"The third time is the charm! Or maybe a jewel. In this case, our little Paisley is both," the Olympian writes.

By peoplestaff225
April 03, 2013 08:00 PM

Thanks for welcoming back celebrity blogger Jennie Finch.

After sharing her last two pregnancies with us, the recently retired softball player is now mom to her third child — and first daughter! — Paisley Faye, who arrived Jan. 12.

In addition to their new baby girl, the Olympian, 32 — who won gold in Athens and silver in Beijing — and her husband, pitcher Casey Daigle, are also parents to sons Diesel Dean, 21 months, and Ace Shane, 6½.

You can find Finch — author of Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big and Believe in Yourselfon Facebook and @JFinch27 on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Finch writes about her labor and delivery experience and shares photos of her new little lady.

Terri Dickerson Photography

The third time is the charm! Or maybe a jewel. In this case, our little Paisley is both.

This delivery was my simplest yet. My boys took it easy enough on me that I could 1) try out for the USA National Team six weeks after Ace was born and 2) play in the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game just two weeks after Diesel arrived, but Paisley was another story altogether. My mom says it’s because she came on God’s timing (I was induced with both of my sons).

On the day before Paisley was born, Casey and I headed to a Mexican restaurant to try to get a lunch date with just the two of us in before the busyness of having another little one in the house began. I had a feeling as I was shoveling down a tostada the size of an SUV … even though I was still a few days away from my due date.

I looked over at Casey and said, “I think I might regret this.” During labor with my boys nothing stayed down, which was no fun! He just looked at me and grinned.

We went home and a few hours later there were some clear signs that labor was starting. I called my doctor and he asked us to meet him at his office. Since I had had that feeling, I packed up for delivery before we headed over — and it was a good thing I did!

Terri Dickerson Photography

It was the end of the day on a Friday when we got there, and we were excited. My fluid was low, so my doctor wanted to admit me to the hospital to watch me overnight just to be safe. We went straight from his office to the hospital and I was checked in.

Once I was admitted, the contractions started but were far apart and not too intense. Everyone was convinced we would be having the baby the following day, so Casey went home to tuck Ace and Diesel into bed and pick up my parents from the airport. They were scheduled on a flight in from Los Angeles anyway, and were set to arrive in Louisiana that evening. It was perfect timing!

I settled in around 9 p.m. to try to get some sleep. No one expected what happened next. I went from 3 cm. dilated to my water breaking and to 6 cm. within an hour. I called Casey and said, “You better get back here quickly!” Casey rushed back to the hospital, getting there just as I reached 8 cm.

I received an epidural and within 45 minutes the doctor came in and told me, “It’s time to push!” No joke — it was one contraction and three pushes and our beautiful little angel, Paisley Faye, arrived, weighing 8 lbs., 1 oz. and measuring 21 inches long. It was my easiest delivery by far.

From the first moment she came into this world, Paisley has brought so much joy, love and serenity into our home. Yes, it can be crazy at times but there is nothing like having a newborn in the house. The calmness they bring … the sweetest smell in the whole world, the softest sounds … she has been such an angel.

Courtesy Jennie Finch

My recovery was very smooth, which was definitely a blessing considering I have two other small children to take care of! There wasn’t much room for downtime. My parents stayed with us the first week, which was a huge help and a big blessing. I was able to split my attention as needed and have the help making the transition as smooth as possible as I adjusted to our full house. (Three kings and two queens, I like to say.)

Going from man-to-man to zone defense has definitely been an adjustment. It’s beautiful chaos. My boys have welcomed their sister with open arms — she gets lots of love and attention. Our eldest, Ace, is just a doll with her — always looking out for his baby sister. He’s my helper too, with both Diesel and Paisley. He loves the role of big brother and I am so proud of my first son as he grows up.

Diesel … well, he is our wild child, full of excitement and energy. We knew this before Paisley came, and were worried about him since he is only 21 months old and used to running our household. Quite honestly, he still is!

He has been really good with Paisley, though it’s tough for him to control his excitement with her. She gets lots of tight hugs and hard kisses — mostly with love and good intentions. Paisley doesn’t mind at all. His face still lights up when he sees her for the first time in the morning — it’s the cutest thing. She is going to be a tough little mama having Diesel as her brother.

Casey has been a big help. With Ace in school, Diesel is pretty much Daddy’s sidekick. They are always on the go, getting into some kind of mess outside. I love it. It fills me with joy to see them wander off together, side-by-side on some adventure. It’s been fun to see their relationship grow.

Courtesy Jennie Finch

Paisley has been the sweetest baby. She’s pretty laid-back and easy-going, and is starting to smile and coo. She lights up the room with her sweet two-dimpled smile. It’s just precious. I have to admit, it’s been lots of fun bringing some pink, sparkle and bows into our home!

She is sleeping well … I know I shouldn’t be saying this — just enjoying it — but so far Paisley is a good sleeper. We did have a little colic at bedtime early on but she seems to have already grown out of it. There is nothing worse than hearing your baby cry and not being able to soothe her. It’s just miserable to feel helpless like that, and we’re so grateful Paisley outgrew it quickly.

Each and every day the love continues to grow. Even though you think you couldn’t love your kids more, you just do. Your heart expands with each and every child. With all three kids, when they smile it is the BEST! Yes, there is a lot more work and the messes are endless, but it is worth it all. At times it can be stressful, but there is nothing greater nor more rewarding than being a parent. For me, it tops it all!

This time around, I was able to take more of a leave after Paisley was born, so she was older on her first flight than her brothers were. She took her first airplane ride from Louisiana to California in March, when I had to head to an appearance at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim as part of the work I do for Chobani. It was four round-trip flights total and she slept on all of them.

I’ve always enjoyed traveling with little ones. It was and is so enjoyable to have that mommy and daughter time with no distractions. Ace and I lived on the road, between Casey’s baseball career and my own with softball. He had tons of stamps in his passport by the time he was 2. We had lots of adventures and memories on the road together, and I cherish those.

Terri Dickerson Photography

I get lots of Tweets asking for tips on traveling with infants. I do have some practice, and here’s what I’ve found works best for me:

  • Try to time feedings for take-off and landing.
  • Have a pacifier ready just in case.
  • If you need to make a bottle, bring your own water. You are allowed to take a little thermos of hot water when traveling with a baby, which makes it that much easier — no need to ask the flight attendant. You can also buy an extra bottle after security if more is needed.
  • I always pack an extra set of clothes for the baby and me, since you never know when you will have a spill, blowout, etc. Life with kids is always messy!
  • I have been stranded without my bags, so I bring lots of extra baby necessities in my carry-on to have on hand in case that happens again.

Looking at the upcoming calendar of broadcasting dates, appearances, camps — and now adding the challenge of my first triathlon! — like most moms, I worry about having enough time for everything. I mostly follow my own mother’s advice, which is to take it day by day.

Casey and I are so blessed to have our beautiful family, and find so much joy in everything we do with and for our kids. We are looking forward to the many, many adventures ahead.

Terri Dickerson Photography

Still dreaming and believing,

– Jennie Finch

More from Jennie’s PEOPLE.com blog series: