The Most Epic Blowout of All Time!

Diaper blow-out, that is!

Every year I start planning my holiday shopping over the summer so I can start buying and making gifts in September. Every year I promise myself I’ll be prepared far in advance. Every year I’m running around on Christmas Eve for several gifts I’m still missing.

At least I’m consistent.

When my son was a baby, I was running these Christmas errands with him in tow – or with him strapped to me, actually, in a baby carrier. I HATE last-minute Christmas shopping with a passion only eclipsed by my love of everything else about Christmas, so I was in an impatient mood even before I had to deal with all the other stressed-out last-minute shoppers and horrendously long lines.

While we were in one particularly long line attempting to purchase a coat for my sister (a coat that didn’t even end up being the right size come Christmas morning), I heard my son poop. Ugh. Perfect. We’re in a huge line nowhere near a restroom.

I headed for the closest department store, where I knew they had restroom. A crowded restroom, but one with a changing table nonetheless.

As soon as I unbuckled the carrier to remove my son, I was faced with the reality of exactly what happens when your child has a huge poop while held snug in a baby carrier. The poop has nowhere to go but up and out, and the trajectory this poop had taken was particularly impressive. It was everywhere!!! Not only was my poor child covered in poop up to his little armpits – the carrier was a gunky mess as well. And the only thing in my diaper bag was a diaper.

Let me repeat: alI I had was a diaper.

Moms are survivalists. We make do with what we have. So I scrubbed my now confused and somewhat irritable child down and put him in the clean diaper. I managed to quickly reorganize my bags of purchases to consolidate them into as few items to carry as possible (since I now had to carry my baby in my arms) and even freed up a bag for all of our poopy items! Success!

But then I was left with a near-naked baby in the middle of the shoping mall on a winter night, looking like an epically awesome mother, I’m sure. I’ve had people stop me in July to ask why my baby isn’t wearing socks! (Who wears socks in July? This is California, people!) Surely I wasn’t going to make it to the bathroom door before hearing comments!

Fortunately we were in a department store, so I rushed up to the children’s department trying to look like the most competent mother I could (which is surprisingly difficult when carrying a clothing-less baby through a packed store on Christmas Eve). This is when talking to baby repetitively (and loudly, so that everyone can hear you) comes in handy, “I can’t believe you pooped on ALL your clothes and this is the ONE TIME mommy has EVER forgotten a spare outfit, you silly baby…” Yet, even the cashier gave me a sideways glance and asked, “Isn’t your baby cold?” Why, yes. He probably is, so just shut up and sell me this outfit already!!

After we had purchased the new outfit, we hid out in the shoe department and I dressed him. Clean at last. 

Time to go home and ask dad to do the laundry because I didn’t even know where to begin!

The Dad Network

How Co-Sleeping Saved My Daughter’s Life


Bed sharing with your children seems to be a controversial issue.  I’m not sure why it tends to be such a hot topic for debate. Over the years I’ve come to be a strong proponent of the family bed – and a few weeks ago it literally saved my daughter’s life.

Before I had children, bed-sharing was the one and only thing I swore I would never, ever do! No way! Not ever! It seemed unsafe and I had read all the warnings about babies being suffocated in their sleep under hazardous conditions. I was going to do everything in my power to keep my baby perfectly safe and sound! We had a lovely, ultra secure bassinet next to our bed and I planned for our first child to sleep there – within reach but out of harm’s way.

Except he wouldn’t sleep. We couldn’t put our baby down without him shrieking and screaming at the top of his lungs within seconds. We tried everything we could: swaddling, not swaddling, white noise, vibrations, rocking, lullabies… you name it, we tried it. NOTHING WORKED. I wasn’t about to let my precious newborn baby cry – so we gave in and held him. We held him around the clock in shifts. By the time he was 6 weeks old my husband and I hadn’t spent a single moment in our bed together. We were exhausted and near the breaking point. My mother even came over to hold our son through the night once when we were both ready to collapse from exhaustion and didn’t know how we’d survive.
One day my husband looked at me and said, “You’ve got to just find away to breastfeed him in bed.”  So I did. Out of sheer necessity we began sleeping with him in our bed. I told myself I’d still try to get him in his bassinet when he feel into a deep sleep – but I didn’t. He slept so well! We were rested, and sane, and happy!! And so was our baby!

