Saturday, March 31, 2012

Enjoy your weekend!

My lovelies, do you have big plans this weekend? Perhaps a little spring cleaning? This weekend is a pollen storm here in Switzerland, so I'm spending all day Sunday allergy-proofing our bedroom while J is up skiing. Do you have allergies? If not, you have no idea what I'm talking about! ;)

A few things that caught my eye this past week:

This would make a lovely Mother's Day gift.

Sturdy, attractive tumblers.

For the birds.

This will be good for our little girl.

Heading to this market for flowers Tuesday.

And I just can't resist signing off with a few pictures of my sweetie lifting her head during tummy time and sitting all by herself!

I hope your weekend is fantastic! See you back here on Monday. xoLindsey


Friday, March 30, 2012

Did you change your name when you got married?

When J and I got married, I decided to keep my maiden name. All throughout my teenage years, I thought I would change my last name when I got married. Naturally, when I had a crush on a boy, I would daydream and write my name with his last name in the margins of my notebook. But then, when the reality of changing my name came along, I couldn't do it. It seemed very strange to suddenly have another name, almost like I would become someone else! In addition, the historical notion that a woman became a man's property through marriage turned me off of the idea, so in the end, I kept my maiden name. Married to J, but still me.
In Switzerland, it is rather uncommon for a woman to keep her maiden name. That meant it was a bit confusing when we opened our bank account. Registering with the city and various authorities was also perplexing. Just last week, when I came back into the country with Coco after being in the US, it made customs a little confusing and they had to ask me if Coco is my daughter. I don't blame them. After all, we do have different last names!

Did you change your name, or will you? Did you change it right away? For the first year and a half of our marriage, I was really happy with my choice to keep my maiden name. But over the past year and a half, I'm thinking I'd like to change my name after all. Is that completely ridiculous?! Please weigh in on this one. I would love to hear what you think!


{photo by amy sinisterra}

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our Birth Story

I can hardly believe that Coco is six months old today, but it's true! So it's about time I shared our birth story.

I went into labor the morning of September 28th. I woke up with a familiar feeling. It was exactly like the first day of my period. Exactly! I was having mild contractions every six to ten minutes. They felt exactly like temporary menstrual cramps and I didn't find them painful. I had a doctor's appointment anyway, so I  headed her way on the tram. I felt peaceful and calm like I was wrapped in a big piece of gauze. I didn't like being around other people so I sat in a secluded seat on the trams and bus. But by the time I arrived in my doctor's office, the contractions had stopped.

Dr. Manneh did an exam and told me that I was dilated to one centimeter. Then she did a stretch and sweep, which really hurt! She followed that up with a quick ultrasound which revealed that my placenta had called it quits and was developing calcium deposits, and that the amniotic fluid levels were low. Prognosis: the baby had to be born by the evening of October 1st.

Looking back, I should have just gone about my life in a relaxed state, because four days is a long time and the labor probably would have progressed just fine on its own. But, I had read too many books and was convinced that the entire healthcare institution was out to ruin my birth experience through induction, intervention and caesarean section, so I went into a bit of a tizzy and started doing everything I could to get things moving along. I took an hour long walk, then I met J and we went for lunch where I ate spicy food. After that we had sex, took a long nap and topped the day off with a brisk 11- mile hike. Yes. Eleven miles at a vigorous pace up a steep hill at 40 weeks, 4 days pregnant!

