Tuesday, August 26, 2014

1 month!

Little Samantha is one month old today!

This morning

We are totally smitten with this little munchkin and can't imagine life without her.
(Except maybe at 3am.  Then my memory kicks in pretty well.)

Some of Samantha's favorite things at 1 month include...

Looking around at all the action.

My mom with Samantha in her fav position: 
over the shoulder so she doesn't miss out on any excitement!

Bath time.

Our first bath with her she hollered the whole time.  
As first-time parents, we were terrified the lukewarm water would 
leave her with third degree burns (obviously) and therefore subjected 
to her to one thing she definitely does not like: being cold.  
The next time around we had learned our lesson and 
she had a blast splashing around in the perfectly warm water.

...in that magic moment where we take one diaper off and are JUST about to get a clean one on.  I keep telling myself this will make potty training easy?  
Thank goodness for an in-house washing machine.

No pic as any instance of this occurrence requires two hands :)

Hanging out with dad.

After getting a bit worked up at the pediatrician
(being measured and weighed is tough work!), 
all it took was some time with Dad to calm back down.


Especially to La Boulange for a coffee and pastry.  
Samantha really likes their almond croissants.

We are having such a blast getting to know this little gal and feel quite, quite lucky that she's a relatively easy baby.  (Knock on wood!)  She of course has her moments (I do too...) but assuming she's fed and has a clean diaper, she's one happy little camper.

Happy 1-month b-day little girl!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

the nursery

When thinking about decorating the nursery, we knew we wanted something simple, neutral, and not too baby-ish.  We decided on grey and white with some punches of different pinks for good measure, but going in, we didn't have any "theme" per se.  

That was until my mother stumbled across a beautiful pink elephant quilt and our true nursery theme (pink elephants!) was born.  The motif seemed to fit - I have an odd obsession with elephants, my family adores a restaurant named the Pink Elephant down on Gasparilla Island where we know we'll spend many-a-beach vacations with little Samantha, and elephants are insanely smart creatures (which Samantha will obviously be as well :).

With the help of my uber efficient mother, we found all sorts of elephant-themed items to decorate Samantha's space.

She loves it just as much as we do!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2 years of marriage

August 5th marked 2 years in for Stefan and me!

How the time has flown.
And how things have changed!

Since a one-and-a-half-week old doesn't allow for fancy, extravagant dinners out, we decided to do a fancy, extravagant dinner in.  

When we were still dating and Stefan was living in Geneva, we spent many-a-weekend in the Burgundy - tasting wine and enjoying delectable French cuisine.  One of our most favorite memories was a snowy November afternoon where we decided to do a 5-course tasting lunch at Aloxe-Corton.  We dined on fresh Pate, mixed winter greens with hazelnuts, melt-in-your-mouth Boeuf Bourguignon, creamy Potatoes Au Gratin with Gruyere, Apple Tart Tatin, and a to-die-for cheese course to top it all off.  The 10+ wine pairings were just as luscious as the cuisine and we went home with multiple bottles.

For our anniversary this year, I decided to recreate the meal.  
(Since if you didn't know already, August in San Francisco = November in France.)

While I skipped the Pate and opted just for some strawberries with fresh whipped cream for dessert, we did dine on Boeuf Bourguignon, Potatoes Au Gratin, and a yummy salad.  I must say it was top-notch.
(Although I do admit it's hard to go wrong with tender beef, lots of red wine, and - of course - copious amounts of butter and cheese.)

We also cracked open one of the bottles we purchased on that snowy Saturday, which was just as scrumptious as we remembered.

It felt even more lovely and special than dinner out.  
Especially with a little someone sleeping in her bassinet beside the table.


Monday, August 18, 2014

coming home

Sadly, Stefan had to head back to work today.  We've had such a blast these past three weeks being home together with little Samantha - getting to know her little habits and squeaks, having yummy dinners in, watching movies, and establishing a quazi-routine.

Luckily, however, my parents and sister are in town this week to visit and help out.  I could not be more excited!

We were also lucky enough to have my parents come visit right after Samantha was born.  They came out the day before we went home from the hospital and took care of us getting our house in order to bring baby home.  Since I had thought we had another 2 weeks, I hadn't washed any of our baby clothes, sheets, or blankets.  Thanks Mom! :)

Because I was feeling great and Samantha was doing excellently, we left the hospital one day early so we could also have an evening of celebration at home with my parents.

Before we left, we thanked all our favorite nurses with some decadent La Boulange pastries.

My parents were waiting at our house to welcome us:

They then spoiled us with a decadent home-cooked meal which we enjoyed with a bottle of Veuve!

seared ahi tuna steaks with mango salsa, 
roasted veggies, fruit salad, and amazing grilled bread

They even got us a scrumptious cheesecake (Stefan's favorite!) to celebrate the big day:

We were sad to see them go, but knew they'd be back soon.  Details on this visit to come!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

our hospital stay

After Samantha arrived, we had a few days in the hospital for me to recover and for us to get used to life with our new little lady.  Having both been working full-time right through the day I went into labor, we felt like we were on vacation!  We hung out with our new family addition, took naps, ate yummy meals, learned lots, and spent copious amounts of time just staring at Samantha.  Nine months feels impossibly long when you're pregnant (even when you're enjoying it as I very much did!), but once she was here, it felt like we were JUST finding out she was in there.

Since we hadn't planned on having a baby for another two weeks, we did not have our hospital bags packed.  When Stefan rushed to the hospital Friday evening, in my giddy, can't-wait-to-meet-our-baby state, I told him just to bring me a toothbrush, nothing else.  No hairbrush, contacts, or a change of clothes.  