When baby #2 arrived we kept him with us in our bed from day one! Same with baby #3. I love having them right next to me where I can hear & feel them breathing. I sleep without pillows & use only very light blankets up to my waist, while keeping baby up near my head – we’re practically nose to nose.

I understand that this arrangement doesn’t work for everyone, nor is it recommended for everyone. For us, it works! Especially when I return to work. I love the aspects of nighttime parenting after being away all day. I might miss out on their daytime activities, so I feel better being present and close throughout the night. Plus, there’s the added benefit of reducing nighttime wakings. At the first sign of baby stirring, I can breastfeed him/her and we both go back to sleep. Nobody has to get up! And that is essential to me being able to get up at 5 a.m. and being at least moderately productive at the office!

When baby #3 arrived it was a given that she’d sleep with us, just like her brothers had – and I’m oh-so-thankful she did! When she was a week old we were getting ready for bed, I swaddled her in her blanket and set her next to me. My husband and I were chatting about the day & I heard her burp. I happened to look over at her and saw a tiny bit of spit up on her mouth. I leaned over to wipe it away and noticed she was wide-eyed with a panicked look on her face. I yelled at my husband, “Turn on the lights! I don’t think she can breathe!”

My husband turned on the lights and my baby girl was quickly turning purple!!! We flipped her over and patted her back but she wasn’t breathing. I jumped up and got the bulb syringe they give you in the hospital (best thing EVER!!!) and suctioned out her nose – nothing. I stuck it in her mouth and suctioned out her throat. FINALLY a cry!!!! Praise God!

Then it happened again! She started turning purple a second time!!! We repeated the suctioning and she was breathing! It took about 15 minutes for her to start breathing normally again. During this time we put in a call to her pediatrician’s on-call line. The nurse we spoke to urged us to call an ambulance to bring her to the ER. Several minutes later baby and I were on our way to the hospital while hubby stayed home with the older two kids.

At the ER, the doctor  said she had an “apparent life threatening event” (honestly, could they call it something a little LESS traumatizing???). She was admitted for two days and they ran all sorts of tests. A children’s hospital is nowhere that you want to be! It’s sad and it’s scary and it’s just heartbreaking! But after you’ve seen your baby turn purple and stop breathing you will watch that oxygen monitor like a hawk for 48 hours without blinking!


The doctors ran all sorts of screenings, including an echocardiogram and an EKG. I cried a lot & prayed a lot.

All test results came back normal! They diagnosed our sweet girl with a really bad case of silent reflux. Over and over all I could think about was what would have happened if I hadn’t been looking at her. She was so quiet! If I had gone to the other room, if I had been in the shower – would we have seen her? Would we have intervened in time? Could the outcome have been tragic?

It took awhile before I felt like I could sleep again. We bought a Snuza monitor that clips onto her diaper and will sound an alarm if she’s not breathing. This helps me feel a bit more secure. Every night, when we snuggle up, nose to nose, and I hear her breathe, I am filled with so much thankfulness and awe. I am so thankful to have our baby girl with us and I know not one moment should ever be taken for granted.

For more information on the benefits of co-sleeping and how to do it safely, check out this link.

Binky Linky

10 Things to Do While Baby Sleeps!


We’ve all heard the sage advice to sleep when baby sleeps – especially in those early weeks when sleep is oh-so-precious and oh-so-hard to come by. But with baby #3, here is everything I’ve caught myself doing instead:
1. Take care of the other kids.

I highly recommend this one. That whole “sleep when baby sleeps” thing is really only a possibility with the first (if even then) – and older kids and toddlers are apt to get into all sorts of mischief when left alone for even 0.2 seconds.

2. Check e-mail. Compulsively. 

While technically work isn’t paying me for my maternity leave, it’s become such a habit that I can’t NOT check in. How are we doing? You still need me? Good! Wait – what? No… No, I’m not answering questions right now. Back off. You’re not paying me for this leave, remember?

3. Binge watch your favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Need a good show to burn an hour or two (or 20)? I can recommend some. Maybe lots. Suddenly you’re not sleep deprived because you were up all night with the baby… You’re exhausted from staying up until 4 am to see how the season finale of Scandal wrapped up (spoiler: it’s worth it!!!).

4. Watch baby sleep.

Best way to spend time. Ever. Babies are wonderful. Hours can pass by in seconds watching your little one breathe & grunt & snuggle & drool. This is the absolute best. (Just kidding – they don’t sleep for hours – but  for however long it lasts, they’re absolutely beautiful!)

5. Watch baby breathe.

Isn’t this the same as watch baby sleep? NO. Watching baby breathe is a paranoid obsession! Did anyone tell you babies occasionally hold their breath when they breathe? It’s horrifying. And once you start watching them breathe, you can’t stop. You won’t sleep again until they’re 5!!!!

6. Take care of yourself.

Have you showered today? In the last 3 days? Maybe if baby takes a really good nap you can wash your hair? Paint your nails? Get dressed or brush your teeth? Be forewarned though, most babies are born with an internal sensor that triggers them to wake up fully alert the second they sense you’re doing something without them. Especially if it involves putting them down to do it (so don’t count on shaving your legs!).

7. Shop online.

It’s hard to get out and go shopping with a newborn at home. And who wants to expose a newbie to strangers and germs and whatnot if you don’t have to? Not to mention having to get dressed. You can buy pretty much anything online. And it will just magically show up a few days later!! It’s a bit like having your own personal genie. I buy things online so often now a package will show up & hubby will ask what it is. Who knows! I don’t remember. A breast pump? Mascara? A handmade tutu from Etsy? It’s a surprise every time!

8. Read!

I heart my Kindle. You can download any book in seconds! Even preview them for free to make sure you like them. Brilliant. And with the Kindle mobile apps, you don’t even need a Kindle device to do it. Plus you’re not trying to balance a baby and a paper book, which is a fairly impossible task. There are also blogs, online forums & great websites to read! So read up!

9. Bleach your hair!!!!

Just kidding. Baby will wake up (see item 6 above). You’ll end up with halfway processed hair. It will not be cute. Just trust me on this one and don’t get any crazy ideas!!!

10. Snuggle

Just snuggle and enjoy these moments. They grow up too fast. Everything else can wait!!!

You’ll be surprised how precious little sleep you can actually survive on!

A Cornish Mum
Mums' Days
Binky Linky
Mami 2 Five

Gimme my body back!!!

I love being a mom. Don’t get me wrong. My kids are hilariously awesome and awesomely hilarious and are the sweetest, most adorable and loving little things I’ve ever met. I adore them.

But let’s get real about the physical toll they’ve taken on me for a moment.

Pregnancy is no joke. Your body does all sorts of unbelievable things to care for and nurture the little life growing inside you – it’s amazing!!! But it leaves you in a not-so-pretty place.

I wasn’t quite prepared for the postpartum mom body when my first child was born. I put on the “going home” outfit I had packed in the hospital bag, took one look in the mirror and thought, ” Nope!” I ended up going home in the same outfit I arrived in – minus the weight of the baby, amniotic fluid & my pride. (I did better the next two times when I just planned to leave in something hideous and huge.) Cute new mom? Not here. Please just look at the baby!

Thankfully, breastfeeding burns an extra ten million calories per day (okay, okay… just several hundred, but I’ll take it!). I refer to it as nature’s liposuction. I figured with breastfeeding and a hardcore workout schedule, I couldn’t be stopped! I’d get that pre-baby body back for sure!!

I remember one conversation with my dad when we were over for dinner a few months after my son was born:

Dad: You’re really doing well with this weight loss. You look like you’ve lost 20 pounds!

Me: Well – I had gained 42!

Dad: …… and you look like you’ve lost 20.

Gee…. Thanks…. I think….

Anyway, I did it. Mom got her body back. And then some! I had a six pack (really! I walked around the house in sports bras to make sure my husband knew AT ALL TIMES how amazing and fit I was!). I would wake up at 4:30 am to workout before heading in to work. On weekends I’d wake up, run 10 miles, come home, shower, and jump back into bed with the rest of my lazy family that was still asleep.