I think I managed to get two hours of sleep before the contractions became really strong. I labored on my own for a little while. Then I called my mom for a bit. Finally, at 3 am when the contractions were 5 minutes apart and so strong I couldn't talk during them, I called Nicole, our doula, to come over. She stayed with me and we let J sleep until about 7. All throughout I was moving around, pretty upbeat and coping well. After J woke up and the sun came out, I was getting tired. I took a shower and managed through all of the contractions on my own thanks to the best labor tip I had: blowing raspberries. I felt like a horse, but it worked! They were coming quite close together by this point. I got dressed and Nicole blew my hair dry for me. Then the contractions seemed to be right on top of each other with only a minute in between. I started crying. Labor was so much more painful than I ever imagined it would be. Let me say that again: Labor was so much more painful than I ever imagined it would be. It was all lower back labor. I could feel nothing in the front at all, but in my lower back was the worst agony I've ever experienced. Nicole called and spoke with the midwives at the hospital. She was sure I was going into transition. I knew I wasn't. In fact, I was pretty sure it wasn't even working, but I was no longer comfortable. I was afraid of the pain and I wanted to go to the hospital. So we went.
After we checked in, the midwife did an internal exam and I was only at 2 centimeters. I would have cried, but I was way too exhausted for that. She hooked me up to the monitor and said that the contractions were good and strong and that we wanted three like that in every ten minute period. I was so disheartened. Somehow I knew it wasn't progressing or working properly. 

After six more hours of labor, the midwife finally called the doctor in. I was still at 2 centimeters and there was something about the positioning of the baby that wasn't quite right. 

"We're going nowhere" I whispered to her when she arrived. I was so exhausted I could barely talk. As they whisked me out of the bath and into another room for an ultrasound, I saw the elevator I had arrived in. I actually thought to myself for that brief moment that I didn't need a baby anymore, that I could just go home and go to bed!  

The ultrasound showed that the baby was stuck in the birth canal and coming down ear first. This meant that the head was not in contact with the cervix. Every. Single. Contraction had been wasted. I thought the doctor would surely say I had to have a caesarean and at that point, and I would have said, "Yes! This must end!"

But she didn't.

She said we had a new plan: an epidural, Oxytocin and Buscopan. "Yes!" I practically shouted and I was off down the hall to the birthing room for my epidural. J and Nicole had to leave the room for the epidural. It was just me, the anesthesiologist, her assistant and the midwife. It was not easy to stay still during the epidural insertion, even with the drugs they had given me to slow the contractions. The assistant and midwife were amazing and held my hands while they helped me through it. Soon it was in, and working, and I have never, ever in my 32 years experienced relief like that. Thank God for that epidural!

Dr. Manneh explained that I would sleep on my right side for 20 minutes, then my left side for 20 minutes and so on to see if we could get the baby to straighten out. Just before she left me to sleep, she held my hand and said, "Be optimistic." I felt so defeated, but something about the way she said it, I found a little ounce of strength left somewhere inside of myself. I took it to heart and promptly fell asleep. It was absolute heaven.
Soon the midwife checked me and smiled and told me the baby had straightened out and was in position! She helped rotate me to the other side and the next time she checked me she saw that my water had broken and I was ready to start pushing. It was hard to believe.

I pushed for about 40 minutes. Dr. Manneh held one leg, Nicole the other. J held my hand and helped me lean into the pushes during contractions. Between contractions, I breathed. Slowly. Deeply. Sending as much oxygen and love as I could to my baby as it wiggled and squirmed and made its way down the birth canal. We were all intensely focused. And so filled with joy! When the head crowned, I got to reach down and feel it. There was so much hair and it was all a bit surreal. When the head was half way born, I could see it just sticking out with the bones all overlapped. It was so sci-fi! Once the head was out, we waited for the next contraction. I was really in a pushing groove and it was almost a surprise when voila! The baby was born and right there in front of me. Oh what a relief! It was 10:21pm September 29th.

The midwife began to wipe the baby clean and Dr. Manneh said gently, "Nein. Auf die Mama," and she placed the sweetest little bundle of joy right on my chest. I could see the baby's little tongue vibrating wildly inside that darling, tiny, crying-so-loudly mouth! Ooohhhhh!
Talk about pure magic. I've never experienced anything like it in my life. Tiny nose, tiny fingers, tiny ears, all so sweet and complete, just like that. I looked at Dr. Manneh, finally, and asked, "Well is it a girl or a boy?!" She just said, "Look!" 

