I’m bringing small talk back… If you’ve been here long, you remember when I first began this journal I would post small talk entries documenting my kiddos cute sayings and happenings and just having a relaxed mama conversation with readers. Somewhere along the way I stopped. I guess I felt I was documenting it all along the way so why bother with a defined post, but turns out I really missed dedicating an entry to this simple record keeping kind of stuff.
I’ve had a lot of inquiries to bring it back and also to share my children’s birth stories. I’m so happy to share on this topic because I believe in the importance of story and that we learn so much from each other’s journey. The plan is to share each of my children’s birth stories in celebration of their birthday this year. Finnley had the first birthday of the year so I’m starting with him. I will share the story of his birth in this post along with some special things about him. I feel I should provide a brief background however of my past birth’s since he was the third one as I don’t want to loose the sense of depth and seriousness birth has.
Ten years ago I discovered I was expecting our first child Dakota Rose. I was 22 years old. I was completely scared to death and at the same time confronted with an innate sense of responsibility to prepare for this monumental life change. I had completed college, committed to marriage, and landed my first job. Who would have thought I didn’t feel adequate or like I could do it… I mean I was suppose to be grown up now and able to raise another human right??? Go ahead and laugh out loud now… ; )
As I scrambled to find some peace and security I did what every girl would do… I called my best friend. My best friend did what every best friend would do and gave me encouragement telling me that Jared and I we’re going to make great parents and she knew we could do it. Although I’ll never forget that conversation and how much those sweet words meant. The most important thing she told me was an add lib… She shared how her sister had discovered Bradley Birthing and how it was so helpful to her that she even became an instructor and advocate for the importance of early childhood and motherhood. I was intrigued at the least. I immediately asked a ton of questions and ordered the book online.
Similar to most new mothers I was extremely intimidated at the task I faced. This coming from someone who always had a plan to have a big family and even graduated with a degree in human development and family science. Maybe because it’s easy to learn the best things, but it’s much harder to actually have the gumption and dedication to do them. I felt ill prepared, unequipped, and just plain, afraid. I had a very supportive mother and grandmother which was a wonderful blessing and I could share the benefits of that for days. They both had good healthy pregnancies and expected me to have the same. However, they had both chosen modern birthing practices for their deliveries and for some reason, that wasn’t right for me. I longed to understand it all deeper. I felt that I needed to wrap my brain around the process and take more ownership of it in order to do it with confidence. I didn’t feel good about trusting doctors and medicine with my life and my child’s life. Not to discredit modern medicine, I have the upmost respect and appreciation for it and believe it is such a wonderful supplement to humanity. I just felt that I needed to be responsible first and foremost for knowing more about what was happening with my body and my baby and I felt comfortable and peaceful that the hospital’s amenities were there to aid the process if need be.
I believe my faith is what played a big role in my mindset. During this time of my life, I was feeling a lot of heaviness and desiring to discern what my beliefs were and who I wanted to be in this world. I felt very called to womanhood and that the woman was designed for this precise act distinctly. I believe it’s what truly lead my knowledge seeking and decision making. It’s what I go back to and why I choose this path.
One thing I wish was different and that I hope to help change for young women is to have confidence and excitement to bear children. I hope to teach women to embrace child bearing and yearn to experience it. To believe they are perfectly capable and ultimately created to do it. With that, of course, comes understanding and education. I hope to start communication that’s not embarrassing to talk about. I challenge you to ask why child birth became so disclosed throughout the years… It the foundation for life. It should be discussed and celebrated. Most of all, it should be honored, not feared.
Now that I’ve shared the why behind this topic, let’s get to the how…
With each child I kept a journal. Funny to think now, but that might have been the beginning of OBRIEN OUTPOST. I fell in love with journaling during my pregnancies and it’s kinda where it all started. Journaling helps you put your thoughts, fears, and achievements out of you brain so there can be room to have break throughs and move forward. It also serves as a wonderful expression of documentation. It is one of the key facets that hasn’t seemed to change much throughout history. It’s so helpful for humans to talk to themselves and express their learnings out loud if you will.
As the nine months passed I read and wrote about all the things pregnancy and delivery. I documented physical details as well as emotional. I documented moments and records I thought worth remembering. Those journals are one of my most prized possessions. A part of me. A part of them. An extension of life. The start of our family. As time came close I also documented what I wanted to happen. I documented a list of things I wanted Jared to remember to tell me during the delivery process. I went over it all with him before the birth so he would know exactly what I needed and expected from him. I knew that there would be moments I would not be in control and I needed someone I trusted to remind me of my vision and keep me focused and determined.
Finnley was my third born so I had some experience under my belt. With each pregnancy you learn and develop more. On top of that you also adapt to what’s happened to you in the past and how you want to address that in the future. That being said, I made decisions for his birth based on my experience with the other two. Your own experience will be unique to you. Do your best to prepare for your individual circumstances and know that each birth is going to be different. There is always room to adjust course as you go along.
