It’s a steamy Melbourne Saturday afternoon and 3-month-old Leonardo Romano, all big eyes and cherubic pink cheeks, is squealing with delight as his parents, Zana Pali and Gianni Romano, dip his tiny toes into the pool.
“He’s our little surprise,” says a beaming Gianni, to which Zana adds: “And the best one ever!” Clearly the duo, who made headlines as the designer-loving lawyers on My Kitchen Rules, are besotted with their bundle of joy.
“Family has always been very important to both of us,” says Zana, “so creating our own little family is incredible.”
As for the now bikini-clad Zana, she’s never felt better. But that wasn’t always on the cards.
The 27-year-old candidly reveals that her pregnancy – in which she gained and has since lost 25kg – was far from easy.
“I had severe insomnia and I was huge,” says Zana. “I just didn’t feel like myself. All I wanted to eat were hot chips and chicken nuggets. Gianni had to make a lot of late-night trips to McDonald’s!
“During the pregnancy, I went from 55 to 80 kilos and had bad morning sickness at the start, and pelvic girdle syndrome at the end.
“My pelvis had collapsed on one side, so I could barely walk. It was pretty tough.”
Through it all, Zana had the unwavering support of her husband of four years.
“I thought she looked beautiful every day,” says Gianni, 31.
“Just knowing she was carrying our baby was amazing – and now I have two people to love.”
On Aug. 31, after a marathon 24-hour labour, Zana gave birth to a bouncing 3.6kg Leonardo.
“I can’t explain the love I felt when they put him on my chest for the first time and he looked straight at me,” says Zana. “It was very emotional. We always knew the name was going to be Leonardo for a boy. His papa thinks it’s after Leonardo da Vinci, but it’s actually Leo DiCaprio!”
Zana and Gianni, currently building a glamorous new home in Bayside, Melbourne, and hoping to add to their family again soon, reveal they weren’t actively trying to conceive. “Oh dear God, no!” exclaims Zana with a laugh. “I wasn’t feeling right and did the pregnancy test and started screaming.”
Recalls Gianni: “It was that sort of a scream that comes when there’s a spider, so I ran in with a shoe ready to hit something and found Zana shaking the pregnancy stick!”
Having suffered from endometriosis – a debilitating condition that affects a woman’s reproductive organs – Zana had long assumed she would have difficulty conceiving. “To then find out we were having a baby was the best feeling in the world,” she says.
Not surprisingly, Zana, who knew she was having a boy – “I found out because I have to be prepared” – wasted no time decking out Leo’s nursery with designer, well, everything!
As Gianni says: “He had a designer wardrobe before he was born!”
“Leo’s very lucky,” agrees Zana. “Everything is either Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Fendi or Versace.
“I’ve probably spent a fortune on his nursery – I don’t like to think about how much – but he’s worth it.”
And the couple couldn’t have asked for a more easygoing bub – not to mention a possible future MKR contestant in the making.
“He’d take out the title, this one!,” jokes Zana. “He’s such a good baby and already loves coming to restaurants with us. He’s pretty perfect in our eyes.”
“We just feel so blessed,” says Gianni. “We couldn’t be happier.”
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.