Thursday, May 27, 2010

So, Seven Months Later

I just signed on to do a quick post and I see that my last post was a 1-month-old picture. Hilarious.

So, what have I learned in the last seven months? Let's see, it's kind of hazy . . .

1. Lack of sleep will rob you of your desire to blog. The lack of sleep is the hardest part.

2. Fraternal twins are just siblings that are born at the same time. They are very different little people.

3. The cute really starts at about 3 months. Oddly enough, that is also when the father, at least in my experience, starts to actually adjust.

4. Parents of singletons are pansies. (Just kidding all you new parents of singletons that we know.)

5. There is Zantac for babies with acid reflux and it is safe and wonderful. Expensive, but safe and wonderful. (Oh, and Laryngomalacia really does go away on its own . . . eventually).

6. Babies like faces but do not understand the concept of gentle touches. Ouch.

7. Mothers are amazing creatures. At least, my wife is.

8. Don't get comfortable when they start only waking up once a night, they will regress a bit when they decide that they want company whenever they are conscious.

9. Feeding babies solid food is a cute, if messy and time-consuming process.

10. 8-month-olds think that dead moles are fun play toys.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One Month

Jack & Rob


All goes well with the kidlins, save one small complication. Apparently, Rob's discomfort while eating and periodic noisy breathing is a result of laryngomalcia, a delayed maturation of the supporting structures of the larynx (the epiglottis and/or arytenoid cartilages). Though there are rare cases that are cause for serious concern, laryngomalcia is apparently fairly common and takes care of itself as the child matures. Rob's facial contortions probably hurt me more than the laryngomalcia hurts him.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Male Postpartum Depression

This is a tough post to write, so I will be brief. Everyone knows about mothers and postpartum depression, but fewer people realize that men can also experience a form of PD. The sources that I have reviewed indicate that as many as 1 in 4 men experience some form of PD and 1 in 10 may suffer from a moderate to severe form of this condition. Having researched some of the symptoms, I think that I might qualify.

I don't want to get to much into something so personal in such a public forum, but for more information on male PD, I recommend that you check out the websites and articles here, here, and here. Most importantly, if you think that you have male PD, say something to someone.

Friday, September 25, 2009

We Can Haz Babies?!?!

On Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 6:51 and 6:52 a.m. respectively, Robert Edward and John Andrew entered the World. They are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the two most adorable baby boys ever unleashed. I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide which one is the most adorable and which comes in a close second in human history. Votes welcome in the comments.

The past week (I can't believe a quarter of my paternity leave is almost gone) has been insane. A planned induction failed to induce, resulting in delivery by C-Section. Since then, my wife and I have felt overwhelming joy, fear, excitement, and stress. Indeed, I can only take the few moments to write this all-too-brief post thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law, who kicked me out of the hospital the night before discharge to try to fix my back up after 4 days on a hospital couch. Well, that and I get to launder the baby clothes left for us by my own wonderful mother.

I do not now have time to describe everything that has happened in the last 5 days. Hopefully, I will have time to go into more detail later on. I will mention a few things, however, all of which center around the very theme of this blog: twins present an entirely different experience. All of these items probably apply to one baby, but now imagine them with two or more. Parents of twins, I believe, share a special bond. They have been through a unique experience that no one else can truly understand. With that central theme in mind, I offer a few quick observations in simple list form, largely in chronological order:

1. With twins they say you have a 50/50 shot at a C-section right off the top. By all means, try to have a vaginal delivery if you can. That said, it is important to know when to allow modern medicine to help you, and to know what comes with C-Section recovery.

2. Men, sitting at the head of the operating table with your wife during a C-Section is the most helpless and powerless you will ever feel. All you can do is try to talk to her and keep her calm -- even when you can't find any words. The two biggest things to know, in my opinion, are that your wife may feel like she is not breathing, even if she is, so you need to be ready to address that feeling, and that her blood pressure really will drop as low as 50 over 100, and that is okay.

