Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beyond The Kitchen #5: Nurse Gifts!


As a continuation of Y's birthday week celebrations at itsy bitsy balebusta, what better way to celebrate than a post all about gifts?

In my last post, I described how M had to run home to get our bags. Well there was a very special bag that he brought along with everything else, that I'd made sure to prep and set aside!

I had a wonderful experience with our hospital from our very first appointment. From patient and sensitive doctors, to a very sweet receptionist who made me look forward to every appointment, I really loved my entire experience! Given these interactions, I was confident that the nurses and doctors present when the big day came, would also be amazing.

I wasn't wrong!

I wanted to mark our baby's "birth" day with a token of gratitude to those who helped bring him into the world. I prepared four gift bags with an array of items ranging from practical things I thought our nurses would appreciate as well as little treats. I didn't want to go too crazy with it, since for starters the weather was awful and at 8 months pregnant I couldn't stand being out for so long in crowded stores! Also, I knew we'd basically be bringing the entire apartment with us when the time came and asking M to carry gift bags on top of everything else wasn't fair! So four small bags it was!

Since we didn't know the gender of the baby, and the hospital had the word "Sunny" right in its name, we opted for neutral bright yellow bags with silver dots!


Each bag contained*:
  • One glossy lip balm
  • One mini bottle of hand cream
  • One mini bottle of hand sanitizer
  • A mini package of tissues
  • Three chocolate truffles (obviously, it's not a gift unless there's chocolate involved).
  • Three bags of tea (Pomegranate, Cinnamon Vanilla & Strawberry)

Even though it wasn't much, the nurses were incredibly sweet and grateful. We gave one to the nurse who was with me the entire night I was in labor (but who's shift was unfortunately over before Y arrived), one to each of the two nurses present for the delivery and one to the nurse we had overnight. They were so touched at the thought of being remembered and celebrated on our baby's special day, that one of them even kept saying, "but for me? Why??" and just stared at the bag!

These nurses helped get me through one of the most physically challenging days of my life. They pushed me, were supportive, smiled and reassured me every time I asked, "it's gotta happen soon, right?" made me laugh and literally held me when I panicked. These women switch shifts and run back and forth and push themselves so hard and the thought that we'd let them leave our room without knowing how much we appreciated their involvement and effort, wasn't an option!

Here are some notes of what I'd change or include now, in hindsight!
  • More gifts! I really thought 4 would be enough, but given the fact that I was in labor for 26 hours and in the hospital an additional day and a half for recovery, we were unfortunately short on gifts! I think 6 or 8 would have been a more suitable number to prepare!
  • It wasn't the easiest thing to carry M's backpack, my overnight bag, the baby's diaper bag and the bag with all the gift bags around the hospital as we moved from hallway to hallway, to triage, to finally being admitted! Preparing a bunch of gift cards (in small but reasonable denominations) to one of the coffee shops in the hospital is a great alternative. Fits easily into the overnight bag and is one less thing to schlep around on an already chaotic day!
  • One basket in your room for nurses and staff to take from is another alternative! Be careful with food, some hospitals have policies that they only accept prepackaged items, with any status or allergy information clearly labelled! Picking up coffee, donuts, muffins etc from one of the cafes in the hospital is another option! 
Thank you to all of the incredible nurses, staff and doctors who make this experience so much easier, less scary and as comfortable as possible for families everyday!

*I purchased all of the items in the bags independently. None of the brands or products visible in the image, are associated with this blog or sponsored in any way!

*Check out the Beyond The Kitchen tab for more posts on the ups and downs of my adventures, what I'm learning as I go along, tips and tricks that make our lives easier/ keep the home together, and my milestones as a Mommy, a wife and an itsy bitsy balebusta!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beyond The Kitchen #4: Welcome Y! (& Kicking Off Birthday Week!)

*Check out the Beyond The Kitchen tab for more posts on the ups and downs of my adventures, what I'm learning as I go along, tips and tricks that make our lives easier/ keep the home together, and my milestones as a Mommy, a wife and an itsy bitsy balebusta!

