Friday, May 30, 2014

$50 Boden Gift Card Giveaway and Boden Discount Code

Right after my first son was born, four years ago, I realized very quickly how difficult it could be to shop for quality boy's clothing. After all, it's no secret that in most stores the girl's section outnumbers the boy's section in both quantity and options nearly 10 to 1. 

After much, shall we call it "market research," I manged to find a handful of go-to retailers that I could count on to make not only quality pieces of clothing for boys but also pieces that were durable, fun and fit well. 

I first introduced you to mini Boden, one of my absolute favorite places to shop for little boys, back when I wrote a post titled Where To Shop For Boy's Clothing. I started shopping here, as I mentioned earlier, back when my first son was born four years ago and year after year, season after season, there is no shortage of pieces that I find and immediately fall in love with.

A couple of tips when shopping Boden (Men, Women and Maternity), mini Boden (Kid's clothing) or Johnnie Boden (Teen clothing): 

1. Never shop without a discount code. Speaking of discount codes, with the keycode N6W5, ILYMTC readers can take 25% off everything plus free shipping from now through June 28th. Additionally, for this week only, Boden is offering 30% off women’s & girls’ dresses and 30% off men’s & boys’ pants and shorts. 

2. Check a garment's measurements before deciding on a size, as items tend to run a touch on the bigger side.

3. Although Boden is a U.K. based retailer, many mini Boden pieces are available in the USA at Nordstrom. What's more is that they will even price match during a promotion period.  

Now that I have 3 boys to dress these days, my love for Boden has naturally grown three-fold. Of all the places I shop for little boy's clothing, I will continue to shop Boden because of three reasons: the quality and construction of the fabrics, the bright bold colors and patterns, not to mention how easy it is to shop and maneuver the website. 

The quality of the clothing at Boden is undeniable. Proof of this lies in the fact that there are pieces worn by my first son that have been handed down to my middle child and will soon be worn by our newest addition. The colors never bleed and the pieces wash and wear well, better than many other brands of clothing on the market. 

For this reason alone I never mind investing in a purchase from Boden, whether it be for the boys or myself. 

Last month, the kind folks at Boden indulged my love of their brand by sending a few of my favorite pieces our way. They arrived just in time for temps to warm up and for us to throw the pieces in our suitcase and head out for our first trip to the family beach house.

When shopping Boden, I try to stock up on basic pieces that will not only pair well with what they already have in their closet but also pieces that will transition with them as the Summer season fades to Fall. That being said, one of the best go-to pieces from their collection is always the Jersey Baggies shorts. 

Paired with their Colourblock T-shirt, it's a match made in primary color and stripes heaven.

Since I am in that awkward soft and squishy place after having a baby, I couldn't help but pick out a tunic for myself, one of the Boden women's fashion staples. The cut, fit and fabric of their tunics is flattering on all body types (trust me, I've been many of them over the years) and whether I'm at my pre-pregnancy weight or just five weeks out from having a baby, their Printed Beach Thrown On is a must-have.

Want to what else I'm currently lusting over from the Boden Summer line? Check out my Boden Loves board on Pinterest. 

No purchase necessary for entry. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Winner must have US-based mailing address as coupon code is only valid on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are in no way affiliated with this giveaway. Prize to be awarded by marketing affiliate. Good luck to all those who enter. Winner will  be notified via email. Giveaway ends 6/6/14 at 1900.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Collins Mason :: Month One

I've been chronicling the lives of my kids here on this tiny space of the Internet for nearly four years now. From birth stories to birthday celebrations and all of the milestones in between, here they are, all laid out on a simple domain. 

I debated posting Collins' monthly updates here. I would like to think this blog has evolved since the birth of Maclane but at the same time, I've written down so much of our lives here in this space that I couldn't imagine not posting his updates. 

Like many bloggers, I very briefly contemplated starting a separate personal blog solely for updates on the boys but I was quickly reminded that I have neither the time nor the patience to upkeep a separate blog. After all I have a hard enough time carving out the time I both need and want to devote to this space. 

