photos of baby matilda by jessica mahady

Before I really get into this series I wanted to share with you our journey to getting ready for Matilda. As a first time mom I was wracked with nerves. I remember panicking about the car seat and about nursing. I stalked my registry and felt completely mystified by it. Basically I worried about everything and knew virtually nothing. Sam and I did test runs of the stroller with a teddy bear. Pretty hilarious, really. I was the first of my tight-knit group of friends to have a baby and I only had one good friend at the time that was a mom. Of course I had my mom and other wonderful resources, but it had been a while for them. I haven't had a baby for three years now, so I get it. You forget!

We prepared as much as we could with both of us working full-time. I read all of the books (some of it was quite terrifying – on the book front, I'm a less is more kinda girl), watched all of the films (I just re-watched The Business of Being Born – powerful stuff), and questioned anyone and everyone who had ever had a child. None of that prepared me for those sleepless nights ahead and it sure as heck didn't prepare me for how much I would love that little bundle. My goal for this series is more about getting your home and loved ones all set before the beautiful baby chaos ensues. Read: organizing tips, meal planning, sibling prep, hospital bag packing, etc.

I've never blogged about Matilda's birth story before, so I thought I would share it now. What better time?
I ended up being induced the week of my due date. I was scheduled on September 18, 2008. Sam and I packed our bags and headed to Piedmont Hospital super early in the morning. I was incredibly anxious but relieved that I wouldn't be pregnant for much longer. I was extremely uncomfortable at this point, but feeling mixed about having an induction. It certainly wasn't a part of my "birth plan." Not that I had this rigid plan, it was just that I wanted a healthy baby and I did NOT want a c-section.

When we arrived they got me in a gown and hooked me up to an IV with antibiotics (maybe the worst part?) because I had tested positive for Strep B and got me started on the Pitocin. They checked me (miserable) and I was at about a 1. I was totally not ready to be giving birth but off we ran. I sat in the bed for hours, people came to see me, I was a happy camper with ZERO contractions. At around noon they finally decided to break my water to get things going. I was not expecting a gush of water that never really stopped. I thought it would be a light trickle? Well, that's when things got real. At this point I was attempting to have a natural child birth but I was totally unprepared (read: no classes or tools to cope with the pain). The contractions were so intense. It was hard to do anything other than clench my entire body. I attempted to sit on the "birthing ball" and holy crap that wasn't any better. This went on for hours. I kicked everyone (family + friends – everyone was so excited) out of the room and held on for dear life. At around seven I decided that I literally could not do it anymore. I was only at about a 3 and I was having a really hard time. I gave in and asked (begged) for an epidural.

I think I was more afraid of the epidural than natural child birth. I was terrified but at this point I wasn't trusting myself and my body was so closed up. I was afraid that if I didn't get the epidural that I would have to have a c-section. So, I went ahead and once that happened I was able to relax some and make some progress. Almost immediately I went from a 3 to a 7. I was given a catheter and then I was so much more comfortable that I called everyone back in, we put on Harry Potter, and then things get a little fuzzy (its been almost four years after all). I remember everyone leaving again so they could check me and I was at a nine and then suddenly I had the strongest desire to go to the bathroom. They called my doctor in and she was like, "It's go time." The nurses were incredible and so was Sam. With my legs straight in the air, with a nurse on one side and Sam on the other, I began to push. At this point I felt so hot. I developed a fever and then I was shaking almost uncontrollably. After an hour of pushing Sam told me he could see the top of Matilda's head. This was so encouraging for me because I knew I was close to meeting my daughter. With a few more pushes I felt her head break way and after that her tiny little body came right out. Matilda was born at 9:27 pm.

Sam and I were both in tears as we laid eyes on our much prayed for girl for the first time. I could not believe that I was finally laying eyes on this tiny creature that I had spent most of my life dreaming about. Now, here was was! She had the dearest little face and the most intense eyes which she locked with us immediately. Looking back so much of her personality was already there. She was intense, focused, so observant. All I wanted to do was kiss her and hold her. Finally! They put her on my chest and she immediately nursed. It was the most natural, wonderful thing. I couldn't believe I had been nervous about that. It was beautiful. The nurses cleaned her up and fended my family off until she was ready. Then everyone came in to meet her (we had quite the crowd). I was more proud than I've ever been and my friend Jessie always tells the story about how I was like, "That was the most intense experience of my life!" It surely was.

Next week marks the 12 week countdown to baby Graham and each week I'll focus on a few checklist items. Hope you'll join me and give me feedback. I'd love your input.

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  1. I'm so glad I found your blog! I just found out I'm pregnant with my first and both your healthy pregnancy and getting ready for baby series are really informative. Thanks so much!

  2. love this post. i'll never forget that day!

  3. beautifully told. i can't wait to follow along to meet the newest addition :)

  4. beautiful! I am so looking forward to these checklist items, I am on the 10 week count down!

  5. Crying.... :)

    Your story is very similar to mine (induction, epidural, thought I was more prepared than I was...).

    So very special! Number two will be so great!!

  6. Our stories are VERY similar -- I wasn't induced, but my water broke w/o any contractions, I had to have Pitocin, had no idea that Pitocin makes a natural birth nearly impossible (well, really, I knew nothing about natural birth in retrospect so I'm pretty sure a natural birth was going to be impossible anyways...). It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how things go this time around. I wish you were going before me, though :)

  7. Love the story of Matilda's birth !
    Hope you won't wait so long to tell us the birth story of baby n°2 ! (What's her name ? Maybe, you want to keep it secret until the delivery !) !
    Bisous de France. Isabelle

  8. I just found your blog and I am 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. The story of Matilda's birth made me cry. It was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Such a lovely story Lesley, thanks so much for sharing! 14 weeks left for me and counting, I'm definitely feeling the pressure to get studying up on the baby books again.

  10. so sweet, I love it. The bottom right picture of you and her, it looks just like her even now! she is a dolly!


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