#TheMommyDiaries: My Unexpected, Premature Childbirth Story (Baby #2)

#TheMommyDiaries: My Unexpected, Premature Childbirth Story (Baby #2)

#TheMommyDiaries: My Unexpected, Premature Childbirth Story (Baby #2)

I recently shared with you guys in this post, that I was admitted to the hospital a couple of weeks ago, due to my water breaking, right before I turned 26 weeks pregnant. Well, that was just the beginning of another set of surprising events that were about to take place.

My Unexpected, Premature Childbirth Story (Baby #2)


Last Tuesday (July 7, 2015), I started having serious contractions, and due to the position of the baby, and my water having already been broken, I ended up having a c-section Thursday afternoon, the day before my daughter would turn 28 weeks old.



Dalila Johari Mfuko was born on July 9th at 3:29 pm at around 27 weeks old. She weighs 2 lbs. 8 oz. She cried when she came out, which is a great sign! She is doing very well.


I am currently out of recovery and back in a room in the postpartum unit of the hospital.  I am doing very well, and have hit all the milestones my doctors wanted me to reach postpartum. So I will actually be getting discharged tomorrow.


Dalila is a preemie, and in the NICU, so I didn’t actually get to see her in person until about about 24 hours after she was born. But hubby took a few pictures for me, while I was in post-surgery recovery, and I was able to get a sneak peek of her.

Meet Our Beautiful Daughter

Meet Our Baby Girl #2, Dalila Johari Mfuko! - #TheMommyDiaires with Ashani Mfuko

Meet Our Baby Girl #2, Dalila Johari Mfuko! – #TheMommyDiaires with Ashani Mfuko

Dalila is a Swahili name, pronounced, da – LY – la. It means gentle, her soul is tender. Johari, also a Swahili name, pronounced jo – HAR – ee, means, a gem, something of value. We love to honor my husband’s African heritage, in the names of our daughters.



The first time I saw her, I was blown away! I couldn’t believe how tiny she was! I had never seen a baby so tiny before in real life, only on television. But the NICU nurses say that she is actually on the larger side, for a baby of her age. Many babies born as preemies weigh just a little over 1 pound. So the fact that she’s 2 lbs. 8 ounces, is pretty incredible.



She is truly a fighter, and has gotten the nickname, “the feisty one” in the NICU lol. She is strong, and has been breathing on her own (no help from a ventilator, or additional oxygen necessary), from day one, and her vital signs are very strong as well.


I have been pumping my breast milk, and building up my supply, and they have started giving her small, breast milk feedings through a tube for now. As she tolerates the feedings more and more, grows, and gets stronger, they’ll eventually start giving her my breast milk in a bottle. Then down the line, I’ll be able to breastfeed her directly. But that won’t be for a while.


She will more than likely be in the NICU for about the next 2 months, give or take, depending on her progress. I will be coming to the hospital every day to be with her, and also bring more breast milk for them to freeze. I haven’t been able to do skin-to-skin contact with her just yet, because she has a couple of catheters in, an intravenous line, along with a C-PAP. But her doctor and nurse said that I should be able to hold her for the first time, in about a week or so. I can’t wait for that moment!!


I’m super excited about being discharged from the hospital tomorrow, and finally going home, after being here for 2 1/2 weeks. I mean, I can’t believe that I have not been outside, for almost 3 weeks, that is just CRAZY!!



However, I’m very sad at the idea of leaving my little baby here at the hospital, and being more than an elevator ride away from her. I’m also a little sad to be leaving the care of my awesome doctors and nurses. They’ve taken such great care of me over the past couple of weeks, and been so wonderful! Knowing that they won’t be at home to take care of me, makes me a little sad. But I have an amazing support system, and so many family and friends that love me, I know that I will be taken care of, as I recover from surgery at home.



With God on my side, along with my wonderful hubby, my mom, our babysitter (one of my former Joffrey Ballet School students, who rocks!), my postpartum Doula, my family, and friends, I’m sure that this next phase of life will be very manageable, and fly by. Then, before you know it, Dalila will be coming home to be with us! Oh, I cannot wait for that day!!


