A Letter to my Unborn Daughter

Dear Emilia,

People say that when you arrive in this world, I will forget about the pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I call bullshit. Carrying you around the past thirty-something weeks had me experience a wide variety of unforgettable emotions. I tell the “forgetters,” I’m a writer, so I always remember.

We “planned” for your arrival after mommy had the realization at thirty years old that she wasn’t getting any younger. She kept saying to Daddy, “We need to shit or get off the pot. Either we try to have a child or we don’t.” So, we tried, and we succeeded.

We both secretly wanted a boy. When we found out we were having a girl, Daddy was very excited and Mommy was a little sad. Being a woman, Emilia, I know the hardships and heartache you will endure – between having to break glass ceilings and the #MeToo hashtag, it worries me raising a girl in today’s society. I don’t care about carrying on the Gould name, I care about the gender and social injustices you may, and likely will, have to face. It is still a man’s world, and whoever disagrees is ignorant and sadly misinformed.

I digress.

We're Expecting!

It’s a girl!

I found out I was pregnant with you before I missed my period. I walk the dogs every day. I just got done racing my first half marathon with Nana Anna. One autumn morning, I was walking Bailey and Gino, and my FitBit said my heart rate was 150 beats per minute. I was panting. I was exhausted. I had a feeling you had entered my body.

The next day, Lauren, my best friend, called and told me she was pregnant. I said, “I think I am too.” So I went to the gym with Daddy, ran a few miles on the treadmill, went to eat my last spicy tuna roll at the Japanese restaurant, and purchased 3 pregnancy tests.

The results: Positive. Positive. Positive.

I walked out of the bathroom and handed them to Daddy. We are having a baby. I was not even 4 weeks pregnant.

I remember thinking to myself, as I was sipping my coffee standing at the kitchen counter, “I am going to be so healthy throughout this pregnancy. I am going to sign up for prenatal yoga and continue to drink my green drinks. I am going to look super adorable in maternity clothes and we are going to bond so nicely these next nine months.”

What a false reality…

Danielle, Realm of Vibes blogger, pregnant

Emilia – I didn’t do one prenatal exercise. I haven’t exactly been cute, either.

The pregnancy started by you throwing me into hypothyroidism and having to go on medication. Then they told me I had low PAPP-A, and that I would need to be closely monitored throughout the pregnancy. Search for low PAPP-A on the Internet, and let me know what you think when you see the words “fetal demise.” Unforgettable.

I had nausea and vomiting from Week 5 to Week 17. I would vomit from the moment my eyes opened, until the time I went to bed. I even spent a night sleeping on the bathroom floor. Daddy will never forget when he got home from working a very long shift, and I needed Tylenol and Gatorade. My head was pounding and the vomit was uncontrollable. Exhausted, he drove to the 24 hour CVS and got me what I needed. He will do anything for us. Daddy is a very good protector and provider. He loves you very much.

I had blood pressure issues, causing me to be labeled “high risk” from Week 5.

The phlebotomists at LabCorp know me by name. I spent more time there for diagnostic testing, most of which left doctors puzzled and me wondering where I went wrong. I fought with insurance for genetic testing. I wrote appeal letters, telling them why I needed tests, and I won. I’ve been anemic for most of the pregnancy and no amount of supplemental iron and eating iron-rich foods has helped. My body, for whatever reason, doesn’t care to be pregnant. You, however, were healthy and happy.

From Week 16 on, you liked putting your buttocks under my right ribs, to the point that they hurt to the touch and the only way to get any reprieve was to jump in the shower, take the handheld showerhead and blast you out. Daddy and I would get such pleasure seeing you squirm out of my ribcage. Within an hour, you would be nestled right back under there, causing me breathing difficulty and great discomfort. People would ask me how I am doing, and I would reply, “Well, I have an ass in my ribs.” They would look at me funny, but I silently chuckled, knowing that you were comfortable there and that being a mom would be filled with unpleasant sacrifices.

At 29 weeks, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. No one has diabetes in my family, Emilia, so you could only imagine my disgust, and surprise. I sat with dieticians and nurses week after week, trying to figure out meal plans and healthy snacks for work. I prick my finger four times a day. I went on medication because my fasting glucose was too high. None of the lancets and test strips are covered by insurance, either, adding to the frustration every time I handed my credit card over to the cashier. “I didn’t ask for this” I would think to myself.

I go to the hospital weekly for extra ultrasounds and non-stress tests. The ultrasounds I love, because I have seen you grow from a little blob to a baby. You truly are our miracle. The non-stress tests are stressful because you are too active of a baby, you cause your heart rate to increase so much that they worry about you. You have kicked nurses and doctors so violently, they say, “She is very strong.” Yes, she is, and so am I. She gets her strength from me.