But do you know what you get when you have a great body you always want to show off to your husband?? You get pregnant….. Again. After all that hard work!!! I didn’t know if I had the energy or willpower to start all over again!

I promised myself this time I’d gain less weight! This time I’d be one of those gorgeous 8-month pregnant women who still go jogging by the waterfront.

Right….

40 lbs seems to be my magic pregnancy weight gain number. And try as I might, the weight was harder to lose with baby #2. I injured both knees & still can’t run like I used to.  (I have a referral for physical therapy – but ain’t nobody got time for that!) And I was perpetually exhausted from raising two kids and working full time. Wake up at 4:30 to work out? Forget that noise!!

My low point came when I *almost* wore maternity pants to my second’s first birthday party.

Eventually I did it again. I dropped off those last pounds. Success!!! I looked great, felt great, was fit…..

….. And pregnant again….

WHAT THE HECK!?!?!

I do love my body and appreciate that I have been able to carry and deliver three amazing babies! But at some point, I really would love to fit in my pants again –because, let’s be honest, with three kiddos now I don’t think I can even afford to replace my wardrobe!

Modern Dad Pages
Weigh, Lose or Stay - Laura's Lovely Blog

Princess Bean’s Birth Story


Each time I was pregnant I LOVED reading birth stories. How did it happen? When did it happen? What will happen to me? I wanted every gory detail to try to help me predict my future while I waited (and waited…. and waited…) for baby to arrive. So, for anyone who is interested, here is the story of sweet baby #3’s birth:

This had been BY FAR my most uncomfortable pregnancy: morning sickness that left me feeling horribly seasick for months, acid reflux that kept me up all night throwing up in my mouth, sciatic nerve pain that had me hobbling around and sitting on ice packs, and I felt so huge and exhausted all the time that I could hardly chase after and play with the two amazing kids I already had. I couldn’t wait to not be pregnant anymore!!!

My first two births were both fast & very different, so I had no idea what to expect with this one (all my co-workers begged me just not to have the baby in the office – but I appointed one as my emergency midwife just in case.) I had Braxton Hicks contractions starting at 11 weeks that came every 6-10 minutes for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. They were relentless & took my breath away, leaving me annoyed, exhausted and completely frustrated.

The night before I went into labor I was recovering from a horrible case of bronchitis. I remember being so fed up that I just locked myself in my bedroom and cried (this was completely different from my second pregnancy when I transformed into some birth goddess who skipped on clouds and thought every little symptom or bodily change was completely amazing and beautiful).

I was 37 weeks & 5 days pregnant. Finally in the home stretch! My hubby and I went out to dinner. He cruelly drank a beer in front of me, while I talked on and on about how much I couldn’t wait for the baby to come OUT! I’m pretty sure that’s the whole point of the third trimester – you’re so absolutely DONE being pregnant that you don’t care what it takes to get that baby out! What happens??? 10 centimeters??? No problem! BRING IT ON!!!!

We went to bed and I woke up around midnight with a horrible upset stomach. At first I thought I had food poisoning from our dinner out, and then I realized it could be a symptom of impending labor — yay!!!! I wasn’t too hopeful though and went back to bed. I woke up around 2 am with my usual Braxton Hicks feeling strong, but now hurting in my back to the point I couldn’t get comfortable to sleep – not even with all my pillows. So, eventually I gave up and went to the living room to time contractions on an app I had on my phone.

My contractions were every 6 minutes, but I thought they’d fizzle out like they had so many times before. Around 4 am I decided to get dressed just in case we’d be going to the hospital. I wanted to put on makeup before I was in too much pain to put on makeup. Priorities, people!!!!

Around 5, I woke up hubby and told him this might be the real deal. Contractions were every 3-5 min and with my last two wild-fast labors I figured we should head to the hospital birth center. I called my mom until she woke up and answered and told her we’d drop off my other two kids, called the birth center to say we were on our way, and called my younger sister who wanted to be there when her niece was born, and we got in the car.

