Matilde Zadie Bright

Matilde Zadie Bright was born at 3:30 am on Monday May 30th. She weighed 5 pounds and 10 ounces and she was 19 and a quarter inches from head to toe.

Gwen and I were planning a homebirth, so when her water broke Friday afternoon, we called our midwife and started getting ready. Gwen had intermittent contractions throughout the night and the next day…and the next night… and despite a whole lot of different approaches, by Sunday afternoon her labor was still intermittent and we decided it was time for some pharmacological assistance in order to get things more active. We went over to the hospital with our midwife and our doula, got checked in and set up and Gwen started receiving Pitocin in order to stimulate active labor around 6pm.

That was just the push we needed and her contractions strengthened and lengthened and Gwen labored all evening until 3:30am, when she pushed Matilde out. Aside from the Pitocin to get things going and Penicillin to ward off any potential infections (by the time we got to the hospital, her water had been broken for almost 48 hours), Gwen did the whole thing without major medical intervention, which she’s (deservedly) very proud of.

Matilde’s small size (despite being full-term) might have been a cause for concern but she came out loud and strong and got herself latched, nursing and making intense eye-contact with her mom within just a couple minutes. (One of Gwen’s midwife friends had a baby almost the same size and calls them “tiny-mighty.”) Her instant vigor is likely at least partially attributable to Gwen’s insistence on keeping narcotics out of the picture.

It took another day and a half to get out of the hospital as they wanted to poke and prod and double-check everything, but we’ve been home now since Tuesday and have started to get our feet underneath us again, albeit in a drastically altered sense. We’ve got a ton of great friends here in Charlottesville as well as Gwen’s mother just up the road in Fredericksburg, so we’re very well taken care of. My dad and brother are coming to visit for my birthday in a few weeks and we’ve got pictures of my mom in every room.

We didn’t know Matilde was a name that had been in the family when we thought of it, but when I was visiting mom in December and asking about the family tree, she showed me her baby book and we found that her father’s mother’s mother was a Mathilde Hirschbuehl. That definitely pushed us in the direction of the name. So that Mathilde is this Matilde’s great-great-great-grandmother. Zadie is a Hebrew term for a beloved grandparent and we like the idea of encouraging her to aspire to be a good ancestor. Bright is a combination of our four family names: Brown, Leist, Roberts and Tata.

It’s been quite a year and only looks to be more and more amazing.