Hello Matilda

Matilda Chandler  One Day Old

You’ve been here for one week and your grandmother is holding you so that I may write this letter to you. My therapist asked me a question about how I feel having a child will impact my life, career and what I’ll accomplish. It’s one of those questions intended to help them understand future talking points when I inevitably don’t realize goals because I’m devoting much of my time to you. I feel really pure about my answer. From ages 12-35, I hustled and worked and felt marriage and children would keep me from realizing my larger dreams. It was at 35 that I finally realized that I’m not going to achieve most of those things I always dreamt. This wasn’t something akin to settling but instead if your dream was to be a billionaire and you firmly believed starting a family would inhibit this then you would have put family on the back burner. I’m successful, happy and proud of everything I’ve done. Introducing you to my life and making you a part of this family won’t impact my trajectory but instead enrich it and allow me to experience fatherhood and a new kind of love all while continuing my career and my life as a husband. It’s that realization that led me to finally stake an interest in bringing you into this world a year ago.

Making you was really easy and easier than many other children are made. Heather and I decided we wanted to meet you and suddenly, you were with Heather and she was able to devote 9-months to growing you. It was a special feeling for me to have someone I loved that suddenly I felt more protective and care for than I was before you were in her stomach. I feel like the transition from husband to fatherhood started as soon as we learned Heather was carrying you. I cared for her and tried to make her time while pregnant as safe and comfortable as possible. I think I succeeded but you can ask your Mom how I did. 9 months is just a school year but it felt like forever with all of the changes and experiences Heather had to bring you here healthy and safely. She did everything right and is the reason you’re doing so well as a newborn.

Your due date was the 10th of November but then it became 11/3 with an induction planned for the 5th in the evening. I joked with Heather that I had plans that day and she ignored me. A few weeks before your arrival on the 37th week of gestation, Heather had rib pain we mis-took as you getting big and not an overworked liver. The team of medical staff kept a close eye on Heather’s labs, vitals and other information and despite it being a 1 in 10,000 chance for late-onset HELLP syndrome, on the 19th of October, labs were done to rule this out. We’re so thankful for this because we received a call at 5AM on the 20th to come to the hospital because it was time for you to be delivered. None of this was your fault. This happens rarely and I’m so glad you were old enough to be delivered and were healthy and ready to come home within a few days of Heather’s recovery from surgery.

The morning of the 21st, I watched your Mom rolled away into surgery. She was put to sleep and 3 minutes later, you were born. I got to meet you about 30 minutes before Heather and I just sat next to you in the nursery. There was no one around. You and I were sitting under a pricey heat lamp. You had a sensor hooked up to your toe and you squeezed my finger. Your eyesight was grayscale with a focus distance of only 6 inches but I was certain you were staring right at me. Blinking, breathing, focusing, opening and closing your mouth and stretching all of your hundreds of brand new muscles. You held my finger for what felt like an eternity and it really was just the two of us. I didn’t feel afraid or powerless or scared. I felt like you and I were going to achieve great things together. My new partner in crime, my best friend and the person who’d stick with me through life’s ups and downs. Heather is my wife but you are my child.

I left your side for a few minutes when I heard Mom was leaving surgery. I was there when she woke up and was able to share with her the news that you were beautiful and healthy.

I returned and a nurse asked me your name. Matilda.

On Monday the 23rd, we got to bring you home. This began a very scary week for us because we wanted to know the results of all of the testing. Was your liver working? All of your organs and nervous system. Your hearing and eye tests and if you were going to gain weight quickly enough. For an entire week, we visited a doctor every day to take measurements and labs and amazingly, everything went great. You passed with flying colours. There was nothing for us to be concerned about. It took 1 week to get back up to birth weight.

You’re going to be our only child. It’s going to mean a very unique childhood for you where you’ll do more adult things like travel, road trips, movies, camping and you might be around adults more than kids sometimes. That’s how I was raised and I don’t regret the experiences I had spending my days and weekends with mom and dad doing things with other adults.

Soon, I’ll be going back to work and your Mom will handle a few more weeks with you. We are planning time this Summer to bring you around and meet more of your family.

Finally, there’s the Internet. It’s a great thing and has enabled us to make our livings and give you the things you need to grow up healthy and provided for. The Internet is something you’ll experience intimately as you get older but for now, we’re keeping you and your artifacts off the web. There will be very few photos or recordings of you online. I have created an iCloud account for you so you can see our journals, documents, videos and photos of you when you’re older. Like many other kids, you’ll have a presence online and we’ll do our best to create boundaries and family rules around smart Internet usages. I just don’t want to sign you up for the web of today not knowing what the web of tomorrow will be.

Welcome to our world. We love that you’re here with us.

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