The Waiting Game - Welcome, Baby Girl!

LIFE! You can’t control a thing. I wrote the post below exactly one day before my water broke at 2am and we rushed to Mount Sinai for an emergency C-section, thanks to breech position and a few other things. We had just gone to the doctor that day, and they said they were likely going to push out our October 25 C-section for November 7 or 8th, much closer to her due date. HA!!!

I’m still going to post it - and I will also say, welcome to the world sweet Sophie Lyons, four weeks early!

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A note to my baby girl:

Who are you? Who will you be? Will you have hair? Will you have Alex’s smile, like I’m convinced you will from the ultrasound photos? I feel you kick (you love Lady GaGa!) and I waver between desperately wanting to meet you (and honestly…wanting my body to be my own again) and being close to tears because I know you’ll never be this close to me again.

I feel like I’ve experienced the gestational period of an elephant (95 weeks), and yet it’s all a rush at the end. I was so sick at the beginning – until 18 weeks! – and could handle eating only white rice with butter and salt, Bagel Bites, and these egg sandwiches. At least I ate a lot of kale until the nausea set in, and then tried to make up for it when I felt better. Maybe you’ll love sardines and anchovies like I do.

You’re not here yet, but I think these “firsts” are worth noting, especially for you, a baby born in New York City:

Your first opera – Tosca

 Tosca

Tosca

Your first Broadway musical - Hello, Dolly

Your first museum - The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 19 weeks (plus lunch at E.A.T. where you later had a surprise baby shower in September!)

Your first domestic flight - EWR to Austin so I could speak at SXSW in March (you were a tiny bundle of cells at this point, and I wasn’t sick yet!)

Your first international flight - JFK to Istanbul (but you also flew to Switzerland, your other home country, three times)

I took you out to Via Carota for lunch when I finally started to feel better. Your hands are always stretched above your head in ultrasound photos, like I often sleep at night. Your dad speaks Swiss German to you already. Sometimes I get nervous about raising a kid with roots in two countries - all I wanted was a real home growing up and I am determined to give that to you. I don’t want you to ever feel torn between two places, but rather, so lucky that you get to feel at home in Switzerland and the U.S.

 A lunch date when I started feeling better.

A lunch date when I started feeling better.

I dreamed of having October to take long walks around New York, nesting and waiting for you, but the first half of October felt like the hottest days in July (I’m so grumpy when it’s hot and humid), and it turns out, we had to schedule having you on October 25th! Also, thanks to oligohydramnios and your breech position…I have to drink more water than I ever have, and find a bathroom every ten minutes, which makes those long walks slightly more challenging.

I’ve packed my freezer with food. I’ve washed all the baby clothes I can and the sheets. How lucky we are and how lucky you are to be born into a home where you will be loved and clothed and fed. My empathy for those who struggle with this has increased exponentially.

It still feels like the strangest moment in time ever - where everything feels normal, and yet nothing is normal. I’ve never spent this much continuous time in New York City since moving here. And it finally, finally feels like we have slowed down, to wait for you, to get ready for you, to think about you before you come into this beautiful, crazy, heartbreaking world.

You are loved, sweet baby girl. And we can’t wait to meet you.

Surprise Showers

Does anyone else have trouble celebrating? I would never have agreed to a shower, but I’m so grateful to Devon Fredericks and Christina Riggio for hosting a surprise baby/wedding shower at E.A.T. on Madison Avenue and to the Virtuoso content team for a surprise shower (and amazing magazine cover) in Las Vegas at the Bellagio. It was so special to take time and celebrate this baby, when the world moves a million miles an hour.

Wedding

We hosted our wedding at the spectacular Park Hotel Vitznau. I didn’t realize how important it would be for me/us to get up there and say things in front of family and friends. Lifetime memories. Magic. Not seeing everyone enough because there’s no time and we planned the whole thing ourselves. A brief moment in time where everyone was in the same place, and it will never happen again. My heart just bursts thinking about everyone who took time, found childcare or brought their kids, spent money, and made the trek to this beautiful tiny village in Switzerland to celebrate us…and our baby girl, too.