The last week of January is our little boy's birthday week! That's right, I said week! It's too special to celebrate for just a day! To get festivities started, I thought what better place to start than the very beginning? Here's a little recap of how our amazing little Y joined our family!


I love birthdays. Who doesn't?! In fact, there is little else I love as much as celebrating M's birthday. The prep, finding the perfect gift and celebrating someone who works so hard everyday and has given me everything and more, is the best day of the year.

Until last January.

Sorry M.

Last January everything changed. I had basically spent my entire pregnancy freaking out that I would go into labor while M was at work and I'd be alone and stuck waiting for him to come home, and he'd be stuck in a giant Canadian spontaneous snowstorm and I'd end up delivering a baby in the living room alone. Because obviously that's how my mind works.

What actually happened was so not that. Not even close. No panicked "I think I'm in labor" phone calls I had anticipated for nine months. No labor in the living room. Nope!

M is an incredibly dedicated person. I am super lucky that any time I had an appointment he would take the hour or so off of work to be there. Whether it was an hour long ultrasound or a five minute "all's well, see you in 2 weeks!" check up, he sat there each and every time. Excited, asking questions and most importantly, by my side.

So a year ago when we headed to the hospital for our weekly appointment, I was ready to hear the classic, "almost there!" and be on my way in five minutes. Instead the whole drive there I just couldn't focus. I had, had a quick breakfast and regretted it since I was sure that's why my stomach was acting up. When we got to the parking lot, M got out of the car and started toward the door only to turn around and realize I hadn't made it more than a couple of feet. I was so confused as to why a granola bar would be wreaking this much havoc. I was dealing with bruised ribs, the worst.heartburn.ever. and pregnancy insomnia, but a granola bar was bringing me down? No way.

By the time we got to reception what felt like 5 years later I was out of breath. I asked if I could run a few questions by the receptionist and she politely listened as I described how I felt. What I wasn't expecting was her response...

"Why don't you head down to triage. Sounds like you're in labor!"

Umm no. For one, this was my second day of winter break (I was working in a school) and I had a ton of stuff planned I wanted to get through. Secondly, I was still three weeks away from my due date. I was there for an appointment, not for labor! But down to triage we went.

After a quick check in with the doctor they confirmed I was in labor and instructed us to stay in the hospital, walk around, and return in 3 hours. At this point I was completely thrown off. My perfectly packed hospital bag and post it note of reminders was sitting at home. The car seat was in the trunk and clearly not installed. My Mom was still at work. Everything was wrong! Little did I know that this was the most fitting "welcome to parenthood!" ever.

My Mom and Dad arrived at the hospital shortly, and M left to go and get everything that was sitting at home. I must have called him a million times, I was so scared he was going to miss everything because I had sent him for our bags!

HA!

Fast forward 10 hours, my Dad had returned to drop off my Mom's overnight bag and dinner, and I was still pacing hallways with M. At this point triage let me know that if nothing progressed I'd be sent home. I Freaked Out. First you tell me I'm having a baby today, I finally get my stuff, husband and Mom all in the same place and am ready for this and now it's not happening?! Oh no. No. No. No.

That's when M made me laugh hysterically. No matter what's going on he can always make me laugh (often this is not appreciated since I'm trying to be serious/upset etc). But that day it was so beyond welcome I can't even explain! And that moment, finally letting go and just laughing hysterically - labor officially got kicked into gear! Apparently Y decided he was ready to join the party!

We were finally admitted into a beautiful room (yay to no more pacing in hallways!) and the most incredible nurse stayed by my side. I will be forever grateful to her for her patience, humor and sensitivity!! Unfortunately, at the end of her shift about 8 hours later, I was still in labor. I legit almost cried when she left, I so wanted her to be there for the big moment!

26 hours after entering the hospital for my doctor appointment, again as I was in a bout of laughter, our beautiful little Y made his grand entrance. Three weeks early, he couldn't wait to meet us and we couldn't wait to meet him! We hadn't found out the gender (even though towards the 8th month I was ready to go through every page in my file to "accidentally" see it), and hearing M tell me we have a son was one of the most incredible moments of my life. Being able to share it with my Mom was so important to me. There's just something about the added strength she brings to a room and how when she's there I just know everything's going to be okay! For her to be present to meet her first grandson in his first moments was a gift I'm so grateful for!