Praise God that
we are both doing very well!! Thank you everyone for your prayers and well wishes!


If you have any experience with preemies, or even pre-term babies, I’d love to hear your story. This is all new territory for me, so I love to hear stories from other moms and parents, who have gone through a similar experience. Please leave me a comment below!


If you’d like to purchase a gift for Dalila, you can view our baby registry here -> Ashani & Fredy’s Baby Registry

#TheMommyDiaries 26 Weeks Pregnancy Update: Why I'm Currently In The Hospital
If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, then you already know that I was admitted to the hospital this past week. But you may not know the details of why I’m currently in the hospital, or what happened. So I wanted to share my experience with you today, and let you know what’s really going on.



On Wednesday morning around 7 am, my water broke. I am only 26 weeks pregnant. So its really too early to give birth. I’m about 11 weeks away from full-term pregnancy. My hubby Fredy, my 19-month old daughter Zuri, and I went to the hospital immediately, and after seeing the doctor, I was admitted to the hospital. Our baby girl is fine, healthy, has a strong heartbeat, and everything. I feel fine as well, perfectly normal actually. 



When this happens, they monitor you closely over the next 24 hours, because its possible that you can go into early labor. Thank God that I did not go into early labor, and therefore was able to be moved up to the anti-partum unit of the hospital,  where I will have to stay until she is born. In these situations, they will induce labor at 34 weeks. So I will be in the hospital for the next two months. And when the baby is born, hopefully at 34 weeks, there’s a good chance that she will have to be in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for a few weeks. At this point, the goal is to keep me pregnant, and the baby inside of me, for as long as possible, for her optimal health and safety. So far, she is very active, happy, and comfy in my belly, so we feel strongly that she will stay that way. She has a very strong heartbeat, and is doing great!



I would say that the hardest part of all of this so far has been being away from my daughter, and not being able to take care of her every day, like I normally do. That’s been the most challenging part out of everything. But I am blessed to have an incredible husband, who is a wonderful father to our daughter! Plus, our family and close friends are just truly some of the most amazing, loving, supportive people a girl could ever ask for. So they are all helping to make this transition and challenging experience, much more manageable.


Thankfully too, hubby brings Zuri to the hospital for long visits with mommy every day, which she seems to be enjoying a lot, so that makes me very happy!




Fredy and I will definitely need your help, support, encouragement, and lots of prayer! I don’t understand why all of this is happening in this way, at this time, but I trust God, and I know that He is faithful. I am staying positive, because I know things could be so much worse.




Blessings In Disguise


  • We were supposed to be flying out to Florida on Thursday morning for vacation, and then to the Bahamas in 2 weeks for another vacation, none of which will be happening now, of course. I thank God that this didn’t happen while we were in another state or country. To God be the glory!


  • The truth is, I need to rest and be taken care of during the last months of my pregnancy, and this is probably the only way that that would’ve happened. Had I been home with my daughter every day, and doing my normal routine, I certainly wouldn’t have given my body the rest and care that it truly needs for this pregnancy.


  • I’m getting ready to start a FANTASTIC new consulting gig, as the Social Media Strategist and Digital Marketing Specialist, for the world-famous, iconic dancewear brand, Bloch Dance USA! What a blessing that I will be able to do the work that I love, from the hospital, and not have any distractions. Focusing on such an exciting, major project will definitely help to keep me sane while I’m in here, and it’s safe for me to do, since I’m on bed rest. My doctors and nurses think that it’s fantastic that I’ll be able to work from my hospital bed, and stay sharp, energized, and connected to my normal, professional life, in such a great way. Yay for wi-fi, and my Macbook Pro! God is good!!


  • It feels great to be in a position and in a place where I will be able to meditate more, and really listen to, and hear what God is saying to me during this time. That is going to be priceless, and I look forward to the spiritual growth and maturity that I will experience during this time.






  • I’m thanking God in advance for using me to help other people (like me) in the hospital, who need encouragement, need to experience the love of Jesus Christ, and the faithfulness and joy that God brings into your life. I feel fortunate to be used by God to be a blessing to others while I’m here at the hospital. I pray that His light will shine in and through me, to help uplift and encourage the other patients here, as well as my doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff.