All that said, just like his big brothers, Collins' first year will be documented here on ILYMTC as well. And as many of us bloggers like to joke, as he grows and begins to wonder when he hit certain milestones, I will direct him right to this very URL. 

An electronic baby book of sorts. 

* * *

Collins Mason, you are one month old this week! 

Family and friends all around us are astonished that a month has passed since we welcomed you into our family but I will admit, I don't feel as if these last four weeks flew by. Maybe it's because I've been as cognizant as ever at how fleeting these moments, these first few weeks can be and I have been extra intentional about savoring them as best I can. 

As busy and chaotic as these last few weeks have been, I can remember clear as day the week we spent together in the hospital, just you and I, and I hope I can remember it that clearly forever and ever. It will always be an extra special week for me, getting to know you, just the two of us, without the distractions of home life. 

And by distractions, I mean your two awesome yet equally crazy brothers running around. 

As overwhelming as this transition to life with three kids has been, you have truly been the easiest piece of the puzzle. Much like your brother Maclane, you are such a calm little soul. You are a mellow, go with the flow, quiet kind of baby unless pushed past the point of hungry to absolutely famished, a finely lined tipping point I have quickly learned.

You are so quiet, in fact, that I sometimes worry about leaving you behind as we venture out of the house- or maybe it's just that your brothers are so, so loud all of the time. 

Speaking of brothers, they are so enamored with you. In the mornings, you are the first person they ask to see and before bed each night, you are the last little face they kiss. You are not only a gift to your Daddy and me but such an incredible gift to your brothers as well. I cannot wait to watch the three of you grow up together. 

At one month you are gaining weight left and right, evident in the addition of a new chin or two, and I believe this is responsible for the fact that there is nary a trace of newborn left on you. 

Because you are our last baby, I promise I will try not to be sad about this (and all other future milestones) but rather celebrate it and look forward to them. Bear with me though, because I'm sure there will be many bittersweet moments when I falter.

At one month you are in the vicinity of 12lbs and 23inches with dark hair and navy-grey eyes. You wear size 2 diapers and 0-3 month clothes. You are: 

Nursing exclusively on demand. From the moment we first nursed together in the hour after you were born, you seemed a pro and we haven't looked back since. I would venture to say you eat anywhere from every two to every four hours during the day and every three to four hours over night. Around week 2, I started pumping to build a freezer stash and so as to not make the same mistake we made with your brother, we started introducing a bottle that week as well. Once or twice a week your Daddy will feed you 3-4oz before bedtime and we joke that you're a chugging master. The catch? You'll only take the Medela brand bottles with those free nipples that come packed inside the free boxes of formula that come in the mail. Minor detail... 

Sleeping more than either of your brothers ever did, something I am not used to one bit! You take awesome naps during the day, often two to three hours at a time. At night you've been going down to bed around 9pm and waking for the first time between midnight and one o' clock in the morning. You nurse and fall right back to sleep without wasting a minute. Just like your brothers, you prefer not to be tightly swaddled but with a blanket lightly wrapped around your belly and legs.     

Loving naps, the mamaRoo, baths (which took a week for you to actually warm up to) and your brothers' voices. You can give or take the pacifier but that doesn't keep me from trying to force you to love it. Again, another lesson learned after your brother Maclane was born. You also love hearing your own voice, something you just started doing this week! It makes me laugh to watch you wind up with both your arms and legs a kicking and punching, just to push out one little "Ah-oooh!"


Not Loving tummy time so much if it occurs anywhere other than mine or your Daddy's chests. 

Going lot's of places! As the third and tiniest member of our family, you don't have the luxury of a schedule or a routine and you're much more of a "do as you go" kind of baby. You're an excellent rider in the car- on daily errands and running your brother to and from school, all the way to your very first trip to the beach!  

Doing not a whole lot but that's to be expected! You have plenty of weeks and months ahead of you to start doing. For now, I'm relishing in these lump on a log newborn days.  

Everyone is quick to tell us who they think you look like. Everyone swears you are the spitting image of your Daddy and Carter and I can't help but laugh. I see bits and pieces of them in you but I also see a great deal of myself and therefore, Maclane. I truly think you'll grow into a look all your own, the perfect blend of both your Daddy and me, the perfect blend of your brothers. If I'm being honest though, I do hope you keep that dark hair and blue eyes!

