Thursday, October 20, 2016

Do Wonderful Warriors Wear Tiaras?

In my stronghold, you will find Anna, Elsa & Olaf.  Or , Wonder Woman, Katana and She-Hulk.

As mother to 3 curly-haired girls under 4-years of age, the goal is to raise wonderful women!  What does this mean to me exactly?  

My list is so long.  I want them to be resilient.  I want them to walk with their heads held high.  I want them to be true to themselves.  I want them to play, read, learn and travel.  I want them to apologize and forgive.  I want them to be independent problem-solvers and thinkers.  I want them to be positive.  I want them to be present and live passionately.  I want them to embrace multiculturalism and diversity.  I want them to be inclusive.  I want them to be nice to all, and to model empathy.  I want them to smile and say hello.  I want them to stand-up for themselves, speak their minds and defend their values.  I want them to be charitable and involved.  I want them to always take care of themselves and know that they are more than just a body.  I want them to learn from their mistakes.  I want them to be safe.  I want them to be healthy.  I want them to love and be loved.  

Disney Princesses vs. Superheroes.  A decisive battle?  I don't think there is a losing side to surrender or a winning side to reconsider.  The defining characteristics of the overall fight are dynamic.  

What traits do Disney princesses model that I feel would help raise wonderful women?  Princesses are intelligent and thirsty for knowledge.  They are caring and kind. They are hopeful.  They are adventurous, curious free-spirits. They are brave and fierce. They are humble. 

The strength of character and goodness displayed by a Disney princess makes for an admirable opponent.  

Did I mention that "the fairy tale is all about the shoe in the end"?

What qualities do superheroes display that would contribute to my goal?  Perseverance!!  A strong moral code.  A fighting spirit. Courage. Motivation. Responsibility. Respect. Self-defense. Commitment. Service. Extraordinary power and ability.  

These exceptionally skillful, successful heroes measure up well on the attack. 

Not to mention a secret identity, superhuman senses, omnilingualism and the healing factor.  Wouldn't that just be the catwoman's meow?!
The results of this combat appear quite even.  

I feel confident that they are benefitting from their exposure to both Disney princesses and superheroes.

Now, what about the puzzling nature of life and existence? How do I set an example to show them that the remarkable possibilities are what they themselves make?  I hope that by observing what I do, they draw conclusions about what I think is important in life.  My values...

Discipline. Spiritual strength. Respect for nature. Communication. Friendship. Imagination. Leadership. Awareness. Sportsmanship. Teamwork. Potential. Possibility. Will. Power. Determination. Family.

In the end, there is no winner.  Although the current focus for my children are Disney princesses and superheroes, this beautiful world is full of "characters" that are wonderful.  I hope to expose my daughters not only to Disney princesses and superheroes, but to real-life child visionaries, to parents who inspire, to creative professionals, to determined and motivated athletes and to family and friends that do their best every day.  

If I show them the world; wonderful women they will be.  

What's your secret to raising wonderful children?  
Although this TED Talk is geared towards boys, it's a worthy watch for all parents.  "Force, and so little yellow brick road."

Friday, May 16, 2014

Double Trouble: The 3rd Trimester (February 25'14 - May 2'14)

Although I've been working at Markham Stouffville Hospital for almost 17-years, I started off the 3rd Trimester with a tour of the "new" Maternal Child Department.  It was 4-months away from completion/opening when Lorelai was born.  What a state-of-the-art expansion!  Although I am forced to birth in the Maternal/Child Operating Room, due to having twins, I'm confident that I will be receiving the best care with the latest and greatest technology!

Early March, there was lots of tests:  Glucose Tolerance Test (I passed), blood-work, RHOGAM shot, and still attending ultrasounds and prenatal check-ups every 2-weeks.  On March 13th, Fetus-A was weighing 2 pounds, 13 ounces and Fetus-B was weighing 3-pounds (both babies Breech).  On this day, I also reached eligibility for maternity leave...phew!!!

By mid-March, I had 3 cribs and 3 mattresses...all with a little help from my friends (and even some strangers).  By mid-March, Mike had had his 2nd and 3rd "boy" dreams!  Intuition?  Wishful thinking? 

On March 22nd, the twin nursery was ready and we began transitioning Lorelai to her big-girl bed in her new big-girl room! 

On March 25th, I was 31-weeks pregnant.  Fetus-A was weighing in at 3 pounds, 14 ounces and Fetus-B was weighing in at 3 pounds, 12 ounces (both Breech).  I started taking an iron supplement. 

