As far as besotted new dads go, radio star Sam Wallace is about as smitten as they come. Since the arrival of his adorable boy Brando 10 weeks ago, he admits he's struggled to talk or think about anything else.
"I'm absolutely obsessed," he laughs, as he welcomes us into the Auckland home he shares with partner Sarah Bowman.
"Every morning on the way to The Hits, I have to give myself a bit of a talking to about not being boring about parenting on air. Brando is literally the only thing I want to talk about."
Born just three days after Christmas, Sam and Sarah's adorable little boy is the best present they could have wished for. His safe arrival was especially poignant given they sadly lost a baby a year earlier, when Sarah was 17 weeks pregnant.
"It makes this even more brilliant," Sam smiles. "We never fully relaxed throughout the whole pregnancy because we were scared it was going to happen again. And every time we went for a scan, we were worried they were going to find something wrong. So for him to arrive and in such perfect health was amazing."
Fitness fanatic Sarah, who works in advertising, had a problem-free pregnancy and was looking forward to a natural birth at North Shore Hospital, just two minutes down the road from their home. But when she went into labour on December 27, things didn't go quite as smoothly as they'd hoped.
"After 18 hours of brutal contractions, the specialist decided it would be best to have a Caesarean," she explains. "I was getting tired and I wasn't progressing and, to be honest, I felt relieved. The only thing that mattered was that the baby was safe and healthy."
As she tells us about how supportive Sam, 37, was during labour, he whips out his phone to show a video of him sharing her gas and air pain relief. "We had lots of laughs together," recalls Sarah, 36.
"It was actually quite fun – we were so excited that our baby was finally coming."
But Sam admits that he didn't cope quite so well in the operating theatre. "After the first incision was made I suddenly realised I didn't have any oxygen or food inside me, so I zombie-walked over to a nurse who caught me as I fainted!"
A quick barley sugar later, Sam was upright again – just in time to see his long-legged, dark-haired little boy enter the world.
"We had a list of about 30 names, but we wanted to see him and get to know him before choosing," explains Sam. "We liked Brando because it's strong and different but not too quirky."
The couple, who have been together seven years, are refreshingly candid when it comes to the reality of learning the ropes with a newborn.
After about six weeks of battling alone with an unsettled baby who only liked to sleep on his mum or dad's chest, they finally called in some expert help in the form of Karitane nurse Kate Sommer. "She saved us!"
They also had advice on tap from Sam's radio co-host Toni Street, who as an experienced mum-of-three has been an invaluable support.
"She came to visit the first week we got home and Brando was screaming. She was like, 'Right, where's a dummy?' and shoved it in! And her husband Matt taught us how to swaddle him properly."
While it's not easy being up in the night, then heading to work at 4am, Sam says listeners have been forgiving during his most exhausted mornings on air.
"The thing with The Hits listeners is that most of them are going through a similar stage of life, so they understand if I'm not making much sense," he laughs.
While he's enjoying being back at work after a couple of weeks at home with Brando, Sam tells us he loves this new, slower pace of life.
"The other day, we drove to the beach and just sat under a tree looking out over the water for a few hours. Usually I'd be out doing stuff all the time, so it's been awesome to stop and appreciate the little things in life."
And Sam, who just can't wait to introduce his little boy to his love of motorbikes and off-road adventures, says there's no doubt they'll add to their family again.
"We'd agreed on two kids, but Brando's so awesome I've decided to push that out to four or five!"
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