  By the way, with this beautiful, happy, smiling face in my life, every day is a great day!!



If you’d like details on what hospital I’m staying at, to come by for a visit, or send me something, you can e-mail me at ashani@ashanimfuko.com.


Please keep us in your prayers. Much love! xo

#TheMommyDiaries: My Pregnancy Update and A Reality Check For All Moms

#TheMommyDiaries: My Pregnancy Update and A Reality Check For All Moms
Earlier this year I shared this post, which outlined my plans for managing my two blogs, my new mommy channel on YouTube, and how big of an impact doing something, just once-a-week, can have on your life and business.


Then, in the video below, I shared how I manage my life as a work-at-home, what my schedule is like, and some helpful tips for other work-at-home moms (or aspiring work-at-home-moms), of babies and toddlers.

Then the unthinkable happened.

I got really sick!!

Okay, so maybe it’s not so “unthinkable”.


I found out that I was pregnant with baby #2!



Exciting? YES!!



(You can watch my pregnancy announcement video here.)
As excited as I was, and still am about being pregnant, boy did it throw a wrench in my daily schedule, and plans for my blog, biz, YouTube channels, etc. for this year.



I went from working during my daughter’s naps, and through the wee hours of the night, while everyone else slept, to sleeping during my daughter’s naps, and through the night as well. This wasn’t really by choice. It was more of a, “if I don’t get some sleep, I’m not going to make it through the day” type of situation. My body was speaking loud and clear, and I had to listen.



My First Trimester With Baby #2



Throughout my entire first trimester, I was very sick and exhausted all the time (morning sickness should be called “All Day and All Night Sickness”), so it was a very rough and unexpected transition. My first trimester of pregnancy with my daughter Zuri, was completely different. I was never sick, and although I felt tired a lot of the time, it wasn’t a big deal. I would go to work/work from home, and then just go to sleep when I needed to, because I wasn’t taking care of anyone but myself at the time. Oh how things change with baby number 2!!



Ashani Mfuko Pregnancy Photo - 16 weeks pregnant

Here I am at 16 weeks pregnant. Feeling good, and growing fast!

I’m currently in my second trimester, and at almost 18 weeks pregnant, I’m doing much better (thank God)! Although I am still tired, I’m definitely not experiencing the extreme fatigue and sickness that I dealt with for the first three months of my pregnancy. I haven’t quite gotten back to working at the level that I was working at prior to getting pregnant just yet. But that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, for my personal health, the health of our growing baby, and the well-being of my toddler.





Whether you work outside the home, work at home, or stay at home to take care of your child/children, none of us have it easy. The one thing we all have in common is, we all want what’s best for our children, and aim to do our best every day. What works for me, may not work for you, but we’re all on this journey of motherhood together, to create the best possible life we can for our children.

But the struggle is real.

The MOMS Mother’s Day Mamarazzi® Celebration. Pictured here, from left to right, The Moms' Denise Albert, Country Music Star, Jo Dee Messina, Award-Winning Actress, Alysia Reiner, Superstar Actress/Producer, Melissa Joan Hart, and The Moms' Melissa Gerstein  Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media

The MOMS Mother’s Day Mamarazzi® Celebration. Pictured here, from left to right, The Moms’ Denise Albert, Country Music Star, Jo Dee Messina, Award-Winning Actress, Alysia Reiner, Superstar Actress/Producer, Melissa Joan Hart, and The Moms’ Melissa Gerstein Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media

Yesterday, at The MOMS Mother’s Day Mamarazzi® Celebration, and recording of their SiriusXM radio show, I had the pleasure of hearing the stories of other successful, working moms, and it was very inspiring!



 A Reality Check For All Moms


No matter what your situation is, every mom struggles with mom guilt about what you’re doing, not doing, could be doing, and should be doing. We all tend to question ourselves every day, wondering, “Am I doing the right thing? Am I really doing what’s best for my family?” You have your good days, and your bad days.