On March 26th, my maternity leave replacement, Leanne, started training with me.  Leanne will fit in nicely, and my only hope is to hang around long enough to provide her with proper training! 

On March 28th, my co-workers surprised me with a baby-shower-luncheon, which was nice to share with Ashleigh (also expecting in May).  If you recall, Ashleigh covered my first maternity leave.  I guess she sat in my chair too long...LOL.  It was a long day...and long night (I also hosted Book Club), which probably relates to my first case of swollen ankles/calves. 

On March 30th, Mike, Lorelai and I met my Doula, Jesse, for the first time.  I wasn't going to go with a Doula this time around, because Christin (my Doula with Lorelai), was on maternity leave.  However, a co-worker approached me...  Her best friend's daughter needed 3 expectant Moms to follow to complete her Doula certification (at no cost to the Moms).  I jumped at the chance to get back into the positive head-space I was in when pregnant with Lorelai.  Jesse is very personable and knowledgeable.  I immediately felt comfortable with her, and was glad to have her support.  I hope she gains from our experience together, and I know she'll make a great Doula upon completion of her certification!

On April 2nd, I was experiencing some "incontinence" throughout the day.  This continued on April 3rd, so I decided to get checked out at Labour & Delivery to be sure it wasn't a slow amniotic fluid leak.  I was assessed and happy to hear it was just urine!  A bed-side ultrasound showed that Fetus-B turned into the head down position (which might have been a reason for the extra pressure on my bladder).  I was also swabbed for Group B Streptococcus (GBS). 

On April 6th, the Boucheres celebrated Easter early.  I had a feeling that I might not make it to Easter and didn't want the added stress of hosting, cleaning, cooking, etc., being so close to my due date.  It worked out great!  Although I didn't do much of the work, I was pooped after a full day and a full belly! 

On April 8th, I had my ultrasound and OB check-up (which will now be weekly going forward).  Fetus-A (Frank Breech) weighed in at 4 lbs., 6oz. and Fetus-B (back to Breech-oblique) weighed in at 4 lbs., 4 oz.  Mom, babes, growth and fluid all looking great.  I'm GBS positive, which means antibiotics for me at delivery.  My OB informed me that if Fetus-A remains Breech, we're looking at a C-Section in about 3.5 weeks time.  Now, how do I get that baby to flip?  Did someone just say 3.5 weeks????

On April 13th, I had my first "boy" dream.  

On April 14th, I had my 2nd prenatal visit with my Doula, Jesse.  

On April 15th, I started my weekly ultrasound and OB check-up.  Fetus-A and Fetus-B both scored 8 out of 8, but still remain Breech.  

On April 17th, as per Doctor's orders, I finished my last day of work.  

On April 18th, I went to L&D to be assessed.  I was again feeling a constant urge to pee and I was experiencing a pinching sensation every so often in my cervix.  It didn't last...each one was only a split second, but each one stopped me in my tracks.  Better safe than sorry...  In the end, all was well.  I guess the weight and pressure of twins in my uterus was causing what I was feeling.  It's amazing the relief I felt once hearing the good news...

On April 23rd, I got a call.  I did have a UTI, which was the reason for my frequent urge to pee last week.  I started a course of antibiotics...

On April 24th, I had my ultrasound and OB check-up.  Fetus-A, Breech, weighed in at 5 and a half pounds.  Fetus-B, head down (oblique) weighed in at 5 pounds.  Mom, babes, growth and fluid perfect!

On April 28th, I had my Non-Stress Test in L&D.  The twins tested "awesome" and were very active.  The Nurse predicted boys.
My next routine ultrasound and OB check-up was on Thursday May 1st, and I was in for a shock.  Mom, babes, growth and fluid were still all measuring perfect.  My OB originally thought to book a section for May 7th, which would mean me coming in every 2 days for ultrasounds and NSTs, as things can quickly change with MoDi pregnancies around the 37th week.  I was either to be "overly" monitored, or deliver the twins.  She checked to see if the 3rd or 4th were available, but the OR was booked.  The secretary found an opening...the next day...Friday May 1st.  My OB said, "Let's have these babies tomorrow".  I couldn't believe it.  I called Mike.  Mike called his work.  I went for pre-op blood-work.  Then, I went home...the last time as a family of 3!  

Mike and I cleaned and prepped for the big day!  Bags officially packed!  Peter and Daniela arrived that evening, and my parents were expected in the morning. 

It's midnight's birthing day, and of course, I cannot sleep.  Here I sit, updating my blog, expected to arrive at L&D for 5:00 a.m.  I'm gonna snuggle with Mike and Lorelai for about 4-hours before our next adventure begins...

And, here it is...  Take a long, LAST look at Simone being pregnant (36 weeks, 3 days).  This book will officially close tomorrow morning.  I have had 2 amazing pregnancies and will always have my blog to remind me of just how amazing!!

We arrived about 5:20 a.m.  I met my Doula, Jessie, and Mike went to Tim Horton's for a quick breakfast before meeting us up on 4WF (L&D).  I thought I would have a long wait before my 7:00 a.m. C-Section, but I was taken in right away for prepping (vitals, IV fluids, etc.).  I can't believe I'm posting this awful pic...

I was in the operating room just before 7:00 a.m.  I was terrified about the spinal (and the whole process, really), but Dr. Hussein (Anesthesiologist) was amazing!!  He wanted me to ask him all my questions, which I did, and his honest answers really helped my fears subside.  The spinal was in, and it was not as horrible as I expected.  Right after, Mike and Jessie were allowed in the operating room and were by my side.  Dr. Christyne Peters and Dr. George Arnold were my surgeons and at 7:00 a.m., the incision was made...

At 7:14 a.m., we welcomed Gia Marie Reali into the world.  She weighed in at 6 pounds, 1 oz.  Perfection!

At 7:15 a.m., we welcomed Remi Marie Reali into the world.  She weighed in at 5 pounds.  Perfection!

We were healthy!  We were happy!  I missed Lorelai...

I was in Recovery for most of the day.  My room was ready, but the floor was busy and a nurse had not yet been assigned to my care.  I arrived in my room mid-afternoon.  I finally got to see Lorelai.  She was not at all impressed by her new sisters, but at this point, was still happy to see her Mama!  It was so hard being away from her for the very first time.  With the help of my nurse, I was up that evening for the first time.  My Mom spent the first night in hospital with me, as I wanted Mike to be home with Lorelai.  From then on, it was my mission to keep up and moving...

On Saturday, my IV and catheter were removed.  I continued moving and walking.  Family and friends visited throughout the day.  Lorelai visited again, and this time, she was not too impressed with either her new sisters or her Mama.  I was hoping the new arrival would not affect her, but she was definitely faced with a tough was written all over her face.  

On Sunday, our hope was to go home.  Gia had lost over 9% of her body weight, so she had to gain wait the same day before we could be discharged.  We had to supplement both girls until my milk came in.  We did, and it worked...both girls gained!  The twins had to have a car seat test (90-minutes each), which they passed with flying colours!  

Mid-evening on May 4th, we were discharged news ever!!  A new adventure about to begin for our family of 5!!!!!  

PS - 8-days after birth, Lorelai warmed up to her Mama and new sisters.  

We would like to thank "everyone" for their love and support throughout both our pregnancies.  We are surrounded by family and friends, that without, would make our adventures impossible.  From the Realis to all of you, thank you and we love you!  

Although I have my hands full, I hope to continue blogging...stay tuned!  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Double Trouble: The 2nd Trimester (November 19 - February 24'14)

The 2nd trimester didn't start off without worry!  I woke up bleeding the night of November 20th.  With sweet Lorelai fast asleep in her crib, I headed to the ER all by myself.  I was scared.  I knew this wasn't good, but at the same time, I still sensed my babies were there.  The Emergency staff at Markham Stouffville Hospital were quick and efficient!  The ER Doctor that saw me immediately told me that this type of bleeding was not uncommon in this stage of pregnancy.  She also told me that in the worst case scenario, nature is at work and I was not at fault for any of its mysterious ways.  She managed to calm me with her words...  After a quick exam, some blood work and a Rhogam shot, I was scheduled for an ultrasound the next morning.  I headed back home and snuggled up tight beside my 2 loves.  The morning of the 21st, I headed in for my ultrasound.  Again, the technician in Diagnostic Imaging at Markham Stouffville Hospital was wonderful.  As soon as she put the wand on my belly, she immediately let me hear 2 strong heartbeats within!  I was able to relax and let her finish the job.  In the end, reports were sent to my Family Doctor and my OB, and there was never any reason found for the bleeding.

On November 25th, my baby girl turned 1 and I was fully able to celebrate her milestone birthday with family and friends over the weekend! 

On December 2nd, my maternity leave was officially over and I returned to work!  As was the case with every transition in Lorelai's short life, this one was just as easy!  It was easy for me too knowng that Lorelai would now be with her Daddy during the day.  She was getting the best of both worlds and  Mike and I were grateful.

Between December 10th and February 11th, ultrasounds and OB check-ups were every 3-weeks.  The bleeding never returned. 

Early December,  we received a free crib (needing still 1 more to make 3).  I also got my first full pay cheque since returning to the office.  Now, that was refreshing!  On the 18th, I had my first gender dream...boy/girl, which cannot be...hmmmm!  With Lorelai, we both dreamt "girl" on more than 1 occasion. 

Early January, our anatomy scan revealed two healthy Fetuses and all their perfect parts!  The anatomy scan is when gender can be determined, but we're hold-outs for the big surprise on the big day!

Late January, I  pre-registered with Markham Stouffville Hospital for delivery, and saw my belly move for the very first time. 

On February 4th, Fetuses A&B reached viability!

Mid-February, 2 more dreams.  Mike dreamt boys and I dreamt girls! 

On February 15th, my sister-in-law hosted a grilled-cheese, diapers and wipes shower in my honour.  It was such a great day, and I was blessed with the love and support of family and friends.

On February 20th, we had our infant car seats installed by Baby Car Seat Installers in Markham.  Our bus is ready!

As of February 25th, ultrasounds and OB check-ups were regularly scheduled for every 2-weeks.  Fetuses-Reali were growing right on track!

Thus far, its been a great twin pregnancy.  I'm feeling good...I'm feeling energetic.  My only real pregnancy symptoms have been very chapped/sore lips, some moderate heartburn, swollen gums and "frequent" trips to the ladies' room.  I'll take it!

Heading into the 3rd Trimester at 27-weeks!  Next blog you read from me will end with an introduction to my twin babes...  Stay tuned and wish me luck!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Double Trouble: The 1st Trimester (August 20-November 18, 2013)

I'm back!  Here we are, 1-year later...

We have spent the last year learning to be parents, and becoming a beautiful family!  We have enjoyed every second with our baby girl and are in awe of her everyday as she grows, experiences and learns!  She is something so special that no words could ever describe...

Somewhere between August 30th and September 3rd, the magic happened!  It was a busy week...LOL.  This time was different...I knew instantly, but I can't explain how?  Bam!  Pregnant!  But,  never did I fathom...

I do know that much has changed since last time and now.  Blogging monthly??  How does a new Mom do that?  I'm back at my computer blogging, but even finding time to blog "per trimester" is proving difficult.  Gotta start somewhere, so here goes:  Double Trouble:  The 1st Trimester (August 20-November 18, 2013).

Mid-September a pregnancy test confirmed my suspicions...I was pregnant.  So, we celebrated with dinner out.  We knew we wanted to complete our family...we wanted Lorelai to have a sibling close in age, and let's face it, I wasn't getting any younger...  I wanted 1, Mike wanted 3, and we compromised on 2.

The first to know (before even confirming my pregnancy with a blood test) was my November 2012 Birth Club, the Amorosis and my management team at work.  My November 2012 Birth Club is a group of amazing women/mothers across Ontario who all came together when we were expecting our November 2012 babies.  What a network of support, and such a valuable resource...not to mention the many friendships formed!  As a first-time Mom, I was so lucky to be a part of them (and continue to be to this day).  Mrs. Amorosi had her suspicions.  I was buying the maternity clothes she was selling even before I was pregnant...LOL.  We were having a "sangria" dinner party late September...she had to know, but I think she already did!  Early October, on the same day my pregnancy was confirmed by blood test,  I told my management team at work.  I was due back from maternity leave on November 25th, and it was only fair that they could plan accordingly.  It was hard.  On the one hand, I was so happy to be expecting, but I felt guilty going back to work pregnant.  I assured them that the next time I returned, I was never leaving again!!

Thanksgiving 2013, we announced our pregnancy to our families.  As we went around the table disclosing what we were thankful for, Lorelai revealed her shirt..

On November 5th, I was shocked to the my very core!  I was at my IPS ultrasound, and the technician asked me if I was ready for the good news.  I was confused and told her that I was already here for the good news.  She said, "it's double the good news".  I was floored...I was numb.  Mike, Lorelai and I were having twins...

I never even imagined this never even crossed my mind.  For the next 2-weeks, Mike and I were reeling.  It was a surreal feeling that I don't think either one of us could explain.  Was it for real? It felt other-worldly...

Then came the questions...  Could we do this?  Could we afford this?  Is our house big enough?