3. Babies do not cry as much upon birth after a C-Section as you might think.

4. Babies sleep. A lot. At least on Day 1.

5. Days 2 and 3 can be sources of both joy and terror. Based on my experience, I can offer this piece of advice to limit the amount of terror -- when breastfeeding (especially) with twins, formula supplementation is your friend until your wife's milk comes in. The babies need food, and most women will not have enough colostrum to go around. It's just the way it is. Nature is cruel. Even our one child who took to the breast feeding well had blood sugar and weight loss issues until we were advised to supplement the colostrum he was getting from breast feeding with some formula. We hope to stop using the formula when my wife's milk comes in, but in the meantime a healthy, full baby makes everyone happier . . . especially the baby.

6. Babies can smell stress and fear. Try to relax.

7. What everyone tells you is true. Your baby will randomly pee right in your face while you change him if you do not protect yourself. The most amazing thing, you will be more concerned for the baby than for your face.

8. Seek help when you need it. Please. Particularly if you are trying to breast feed and a lactation consultant is available.

9. Seriously, try to get some sleep. The first night my wife and I kept the children all night after keeping them all day. We got almost no sleep. To be honest, I do not even remember it now. I know I changed diapers, but I have no recollection of doing so. Assuming that your hospital has a nursery available, send the babies there overnight and have them brought to you for feedings only. You will have enough sleepless nights. While the man will end up getting more sleep due to his lack of breasts, this is actually more for the mother. Even a new mother full of hormones needs as must rest as she can squeeze into her day.

9a. Even if you use the nursery, sleep as you have known it, in the quantities that you have known it, is over. At least for a few years.

10. One more for just the men. Guys, women are ridiculously unbelievable. Or maybe it is just my wife. For your sakes, I hope it is not.

So, some of that was serious. I guess I should leave you with a happy-smiley parting shot:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Complication of Multiples Dodged II

Well, we dodged another one -- Preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition. While not limited to multiple pregnancies, it is certainly more common with twins -- and it's no joke. My wife went for a check up and they found high blood pressure. Two days later, fortunately, her blood pressure had returned to normal and further testing came back negative, staving off early inducement. Even so, given that the kiddos weigh over 13 pounds total now, they are going to be born by a week from today whether they want to be or not.

This experience has reminded me exactly how tough my wife is, as are women in general. I think that I wrote in a prior post that the last two months of pregnancy are longer than the first seven. That is true for me and I am not even doing anything. My wife has to carry two ever-growing bowling balls in her stomach, deal with horrible heartburn, lose sleep due to hip and back pain, and deal with every other stranger on the street looking at her tummy and using some variation of, "Damn!" She's good natured and doesn't complain . . . much. If it were me, I would be lying in bed 24-7 in the fetal position whimpering.

Well, they are coming out by next Monday one way or the other. Then it will be time . . . time to take over the World . . . !

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Still Here

No, I have not stopped blogging about the babies, there is just not a whole lot going on in the last couple of months of pregnancy -- at least from the father's perspective. My wife had three showers, so there is a lot of baby stuff in the nursery. She is also having weekly non-stress tests, given that it is a high-risk pregnancy and all. But for me, it is just a matter of staying focused at work as the birth gets closer. The last two months have seemed as long as the first seven.

I did accomplish three things today on the daddy consumer front. First, I picked out an Activity Center for the kids. A very scientific process of looking at little seats with plastic toys and trying to figure out which one my as-yet-unborn children would like. Craps anyone?

Second, I purchased two mobiles for the kids. Fortunately, thanks to The New Father by Armin A. Brott, which I recommend, I do know something about this. Newborns can see from birth, but not very well. Therefore, the best way to entertain them is with sharp contrasting colors like black and white. It is also important to remember that babies can't lift their heads much, so they will only be looking at a mobile from below. While stuffed animals may be cute to adults, they mean little to babies. After some web snooping, I settled on this mobile from The music only plays for a few minutes, but that is what the Ipod is for anyway.

Finally, I managed to do something good for the environment. To save our sanity, we will be using disposable plates and bowls for a while so as to minimize dish washing. Fortunately, I noticed these in my office. Eco-Products makes a whole line of compostable plastic made from corn. Unfortunately we purchased plastic plates and bowls before I learned about Eco-Products, but at least we will be able to compost our cups and, in the future, I will know where to go to balance convenience and renewable resources.