The MOMS Mother’s Day Mamarazzi® Celebration - My daughter Zuri and I, with Melissa Joan Hart, Award-Winning Actress, and Creator of King Of Harts Kids  Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media

The MOMS Mother’s Day Mamarazzi® Celebration – My daughter Zuri and I, with Melissa Joan Hart, Award-Winning Actress, and Creator of King Of Harts Kids Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media



All in all, I think we just need to give ourselves a break! Trust God, and trust yourself, knowing that at any given moment, you’re doing the best you can. Sometimes you will shine, and sometimes you will glimmer. But the point is, you’re there for your children, you love them, and they know that.



I’ve definitely struggled with making such a major career shift recently, to being more mommy, and less working mommy. As we prepare for baby number two to come into the world, I wonder every day, “How am I going to do this?”. My career is very important to me, and I feel like there’s so much more I want to do, but at the same time, my children are more important to me than anything. So slowing down for a bit, albeit painful at times, is definitely worth the sacrifice, because this is a time in their lives that I will never be able to get back. This time is helping me to focus on what really matters, and be even more selective about the types of projects I do choose to work on, because I simply don’t have time or energy to waste.






I remind myself every day to enjoy this time, live in the moment, celebrate it, and realize that it’s all temporary. Before I know it, my little babies will be off to school, and that will open up a whole new world of opportunity for me. But this time, right here, and right now, is precious, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to be Zuri’s mom, and a mom-to-be to baby number two, and that is more than enough.



This lifestyle is definitely a major change, but I am trusting God, and resting in Him, knowing that all things work together for good for those that love Him, and that everything is temporary, so I might as well enjoy where I am now, because it won’t last forever.


I must say that, I have peace. I have peace because I trust God. I have peace because I am resting in Him. I am not trying to force anything. I have peace because I know that where I am, is exactly where I’m supposed to be.


Life is good.

What has your experience been like as a mom? How do you make it all work?


Share your story in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Pediatric Cancer #EndChildhoodCancer

5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Pediatric Cancer #EndChildhoodCancer

5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Pediatric Cancer #EndChildhoodCancer

Last week I had the pleasure of attending The MOMS’ and Hyundai’s Hope On Wheels, Mamarazzi® Luncheon at the Warwick Hotel in NYC, with my husband and daughter. The MOMS hosted this luncheon, with guest host Rocsi Diaz, to help raise awareness of pediatric cancer.



There was a fantastic panel of pediatricians, oncologists, and parents (whose children are cancer survivors) at this wonderful luncheon, and I have to say, I learned A LOT! Minus my daughter’s distractions every 2 seconds, I was able to hear stories from these incredible parents, of what it was like to hear the words, “Your child has cancer”. They shared their fears, frustration, confusion, and ultimately, their determination, once they heard those four words, to do everything in their power to get their child healthy again.




Out of everything that was shared at this luncheon, there were five really important points that I want to share with you today, that every parent and doctor on the panel spoke about, in relation to childhood cancer. Although I’ve never personally experienced what it’s like to have a child with pediatric cancer, after attending this luncheon, I felt like I was more equipped and knowledgeable about how to deal with this situation, should I ever be faced with it.




Hyundai Hope On Wheels, a national independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping kids fight cancer. The program is supported by Hyundai Motor America and its more than 820 dealers nationwide. Every time a new Hyundai vehicle is sold in the U.S., Hyundai customers join Hyundai and its dealers in this cause.

Our mission is to raise awareness for childhood cancer, donate life-saving research funds and celebrate the lives of children affected by this disease. We are proud to have funded $100 million in pediatric cancer research since inception and we will continue to do so until the day when no child ever has to hear the words, “You have cancer.” Together, we can end childhood cancer! – via The Hyundai Hope On Wheels website

Ashani Mfuko at The MOMS and Hyundai Hope On Wheels Mamarazzi® Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media

Ashani Mfuko at The MOMS’ Hyundai Hope On Wheels Mamarazzi® Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media

5 Things every parent should know about pediatric cancer:


1. It’s not your fault.


There’s no rhyme or reason to pediatric cancer. We don’t know why it happens to the innocent children it happens to. There’s nothing, from a medical standpoint, that you can do to prevent it from happening, related to diet, exercise, etc., unlike different forms of adult cancers. Don’t worry about why it happened. Focus on getting your child healthy again, and keeping your family strong and positive during this difficult time.



