Introducing Kingston Levy Vigneron!
Chef Marcel Vigneron and his wife Lauren Rae Levy Vigneron are sharing the meaningful name and first photos of their new baby boy — who was born via cesarean section at 1:24 p.m. on Dec. 9, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles — with PEOPLE.
"Kingston was a name we both just loved," Lauren tells PEOPLE of her and the Top Chef alum's inspiration behind their son's moniker, which they chose from a "top eight" list the couple created before Kingston was born. "We wanted something unique and strong that would flow with Levy Vigneron. As I am the only 'Levy,' I wanted to carry the name on for my father, and Marcel was happy to honor that."
"So we knew Levy Vigneron would be the middle/last name, and that we were ideally looking for something with one or two syllables to flow with it, since Vigneron is a long last name," the entrepreneur continues.
They didn't name their baby boy until they met him, though — or even right afterward, as "the day that he was born, I was so delirious from surgery that we waited till the following day to spend time with him and see which name truly suited him, that we both loved equally," Lauren explains.
"When we added the name Kingston to our list, I was hesitant to give someone in our home other than my husband the title of 'King,' " she says. "Then I thought about it and realized that from day one, Marcel has called me his 'Empress.' I realized that if I was his empress, it would make him the emperor, which is above king, making him the leading man in our home."
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Kingston's c-section delivery — a "physically challenging" experience from which Lauren has been recovering at an "extremely slow" pace — at 39 weeks and 1 day came as the baby was breech. The delivery physician, Dr. Steve Rad, treated Lauren throughout her pregnancy at the couple's home in Malibu, California, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"While in surgery, I had Marcel play Dear Evan Hansen (the musical) to relax me," she tells PEOPLE. "Kingston was actually born to Ben Platt singing the lyric 'I love you.' It was truly magical."
Lauren has been breastfeeding her newborn "every 3 hours — which, after 30-plus minutes of feeding with burping and changing in the mix, leaves about 2 hours to sleep between feedings, and it has been really difficult to adjust to."
"Nonetheless, I'm beyond grateful to be producing so much milk to provide for our little one. Whenever it's time to feed, I ask him if he's ready to hit the milk bar!" she jokes. "By the time he's done, he is so milk drunk; it's beyond adorable. Marcel loves to play with his feet and little toes while I feed him. It's super sweet."
And Kingston "has truly been an angel" baby, Lauren says: "He feeds like a champ; he's super happy and mellow. He sleeps well between feedings, which I'm super grateful for. He really only cries when he's naked on the changing table and the baby wipes feel cool to his skin."
Going through pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood during the coronavirus crisis has "affected [my journey in both positive and negative ways," Lauren says, explaining that "the negative was being without friends and family through my pregnancy."
"The positive side of being pregnant during a pandemic was that I wasn't running around like I usually would have been," she continues. "Also, the baby heard my voice and his daddy's through the whole pregnancy without hearing lots of others in the mix because we weren't out and about."
"I think I was also calmer being home and having all that extra time to speak and sing to my belly, which may be why he's so chill!" Lauren tells PEOPLE. "I found myself singing 'Rainbow Connection' to him throughout the third trimester and since he's been born, when I sing it to him, he falls fast asleep."
Lauren didn't see her own parents, who are now staying in a Malibu rental for two months to help out with the baby, during her pregnancy until two days before giving birth.
"Even though it was socially distanced and with masks, as they had to wait for COVID-19 testing after flying, having them finally see me in person with a big belly was a dream come true and very emotional," she says.
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"Because of quarantine, not many people have met our little one," Lauren continues, adding of whom Kingston resembles, "The few who have and whom we've shared his pictures with have given us mixed replies. I think he has Marcel's nose. Marcel thinks he has my lips. We both had big blue eyes as babies, and we both have always had a ton of dark hair. Mine hair is naturally black … so it's hard to tell right now."
"We're excited to see him grow, and for his features to evolve. Right now. he's just so freakin' adorable and such a blessing — we love every inch of him," she raves.
Lauren is also reflecting on both losing her dog Hadley and suffering a missed miscarriage in 2019, the same week Kingston, their "rainbow baby," was born this year — and how thankful she is to have her son.
"I think I cry once a day while looking at him because I am just that grateful," she tells PEOPLE. "I'm sure it's partially due to hormones, but I've never felt so blessed in my entire life."
"I prayed for years that I would get my happily ever after, and it's here," Lauren continues. "The most incredible husband whom I am madly in love with and a healthy, happy baby that is half of him and half of me. Add our husky Blue in the mix and we literally have the family of my dreams. I have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself this is now my reality."
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