I have cankles. Cankles are not cute. My feet and ankles are three times the size and nothing is helping reduce the edema. I feel like my joints are going to snap in two with each step. No amount of hydration (like 133 ounces of water) helps.

Pair my cankles with carpal tunnel syndrome. I wake up throughout the night with numbness and tingling in both wrists, which carries over into the morning. My grip strength has dramatically decreased and even holding a coffee cup is difficult.

I thought I was leaking amniotic fluid. I keep having contractions. I got my first bag of IV fluid because they told me I was dehydrated. Every time I go to the hospital or doctor, it is always something, Emilia. I just try to think of the end result. I try to think of you being here with us as a healthy, happy, intelligent, beautiful girl.

I developed the PUPPPs rash all over my belly, hands, knees, back, and feet. Only 1% of pregnancies see this type of rash and mine is classified as “severe.” The only way to get rid of it – deliver you. I have never been in so much agony in my entire life. I would sit and do calamine lotion paraffin baths at the table, hoping for a millisecond if relief. No cigar. I suffered.

Mommy and Daddy took a childbirth preparation class and a breastfeeding class. I hope that labor and delivery go smoothly. The birth plan is for you to enter this world happily and healthily. Nothing else matters. I hope you latch well, and I am able to breastfeed you. If not, I remind myself that I am a “formula kid,” and turned out just fine.

That is the pregnancy, in a nutshell. I will never forget how it felt. I will never forget the belly waves, the happiness, and the heartache. The worries, fears, in addition to the comfort of always having you with me. As soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, you would kick me to let me know that you knew I was awake. We are connected.

Danielle, Realm of Vibes blogger, pregnant

I wish for you what I wish for everyone – health and happiness. Our families and I have spent countless hours preparing your nursery and getting ready for your arrival. I pray each day that you come to me easily and effortlessly. I pray that I can meet all your wants and needs and be the best Mom. You will always be loved and supported.

I often ask myself questions about your personality: Will you have Daddy’s looks, but Mommy’s brains? Will you love Bailey and Gino as much as I do? Will you aspire to be a police officer like Daddy and Aunt Sasha or work in healthcare like Mommy, Nana, Grandma? (Better yet, Em, go into finance – actually make some money and teach Mommy where to invest hers.) Will you like the city like Aunt Dominique and Uncle Todd? Will both Grandpa and Pop take you fishing on the weekend? The million dollar question: Will you love the Mets like Mommy or Yankees like Daddy?

My husband, Jason & I at the NYM game

My job as your Mom is to guide you. I am here to facilitate your growth and learning. You have taken over my mind and body for the past 9 months and you are almost here. Initially, you will depend on me and Daddy for everything, but as time goes on, you will foster your own independence. It won’t be easy, but we will let you stumble. We will let you fall. You will learn to pick yourself back up and keep going. Life isn’t easy. If you throw in the towel at every mistake and misfortune, life will be a big disappointment.

I try to keep a positive attitude. When worries overcome me, I say, “I’m giving this to God.” I’m not a super religious person, Emilia, but sometimes, you have to believe in a power greater than yourself. I envision myself taking my worries, putting them in a ball, and giving them to God. Here. Take this. You do what you see and feel is necessary. I trust Him to help us, now, and always.

Life will be different when you arrive. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms. Daddy and I are so excited to be parents. We know you will complete us.

I love you,

Mommy Danielle

Danielle’s edit: Emilia graced us with her presence June 29, 2018. She is a happy and healthy little girl. The PUPPS rash went away a few days after delivery and I am feeling rather forgetful of my whole pregnancy, labor, and delivery saga. (Not!)

A Letter to my Unborn Daughter

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Where have you been?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, doesn’t it?

I have some big news. My husband and I are expecting our first child, a baby girl, Emilia Ann, in July. We share a mixture of emotions; one minute we are excited, followed by nervousness, and completed by overwhelming feelings of joy and love. We are truly blessed.

We're Expecting!

Nesting has been a reoccurring theme in our house. We undertook a huge laundry room renovation before we start working on the nursery.

We’ve been working nonstop, trying to tackle my student loan and save for maternity and paternity leave. Ebates and Ibotta have been lifesavers for all of my baby shopping. (And if you want to browse and buy anything off of my ever-changing baby registry, click here.)

I’ve been focusing on getting my doTERRA business off the ground, and have plans to share which products I’ve been using during my pregnancy in an upcoming blog post. If you are interested in hosting a Facebook party (with the opportunity to earn FREE doTERRA products), please contact me via realmofvibesdg@gmail.com. I’d love to get you started on my oily train.