Happy One Month, Collins Mason! We love you more than carrots, the final piece to our crazy, loud and overwhelmingly loved family puzzle.  

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kissing Stuffed Animals (Not The Kind You're Thinking Of) and A Party At The Park.

People keep asking me if I've taken all three boys out at once yet. This question baffles me because I have to stop and wonder how I would ever get anything done if I chose not to leave the house with them. I also have to question my degree of sanity had we not yet left the house in four weeks. 

Along a similar vein, I do often think to myself, "Well, I did choose to have three kids and therefore I kind of have to get used to, you know, living and doing with them." 

So the answer is "yes," I have taken all three boys out with me. 

We've been to Target, the pediatrician's office, grocery shopping (the SAHM's trifecta) as well as to the playground that is just down the street from our house. The common denominator in all of these outings is that they are relatively controlled and typically two thirds of the crew are strapped down. This means I can easily keep an eye or a hand on everyone and I don't have to worry every thirty-seven seconds if I'm going to lose someone or leave someone behind. 

That said, yesterday was my very first uncontrolled outing with the three ring circus and while I'm mentally high-fiving myself for having survived, there are a few things I would like to say about said outing. 

Yesterday was Carter's unofficially official last day of Pre-School. What I mean by that is had we not had eleventy-five snow days this year, yesterday would have been his last day until September but because of the snow and by the good graces of Mothers With Brand New Babies, he'll be returning the first week in June for five more days. 

In celebration of said milestone, his class of seventeen 3 year old's and their families with equally aged children under the age of 3, all gathered at a local park for a picnic celebration. 

While that sounds nice and sweet, the picnic pavilion was situated a top a steeply graded hill that culminated in a lake. A LAKE. A lake without some sort of barrier between it and a steady stream of high fructose-laden three year olds running amok.

Pretty much the dumbest idea ever, if you ask me, and the reason why, for approximately two hours and seventeen minutes, my left eye twitched and I never once sat down.

Obviously there was a reason I dressed each of the boys in neon and I'm not ashamed to admit that it was the best decision I had made that day, second to bribing them with Chick-Fil-A milkshakes when it was time to leave the park.  

As if that wasn't nerve-wracking enough, the Nature Center at the local park decided to amp up the fun by bringing out a few of their "friendlier" animals for the kids to pet. Toads, salamanders and a creepy orange snake were all the rage with the touchy-feely preschoolers. It was the kind of cute I could handle.

What I couldn't handle was the taxidermy squirrel on a tree stump that Maclane insisted on picking up and carrying around the pavilion with him. At one point while trying to deter a swarm of sticky toddler fingers from poking out the eyes of my newborn, I turned to make eyes with Maclane only to see him stooped over kissing his brand new dead squirrel friend squared on his little dead mouth. 

It was all I could do to stifle the vomit. Once I pulled myself together and could maneuver the stroller without running over someone else's unattended child, I quickly swooped in and redirected him to the Tupperware full of turtles (true story) and then kicked myself for not taking a picture of him making out with a petrified squirrel. 

Okay, so I made it home with all three kids in tow, not one of them rolled down the hill into the lake and for a brief moment, just one of them made out with a dead animal. 

I think I might actually call that outing a win, no?

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Meet My 3 Kids: Crazy, Chaotic and Overwhelming.


Three weeks into this new gig and I still cannot believe I have three kids. I wrote a little bit here about what it feels like to have three kids and, well, I have a funny feeling it's going to be a while before that feeling changes. 

And when I say I cannot believe I have three kids, I really mean it. I can count on two hands the number of times I've had a mild panic attack after having pulled out of the driveway (and driven a few miles down the road if we're being honest) and thought to myself, "holy shit, I think I forgot the baby." 

In my defense, he's the only one of the lot that isn't constantly talking at an ear drum-splitting decibel so I'm sure you could see why he'd be the easiest to forget.

In full disclosure the number three has absolutely been my tipping point. As in, the Scales of Crazy have certainly fallen under the weight of our now third baby. 