I will admit, I was a bit down at first.  I had this perfect little baby girl that was my whole world.  For her whole life, everything I had was hers to give.  How could I continue to love and give the same to her?  How could I love 2 more babies as much as I love my first?  How would I share myself with my husband...MY 3 KIDS, and still have time for myself?  It didn't take long for me to feel my heart open to Fetuses-Reali.  Love only gets bigger and stronger.  Love makes us better.  By adding more to my life, I was adding more to all of their lives too.  I felt my love overflow and I knew everything would be just fine!  I am blessed with abundance, and for this I am grateful.

Mid-November, a few more people needed to know (due to circumstance...usually involving alcohol) the Fiorindis, the Scagliones and even the Noseworthys!  I had my first OB appointment and this was REAL!

On November 18'13, we went public!

153 Likes, 171 Comments, Numerous E-mails & Texts, Phones ringing off the hook!

Never did I think I could shock the world again, but I did (and the world shocked me too)!

Hang on to your hats...Fetuses-Reali coming Spring 2014!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Home Stretch... Month 9 - November 2012

I'm preparing for the next step in my life, while enjoying the last few days of pregnancy!  Some of my plans, before baby arrives, include pampering myself, slowing down, focusing on myself, practicing inner peace, getting good rest, drinking lots of water and embracing what was...what is...and what will be! 

I started off the month with a weekly OB appointment, and discovered that I was GBS positive.  Group B Streptococcus is one of many different bacteria that normally live in our bodies.  Approximately one third of us carry GBS in our intestines without knowing.  It is estimated that 15-40% of pregnant women are carriers.  Women who are GBS positive can be given IV antibiotics during labour to prevent infection from passing to the newborn. 

The beginning of November...this 9th month of pregnancy...finally brought me some discomfort.  Pelvic girdle pain, sometimes called sacroiliac joint pain, and sometimes confused for sciatica.  During pregnancy, my body is producing a hormone called relaxin.  Relaxin softens the ligaments in my pelvis and other joints, which will help the baby to pass through during birth.  My pain has mostly been in my right butt cheek area, and feels the worst when trying to get out of bed, walking first thing in the morning or when making a sudden movement.  I am trying my best to embrace the pain, which is one of the signs that baby's head is engaging or moving down into the pelvis!  I get some relief by wonderful massages from Mike, feel good stretches/yoga positions (recommended by my doula), warm baths and sitting on an exercise ball!  I still cannot complain! 

Mike and I attended a Breastfeeding Me class on November 3rd.  This class is offered to women who are between 36-38 weeks pregnant, and prepare Moms-to-be to manage the first minutes, hours, days and weeks of breastfeeding. 

In early November, I started packing my hospital bags and began Christmas shopping.  Mike put the artwork and wall decals up in the nursery, and we are both so in love with the finished look!  The room is ready! 

On November 5th, I went to Seneca (YorkU campus) for a maternity photo shoot!  I spent a couple hours as the subject for Marc's photography students!  I can't wait to see their work.  A special thanks to Kathy for applying my make-up early that morning!  For someone that doesn't wear any, I was very happy with the subtle outcome! 

Lots happened on November 6th.  I met Ashleigh!  Ashleigh will be covering my maternity leave and we started training together today.  After only one day together, I felt confident that I would be leaving the program in good hands!  Still, it feels weird to know that I'll be leaving a place I've been coming to every day for the last 15-years!!  Bittersweet.  I was also spoiled today with a very generous gift from a co-worker, Jen!  I think she single-handedly stocked my baby inventory:  onesies, receiving blankets, baby blankets, wipes, washcloths, disposable diaper bags, cups/plates, books, and the list goes on.  Blessed and grateful!  I ended my day with a weekly OB appointment.  My blood pressure was measuring high, so I was sent for blood work and asked to do daily blood pressure checks until my next appointment.  I was also told to go to Labour & Delivery if my blood pressure was reading higher than 140/90. 

On Wednesday November 7th, I was 37-weeks and full-term!  Good thing because my blood pressure reading was 142/90 (on the left) and 155/90 (on the right)!  Up to Labour and Delivery I went, where I spent the entire morning.  I had a urine test (looking for protein) and a non-stress test.  A non-stress test evaluates the baby's condition (monitoring baby's heartbeat/movement and uterine contractions).  They also retrieved the results from Tuesday's blood work (which was to determine how my liver was functioning).  In the end, it looks like it may be a case of gestational hypertension.  Because my urine, non-stress and blood tests all came back normal, pre-eclampsia/toxemia was ruled out.  It was recommended (and prescribed) that I take meds (Labetalol) to lower my blood pressure until at least next week's OB appointment.  This was a struggle for me to accept.  My entire pregnancy had been going along so "text book" and the last thing I wanted was to introduce drugs into the baby's system.  I spent the entire evening researching this online, speaking to a nurse/friend, e-mailing with my Doula, discussing with Mike/family/friends and calling The Hospital for Sick Children-Motherisk.  The decision I came to that evening was to give it one last "natural" try before checking my blood pressure again Thursday morning.  So, I had a low-sodium dinner, rested all evening/night (on my left-side with my feet elevated), drank lots of water and meditated on all the positives. 