2. Know the signs.


Many symptoms of pediatric cancer are similar to the symptoms of lots of other sicknesses and illnesses, which is why it can sometimes go undiagnosed or undetected at first glance. But when you notice unusual things like red spots on your child’s body, lumps or bumps that are there for extended periods of time that have no known source (i.e. from a fall or other accident that occurred), etc., you should look into it immediately. Any symptoms that seem odd, and will not go away, you should not take lightly, and take your child to the pediatrician as soon as possible. Another important point to note is that, there is no evidence that a delay, by a few weeks or so, in seeing the doctor, negatively impacts the severity of pediatric cancer. This is very different from adult cancers like breast cancer or colon cancer, where early detection makes all the difference.


3. Be persistent and proactive.


If your child has symptoms that aren’t going away, and not being resolved by medications prescribed by your pediatrician, don’t stop until you find out what is wrong with them, and a medication that works permanently. Request a blood test, an x-ray, or get a second and third opinion. Basically, don’t quit until you and your doctor have successfully determined what is wrong with your child, and found the proper medication/treatment for them.



4. Follow Your Gut.


If you feel like something is wrong with your child, then it probably is. Your maternal instinct is a powerful force! Do not ignore it and allow a medical professional (or family member/friend) to pacify your doubts and concerns. Pursue answers, solutions, and explanations, until you’re satisfied. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
The MOMS, and Hyundai's Hope On Wheels, Mamarazzi® Luncheon Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media

My daughter Zuri and I with Hyundai Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassador, Kenny Thomas. Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media


5. Be Determined To Stay Positive and Not Give Up.


No parent wants to hear the words, “your child has cancer”. It’s one of our worse nightmares come to life. But what happens next is what makes all the difference. Resolve to do whatever it takes to get your child well, and back to a clean bill of health again. Stay positive, and know that you, your child, and your family will get through this, and come out stronger on the other side.



The MOMS, and Hyundai's Hope On Wheels, Mamarazzi® Luncheon - Ashani Mfuko with Guest Host, Rocsi Diaz Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media

The MOMS, and Hyundai’s Hope On Wheels, Mamarazzi® Luncheon – Ashani Mfuko with daughter Zuri, and Guest Host, Rocsi Diaz Photo Credit: Mission 101 Media


You may be shocked to discover that only 4% of all federal cancer research funding is designated for pediatric cancer. But you can do your part to raise awareness of pediatric cancer by supporting organizations like Hyundai Hope On Wheels, supporting families who are dealing with this difficult disease, and spreading the word by using the hashtag #EndChildhoodCancer. I pray that one day this disease will be no more. Even one child with pediatric cancer, is one child too many.



#TheMommyDiaries: 5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Pediatric Cancer #EndChildhoodCancer

Please share this post on social media t help raise awareness of pediatric cancer.

Please share this post on social media to help raise awareness and bring attention to this cause. Feel free to leave a comment below as well. I’d love to hear from you!

The Mommy Diaries Youtube Channel for New Moms

The Mommy Diaries Youtube Channel for New Moms

The New Mommy Diaries YouTube Channel Is Here! Be Sure To Subscribe!



This week I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for OVER A YEAR!! I started my new mommy channel on YouTube!! Woo Hoo! This is something that I’ve been wanting to do ever since my daughter was born. I actually thought that I’d be able to start it last year. But between learning how to take care of a newborn, adjusting to motherhood, working from home, creating and managing social media strategies for clients, teaching dance classes, blogging, growing my brand, etc., I had a LOT going on!
But, I hit the ground running in 2015, and I have officially launched my new mommy channel, “The Mommy Diaries”!


Subscribe to my new mommy YouTube channel for how-to videos, tips and advice for new moms, natural hair tutorials, health and wellness tips, & inspiration!