And that's how this last week of January has become my new most favorite time of year! The week we became a family and this itsy bitsy balebusta, was given the bestest, sweetest, most delicious itsy bitsy gift ever!

I hope you'll join us for the celebrations! We have more to share, from special gifts to our favorite items and what we've found the most useful this first year as parents and more! 

Happy Birthday Week!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sharsheret Pie Bake Sale!

I've often mentioned my motivation for starting this blog. I initially used it as a place where I would work out my grief, where I could come to and write about recipes and the memories they recalled. My grandmother was an incredible person, who had a big hand in raising me and whose house, even well into my teenage years, I would still want to run away to! There are certain people in your life who you can't imagine not being around, certain people who are so much more than just their title. My grandmother was a second Mom, a teacher, a friend and always, always, always there. When she fell ill, I would travel to the hospital after work and on Sundays and spend countless hours sitting and just talking with her. It's amazing how little we ever really chatted before then. I learned so much about her. From her life in Portugal, to family dynamics and hilarious stories she'd share when she was alert. Her humor made those long afternoons fly by and when M would join me, she'd work so hard to speak English or ensure that she paused after each sentence so I could translate for him. She absolutely loved him and the fact that I was lucky enough to be able to not only introduce the two of them but also have them spend so much time together, means so much to me. It hurts so much that she didn't get to meet Y, but there's a very big part of me that knows that she loves him and is proud of him regardless. When it came to choosing a wedding date, although far off in the distance, all she insisted was that I pick my own date, since I had mentioned wanting to get married on her anniversary. In the end, a few years later when it was time to choose a day, we chose the day after their anniversary - that way we could still be connected, but it would technically be our "own day." Well, fast forward to Y's birth. Three weeks before his due date I had a doctor's appointment and while checking in with reception, was basically told I was in labor. A day later, Y was born. The day before the anniversary of my grandmother's passing. As far fetched as it seems, I feel like that was her small way of wanting to be connected but also wanting Y to have his "own day."

This past week, I received an email as part of a young wife/Mommy email group informing the group about an upcoming bake sale. While these emails are anything but rare, this one really struck me. It mentioned an organization I had never heard of and within 5 minutes of looking into their story, I was blown away and knew I had to share it with you! The organization is called, Sharsheret. They are a non-profit organization that supports Jewish women of all backgrounds suffering from breast or ovarian cancer. They are a community, a resource, a place to turn to for research, information and so much more. They help women of all ages, family and friends, caregivers and men. They know that a diagnosis affects an entire family. They even provide information for Health Care professionals, in terms of treating Jewish women! They have programs, information packets and so much more. It really is truly incredible, the breadth of comprehensive support this organization provides. When I learned of my grandmother's diagnosis, I was overwhelmed and terrified. I wish I had known of these resources. The hope is that no one will ever need this, but if you do, know that Sharsheret is there!

Which brings me back to last week's email. Pies for Prevention, is a pie bake sale, just in time for Thanksgiving, where funds are raised to support Sharsheret's Ovarian Cancer Program. You can place your order for a pie online until Monday November 17th, and pick it up at one of the locations across the U.S., in Toronto and Israel as well on November 26th! Pies include Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie, Pecan Pie, Brownie Pie, American Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie and more! You're also able to make a separate donation if there isn't a location close to you! You'll be getting a delicious pie and supporting a fantastic organization!

So, if you're celebrating (American) Thanksgiving, what better way to show your gratitude for wonderful organizations, for your health and for people out there working to do so much good, than ordering a pie to share with your table? And if you aren't celebrating Thanksgiving this month, why not take the inspiration of the past month of Chaggim and put it into action. It's a delicious, simple way to make a difference!

I am not affiliated with Sharsheret nor involved in the bake sale. I recently came across this initiative and it hit home. I wanted to share it with all of my generous, wonderful readers and give you the opportunity to support such an important cause!