Gender Reveal Sheet CakeWhat does this mean for Realm of Vibes?

It means I will continue to produce new content when time allows. And, I am always looking for products and businesses to review. (Contact me.)

Are you going to be a mommy blogger? 

I can’t believe I’ve already been asked this question… I’m sure some of my posts may involve my pregnancy and baby, but Realm of Vibes was intended on encompassing a wide variety of lifestyle components, including product reviews, travel, health and wellness, DIY, and more. So no, it will NOT become a sole mommy blog.

Until the next post,

Namaste,

Danielle Where have you been?

Happy Holidays & 1 Year Blogiversary

I want to thank my loyal subscribers, readers, family, friends, public relations associates small business owners, and companies for supporting Realm of Vibes this past year. 2017 was a period of learning and growth. Without your support, Realm of Vibes would not have been successful.

Happy Holidays!

To my husband, Jason – thanks for supporting me through this adventure. I know you’ve seen how much happiness and opportunity Realm of Vibes has given me. From fulfilling my dream of becoming a (paid) freelance writer to breaking mail records and becoming friends with the delivery men and women, I appreciate your tolerance when I was typing on the computer to wee hours of the morning instead of snuggling in your arms. I love testing products with you – from tasting delectables to cleaning my car, your opinion always matters.

To my mom, dad, and sister – thanks for being my editors and biggest fans. You believed in me and my abilities since Post #1.

I had the pleasure of reviewing products from 32 companies. What a dream come true! I absolutely love writing, marketing, and helping small business owners promote their products. I look forward to new opportunities in the upcoming year.

I loved sharing pieces of myself with my readers. Blogging is an oversaturated industry, but your comments always inspired me and made me want to continue writing. If one person benefits from my banter, it’s worth it.

I wish you and yours a very happy holiday and a safe exit out of 2017.

2018 will hopefully bring Realm of Vibes more product reviews, guest posts, and fun.

Enjoy time with your loved ones, and I will return in the new year with new content.

Love,

Danielle

5 Life-Changing Books

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the picture or link and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation. 

I am that woman with nine books on her nightstand. I read every night before bed; whether it be a magazine, fiction story, or self-help book. Subjecting myself to someone else’s words calms my mind, and opens my heart. The books listed below have been my go-to reads, especially when I am feeling anxious, unhappy, worried, or upset. I hope they bring you the tranquility that they bring me.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

I have read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom four times. The four agreements are:

      • Be impeccable with your word.
      • Don’t take anything personally.
      • Don’t make assumptions.
      • Always do your best.

Don Miguel Ruiz writes based on ancient Toltec wisdom. His words are powerful and have taught me so many great lessons.  I find myself saying, “Always do your best. Your best changes at every given time.” I also find myself speaking more honestly and openly with my words. This book has truly transformed my life by practicing the four agreements and integrating his principles into my life.

Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer

Let me preface this paragraph with the notion that I was raised Italian Catholic, but as I grew older I became more spiritual. I believe in God, but I do not attend formal religious services.

I have had debilitating anxiety in the past, and have to work very hard each day to not return to living a life with panic attacks. When my best friend, Lauren, gave me Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind, I handed it back to her and said, “You know, I’m really not into Christian Living books, Laur. Thanks anyway.” She placed it down on the table and replied, “I think you should read the section on anxiety. I’m giving the book to you. Do with it what you will.”

I have read the chapter titled “An Anxious and Worried Mind” close to one-hundred times. I have highlighted sections and dog-eared the pages. Joyce writes,

“It is impossible to worry and live in peace at the same time.”

I appreciate the biblical references and that Joyce ties them into real-life. For a woman who “wasn’t into” Christian Living books, Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind has a special place on my nightstand.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I love Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail have read it twice and always refer back to my highlighted sections. Cheryl Strayed words make me feel empowered. She didn’t know what she was going to experience on the PCT. She didn’t have the appropriate gear. She lost her mom. Her marriage had ended. She transformed in the wild. She tackled what seemed impossible. She challenged herself and succeeded. Fear wasn’t a limiting factor.

One of my favorite excerpts:

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts – Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman explains the five love languages and how knowing our spouses love language can transform a marriage in The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.

The 5 Love Languages

      • Words of Affirmation
      • Quality Time
      • Receiving Gifts
      • Acts of Service
      • Physical Touch

Can anyone guess what my love language is?

Acts of Service. I appreciate and feel loved when my husband does things without me having to ask him, and when he sees that I am exhausted. I remind him that acts of service are my love language. The funny thing is, acts of service is also his love language. We better get servicing each other to stay happy!

Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be by HeatherAsh Amara

I bought this deal on Amazon Prime day and couldn’t be happier. HeatherAsh Amara understands the life of a modern woman. We have so many balls flying in the air that it is impossible to keep them all spinning. The others we may catch, or they might drop. Such is life. Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be provides growth, whether spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, you will grow. I loved the questions and reflections she prompts you to complete in the book. I recommend you have a pen and paper to engage with her introspective exercises.

An excerpt: “While we cannot control life, we do have a choice in how we respond to what life brings and how we react.” – HeatherAsh Amara, Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be

Final Thoughts

What are your favorite books to read and why? Leave me a comment below!

Namaste.

5 Life-Changing Books

 

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Milestones for Grown-Ups: Life is a Journey

I call my mom every day when I commute to work. She is my best friend. She is the woman who wrote down every developmental milestone into my baby book. She will still brag about how I was potty trained and walking at 12 months. No one could ever be more proud of me and my accomplishments.

Milestones are an interesting concept; they represent a notable point in one’s development. Some children and adults follow a typical path, while others stray far from the norm. Regardless, everyone has a different journey.

 

Today’s review features Milestones for Grown-ups, an Australian based company bringing you 20 unique milestone cards for adults entering their 20s and 30s. Anna, the creator of Milestones for Grown-ups, realized that babies and toddlers were having all of the fun celebrating developmental milestones, but older folks never received any recognition for hitting adult milestones. (Graduating college, anyone?) The postcard size, environmentally-friendly cards are intended to be used as photo props to share with family and friends on social media to document adult milestones.

Two sets of Milestones for Grown-ups cards are available for purchase:

  • Milestones for your 20’s:
    • I finally bought myself ________. (you fill in the blank)
    • Graduation Day
    • I am a Quarter of a Century Old
    • I got a job!
    • Yes! I cooked this!
    • I am moving out!
  • Milestones for your 30’s:
    • I found my first grey hair.
    • I paid off my student loan.
    • I ran a marathon.
    • Today I was called madam/sir (circle one) by a teenager.
    • Actually…I am doing quite well.
    • My new tattoo.

Milestones for Grown-ups

Each deck is $29.95 AUS (About $23 for my United States readers at the current exchange rate at the time of writing this post). Australian shipping is free; other shipping runs $5-$8 AUS.

My Thoughts

Life is to be celebrated. I always say, “Every day I wake up is a good day.” Am I right?

I reflected on my 20s earlier this year when I turned 30. I hit so many milestones in my twenties. I do wish I had the “Yes! I cooked this!” card from the 20s pack since I successfully cooked a whole chicken the other day. I ordered one by mistake on my supermarket online order and I called my mom to ask her, “What the hell do I do with this thing? I wanted a rotisserie chicken, not a whole chicken!” My mom giggled and told me to get out my roasting pan (buried in the back of my cabinet) and to make sure I take the giblets out. (Thanks, Mom!) My chicken and potato dish came out fantastic. I was so proud that I accomplished cooking something that I normally wouldn’t attempt. Mistakes can be a good thing. 

Milestones for Grown-ups understands that everyone hits different milestones at different times. For some of us, we never hit them. And, that’s okay. The Milestones for Grown-ups cards can be used at any life stage, and make terrific gifts for those turning 20 or 30.

Milestones for Grown-ups

The “I ran a marathon” card looks daunting, however, I am going to scribble a “1/2” in front of marathon and will proudly hold up that card after my mom and I complete our first half marathon in October. Isn’t it a little ironic that the woman who wrote down all of my developmental milestones will be accomplishing a huge fitness milestone with me? It’s never too late to reach your goals. 

I can’t wait for the day to hold up the “I paid off my student loan” card. I pass by that card really quickly in the deck, as I currently have another 2.5 years left. (I accept any and all donations.)

“Actually…I am doing quite well!” is my favorite card. Wherever you are in life, be proud of yourself. I am proud that I can hold up the “I am starting my own business” card since I became a doTERRA Wellness Advocate this year and Realm of Vibes is doing well with reviewing products for small businesses like Milestones for Grown-ups. I have a wonderful husband and family, a fulfilling career, and love my very blessed life.

Milestones for Grown-ups

Let’s see how many Milestones for Grown-ups I can accomplish the next ten years…

Who is with me?

Namaste.

Make sure you visit Milestones for Grown-ups on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Milestones for Grown-Ups

Disclosure: I received Milestones for your 30’s in return for an honest review and promotion on my social media sites. All opinions within are my own. Realm of Vibes is looking for small businesses to feature; if you are interested please fill out the form on the Contact page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com for more details.