Check out my welcome video below, and be sure to subscribe to my channel HERE!

You can watch my very first video for my channel, How I Style My Daughter’s Natural Hair : Curly Frohawk Tutorial” HERE!


If you’re a mom, or know of a mom that might be interested in my new channel, please like and share this post with them, and spread the word!
See you on YouTube!

#TheMommyDiaries: How I Style My Daughter’s #NaturalHair (Curly Frohawk Tutorial)

#TheMommyDiaries: How I Style My Daughter's #NaturalHair (Curly Frohawk Tutorial)

I recently shared my 13-month old daughter’s new comp card on my Facebook page, as well as a private group I’m in for women and men with natural hair (no chemical relaxer). As you can see in the image below, with over 2,300 likes, and 175 comments (and counting) so many people loved her hair! I received numerous requests to share how I style her hair, and what products I use in it as well.


Zuri Mfuko Photo on Facebook
So I decided to create a video showing how I achieved her curly, ponytail frohawk.
Check out the video, and be sure to subscribe to my new mommy channel on YouTube, #TheMommyDiaries, for more tutorials, and videos related to everything mommy life!



How I Style My Daughter’s Natural Hair (Curly Frohawk Tutorial)

I use the L-O-C method:

  • Liquid (water)

  • Oil

  • Cream

 Here’s what I use:

1) A spray bottle with water

2) Africa’s Best Hair Oil (you can also use Olive Oil, or your favorite type of oil)

3) Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie, or Shea Moisture’s Deep Treatment Masque, as a daily Moisturizer.

4) Fantasia IC Ice Pomade (to define her curls by either finger coiling, or doing a twist out)

5) Curls’ Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste (to smooth her edges) <– This is my absolute FAVORITE hair product!! I did a review on it many years ago. You can watch that video below.


What are your favorite natural hair products for your daughter’s hair? Share them with me below.

Have a question? Post it in the comments. I’m happy to help!


Subscribe to #TheMommyDiaries channel on YouTube HERE!


My Struggles and Victories As A New, Work At Home Mom
Motherhood is tough. It is a selfless responsibility. Never before in my life have I had to remind myself to take care of myself so much! I literally have to remind myself to eat, shower, sit down and take a break, use the bathroom, do my hair, the list goes on and on! This might sound crazy to you if you’re not a mom. But if you are, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. From the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep, your complete focus and attention is on your child (or children). This is especially true in the early days, when they’re a baby or toddler, and they’re at home with you all day long.

Today I’m sharing my story, as a work at home mom. It’s been filled with lots of ups and downs, but overall, it has been a truly incredible experience!


Here's a detailed recap of my very first Mother's Day as a mommy (in photos)!! It was AWESOME!

Here’s a detailed recap of my very first Mother’s Day as a mommy (in photos)!! It was AWESOME!


My first Mother’s Day as a mom was pretty epic. The celebration actually started the Wednesday before Mother’s Day, and just got more and more exciting with every day that passed!


#MNOMamarazzi Moms' Night Out Mamarazzi® Private Screening - Pictured here, The Moms, Denise Albert (left) & Melissa Musen Gerstein (right)

#MNOMamarazzi Moms’ Night Out Mamarazzi® Private Screening – Pictured here, The Moms, Denise Albert (left) & Melissa Musen Gerstein (right)


#MNOMamarazzi at The Sony Screening Room - Me with my daughter Zuri, and "The Moms", Denise Albert & Melissa Musen Gerstein

#MNOMamarazzi at The Sony Screening Room – Me with my daughter Zuri, and “The Moms”, Denise Albert & Melissa Musen Gerstein


I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud several times during a movie, and then shed a couple of tears as well (and no, it’s not because of hormones lol)! This is the kind of movie you will want to watch over and over again!


I had the pleasure of attending a private screening of the movie “Moms’ Night Out” this week, at the Sony Screening Room, along with a group of mommy bloggers, for the #MNOMamarazzi event. It also included a very lively, Q & A session with the cast after the movie. But before I go into detail about the movie, I have a confession to make…


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