Needless to say, I rocked some oh-so-glamorous attire throughout the duration of our stay:

But I didn't mind - it was comfy and practical.  

In addition to having a private room, we could order anything we wanted to eat on demand.  Perhaps I was just famished from not having eaten real food for a day and a half or maybe I just had extra low expectations, but I thought the food was top-notch.  Stefan also indulged my coffee addiction by doing multiple Starbucks runs to complement our meals.

Super dad Stefan did all the diaper-changing, rocking, and swaddling for the first two days while I was in recovery mode.  He wanted to keep it up, but I figured I'd better learn before we got home and I needed to change a diaper too.  He's still the quicker changer among us (and has an uncanny ability to keep Samantha calm throughout).

He also made it a habit to accompany Samantha to the nursery every night for her midnight weigh-in and check-up.  

He was always the only parent in the nursery and took the time to ask the nurses all sorts of questions on the best swaddling technique, how quickly Samantha would gain her lost weight back, and what color poop was ideal.  He'd come back with excellent conversation for our breakfast the next morning. :)

Our second to last day, my parents came to visit.  It was so exciting to share Samantha with them for the first time!

On our final night in the hospital, the dining staff served us a special, celebratory dinner in our room.  We had steaks and polenta and tiramisu as Samantha happily slept in her bassinet.

Those first few days with Samantha were so precious and delectable, but they seemed to just evaporate before we could even process the fact that our sweet little baby had arrived.  As we left, Stefan commented that he was already excited to do it all again for #2. 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

samantha's birth story

As you already know, given that little Samantha was head up (and didn't have any plans to move around), we were planning on a C-section.  At first, I was pretty devastated by the outcome as I was actually really excited to go into labor.  Throughout my pregnancy, I had fantasized about waking Stefan up in the middle of the night or calling him without warning to tell him: "It's go time!"  I pictured him driving us to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning, our bags packed full of way more than we needed, while I screamed at him to go faster and get us there already.

When our C-section fate was solidified, however, I decided to embrace it.  We strategically scheduled for August 6th - the day after our wedding anniversary - so we could have a final dinner out before the big day.   

Samantha, however, had other plans.

At 4pm on Friday, July 25th, I went in for a routine doctor's appointment where they monitored me and the baby.  During the appointment, I happened to have a contraction - not one I could notice, but one that showed up as rather large on their fancy monitoring strip.  I didn't think twice about it since you can have practice contractions for several weeks leading up to the big day and I had hardly felt it - I would know if I were in labor.

Still, the nurses decided to keep me a bit longer to make sure all was okay.  I called Stefan (who was picking up his bib to run the San Francisco marathon that Sunday) and told him: "I'll be home in an hour." 

An hour later, however, I was having regular contractions at perfectly timed intervals and was 4cm dilated.  The doctor came in to tell me this little babe was en route and we better get preparations under way.
I called Stefan back: "You may want to come here.  I think it's go time."

He arrived in record time and we let the excitement of the impending change of plans set in. 

strong, regular contractions on the left
baby's heartbeat on the right

We asked the doctor to do one last check to make sure she was still breech (she was), and then they began the preparations to send us into the operating room.

At around 12:30am, it was finally time to meet our baby girl!  Even though I felt great and wasn't in any pain during contractions, since I was technically in active labor and they didn't want to hurry a breech baby up, they had me ride up to the OR via wheelchair.  I was so giddy I could hardly sit still!

Things went quickly from there - I'll spare you the details for those with an uneasy stomach, but the whole thing was not nearly as scary as I had imagined and the extreme excitement of seeing Samantha for the very first time kept my mind off of what was actually happening behind the little curtain.  (Stefan, however, watched every second of the whole thing like a champ and fulfilled my desire for a play-by-play when asked.)

At 1:20am, I heard her sweet, squeaky scream as the doctor held her up in the air for me to see.  She was pink and teeny and gorgeous - I was already completely in love.

Stefan then cut the umbilical cord...

...and the nurses got her wrapped up so she could come over and say hello.

After some kisses and hellos, Stefan then accompanied little Samantha to the nursery to get a bath, check her weight and length, and do some tests.  

6 lbs 14 oz!

Once they confirmed she was healthy and good-to-go, Stefan brought her back to meet me in the recovery room and we enjoyed some happy time as a family.  Even though it was close to 3am, we were so wired by all of the excitement, we couldn't imagine sleeping.  

Even though a C-section was not what I had originally wanted, the whole thing could not have been more perfect.  Not only did I get to experience going into labor (and calling Stefan unannounced to tell him the news!), I felt good knowing this was when Samantha was ready to come, as opposed to when we had scheduled her birth date for.  And the birth was just as exciting and exhilarating as I had imagined a natural birth (but perhaps a bit more efficient).

Needless to say, Stefan did not end up running the San Francisco marathon the next morning, but he assures me the reason was well worth it. :)


Monday, August 11, 2014

meet samantha!

In case you didn't hear the news already, Samantha Charlotte is here!

She arrived July 26th at 1:20am coming in at 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 inches.

We are totally smitten and cannot get enough of this girl.  

All the cliche things you hear about being a parent are totally, totally true.  The all-encompassing love you feel for this little being is almost over-powering!  I totally thought I'd be one of those super relaxed, nonchalant parents who is chill about everything, but I'm just like the rest of 'em: ordering all house guests to incessantly wash hands (and get vaccinated!), constantly worrying if she's eating enough, and getting up in the middle of the night just to check if she's still breathing.
(She always is.)

AND I'm in disbelief that she's 2 weeks old already!  It feels like it has been forever since we've known her but then at the same time, like just a second ago that we were meeting her for the first time.  

More details on her (very exciting) birth to come!