I was pretty confident in myself as a mother when I had my first baby and even after welcoming our second, most days I still felt like I had a modicum of my shit together. But three? Three kids has absolutely rocked my little world.  


It looks like three is the magic number for a variety of things. For things such as:

- This blog to suddenly take a backseat to life. I've always loved coming here to write and despite staying home to raise my family and wanting to be present for my kids, blah blah blah, I've always made time for this blog. It's always been near the top of my priority list because I felt as if I owed it to my readers. Nowadays? I'm lucky if I can write a grocery list each day let alone a blog post. And that's so annoying because I hate grocery shopping. 

- To start contemplating a drink in the wee hours of the morning. This needs no explanation. There have been mornings, many mornings, where my first thought upon waking is, "how appropriate is a mimosa with my breakfast?" And by "with" I clearly mean "in place of."

- Panic attacks to set in at the park. Why? Because there's only so many days we can spend inside of the house. After a while the house looks like we've been robbed and the older boys are clamoring up the walls. That said, heading to the park is one of the singularly most stressful things I can think to do with three kids under four, second only to taking them all to the pediatricians office. I don't have enough eyes, arms or patience to do either of those things alone. 

- The need to invest in ear plugs. Do you know what it sounds like to have three crying children at once? It's worse than nails on a chalkboard. In fact, it's like three sets of nails on a chalkboard. And the minute the third one starts crying? All common sense and futility flies out the window. Who to tend to first? The one whose cries are the shrillest or the one who will remember whether or not you tended to him or just let him scream? I still don't know the answer. 

- The intense desire to run away at the end of the day and I'm not ashamed to admit it. For whatever reason, my children are determined to shorten my life explicitly between the hours of 5 and 6pm. It's as if they suddenly go deaf and turn into wild little heathen children. Makes me think we should have named Maclane "Damien" instead. 

- The feeling that I'm literally drowning in laundry. I had a hard time keeping up with the laundry before we had a tiny little human who uses approximately no less than 15 pieces of laundry a day. It doesn't help that swaddle blankets only last a mere half day around here before they're suddenly flung onto the floor and drug around like a Swiffer mop. Add a couple of outfit changes, various burp cloths and a bath towel to that and BAM. Suffocation by laundry. Seriously, has anyone really died from that because I wouldn't be surprised. 

- To know without a shadow of a doubt that we are absolutely, 100% certainly done having children. If you read Collins' birth story then you know that this decision was kind of made for us before this moment, but seriously, we are so done having children. I'm sure I will always want a baby. I mean, how could I not? Their tiny warm bodies, so snuggly and sweet-smelling. The way they do that little sucky thing in their sleep, the tiny coos and squeaks they make. I will always want that. I will always long for the feeling of a newborn asleep on my chest but let it be known that babies don't keep and they eventually turn into toddlers (hold me closer, Tony Danza) and then pre-schoolers and then they're pretty much full-on little grown ups. And that means they have their own opinions, their own ways of doing things and truth be told, they cost a shit-ton of money. We are SO done with having any more of those. 

I really don't want to keep writing about how three kids has literally turned our lives upside down. There's only so many times I'm going to be able to say "this is hard," without sounding like a whiny, broken record but for the love of all things holy, I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is so fucking hard. And it's not even hard. I just don't know what else to call it. 

Crazy. Chaotic. Overwhelming. 

I think I keep saying this because it's truly more of those three things than I ever imagined but perhaps that's because I never really imagined it at all. I never really thought twice about having three kids. It was more of a "well, we already have two and one more would be really kind of fun" and by fun I should've thought, "one more would be really kind of fucking nuts," and then some. 

And as much as it's all of those things above, I mean it in the best way possible. Because as crazy as it is, and as chaotic as it gets and as overwhelming as some of our days may be, it's really been so much awesome. So I haven't had much time to write but I've had plenty of time to soak in the newborn snuggles and watch my two big boys becomes brothers once over. I've watched my husband sleep through middle of the night diaper changes like it was his j-o-b and spent that extra time memorizing how that sleepy newborn feels on my chest. 