Woke up on November 8th with a blood pressure reading of 144/92 (left) and 150/99 (right).  I took the Labetalol.  By 1:00 p.m. that afternoon, my blood pressure was 130/80.  It was working.  Although I couldn't "feel" my high blood pressure, I know the numbers were dangerously high for me.  So, I instantly felt better in my head knowing it was back under control.  I also wanted Fetus-Reali to continue cooking, and without meds, I may have been facing early induction.

On November 10th, my hospital bags were fully packed and at the ready! 

On November 14th, I was 38-weeks pregnant.  My weekly OB appointment went well.  Blood pressure was normal, so we would continue on with the meds for at least another week.  My OB scheduled a biophysical for the following week as well.  The biophysical profile test is comprised of a non-stress test and an ultrasound.  The ultrasound looks at breathing movements, body movements, muscle tone and amniotic fluid.  A score of 0 to 10 will be given based on the information from both tests.  I'm looking forward to seeing Fetus-Reali again, as the last time was 20-weeks ago!!  I must make sure NOT to look below the waist.

On November 15th, I received Fetus-Reali's first Christmas gift from Jen S.  I so love the owl!
I spent the rest of the afternoon at Ashgrove Spa pampering myself for what I believed to be the last time before becoming a Mother.  I enjoyed a facial, mani, pedi and massage!  I felt brand new.  I hope I'm still glowing for my first meeting with Baby-Reali! 

Wonderful gifts from co-workers kept coming.  Thank you!  

On November 22nd, I had a biophysical ultrasound followed by my weekly OB appointment. How amazing it was to see Fetus-Reali again after 20-weeks!  I saw his/her tiny heart beating and saw him/her drinking in the amniotic fluid!  Must be thirsty, because my OB told me that my fluid was low and that my placenta had reached its maturity.  She also told me that Fetus-Reali was measuring small, at approximately 6-pounds.  The course of action she recommended was a non-stress test for the next morning, and induction in the next few days.  What overwhelming information to receive!  I called Mike and had a bit of a meltdown.  I scared him since I couldn't even communicate what had happened through my tears.  I must have worried him in the worst way, and felt horrible about it later.  Of course, he was my rock and supported me as always.  That evening, I got a call from Labour & Delivery informing me to come in for gel (to optimize/soften my cervix) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., and then to return at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday for induction (IV oxytocin/oral prostin?).  I couldn't believe what was happening, and I didn't tell a soul.  My Doula, Christin, came over that night to debrief with me, listen to my feelings, discuss our new options and support us.  The 3 of us did a "fear release" HypnoBirthing script, and Mike and I felt much better after her visit.  I admit I was scared.  I have read about induction vs. the body being naturally ready to birth, and wonder if my labour will be much longer, if contractions will be more intense, if my chances of a C-section are greater.  However, I also know that being faced with induction does not mean my plans for a supernatural pain-free HypnoBirthing experience are lost.  Chin up!

On November 23rd, Mike and I headed to Labour & Delivery for a non-stress test.  Fetus-Reali is as "happy as a lark" the nurse told us.  Heartbeat was fast and strong!  He or she was moving around so much!  I needed to hear this more than anyone can know.  I needed this reassurance that all was well with Fetus-Reali inside of me.  Mike and I left happy and proud of our baby!  I came to the realization that today was my last day at work, but still, I couldn't tell a soul.  I don't know why.  I completed my Employment Insurance online, and put on my Out Of Office Alert.  I called my Mom that night.  I couldn't even tell her about the gel for the next day, but did report that I was being induced on Sunday.  I still didn't know what was holding me back?  Fear of the unknown, perhaps?