Ordinary, Extraordinary New York City

Our apartment is slowly starting to fill with more STUFF than ever. Two cribs (regular and travel), a co-sleeper, a stroller that I wish I could just push around without a baby because I love it so much, clothes, baby books, accessories…and there is still so much more to come. But I’m also more allergic to stuff than ever, especially given that we live in a lovely but small Brooklyn apartment. (I still order way too many shoes.) It somehow still doesn’t even seem real that we’re having a baby. I feel her kick all the time, and hear her heartbeat, and we have one final scan next week, but…still doesn’t feel real. I am told this is normal.

I feel like I need to take advantage of every New York City moment before she gets here (and then I get to show her around!). We had this sort of ordinary weekend in NYC, a moment of calm before the chaos of the wedding next week and the baby. But, like most days in NYC, they still somehow feel really special.

I started out the weekend wedding dress shopping on the Upper East Side, and walking all the way down to the East Village to meet Alex. Because I will not be my skinniest ever on my wedding day, we went to Danny Meyer’s fast-casual pizza place, Martina, and then went to ChikaLicious Dessert Bar a couple blocks away. I have literally wanted to come here for ten years and it’s so worth it. The owner, Chika, is a former Wall Street banker, and she works with such grace and precision on these insanely delicious but light and airy desserts. There’s champagne with raspberry ice cubes, wine, coffee, and a general jazzy, fresh vibe. It’s been open since 2003, and now they have outposts all over Asia. But it still feels so perfectly New York. And get the “cheese cake” - it’s always on the menu, and it’s the perfect creamy, sweet, and tart balance.

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On Sunday, we met friends on the Upper West Side for a very early breakfast (their tradition that we crash every few months, at Cafe 82 on Broadway), and walked down to Meatpacking to check out the massive new Restoration Hardware complex in the old Pastis space. (I miss Pastis, the French fries, and the French-y vibe.) It’s impressive, with a ladies-who-lunch-feeling fifth-floor restaurant, a little coffee shop on the third floor, and huge pieces of furniture, all in shades of “fog” or “sand.” This isn’t where you come for bursts of color.

On the way down, we walked the entire High Line, from 34th and 12th Ave. Trudging through the rain, it was like watching an entire city transform, as Hudson Yards becomes built up with gleaming apartment buildings and offices above the train tracks, and installations like “The Vessel” come to life. Of course, there will also be a massive shopping complex, including NYC’s first Neiman Marcus. Where so much of New York feels crumbling and in need of repair, this part feels alive and new. And soon we were in Chelsea and Meatpacking, familiar old neighborhoods.

I hope for a few more weekends like this before baby girl arrives. (We can’t wait.)







In Praise of the Egg Sandwich (but not MORNING SICKNESS)

We just spent almost three weeks in Switzerland, a country I love and have now visited nearly 30 times. I always miss NYC immediately, until we get back and I remember how awful the subways are, and how nothing works, and the entire city is turning into a Duane Reade. But it's still magic. And one of my greatest loves is the egg sandwich.

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I'm now 26 weeks pregnant, but the first four months were awful. Not only did I have terrible morning sickness until 18 weeks (THANKS A LOT, everyone who promised it would end at 12 weeks), but I had a stress fracture in my ankle, and was on crutches and a boot for six weeks. I went to Istanbul and Cappadocia for work, and could barely choke down white rice on most days. Of course, I love her (her!) already. We want her (desperately). But walking around in a jetlagged, puking, hazy, half-of-myself state was not fun.

HOWEVER, something that I was always able to eat in NYC was the egg sandwich.

Every deli has their version, but my favorite has always been from Lassen & Hennigs on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. Plain toasted roll (you might like a sesame seed roll, I don't), scrambled eggs, one slice of cheese (they normally put two on - personal preference), salt and pepper (must request!). It's the holy grail of simple egg sandwiches, the best ratio of egg/cheese/roll (unlike a bagel - too much dough).

Get yourself an egg sandwich, eat it on the Brooklyn Promenade with that killer view over lower Manhattan, and know you're experiencing one of New York's best (and cheapest) morning thrills.

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