My least favorite part of any of my birthing experiences is always the car ride to the hospital. It’s the WORST. You’re in pain and you’re strapped into a seat that’s bumping along the road and you can only hope the person driving you has the presence of mind not to drive like a maniac. I was never one to yell at my husband during labor – EXCEPT while he’s driving. At one point I think he told me my criticism was annoying him & I promptly lost my mind. It is THE WORST!!!!! Like driving in a chariot of torture. The absolute WORST!!!

We arrived at the hospital right when my sister did. My contractions were painful at this point and I was feeling anxious. To me, contractions feel like a really tight SHARP pain that makes me want to jump up and climb out of my skin. I once heard someone describe them as the worst Charlie horse pain of your life,  felt throughout your entire core – and that sounds about right. For some reason, I was still convinced it was a false alarm and they’d send me home.

They triaged me in Labor and Delivery before clearing me to go up to the in-hospital birth center. We arrived around 6 am. I changed into a gown and they checked me – 5 cm. – we were staying!

I had been supposed to do a blood draw to check for anemia before my next appointment (which I obviously wasn’t going to make), so a nurse came in to draw my blood. I have deep veins on my arms that often make blood tests difficult but she was honestly digging around in my arm with a needle for several minutes – and then blood splattered everywhere! I’ve never seen anything like it outside of a horror film! It was a geyser of blood shooting out of my arm as though we’d just struck oil! Sadly, my hubby and sister weren’t watching – it was really impressive!

Everyone in the Birth Center was amazing (even the nurse I never want to have draw my blood again!). Everyone was smiling and talking in soft voices. It was very tranquil – like a spa (a spa where you have your insides ripped out, but they really did try to maintain a calm, comfortable atmosphere).

I kept having contractions about every 4-5 minutes. I felt like I wasn’t progressing much and felt like everyone was just watching me, waiting for things to happen. I sat on the birthing ball just to feel like I was doing something. I tried to get up and walk around but the pain in my lower back was too much!! I asked my husband to rub my back – which was the first time I asked him for anything in any labor! My back hurt!!!!

The nurse came in around 9:00 and asked if I wanted her to fill the labor tub so I could labor in the water. I figured it was worth a try so she set about getting it ready.

Around 9:30 contractions started coming faster. I ran to the bathroom to pee because every contraction made me feel like I was going to pee from the pressure. My husband later told me this was when he knew baby would arrive any minute.

While I was in the bathroom contractions started coming back to back. The nurse knocked on the door to say the tub was ready and I practically ran out and jumped in to try to get some relief. The water was so warm and felt great but didn’t really do anything to take the edge off the contractions. I tried to welcome them because I knew I had to get through them before it would end. As soon as I jumped in the pool, my water broke and I started feeling the need to push. In my experience, my body will just push naturally once it’s time and there’s not much I can do about it.

My midwife showed up and said they should check me. I thought she was crazy because I knew the baby was ready to come out. She and my husband helped me stand up and she announced what I already knew, that baby was right there! I remembered to stop pushing and try to blow out my breaths when I could to slow things down and avoid tearing. She asked if I could move and I said no. I was just standing there in the birthing tub with the midwife and hubby supporting me. Luckily someone thought to catch the baby (that nurse who gave the awful blood test is now one of my favorite people in the world!). Our baby girl was born just like that! Just before 10 a.m. My third birth was the longest labor, but still not too bad.

After she was delivered, they helped me walk over to the bed. Our baby girl was beautiful. And I was immediately so happy that she was out!!! Hubby cut the cord once it was done pulsing. After delivering the placenta my midwife gave me the strongest “uterus massage” EVER (so painful – she must be much stronger than the midwives who delivered my previous children!). She announced that I didn’t need stitches, which made me SO happy. I needed them after both prior deliveries and it’s no fun to sit there having someone sew up your lady parts when you just want to cuddle with your new baby.

Everything from there on out was perfect! The after pains were pretty brutal with baby #3!!! I definitely needed a few days with a heating pad after getting home. They were unexpectedly awful, but didn’t last longer than 4-5 days.

Baby #3 was born at 37 weeks, 6 days. 7 lbs, 0.5 oz, 20 inches. Absolutely perfect!  And her big brothers love her just as much as we do!