I had all three children naturally but there were some minor amenities provided. Since we live an hour from the nearest hospital we decided to have our children in the hospital as precaution to emergency. When our first born, Dakota was due, it was winter and we had a bad ice storm coming so we chose to go ahead and induce the delivery. The doctor broke my water and from that point I had natural labor. With Jake, I tried to wait on my water to break and at a week past my due date it still hadn’t. I thought I was going into labor with consistent contractions and I had a quick delivery with Dakota so we rushed to the hospital thinking it was time only to discover that it was a false alarm. However since I was a week late already and having some contractions and after driving an hour to the hospital we decided to go ahead and break my water again and proceed with delivery as we had the first time. It was a good thing too because Jake had been cooking in the tummy too long and he weighed almost 12 pounds!! Myself, the doctor, and everyone involved were astonished and therefore decided to monitor my pregnancy with Finn much closer and that’s what lead to actually inducing him as well.
It was the morning of April 14, 2012. We went into the hospital at seven that morning to start the birthing process by breaking my water. This was our third baby and delivery at Willow Creek Women’s Hospital with the same doctor so everything should have felt very relaxed and good. Unfortunately I was extremely anxious. Seemed that having three babies in three years was kind of a strain on me. I was tired, no exhausted. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was at the time though. I was too busy to think. I was over being pregnant and ready to get the baby out and have him in my arms. Snuggling and smelling the baby goodness was what I kept trying to stay focused on. I’m not sure if it was the difficult mental stage I was going through or if my body just wasn’t ready for delivery, but things stalled.
My first two labors went quite fast and everyone kept assuring me that this one would too, but looking back, I remember knowing in my gut before it all even began that this one was going to be harder. I knew what I had to do this time and I was frankly too tired to get motivated for it. It takes a lot of preparation to deliver a baby mentally and physically and I knew I hadn’t put in the time or energy this time around. Think of it like running a marathon, if you don’t prepare, you’re not going to do as well. I knew I hadn’t prepared well enough and so I knew I was going to struggle through. I lacked the confidence and excitement that I had with the others mainly because I was worn out from caring for the two little ones and myself this time around. I definitely learned through my third that its so important to take good care of yourself. I learned to express my needs better and know my limits. I learned what I’d do different if I had another. I’d make sure to create good habits of rest and self care.
I began to feel the first contractions right away but they didn’t move as fast as I’d experienced with the other two babies. I remember while pregnant trying to imagine what contractions were going to feel like because there was such a fear of the unknown. Now that I know what that first real contraction feels like the only way I can describe it is to think of a leg cramp that you can’t control a release on and the best thing you can do to get through it is breath and focus on relaxing your muscles. In the beginning of contractions you are able to move through them with just a bit of discomfort (a visual to describe the level would be making a funny face and a little grunt with a long breath of relief while your talking to people) It’s a noticeable thing, but not so noticeable that you can’t listen to a conversation or participate in one. It’s a feeling that grabs your attention quickly and requires you to be extremely intentional with your body. With Finn I had long breaks between them and was able to sit and visit with family and friends most of the morning.
I had a great nurse who had birthed five children naturally. I always like visiting with my nurses and getting to know the kind hearts caring for me. She was a positive encouragement always assuring me that I was working beautifully and reminding me of what I was doing and that it wasn’t easy. She saw my heaviness this time and warmed my heart with compassion. She believed in me and that felt good.
I trudged along for the next few hours at a slow and tough pace. The hard 6, 7, and finally 8. Jared was more quite this time and just sat back letting me do my thing, which is basically closing my eyes and breathing in through my nose and out though my mouth slow and steady as I focus all my attention on releasing the muscles that contract. He supported me when he saw my weak spots reminding me of the smallest of details… “remember to relax your face first and then work down.” Those types of comments are the best. He looked for actions that I wasn’t doing and reminded me of them in the heat of the moment. These are the kinds of things I prepared him for and even wrote down for him to tell me at certain stages and levels. The middle numbers are the most difficult in my opinion. A 6 is usually still tolerable, but that 7 and 8 are the ones where you feel out of control and have a hard time pushing through. With each baby, no matter how experienced I was I still felt like I was loosing at those stages. That’s the key to getting through it though, you have to be aware that you will hit that part and you have to believe, trust, and remind your body that it’s doing the job it must do to get to the next stage. What helped me most during those periods was knowing and thinking visually of what my body was doing. I learning about this in my Bradley Birthing Book, but you can find good information in so many resources online and in other birthing books too. With Finnley I was very tired because I had a longer laboring than the other two at this stage. I feared getting stuck at those extreme stages and that discouraged me a lot.
I am very lucky to have a good husband who is amazed by children and honored to be a father. He was very caring, considerate, and protective during each labor and delivery. He kept reminding me that it wasn’t meant to be easy and that he was proud of me. He talked me through the really uncontrollable times and reminding me of what I’d asked him too… that I was almost finished. He coached me on how to breath and relax my body so it could do it’s job. He stayed by my side with joy and anticipation, ready to hold his baby boy.