On November 24th, Mike and I stayed in bed for hours.  We put on the HypnoBirthing Rainbow Relaxation CD and meditated on the positives.  We were so relaxed, that we both fell asleep for a couple more hours.  Would this be our last day together, just the 2 of us?  I was told to call Labour & Delivery before heading in, which I did.  The unit was busy and I was told they would call me back when they wanted me to come in.  Mike headed out for a bit of grocery shopping so we could stock up for the days ahead.  I stayed home to wait for the call, but kept myself busy with laundry, a bit of cleaning and some final packing.  We got the call and were told to come in at 7:00 p.m.  We did quite a bit of waiting before being seen (shift change).  Mike had a coffee from Tim's and we shared a donut.  I was monitored pre-gel and post-gel, about 30-minutes each.  The OB on-call was great!  Mike was with me the whole time.  I'm so glad he got a newspaper, comfortable reclining chair and television (we were watching Austin Powers).  We were out at 9:00 p.m. and on our way home!   

We woke up just before 6:00 a.m. on November 25th.  Mike slept soundly through the night.  I was up almost every hour...not in pain, but feeling a crampy...heavy...pressure-type discomfort.  But, in the morning, it was pretty much gone.  Would this be our birthing day?  Mike made me French Toast for breakfast (my favourite)!!  I called Labour & Delivery to confirm arrival for 8:30 a.m., and was asked to come in at 9:00 a.m.  At 9:15, we had another non-stress test.  After the test, my OB checked me.  The gel had worked.  My cervix was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced.

I was admitted to Room 2140 at 11:00 a.m.  I had my last bite to eat before baby!  At 12:00 p.m., I had blood-work taken, IV antibiotics for GBS, IV Oxytocin and fetal monitoring.  My OB said the average I was looking at was 12-14 hours of labour...even longer being that this was my first baby.  

Although the Nurse told me I was having contractions throughout the afternoon, I didn't feel any.  Around 4:00 p.m., I finally started to feel cramping/contractions, and called my Doula to come (she had a 40-minute commute).  The next thing I know, these cramps/contractions that I just started to feel became crazy intense.  I went from the bed to the birthing ball, and Mike was massaging my lower back...he wasn't allowed to stop.  The pain was severe and I moaned, writhed and vocalized (more like primal screaming) through each new, frequent contraction.  I was ready to throw in the towel, as I still thought I had hours to go.  My progress had yet to be checked since being admitted.  The OB came at that time.  I was 8cm dilated, and 10 cm dilated only seconds later.  We were having a baby!!!!!  I breathed my baby girl into this world at 5:16 p.m., only minutes after my Doula arrived.  

Welcome Lorelai Marie Reali!
6 pounds, 6 ounces of sweet perfection!

Soon after birth, pretty much everyone from my family and everyone from Mike's family was there to celebrate the birth of our first born!  I was feeling great!  I enjoyed Mike's homemade Tortellini alla Panna for dinner...delish!  

Mike and I didn't sleep that night!  We were in love and overwhelmed by emotion!  We had our baby girl, she was perfect, and all was right with the world!

I took a shower first thing the morning of November 26th and felt amazing!  I truly believe that having a natural birth was the main reason I was feeling so "normal".  I had no pain, and I was up and about to accept MSH visitors all day!  I couldn't wait to go home, but had to wait for blood tests that had to happen 24-hours after delivery.  That evening, Mike and I took our precious baby girl home!  A new adventure had begun!  We were a family!  We were so happy and so emotional.  All we could do was look at her with love, through happy eyes (and tears of joy).  I will never forget the magic of my wonderful pregnancy and childbirth.  I had the most wonderful nurse that cared for our new family, and Dr. Peters delivered my healthy bundle (who came out smiling)!  She has smiled everyday since, and so have I.  We have a daughter!  We did it!  

The journey continues...


Friday, November 2, 2012

Nesting. Month 8 - October 2012.

"Nesting refers to an instinct or urge to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn(s).  It is commonly characterized by a strong urge to clean and organize one's home, and is one reason why couples who are expecting a baby often reorganize, arrange, and clean the house and surroundings."  Nesting Instinct
October was definitely a month of "getting ready".  From purchasing and receiving so much of what was instructions, to tools and LOADS of disinfecting and sanitizing.  We've been busy in the nest!

We were also overwhelmed by the generosity and support of others this month, as they also helped us to prepare the nest!

