Saturday, February 21, 2015

Breakfast Date At Italianni's

I don't know about you, but I just love breakfast.  

I can skip lunch or dinner, but breakfast everyday is a must. As a SAHM, I usually prepare a healthy breakfast at home. But whenever there's a chance, having breakfast outside is always a treat, may it be a breakfast buffet in Sofitel or just a simple longganisa meal in Jollibee.

That is why, when we were offered a free breakfast voucher in Italianni's, I was easily convinced to get the Bistro Group's Premier card despite having to shell out an extra P2,500 on top of our lunch bill. Well, we were actually offered another 40% off on our bill. But yeah, the breakfast voucher pretty much had me.

For P2,500, The Bistro Group Premier card includes ten (10) P250 vouchers, 30% discount on Mondays, 20% discount on Tuesday to Sunday and 25% discount on your birthday.

It took a while before we were able to set this breakfast date. My husband is not a breakfast person like me but I'm happy that we were able to schedule it right before the voucher expired. And because it's weekend breakfast, we went there in shorts and convenient!

Italianni's is not really a popular place for breakfast, but we were surprised that they seemed to be frequented by regular guests. They offer a decent selection of breakfast choices from gourmet creations, puff pastry pockets, pancakes, omelettes, crepes, continental specials and local favorites.

Because I love eggs and adobo, I ordered the Eggs Benedict Adobo (P325)- Toasted English Muffins topped with Adobo hash, tomato, kesong puti, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.  It was a delightful fusion of continental and Filipino. The saltiness of the adobo is balanced by the poached egg and kesong puti. And the hollandaise sauce makes it even more flavorful.  At first, I thought the serving was a bit too small for its price, but it was actually a heavy protein-packed meal that lasted me throughout late afternoon.

Randy ordered the Three Meat Delight (P395), a heavy platter of chicken longganisa, pork tocino and beef tapa served with sunny-side up egg and garlic fried rice. I took a bite of his beef tapa and for a moment wished I ordered the same thing. It was so good! The beef was tender and it was marinated very well. I At least I know what to order next time. Even though Randy is not a breakfast lover like me, he thought the food was delicious and was worth waking up to.

After our meal, we lingered for a little while to chat, read the newspaper while enjoying their free-flowing coffee. It was a perfect date! Another reason for me to love breakfast.

Italiannis is open for breakfast daily at Bonifacio High Street and Greenbelt 2 from 7:00 am to 10:30 am.

Friday, February 13, 2015

5 Things I Learned About Having A Cesarean Section

I'm finally back from a 3-month hiatus!

Baby A just turned 3 months old and I finally could sneak some time to blog again. I might not be able to finish this post in one sitting, but I have to admit that I really missed blogging. So it just feels good to be back! I'm loaded with so many blog ideas that I had a hard time choosing where to begin. I thought it's apt to start by sharing my experience in giving birth to our second baby.

Moms know that nothing prepares you for childbirth, may it be your first, second, third or even tenth. As they say, a woman giving birth has one foot on the grave. Childbirth is painful, scary and even traumatic for some. But no matter how difficult the experience is, seeing the baby you carried for 9 months for the first time makes you forget all that pain.

I am blessed that for my second cesarean section, recovery was much easier and faster. Nevertheless, adjusting to my new life took some time. One of my biggest challenges was how to manage my time between my newborn and toddler (we also took a break from homeschooling) while attending to the usual household concerns. Both of them craved for my attention and I was distraught and restless for the first few weeks.

But despite having a smooth C-section and quick recovery, the days that followed my delivery were not without drama. Our baby girl had to be admitted to the NICU when she was 2 weeks old to rule out sepsis. Not to mention my struggle with breastfeeding and her poor weight gain. Oh well, I'd probably take that up in a one of my future posts. For now, let me share with you my thoughts about giving birth via a C-section the second time around.

1. Don't fret about not having a normal delivery 

When I gave birth for the first time, I totally discounted the possibility of having a cesarean section. Not only were we not ready with the things we needed for a longer stay at the hospital, we also did not anticipate paying a heftier hospital bill. 

With all the hype in natural birth, I had feelings of regret as well as a sense of guilt that maybe, I didn't try enough. So when I became pregnant again, I discussed the possibility of going into normal delivery with my OB-GYN.  She told me that given my previous experience, there is that risk that I might have an emergency CS again. The thought of going through that financial burden again made us decide to have a planned CS. It is still more expensive than a normal delivery, but at least we know how much money (more or less),  we would have to shell out.

Yes, I did not go into labor. Yes, I had to get anesthesia. Yes I had to take pain relievers and antibiotics. But push or no push,  it does not make me less of a mother. I still had to endure pain, just like any mom who bore and delivered a child. 

This time, I did not have any regrets. Whether CS or normal, I learned that comparing myself with other moms is pointless. What matters is that me and baby are well and healthy. 

2. It's ok to ask for help  

As moms, we tend to take control of almost everything. But after a major operation such as this, I didn't have any choice but to rely on others for help. Because I don't have immediate relatives here in the Philippines, my husband became my major source of help. It was during this time that I had proven how much my husband really loves me. Since I couldn't move much (not even lift my baby from the bassinet), Randy did everything-- as in everything! 

I also sought help from my cousins and sisters-in-law. They ran errands for us, took care of our eldest child while we were in the hospital and even cooked for us when we got back home. 

3.  My baby is my priority 

Never mind if the house is a mess. Never mind if we sometimes had to order-in fastfood for dinner. Never mind if my hair was unkept and I only had 5 minutes to shower. Never mind if I had to pass up Christmas reunions and parties. Everything else can wait. Even my husband understood this and he never demanded that I go back to my usual routine during the first weeks.  I learned to cherish this time that our baby is solely dependent on me. I know that it will pass fast enough and I will miss it when it's over.

4. Respect my body and allow it to heal 

It still amazes me how Hollywood celebrities and Victoria's Secret models manage to go back to their pre-pregnancy sexy figures just weeks after giving birth. As for me, I don't obsess in losing weight immediately. My CS scar and my stretchmarks are trademarks of my motherhood.  The extra pounds, I can deal with when it's time.  What's important is to allow my body to heal internally even if I seem ok at the onset. Even if I am able to move like usual, a C-section is a major operation and it will take time for my body to fully recover.

5.  To embrace my life as a mother

When my I gave birth to my eldest, I was overwhelmed with the big change and the big responsibility that I had to take on all of a sudden. Tearfully, I asked my mom, "When will my life get back to normal?" Her response was an awakening. "This is your new normal. Deal with it."  I may have given up a lot of things, but the gains far outweigh the trade-off. I could never imagine how my life would be like without my babies. And for this, I'm truly grateful to God. Being a mom is a privilege that God has given me. It doesn't really matter how they came out, whether CS or normal. What's truly important is how I raise them from here on...