I now have three kids and even though it's hard to believe, I'm loving every fucking crazy minute of it. Well, except for those minutes between 5 and 6pm. I'll never love those minutes.  

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Tomorrow Morning's Smoothie. Trust Me On This!

As part of a social media shopper's campaign with Pollinate Media, I whipped up this awesome smoothie recipe. Trust me, your mornings won't ever be the same again. In a good way! Think: Creamsicle with a hint of sweet mint.

Ready to change up your smoothie routine? Head on over to the ILYMTC review blog for the easy recipe!

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Friday, May 9, 2014

The Three Best Brothers.

There isn't much I have to say about these pictures other than that the paper prints of these images are hands down some of the most priceless items in my possession. You see, brotherly introductions didn't go at all like I had planned them out in my head. 

I envisioned breathtaking video of their first meeting in the hospital room. I dreamt of perfectly captured smiles and first touches. I couldn't wait to have their sweet voices recorded, saying how much they loved their new baby brother and how he was "finally ready to come home," a question that, for weeks, plagued me day in and day out. 

The Big Brothers couldn't wait for that day. 

Unfortunately in the days leading up to my admission in the hospital, both boys began battling illness. Maclane, a simple upper respiratory infection that turned him into a walking snot faucet. Carter, battled asthma versus allergies versus croup and was treated with steroids and a nebulizer, our pediatrician unsure of what exactly was the cause of his incessant cough, congestion and shortness of breath during activity. 

While my heart broke for my sick boys, it also ached for the First Meeting that wouldn't happen as I had spent weeks dreaming of. 

In fact, the boys didn't visit me in the hospital until the morning of my discharge and even then it was under the strictest of rules. "No touching the baby! Kisses on his feet only!" were my first words to them when they arrived to take us home. Maclane never even left the confines of the stroller.

It went nothing like I had anticipated. 

It was almost a week before we let the boys handle Collins. I spent much of the day time quarantined upstairs in our bedroom until we were certain that any and all traces of sickness had vacated. 

Finally I thought it safe enough to scrub the boys down with hand sanitizer and let them hold their brother. I'm so happy we waited because it was this moment, this series of images, that means more than the world to me. It was absolutely worth the wait and so what if it didn't happen immediately?
Because this "first meeting" turned out even better than I had initially anticipated. 

Personalized name blanket from Jennifer Ann

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Now I Know Why They Call It Comfort Food.

Recently a friend of mine asked, "what is the most overwhelming thing about having three kids?" 

I took a few minutes to think. 

My first inclination was to answer without a second thought, "keeping tabs on all of them," which you might not think is too difficult a task when the youngest of the bunch sleeps the majority of the day. The truth is the baby is the easiest of the bunch. Sure he requires a good bit of work keeping him fed, dry and diapered, but it's the older two that require more interaction. More work and forethought is put into keeping them entertained so that boredom doesn't set in and send them swinging from the Roman shades. 

Regardless of who requires the most work though, I have noted that the only chances I get to sit down and put my feet up during the day are when I nurse the baby, handfuls of minutes here and there that I could not be more grateful for if I tried. 

But then I thought about it some more and what's been perhaps the most overwhelming thing about having three kids is the steady stream of love, support and hot meals that have poured in from our friends and neighbors. Call it postpartum hormones but I've been brought near to tears on a number of occasions as friends showed up with overflowing Tupperware squares in exchange for a hug and a few minutes of baby snuggles. 

These friends know better too. They didn't ask permission, they just acted. Some of them called and some of them texted to see if we would be around and within hours there would be a knock at the door. A huge smile. Comfort food in tow. A delivery pizza. A bottle of wine.

If you knew me, you would know that I shy away from this sort of stuff- this doting and extra help. If you were to ask me, "do you need a hot meal?" of course I would say no. I would say that we were just fine and thank you for the offer, not wanting to "put you out," but these friends and neighbors know better. They've shown up on our doorstep with casseroles and quiches. Soups, stews, cinnamon rolls and cookies galore. 

They've not only fed our hungry bellies but they've warmed our souls.  

