Our sweet boy is ONE! After a year of getting to know him his wild, ready-to-run attitude I felt in my belly describes him perfectly. His birth was also fast and wild, it just seems to be his MO. But a few things that do surprise me about him is how quiet and simple he is. Finley always has a soft smile and truly doesn’t make a peep, people often say “he is just happy to be alive!” when they meet him for the first time.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about his birth, but also our journey it took to carry him for 9 months and hold him in my arms. Many people don’t know, but it took us nearly a year to get pregnant with him. After having Liliana it was a dream to have another baby close in age, so we starting trying when she was 6 months old.
Through a few long and disappointing months of seeing only a single line on the pregnancy tests, I realized my body wasn’t ready for another baby…yet. And honestly, I don’t think we were ready…yet. Alexander and my story is quick, we got engaged shortly after dating and it took us a few years to slow down, and this period of trying to conceive was during those slow years. And those years were amazing, some of the best! We had moved across the country and fully enjoyed Liliana’s first year and half of existence before Finley was growing in my tummy. The three of us became so close-knit it aches when I think back to those days because they were filled with so much laughter and newness.
But life is a both/and. We loved our sweet little family, but my heart ached for more babies. I was confused why it was so easy to get pregnant with Liliana and it was seemingly so tough with this next one. I chose to focus my energy on spending time in God’s word, in prayer, taking Liliana out on dates and on the health of my body and hormones. I began to support my hormones more naturally, exercised regularly and ease into rhythms of rest and work and creating a blend of it all.
To my surprise, which shouldn’t have been a surprise, as soon as I knew my hormones were cycling and back on track I saw the double lines on a pregnancy test! And sitting here today, the world met Finley Alan a year ago already, here’s a little peek into the moments when we met him and held him for the first time, grab a cup of coffee and settling in.
I’ve prayed for my babies since I was a teenager. I’ve always been a visionary and dreamer, and always always knew I wanted to be a mama. With lots of kids. When I found out I was pregnant with Finley, I was in shock. We had been trying to get pregnant again for a while and then the moment we’ve longed for finally happened.
I texted Alexander right away, asking when he’d be home. And as soon as he walked through the door I pulled the test out of my back pocket and stared at him, wide-eyed and almost crying. And he was as shocked as I was! Liliana was sleeping, so we let out a few whisper screams of excitement and hugged one another in awe mixed with some fear.
My first prayer over both my babies has been: Lord, please protect this baby with your might and with your gentleness. Thinking back to the first time I spoke these words (when I found out I was pregnant with L), it was out of fear, that we would lose the baby or something would go wrong. This time around, I sang it over Finley with confidence and expectancy.
And the might and gentleness I’ve experienced within both pregnancies, births and sweet babies of mine is unexplainable. I described Liliana’s birth as “painful but perfect” and I would describe Finley’s as wild and peaceful. The coexistence of might and gentleness.
In the afternoon, the day before Finley was born, I had an appointment with my midwife. I was 9 days past the due date, so any new news would be exciting. I was dilated 1cm and we made a plan that I would start doing anything and everything to make this baby come soon, otherwise I was going to be naturally induced a few days later.
Not wanting the latter, I went home and got busy. That afternoon I went on 3 intense walks, I was doing squats, bouncing on an exercise ball (of course with Liliana on it with me), drinking raspberry leaf tea – basically anything that would help jumpstart labor. The photos above are of me and L after the appointment with my midwife, little did we know that these were the last photos Alexander took of just us.
But by the end of the day I went to bed early and slightly defeated, but also very hopeful our baby would come soon. And to my surprise I woke up 2 hours later because of an intense contraction.
In a daze I began walking around, timing the contractions and waiting to text my midwife until I knew I was for sure in labor. It was 10:30pm and didn’t want to wake her unless it was necessary. But I texted her at 10:40pm just in case. A short while later, my contractions were 2 minutes apart, so I went in to tell Alexander, who was working in the office. He called my midwife at 11:30pm. She lives about 40 minutes away, so we needed to give her enough time to gather her things and head over.
Between the time that Alexander called her and her walking into our home, my contractions were still 1-2 minutes apart and I started breathing methods, diffusing oils, double checking we had the extra towels and other supplies, and we called my mom to pick up Liliana.
My mom arrived shortly after we called and by the time she arrived I was pacing our bedroom, stopping during a contraction and then continuing to move and help Alexander set up the birthing pool.
We woke up Liliana and I held her tight, kissed her sweet face and ran my hand through her wispy blonde hair, and told her the baby was coming. In her groggy toddler ways she said goodbye and her and my mom left. The last time I held her as the baby is still so clear in my mind, I feel as if I can relive it.
It was probably 12:45am when my midwife checked to see how far along I was. She looked over at the other midwife and said, “nine.” My eyes grew wide and I blurted out, “I’M 9 CENTIMETERS?!” – not in a hysterical or fretful way, more like a peacefully shocked kind of way. I instantly got up and told Alexander to forget about the birthing pool because this baby was coming soon!
Some time later the third midwife walked in and I knew I was getting close. My water hadn’t broken at this time yet, so everything I was doing was to help stretch me to 10cm and break my water.
While I was trying all sorts of positions and still walking around, I felt so incredibly put-together. I felt “with it” – my mind was clear and my emotions were expressed. This was drastically different from my birth with Liliana – I was gripping the hospital bed in so much pain, not wanting to move. I love how in-tune I was with my body this time around.
As I was going from position to position, I was becoming more irritable and uncomfortable, and I also could feel the baby was super low. So I decided to lay in bed and wait for the pressure to build up enough for my water to break. This is how I gave birth to Liliana, so maybe it felt familiar and safe to lay like this, knowing the baby would be here soon.
And soon it was! During the most intense contraction my water broke. And by broke, I mean BURST all across the room and onto all the midwives. I’m not sure if it was in the moment or afterwards, but as shocked as I could be, I looked at them and apologized. I didn’t know that’s what happened when your water broke.
At this time, it was 1:55am.
The next contraction was about to begin and I could feel his head crowning – I was continuing to breathe him down and all three midwives (and maybe Alexander too) said they could see his head, and as soon as I felt the pressure of it coming I pushed. And pushed and pushed and pushed, until his head was out. It was the longest 30 seconds of my life.
When I was giving birth to Liliana I didn’t exactly know how to push, so she kept coming out a little and then would slide back in. It was such a mind-game. So this time around I decided to not stop until he was out.
Next thing I knew his head was out. And everyone was cheering me on to push his shoulders out on the next contraction. I cried and told everyone I didn’t want to but then the next contraction came and I pushed and he was out.
It was now 2:00:18 am.
The recorded labor was 2.5 hours, pushing for a record time of 4 minutes. Our sweet baby boy was finally here!
It was wild and all-together perfect.
Once he was wrapped in blankets and in my arms, we rested. The midwives cleaned everything up, put fresh sheets on our bed and the three of us fell asleep together. It was perfect.
A few hours later my mom dropped Liliana off to meet her baby brother for the first time. We made sure to record it because it was too precious and she was so proud.
We chose the name Finley years ago, even before Liliana was born. I didn’t know the meaning, however, until I was pregnant with him. My mom instinct kicked in, and I figured it was going to be a boy, so we needed to be sure Finley was our name of choice. After looking up the name, it was settled. Finley Alan it would be.
I was in awe the first time I read the meaning because of the words I’ve prayed over Alexander for years. Psalm 127:3-5 and 128:1-4 are where my prayers are rooted in.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court…
Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the Lord.
Finley means “fair warrior” – I was struck with a sense to raise him to fulfill his calling — a warrior in God’s Kingdom. In a generation where godliness is overlooked and morals are irrelevant, and where Light meets battles, a warrior is needed.
I pray these words over him, the same words I’ve prayed over his dad now for years. Alexander means “leader of men” – Finley is his first man, to raise and to lead.
Phew, all the tears. My heart is bursting, I cannot believe my baby is ONE! What a sweet and joyous year it has been with him! Here are a few more photos of those first few moments and days and months with our precious and wild Finley Alan.