Early in October, I finally got to meet Phil's wife and son (Claire, and sweet baby-James).  I got the most useful baby supplies:  wipes, diapers, disposable change pads (who knew?), washcloths, etc.  I also got lullaby CDs, and I hear only great things about Jewel's CD.  Thank you so much, Noseworthy Family, for your thoughtfulness!!
My Mother-in-law bought me my baby shower outfit!  If you're ever in need for chic maternity apparel, be sure to visit Seven Women

On October 12th, Mike and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary!  Most of this day was spent planning and prepping for the best gift we could ever give each other...Fetus-Reali!  We brought both our vehicles in for the whole kit and caboodle!  We wanted to ensure that our rides were maintenanced and safe for our soon to be precious on-board cargo!  After that, I had a bi-weekly appointment with my OB.  That afternoon, we had our 2 baby car seats installed, 1 in each vehicle.  I would highly recommend Baby Car Seat Installers in Markham (  At first, I wondered if I was being silly looking to a professional for installation.  After all, how hard could it be?  However, Mike and I learned a lot (some things we didn't even think of) and received clear instruction, demonstrations and hands-on practice!  I feel confident that my seats are correctly installed, and it puts my mind at ease knowing I'm ready to take my baby on his/her first journey (home from the hospital)!  

On October 14th, I celebrated my big, fat, multicultural baby shower with 78 of my closest family and friends!  What a wonderful afternoon at the Rouge River Community Centre, overlooking the Autumn splendor of the Markham Green Golf Club!  I wish to acknowledge my beautiful hostesses:  my sister-in-law Maria, my sister-in-law Lisa, and my forever friend Kathy!  Without them, the event would not have been possible.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I want to thank everyone that came to celebrate and support me.  I am blessed, and truly grateful!  I was showered with so much love, generosity, thoughtfulness, wisdom and joy!  With everyone's help, I feel ready for the arrival of my first born. 
"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." 

On October 17th, my all-staff meeting turned out to be a semi-fake!  They fooled me!  It was a mini baby shower complete with games, gifts and cake!  Thank you CDP!  I was 34-weeks pregnant!

Mid-October, we started receiving and assembling baby gear:  Play-yard, Mamaroo, Monitor, Mattress, Diaper Bag, Crib Mobile, Wipes Case, Highchair, Infant Car Seat Frame, and the list goes on and on and on...

With finally a bit of time, we celebrated our anniversary during the 3rd weekend of October!  Friday night, we enjoyed dinner at The Melting Pot, a unique, interactive fondue dining experience (The Melting Pot).  We spent the rest of the weekend on a bit of an anniversary shopping spree!  I'm glad the two of us got this time to spend together before baby makes 3! 
The 4th week of October, I had my last bi-weekly appointment with my OB (GBS swab).  I also met with my Doula, Christin.  We talked about our birthing day, the birth plan, placenta encapsulation, being ready to bring baby home (nursery, support, etc.). 

On October 26th, my Markham Stouffville Hospital colleagues hosted a wonderful baby shower in my honour!  20 of us were together celebrating what they have all been waiting so long for!  It was a fun-filled evening of games, delicious food and dessert, beautiful gifts, thoughtful tokens and wise advice!  A special thanks to the 3 hostesses - Carol, Debbie and Marianne.  I'm in love with my Skip Hop Treetop Friends crib bedding set, the homemade nursery artwork (courtesy of Nancy) and all the other wonderful surprises of the night!  Since May, Carol has been cross-stitching a blanket for the baby, and she's still going...unbelieveable!! 
We celebrated Mike's birthday (October 29th) on Saturday and Monday!  I can tell you one thing, cake is not out of style!  Mike was born on a full-moon, and his birthday this year was a full-moon.  Fetus-Reali's due date is also a full-moon...interesting...
With Peter, Daniela and Melissa
With Cheryl, Lisa, Paolo, Cassandra, Christopher, Andre/Nicolas

On October 28th, Mike and I took a 4-hour Child Lifeline Workshop.  This informative, interactive class focused on choking, breathing and bleeding emergencies, seizures, falls, accidental poisoning, burns, CPR, First Aid and prevention.  The dynamic presenter made the content fun-filled and relative!  I'm confident I can retain this valuable information!

At the end of October, Halloween 2012, I am 36-weeks pregnant!  1 more week to be considered "full term" and 4 more weeks until my estimated due date.  I have chux pads in my car and on my bed...I'm ready to go...LOL!  I feel fantastic.  I'm full of fatigue.  I'm still wearing heels!  I have no aches, pains or pressure.  The only symptoms I am experiencing, which are very mild, are ankle swelling (when I'm not being a healthy eater that day) and the occasional heartburn flare!  Oh, I do feel the need to pee much more often!  I'm not waddling yet, no practice labour that I am aware of, and still no stretch marks (still using coconut oil daily)!  I have yet to experience any constipation, headaches, leg cramps, a protruding naval or back pain.  Pregnancy does my body good!  In saying that, I better sign-off and get that hospital bag packed!