I've come to realize very quickly that these hot meals are so much more than just dinners. I want so badly for our friends and neighbors to know just how grateful we are for them. These meals have given our brand new family of five respite from grocery shopping, prepping meals and slaving away in the kitchen. Instead that time has been much better served getting to know our newest little family member. 

Sitting and snugging on the couch. Counting his long skinny fingers and kissing his teeny tiny baby toes. Spending time watching the Big Brothers assimilate into their new roles almost seamlessly. Watching them love their brand new baby without fear and without reservation. 

I've spent this time soaking in as much of my family as possible. Watching my husband hold our tiny brand new son in his arms. Watching how he so carefully cradles him in his hands and kisses his forehead. Soaking in these moments, taking mental snapshots and making sure to commit them to memory forever and ever.

Comfort food. Now I know why they call it this for we have been so comforted by it. When you bring something as simple as a lasagna to a family that just welcomed a brand new baby, you're not bringing them "just a meal." You're bringing them so much more than that and for that, we are so, so incredibly grateful.    
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Welcoming Collins, A Birth Story.

Monday, April 21st, 2014

There is something to be said for "scheduled birthdays." For one, the guesswork is all but obsolete, perfect for a Type-A planner like myself. Second, you get to do silly things prior to having your baby like get a matching manicure and pedicure and don perfect makeup and hair, if that's your kind of thing. 

Much like his brothers' births which you can read about here and here, we knew what we were getting into. We had time to prepare our home and our hearts for the much anticipated arrival of the newest M brother. That being said, my third (and final) c-section went nothing like the others. The weirdest part of it all? I had a feeling this one would be different.

Unlike my other sections which were scheduled for the morning hours, this time we weren't scheduled for surgery until 2pm on that Monday. Everyone seemed to be concerned with how I would handle not eating since midnight beforehand but that was the furthest thought from my mind. I was actually looking forward to a slow, leisurely morning spent packing last minute things in our go-bag and sneaking in a few extra hugs and kisses from the Big Brothers before I would be leaving them for a short hospital "stay-cation." 

At 10:30am, my husband and I kissed the boys goodbye and piled into the car and drove off, for the third time in four years, to the hospital. The same hospital that our other two boys were born at. We listened to the radio, held hands the entire way there and talked about how we couldn't believe we were doing this for a third time. 

It was surreal for sure. The weather was beautiful. The sun was out and all I could think about was how it was the perfect day to have a baby.

We checked into the hospital as directed and we didn't waste a minute being taken back to the pre-op room where the ball to Collins' birth quickly started rolling. My nurses were wonderful. We laughed as my IV was placed, fluids and antibiotics hung and we shared stories about our kids. I met the surgeon who would be performing the surgery and immediately I fell in love with her. She was loud, had an epic sense of humor and Strawberry Margarita was on her nails. 

I wasn't the least bit nervous but I knew the nerves wouldn't set in until I walked back to the OR. 

Before I knew it, it was time to do just that. As the doors opened to OR 1, the same OR where the boys were both born, I felt the familiar rush of cold air as the nurse reminded me not to touch anything on a blue drape. I laughed nervously. Everyone in the OR knew I was a nurse and so we joked a little bit more about that and I could tell the surgical nurse could sense my mounting anxiety as she tried to change the subject nearly fifteen times. I can't remember a single thing we talked about in the OR but I can remember that Michael Jackson was playing in the background. 

So, how did I know this section was going to be different? I don't. I just knew. I had this feeling for weeks that something would be different. That it would all start with the epidural and boy, was I right. 

As the anesthesiologist pressed up and down my spine searching for the perfect spot, I swear I could feel that she was placing the needle higher up along my spine than my previous sections. Whether or not this was the truth, it certainly explains what happened soon after. 

As I laid back on the table, I waited for the warm and fuzzies to kick in. The warm feeling that denotes numbness as it creeps its way up my body. First my legs. Then my belly. Finally to that point just below my sternum. 

But it didn't stop there this time. It kept creeping. It crept past my sternum and into my chest. It felt like I couldn't breathe there was so much pressure on my chest. I knew I could breathe but try reassuring yourself that when it feels like the weight of the world is literally on top of your lungs. 