I lifted up the slimy umbilical cord and was blown away to see it was a girl! I had wanted a girl so badly all throughout the pregnancy. I'm glad we waited to find out because it honestly took the full nine months for me to finally be happy with the idea of a boy. I know I would have been just as happy to have a baby boy. But, there she was, my baby girl! 
I didn't shed one tear and neither did J. The only way I can explain it is that we were beyond tears, in a state of total euphoria. Nothing could be so awesome as giving birth and meeting that tiny person for the first time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fancy Treats

We were in the mood for a fancy treat after an afternoon of walking all through the city, so we stopped into Vollenweider Chocolatier Confiseur on the way home this evening. Vollenweider's single portions desserts are like edible works of art. We had some nice wine with dinner and then dug into these for dessert. Aren't they beautiful?

I'm really enjoying my new DSLR camera, but sadly the import didn't go very well this evening and almost all of my photos were lost. Tragic! Does anyone know a good recovery tool for Mac? (And how to use it?) I'm hopeful that I'll get my photos back. Fingers firmly crossed.

It feels like just yesterday, but tomorrow our darling Coco is six months old! In honor of half a year passing since her birth, I'll be posting our birth story tomorrow. I truly cannot wait to share it with you.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, J!

Today I wish a very happy birthday to my darling, beloved husband who always seeks out the best walks and adventures, whether in our own neighborhood or abroad.
He has an eye for beauty and takes really wonderful photos.
He knows how to kick back and have a good time.
He's a wonderfully patient, loving and adored father.
Naturally, I love him more with each passing year! This afternoon we are going on a nice long walk in the hills and vineyards above our neighborhood. Then we are having dinner at the neighbors'. They're going to France today and bringing back duck confit to celebrate the birthday boy. It will be delightfully fancy (of course they'll say it's nothing ;) and such a treat to have a decadent dinner waiting after our jaunty spring walk. Happy birthday, darling! I love you.

Zurich: Galerie Bruno Bischofberger

Last weekend we went to see the current installation at the Galerie Bruno Bischofberger of paintings by Vladimir Shinkarev, a Russian painter born in 1954. His work is captivating because of the muted detail in the faces and the saturation of color. Each of the canvases appears unfinished. In this work, entitled New Epoch, he's taken classical paintings and recreated them in his own watercolor-like dreamy style.

The Watteau (bottom) was definitely my favorite. If you're in Zurich, you should absolutely go check it out. They are paintings better viewed in person (like most paintings ;) and I enjoyed standing and look at each one for a long time. 

In case you didn't know, Bruno Bischofberger is an icon in the art world. He brought Pop Art to Europe in the 60s and rumor has it that he had first rights to Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat's work! For that reason alone, his gallery is always worth stopping into. ;)

{photos from here} 

What the dojo?!

J did some "performance art" with Coco today. His material is very unique and he puts on a good performance, but let's face it, she definitely steals the show!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Yellow Skinny Jeans

You can't go five minutes without seeing colorful jeans this season. So let me warn you in advance. If you haven't bought a pair already, once you pop (a little color, that is), you just can't stop! I now have four (!) pairs of brightly colored skinny jeans: blue, pink, green and yellow. Yesterday, in honor of the gorgeous, sunny weather we're having here in Zurich, I busted out the yellow skinnies for the first time. Delightful!


Would you believe I got these yellow skinnies at Old Navy?! They were on sale for a mere $25. Hurrah! To get this laid-back nautical look, I paired them with a bold stripe Loft shirt, one of my favorite J.Crew cardigans from a few years back and Minnetonka moccasins. My sunglasses are kate spade. 

Would you wear yellow skinny jeans? What spring trends are you leaning toward this year?


Friday, March 23, 2012

Home at last. (And the tale of the wine explosion at 40,000 feet!)

