it and headed to work. During this ordeal I realised that I had a very high pain threshold, 6 hours from giving birth and I was at work gritting my teeth and getting on with it. 33 weeks along it couldn't be contractions, or so I thought.

When the pain got too much to bear, my colleagues suggested I go home, I called the GP who said I should go to hospital just to get checked. Hubby came and drove me to hospital, a 5 minute drive from my workplace.

When I got there, I was checked (after two hours sitting in the waiting room) and told I was having contractions and baby would be born any minute, in a 'duh, you should already know this' kind of tone and attitude.

My mind was numb on gas & air when I thought 'oh I haven't got anything ready, no hospital bag, no car seat, no nappies or baby clothes'

My plan was to start my maternity leave at 34 weeks, just after the Easter weekend, to then go shopping for baby things, and rest up until she was due. But we plan, Allah plans and Allah is the best of planners.

33 weeks + 5 days my little princess was born, 7 weeks early, weighing a mere 4lb.

The birth isn't how I imagined it would be, to be honest I hadn't let myself think about it because in my head I had ages left to think about and prepare for all this. It wasn't terrible or as painful as I thought it would be alhamdulillah, but that maybe because I didn't have time to build it up in my head and it all just happened so quickly.

As soon as she was born she was whisked away, I didn't even get to look at her properly let alone hold her, kiss her or give her a cuddle. I remember not hearing her cry and looking over, but hubby called out to say she was ok. He recited the adhan in her ear, literally the most heartwarming moment in my life; A new life came into the world with the call to Allah as the first words she heard.

I didn't get to see my baby until 3am that day when hubby wheeled me down to the neonatal unit. a tiny, fragile baby in an incubator, covered in wires and tubes, her face covered for the light therapy.

I was discharged 2 days later and we had to leave our tiny baby in hospital and go home. For a few days I was in a weird state of knowing I had a baby, but the fact that she wasn't with me and I couldn't hold her, meant my mind had a hard time adjusting to what had happened. Hubby was worried I wasn't bonding or possibly developing post natal depression, but alhamdulillah I adjusted and all those feelings and concerns dissolved once we took her home.

It's not easy having a preamture baby and I know she wasn't as premature as some of the other babies on the unit but speaking to the other parents I was comforted in knowing that we were all in the same boat and we knew how everyone else was feeling without even speaking, it was also good seeing babies finally going home after being on the unit for months, giving the rest of us hope that we will also be taking our babies home soon inshaAllah.

Some days were better than others, some days it was like we went 2 steps forward and 1 step back. I often cried myself to sleep and was an emotional wreck during that time, never actually having time after the birth to recover, to nest, to bond but rushing back and forth from the hospital, expressing in the expressing room like a cow, worrying about if she was ok, when she'll come off the oxygen, having to watch the doctors and nurses poke and prod her all day long. Alhamdulillah she grew and got stronger each day.

They never did find out why she was premature but I couldn't help thinking it was something I did or ate, maybe I wasn't cautious enough, or didn't do enough exercise, maybe I should have finished work earlier, but it was the qadr of Allah, just as our time of death is pre-destined so is our time of birth and this was a test of patience as everything was in the hands of Allah. For the first time in my life this was something so out of my control I just had to watch and wait.

One of the last things for my little bubba to master was drinking her milk without the nasogastric tube through her nose. After recommendation from the speech and language therapist, we bought Dr Browns Preemie bottles as they were the slowest flow teats and gave her a chance to catch her breath between drinking in order to control the suck, swallow, breath. (review for these bottles coming soon)

Some days were really frustrating because I just wanted to take her home but it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere. I asked the nurse why she was finding these things so difficult, when it's automatic for term babies, she told me as frustrating as it was for us we just had to be patient, one day she'll just get it, like a flick of a switch she'll be like a different baby and will be ready for home. Soon enough that's exactly what happened, one morning I came in and the nurse said she was drinking mostly from the bottle without choking and her oxygen levels hadn't dropped all night, she was finally ready for home.

After a month we took our little lovebug home. Excited and nervous hubby and I wrapped her up, put her in her car seat and took her home. A home without a cot or pram, who knew these things took so long to come? She slept in her sleepyhead deluxe sleeping pod and hubby slept on the floor until everything finally came another month later. We didn't care about the mess or the space we were just so happy that she was home with us. A few weeks later we welcomed Ramadan, what a blessing to enter the moth on such a high Alhamdulillah.

10 months on..

Now apart from a few things she's slightly behind on according to the doctor, like gross motor skills, you wouldn't know she was a premature baby Alhamdulillah. She does most things babies her age are doing and some things she is doing at her age corrected. She is a lively, demanding, fun, loving little girl, full of character and a her own little big personality.

This winter she picked up a lot of bugs and got ill quickly because her immune is slightly weaker than other babies but Alhamdulillah this little girl is a fighter and she's still getting stronger.

She loves watching learning with Zaky on Youtube as well as the phonic's song, she babbles away,  has 2 little teeth and although she can't crawl, she thinks she can walk.

We do still worry a lot, is she eating enough? Is she putting on enough weight? Why can't she crawl yet? Is she pooing enough? Why is her poo that colour or consistency? At the start I used to wake up just to check she was still breathing, the things we parents worry about hey?

Admittedly hubby and I are more cautious with her, hubby more so than me, he doesn't like letting her cry and is always worried that she'll get hurt, but we're learning to let her explore and not hover over her so much so that she can grow up to be confident and brave. She has her daddy wrapped around her little finger and has bought so much joy and love into our lives that we can't remember a time without her.

My advice to parents with premature babies is hang on in there, babies are born such fighters and they are stronger than we give them credit for. It may take longer for some than others but they will make it inshaAllah and grow up to be bright, kind and responsible members of society.

My love and prayers for all babies and parents with preemies, may you have the strength to get through whatever life throws at you.

Time goes so fast and I can't believe all this happened almost a year ago. I treasure every moment and feel so blessed waking up to her smiles and hugs every morning.