Then my fingers started going numb. Crap, I thought to myself. This isn't cool and why does it feel like an eternity before they let my husband into the OR to sit with me? (Perhaps because he was busy taking selfies. Side note: Paging Doctor McHotty. Yum.)

Finally, he was at my side and he could tell I wasn't feeling so hot. I had my closed tight and kept reminding myself to breathe. Deep breaths in and out. In and out. And for the love of God why is that damn drape so close to my face? Every time it skirted against my nose I swear I felt like I was going to lose my mind. 

As the surgeons began their first incision I battled nerves, nausea, dizziness and yes, that annoying feeling like I couldn't breathe. I felt this way for much of the surgery but through it all kept reminding myself that it would soon be worth every anxiety-ridden, breathless moment. 

We placed bets on how much we thought the baby would weigh. I guessed 9lbs. 2oz. and the doctors laughed. They didn't think he would be that big and they estimated his weight to be between 8 and 8.5lbs. I laughed. 

What do they know, right? 

And then that minute came. Before he was even pulled from my belly, I heard him. That precious, life-affirming, gurgling cry. I started sobbing uncontrollably. Everyone was yelling congratulations and that he was a "big one!" but all I could hear were his cries. His sweet, beautiful cries.  

As I opened my eyes and looked up to the ceiling I saw him. He was perfect. He was whisked away for vitals scoring a perfect 9/9 on the Apgar scale. He was having a bit of difficulty clearing the fluid in his lungs so he was put on forced oxygen or CPAP for a few minutes, something that often happens with C-section babies. He weighed 9lbs. even. 

The surgeon joked about holding my ovary in her hands as she gave me the run through of each of my organs before she "closed up." I gagged a little at the thought of my ovary in the palm of her hand. Everything looked great, she said.

Later when she would come to visit me in recovery I would find out that the bottom third of my uterus was stretched so thin that she could have easily torn it open with her hands. Because of the way my babies laid themselves in there, because of how big they've been, they've stretched my uterus to the point where it is no longer safe for me to carry a baby to full term, the biggest risk being uterine rupture. 

We knew we were done having babies after Collins but to be told that we were done was unsettling for the moment. I'm just so grateful for a surgeon who took the time to notice that sort of thing and furthermore, sit down and explain it to me. Her exact words were, "I can't recommend that you have any more babies. It's just not a good idea." 

I watched the nurses hand our brand new son over to my husband. To see his eyes light up. To see him settle that tiny baby into his big, strong arms. It bought tears to my eyes all over again. It is a moment that I will forever remember with each of our babies. 

As my husband took his seat by my side, he placed Collins next to my head. I kissed his face from forehead to chin, lingering on his tiny button nose. He was perfect. I silently prayed to God, thanking him for this blessing. For blessing us not once, not twice, but three times. I kissed my husband and he said, "we did it again. You did it. Great job, Mama." 

The following hours were a blur. The nursery nurses came to my bedside in recovery to do his newborn assessment. There wasn't a moment that he wasn't by my side. We nursed, we snuggled. I inhaled every inch of him. We started sending The Text Message to our friends and family, notifying them of his arrival. We took pictures, we soaked in every inch of him. 

As we settled into our new room on the Mother/Baby unit, I was overwhelmed once again. I couldn't believe he was here. As I glanced over to him, sleeping snugly in his bassinet, I couldn't believe that just two hours he was tucked so safely in my belly.
What a miracle, our Collins Mason. 

The following days in the hospital were some of the best and sweetest days I could have asked for. As I recovered, I spent quiet, quality time with my newest son. I memorized every inch of him. Every rise and fall of his chest as he slept on mine. I knew the minute we went home it wouldn't ever be this quiet. This uninterrupted. This was our special time together. So special, in fact, that I even opted for the "Bonus Day" and stayed an extra day before heading home, something I will write about another day. 

But that's it. The story of the birth of the third M Brother. He is here and I can say with absolute faith and certainty that our family is complete. He was always the missing piece and it feels so good that he's here. We feel whole. It's really incredible, to think about it. This complete-ness.  

Happy Birthday Collins Mason. We love you more than carrots.    
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