Sweet readers, have you ever been away from home (with your baby!) for five and a half weeks? I can tell you, that upon arriving home yesterday afternoon, it felt positively weird. It reminded me of walking in the door after having given birth and stayed in the hospital for nearly a full week. Following the transformative, life changing event of giving birth and the hospital stay avec bébé, our apartment felt surreal; like a mirage somehow, as if I weren't actually there. Yesterday afternoon it was the same way. I marveled at how familiar everything was, touched things to be sure they were real, admired the furniture and coziness of it all. It's difficult to describe. It felt like I was somehow in a home of mine that had disappeared, or gone to the moon, and then suddenly come back again. Thankfully that limbo feeling went away after a few hours. Then it was perfectly comfortable to be back in my own space with my own routines: J made me a delicious dinner, Coco went to bed at 8:30 (perfect) and then I went upstairs to see the neighbors and went to bed at 10:30 (perfect again ;).

This morning Coco and I woke up at 8:15 to sun streaming in the windows!
She let me know she was ready for her nap at 10:30 on the dot - no jet lag?! Fingers crossed on that one. ;)
Then I set about rescuing my new J.Crew shirt that suffered a wine explosion on the plane! Yes, that's right. A wine explosion. It turns out that those plastic cups on the plane are quite brittle. So a little squeeze meant that my cup broke apart and wine went everywhere. Everywhere! All over my shirt, drenched my tray and completely sprayed the face of the man sitting next to me. Horror! Thank goodness Coco and I were seated next to the two most wonderful, fathers themselves, sweet as can be Irishmen of all time, Alan and Simon. They held Coco throughout the flight, bounced her, walked around the plane with her while I ate my dinner (that was Simon - no joke!) and were sympathetic and helpful the entire time. Swoon! I've always loved the Irish, but those two strengthened my love, admiration and devotion to that culture even more. Alan wasn't the least bit ruffled by the wine explosion. He just wiped his face with his napkin and said, "Well it happens, you know?" Yes, Alan, I do know. And I can't thank you enough for knowing. Bless him! Bless them both!

Here is my shirt pre-Vanish soak. Uh-oh! Can I just say that I'm so glad I had extra clothes for myself and Coco? We used them all!
Immediately after dunking the shirt in the Vanish, the wine stains turned blue and very quickly started to fade to a greenish hue.
Fifteen minutes later, nothing! 
I heart Vanish. Not to be completely dramatic, but honestly, it's a miracle! Do you remember the days before oxygen bleach? You had to salt the red wine stain immediately, soak it for days, wash it in cold, hope and pray, dance for the stain gods and it still always stained for good. Not anymore. So totally rad if you ask me. :)

This afternoon we are having chicken wraps with N upstairs, heading down to the lakeside for a walk with the kiddos and bringing a blanket so we can all soak up some sun on the grass. Then when J gets home, it will be another walk outside. I'm so grateful that spring has sprung! At the same time, I'm filled with dread seeing all this sun and praying that my allergies won't be half as miserable as they were last year. Oof!

What are your favorite spring activities? Or if you have them, drug-free, breastfeeding-friendly allergy survival tips? ;) Happy spring!

{top photos taken with Instagram}

Friday, March 9, 2012

Swimsuit Shopping Postpartum


What size swimsuit do you order when your bust measures a medium, your waist a LARGE (!) and your hips a small?!

I had no idea, either. So I called J.Crew and those folks are just so darn helpful. The guy I spoke with actually took down my measurements, put me on hold and went to discuss the swimsuits I wanted with a stylist to get the best fit. Amazing!

We are so lucky to live just five minutes from the nicest badi in the city. I can't wait to dive in and swim out the buoys. I feel confident and slim despite the post-baby body thanks to my fun retro suit.

Here are some others that would be good, too.


Do you like to swim? Sunbathe? What do you look for in a swimsuit? 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Tears!

This was too good not to re-post. I couldn't help but cry a few happy tears while watching it. Actually, I teared up not once, but both times I watched it! I'm known to do that. ;)



Thank you to Nat for sharing. I agree that we will definitely be buying a Johnson's Baby product (or two) before shipping back to Switzerland. Any recommendations?
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