There is myself, my husband and our 3.5-month-old baby Matilda. We also have two fur-children;
our cat Basil and our dog Mila. My husband and I are NZ Pakeha. Basil is a Tabby and Mila is a
Siberian Husky x Golden Retriever (not that you really meant to ask for their ethnicities).
We’re an active family; we love to climb mountains with our dog and post about it on her Instagram
page. Yes, our dog is more popular than we are! We hope to take Matilda along on our adventures
going forward and explore our beautiful country.
Journey to conceiving and pregnancy
Our journey to conceive was very quick and we are incredibly grateful for this. We got pregnant in
our first month of trying.
Our biggest challenge was probably my own fear of judgement and insecurity around how other
people see me as a mother. We always knew we wanted children and it was always in our plan, but
I’m not outwardly maternal, and have never felt comfortable around other babies and children.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a self-confessed crazy fur-Mum and I knew full well the love would be even
greater for my own children. But I had this overwhelming fear that people wouldn’t think I was good
enough. So my mental journey to deciding it was time to try, was a tough one.
How was your pregnancy?
Most of my pregnancy was straight forward. I had a bit of nausea and food aversion in the first
trimester, and extreme tiredness. But after around 14 weeks, that went away. The second trimester was pretty good – I certainly don’t think I can complain. My favourite thing was feeling her move and kick. I started feeling movements very early, around 16 weeks. They gradually got stronger and stronger until late in the second trimester when it looked like she was doing huge somersaults inside! I was able to continue running up until 32 weeks pregnant (I was a runner before pregnancy). Which certainly wasn’t comfortable, but I was determined to keep it up for as long as I could. My midwife was very encouraging and believed it would serve me well in labour. At 34 weeks we had a growth scan as I was measuring small for dates. The measurements came back ok, and our midwife was satisfied baby was growing fine. Over the weeks that followed, I was pressured a lot about my size (or lack thereof) by family. We got referred for a reassurance growth scan at 38 weeks. It was good that we did as baby had fallen into the 7th percentile on my growth chart. It was decided we would induces at 39 weeks, 4 days.
Did you find out the gender of your children?
We found out at 19 weeks we were expecting a wee girl! A very active wee girl at that.
Did you practice hypnobirthing, read books, use apps or use a pregnancy journal?
We didn’t do any hypnobirthing courses but did attend antenatal classes with Plunket and read a lot
online. We used the Pregnancy+ app right through which was great. It told us what size fruit or
vegetable the baby was from week to week and had interesting articles to read through.
We had a growth scan at 38 weeks that showed that baby’s growth had dropped to around the 7th
percentile. Our midwife referred us to the obstetrician with our preference to be induced. We had
an induction date set for 39 weeks, 4 days. But I started having contractions spontaneously on the Thursday evening around 9pm (at 39 weeks,1 day). Little did I know this was the start of my 64-hour labour! I stayed in contact with my midwife on the Friday and Saturday as I continued having regular contractions, but they never got as close as the 3 in 10 minutes that they say you need. I had a lot of back pain throughout, and we thought baby could be posterior (spoiler, she wasn’t). Despite the back pain, I kept telling myself it was just baby’s position, and I was probably in early labour, not to bother getting checked. Come Saturday afternoon I was running off no sleep, demoralized and convinced I wasn’t progressing. I was living on heat packs, in quite a bit of pain, but managing/internalizing it well. We went kerb walking the Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t stomach dinner and I continued to labour hard the whole night. Around 5am Sunday morning, I lost it. Looking back, I was probably in transition… I woke my
husband up in tears (after I made him sleep) saying I couldn’t do it anymore and asked him to ring
our midwife. If nothing else, I wanted to know if they could bring our induction forward a few hours.
She agreed to meet us at the hospital and see what we could do. We arrived, got checked, and our
midwife looked at us like “this can’t be right”. I was 9.5-10cm and ready to go! She was gobsmacked, given how in control I seemed. We got moved straight to the birthing suite. At this point, our birth plan went out the window, no epidural. I continued to labour calmly and had my waters broken. Baby was constantly monitored due to her small size and remained happy throughout. I pushed for over 2 hours and despite pushing well, she was stuck! But it was taking too long, and I was recommended intervention with an episiotomy and forceps. They attempted forceps delivery in the birthing suite with nothing other than a numbing injection. I had been so in control until this point, but this pain tipped me over the edge. Excruciating, unexplained back pain radiating down both legs. They wanted to deliver baby there, but I couldn’t deal with the pressure the forceps added to my back. My husband and midwife pushed for transfer to theatre. We were moved to theatre, had a spinal administered (wow that felt amazing) and baby was born soon after. It turned out she had a very short umbilical cord which was preventing an unassisted birth. But she was happy, healthy and we were very much in love! Despite all of this, our birth was so amazing, and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. All the medical staff that day were beyond incredible, and we are so grateful to have had our wee girl arrive safely.