MaternityMondays

Little Brother Waterpark 

A real conversation that transpired in my house this week:

Hubby: Everything in the 6 year old’s drawer is wet.

Me: I’m sure it was his little brother. (he’s unbelievably mischievous).

Hubby: Buddy, do you know why everything is wet?

3 year old: (avoids eye contact)

Hubby: I know that you know.

3 year old: (continues avoiding eye contact)

Hubby: Please tell me why everything is wet, bud. I promise I won’t be mad.

3 year old. (Looks up, grinning) It’s a waterpark!

Hubby: Where did you get the water? Where did it all come from?

3: It’s a special waterpark! ….. A special PEE waterpark!

Hubby: A what? Wait…Did you pee in your brother’s drawer?

3 year old: (gleefully) YES!

Come on, hubby. This isn’t your first rodeo – you should have known it was pee as soon as you noticed everything was wet.

Raising boys sure isn’t for the faint of heart…. Or people who can’t handle a mess…. Or those who can’t laugh a little bit about pee….

Hubby didn’t even get that mad. He just walked into the laundry room muttering, “Yeah, I did that once to my brother too….”

Modern Dad Pages
Mami 2 Five

That time I threw away all their toys

This week I was the mean mom. The super mean mom.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve spoiled my kiddos a bit. I blame the working mother guilt (it’s real & it’s relentless). I always figured my kids should benefit as much as possible from me being away at the office while they’re practically raised by their nanny. The end result: toys, toys, toys, toys, toys. Everywhere. And anything I won’t buy them, grandma will.

My boys’ room is nothing more than bunk beds surrounded by storage bins and boxes and toy chests ready to burst at the seams. But do all these toys bring joy? No – all they do is turn our weekends into 2-day long fights over who has what and arguments about cleaning their room, complete with the kids throwing themselves on the ground in protest, shrieking empty promises that they’ll clean this afternoon, tomorrow, after a snack….

And I’ve had it! I’ve cleaned and reorganized that room and those toys more times than I can even count. And it makes me crazy. It even makes me yell! I’m sick and tired of having the “clean up your toys” song and dance dominate what should be fun weekends together (we should all be wearing matching outfits & making the crafts I’ve pinned on Pinterest!)

So I warned the kids all week that anything they didn’t pick up would be tossed away. They had all week! I even went into their room and set a timer. I let them know that anything they truly cared about and wanted to keep needed to be picked up.

They called my bluff.

So I threw away their toys. Five 13 gallon trash bags full. (Well, their “nice” father did salvage them from the garbage and hid them under the house in case I have a change of heart someday or they actually can’t sleep without their pillow pets and night vision goggles – but they don’t know that.)

At first they cried, of course. At first I did feel a little bad. But they didn’t protest as much as I expected.  And do you know what happened the next day? They played together. With their Legos. They had FUN with their remaining toys rather than just throwing them around the room and fighting over them. They painted. They had a great day. And they didn’t complain once (or actually even seem to notice) the missing toys.

Less really is more!

Now I wonder what I can throw out to make my hubby’s life easier …

 

 

Domestic Momster

 

 

 

Introducing Me!

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Hi! My name is Claire. I’m a great many things: Pinterest fanatic, compulsive online shopper & notable hypochondriac, but for the purposes of this blog, I’m mom to 2 wilder-than-wild-can-be boys, and one baby girl. Our lives are rambunctious, loud & non-stop. My kids keep me on my toes, and teach me new things about grace, love, life and adventure every single day (today I learned that everyone needs a good evil villain laugh that they can pull out when needed – it’s an important life skill — yesterday I learned that if you pee in your sock drawer you can call it a waterpark!).

I’m a cloth-diapering, breastfeeding, co-sleeping (wine-drinking) working mom.  I love cooking organic meals that are under-appreciated by my family. I haven’t slept in 7 years. I usually shower. If I ever reach a point in life when I’m not breastfeeding, I dream of being a sommelier.

And I’m married too!! (See, hubby, I didn’t forget you!) I was smart enough to marry a handsome guy who is a great dad & who manages to fix everything I break!

These are some of our adventures. ❤️