Once to the 9 and 10 you have made it and it’s a new challenge that you’re ready to finish. It’s a different piece that you must prepare your brain and body for. I’ve learned the miracle it is, and the way it happens, is nothing you can imagine. The female body is amazing. What most new mother’s don’t recognize is that it’s done all the hard work and opening during the labor part… Once the body has done the work to get there, the delivery is pretty natural. It’s not as unimaginable as you think… What you might not know if you don’t bother to educate yourself is that as the baby moves down in position to be delivered the pressure puts weight on places that naturally numb the area. What you feel the most is heaviness on your bum from the baby and water weight, as well as a burning sensation as your skin takes a toll having to stretch around the baby. I use to think about bones cracking and popping but, that’s not the feel at all… The contractions are what opens your pelvis area up so that’s all ready to go, it’s the pressure and the burning that make it extremely uncomfortable. Luckily, at the same time its motivational because one’s body can’t with stand that kind of pressure very long. It makes you go into urgency mode and bear down to push through and relieve that pressure. What most don’t recognize until they give birth is that the pushing part is the part to celebrate! It’s the part when you feel a rush of new adrenaline and know you’re almost finished. It doesn’t take long in comparison to the laboring and the moment the baby comes out you have instant relief.
Around five o’clock I knew we we’re there. The baby had dropped and I was beginning to grunt and grown through each contraction feeling very ready to push. Jared told the nurse to get the doctor and I’m pretty sure I remember him running in as I screamed “doc, just get him out” go ahead and laugh out loud again… ; ) The doctor smiled and said I was doing great… Ha! If you only knew my doctor and how cute he was… laugh out loud again ; )
I pushed for about three times and within fifteen minutes we had a beautiful eight pound baby boy. He was my most difficult labor, but easiest delivery. It was instant relief and I was of course in heaven. I nursed each child and that got easier with practice so with Finnley it came very natural and I was confidant and comfortable with him right away. It’s so amazing how it all works and how we’re made to do this feat. It’s one of those experiences that never gets old and that always feels like a miracle. I’d like to say it’s true what they say, that you forget about the hardship, but that’s not my experience. I definitely remember how it felt, but I respect the process so very much that I find it beautiful and a deep honor.
Once we held him we know his name was perfect… Little Finn. He was small compared to his big brother with the tiniest features. He made the perfect baby. He was healthy and overall very happy. This may have been that I was a more confidant mother at this point too??? I don’t know…
Each baby is different and each experience is a bit different so it’s hard to know and better left to not compare, but rather to take it as it comes and do your best with where you’re at. One thing I remember being comparable though is the contractions after delivery. With Dakota I remember them asking me if I was having contractions after birth, (your body trying to get back to normal) but I never did notice them. With Jake I had a bit of discomfort and a few noticeable contractions after birth through the first few hours, but with Finnley I was in some major discomfort all through the night. This is something that they warn you gets more noticeable with each baby and I did notice it in my experience. That was the only harder part with him because once you’re finished and have your baby you don’t want to have to feel any more of that nonsense.
With Finn, I also remember wanting to stay at the hospital longer because I liked the rest I received in the hospital. I knew the work I had with two other babies waiting for me at home and I was determined to soak up some time with the newest one. We had great experiences at our hospital and really good food too!
Finnley Keith O’Brien was named after my husband’s Irish heritage and it fit so well as he has always been a little reminder of Jared’s grandfather to us. His look and personality are so similar we couldn’t have planned it better. He’s our adventurer… unafraid of risk, smart, bold, independent, charming, a story teller, a wisdom seeker, a brave soul, a fighter, a lover, a little boy forever at heart. He makes our life so fun and happy. We love to watch him grow.
Here are a few things from this 6th year we want to remember…
He lost his bottom two teeth
He started wrestling and was everyone’s favorite to watch. His grit and guts are unmatched.
He insists on wearing long sleeves and long pants even in summer. Never complains about it either. Says boys are suppose to sweat. -lol
He smiles endlessly
He loves his brother with great admiration
He learns quickly and is so hungry to learn
He loves history and hearing stories of famous leaders
He works extremely diligently for his age on school work and projects
He talks to everyone he sees like he’s already their friend
He loves singing songs and even comes up with his own
He holds our faces as he snuggles us tight and tells us I love you Mommy, I love you Daddy when we let him go to sleep with us
He never gets tired of practicing baseball with Jared
He can swim without a life vest
He is very tough by nature
He lives to be daring… and a bit onry
He says it’s embarrassing that he has to ride in a car seat still
He loves taking care of his nieces and treats them like princesses
He loves oatmeal and mac and cheese
He combs his hair every morning and every night for about 30 minutes a piece
He is pure joy