How was the first week?
My postpartum recovery was uncomplicated and our first week was beyond surreal. The
newborn bubble is very real!
Your little ones
How did you choose your children’s names and do they have a meaning to you?
My husband and I knew we wanted quite a “girly” name, but one that was strong and not too common,
but also quite traditional. We both loved and agreed on Matilda.
The meaning of her name resonated with us; it essentially means “might”, “strength” and “battle”.
Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby
We were unable to have visitors in hospital, or at our primary care unit due to Covid. However, to be
honest it was a really nice time for us to bond with baby. When we arrived home, we had immediate
family visit only and did have some rules in place just around not kissing her, and not to come if they
were unwell. Most people were respectful of our wishes.
How did you find the fourth trimester?
Physically I recovered well, but mentally it was a bit of a shock. The first two weeks were a blissful
newborn bubble – baby essentially eats, sleeps and looks cute all the time. I could’ve had another
one then and there! We were so overwhelmed with love.
Around 2 weeks old, she woke up to the world, and learned to scream. Since then (and even some
days still now at 15 weeks old), some days are just so tough. It’s not that I never expected my baby
to cry, but when they scream for hours on end and nothing you do settles them, it’s very emotionally
draining. You start to wonder what you are doing wrong, and how people are judging you. I have
been lucky to have an amazing husband to tag in, and my Mum and Dad who have been amazing
support throughout this time. I think we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!
She has always slept in her own we co-sleeper right next to the bed. It works for us.
We have a loose routine with a set bed-time, and time to start the day, but the rest of the day is
largely dictated by her and age appropriate wake windows.
Our midwife was amazing! Her knowledge, care and compassion were second to none.
I was taken aback by the relationship we built, and it felt like a break-up when we were discharged
from her care. I can only hope we meet again in the future. So yes, great midwives are worth their
weight in gold.
What were your must-have items, and what others were a waste of time/overrated?
Must haves were stretchy merino swaddles, onesies with feet and fold over mittens, a front pack, Lorna Jane maternity bras, nipple balm, Rite Aid hydrogel discs and a breast pump have all been must-have items for us.
Overrated items were Boba-style wrap (it killed my back) and the Haakaa pump.
Is your parenting different to how you thought it would be?
I think our parenting is close to what we thought it would be, although sometimes I will myself to
have more patience. We also thought we would never use a dummy. But, desperate measures…
How does your typical day look? Are you a stay at home parent/juggling work/kindy?
So far, I have stayed at home with baby. Our days are typical; get up in the morning, have breakfast
and a play, get dressed for the day, and then we head out for her first nap in the front pack and take
the dog for a big walk. Depending on the day, sometimes we have Playcentre, swimming or things
we need to do after that, such as groceries, catching up with friends etc.
I had planned to take a couple of years off but have unexpectedly been offered a great new Part-
time job with complete flexibility around baby. So, we are going to be juggling work and Mum-life
How has having children affected your relationship, what challenges has it brought?
It has only made our marriage stronger. There’s something so incredibly heart-melting about going
through birth, and seeing your other half become a parent. Don’t get me wrong, we have our
disagreements, but for the most-part we are completely on the same page and so incredibly filled
with love for our wee girl. My husband is fantastic with her, and it has made the whole experience
thus far so incredible. Hard, but rewarding.
Tips & advice
What would your top 3/5 parenting tips be for a new parent?
- Try not to take to heart what people say. The old “back in my day”. Some people have strong
opinions, but you don’t have to share their opinions; take what’s good and toss the rest. You know
what’s right for your baby.
- Make the most of the time with your midwife (or chosen care provider) – they are worth their weight in gold!
- Accept help where you can! I know, it’s so much easier said than done. I came home from hospital and vacuumed my house the following day… But do give yourself a break. Let your partner hold the baby while you have half an hour to shower alone, go for a walk, take a nap, whatever it may be.
What is the most helpful advice you can offer to other parents and what advice has someone passed down to you that you’ll always remember?
“It will get better”. A bit double edged for me. In the hard times, it’s the last thing you want to hear,
but also that tiny glimmer of hope was just what I needed. It seems so impossible in the moment
that things will ever get better, but they do!
If this has helped you, would you consider sharing your story to help others too? Please submit your details through this form. Whether your story is about trying to conceive, pregnancy, surrogacy, loss or parenthood, we would love to hear from you.