Category Archives: Family

Something wicked this way comes

Alex I have to write about this. I just do.

Some warnings. If you are squeamish or don’t like to think about poop, turn away now.  That is the subject of this post. Poop.

We are not talking about your average normal everyday poop here. Oh no. The events of yesterday evening were so extraordinary that I need to document them for future generations.

Some background. Over the past week, both of our daughters have had a shift in their… shall we say… routine. Where they used to have poopy diapers at almost every feeding without fail, now they don’t. For some reason, they just don’t poop with that clockwork regularity of old. Every day we pick them up from day care, we look at the little sheet of paper the lady gives us which lists all their particulars for the day and it will be another poopless day. To Alex and Meri’s credit, it doesn’t seem to bother them much. They still eat. Sleep. Pee. You name it. But the poop just doesn’t come.

Which can mean only one thing… something horrible was brewing.

That horriblness arrived last evening. I was just preparing to feed Alex, who hadn’t pooped for 3 days at this point, when she made a face. It was a look of intense concentration with a hint of exuberance. Just then I heard and felt the “arrival”. In those first couple seconds it didn’t seem any different than the dozens of other times she’s done this. But that only lasted until the aroma hit me. I was hit with a smell I was not remotely prepared for. The English language is inadequate to fully describe just what this stench was. Perhaps in Swahili they have a term to encompass it that could roughly translate to something like “decomposing dead water buffalo in 100° heat stuffed with rotten eggs”. This was a smell that didn’t just assault your nose. It assaulted your eyes. Your throat. Your sense of wellbeing. I quite literally started coughing and fighting off gags. Then I started laughing. I couldn’t help myself. I’ve heard that people in extreme situations can often turn to laughter as a coping mechanism. That must have been what happened to me.

Bear in mind… this was just the smell through the diaper and 2 articles of clothing.

I asked Jess if I should change her before I feed her (Note: she was across the room, well out of range of the attack) and she said I should just feed her first in case she goes again. That plan lasted for exactly 48 seconds before I caved and could take no more.

I put Alex down on the changing table and hesitantly began peeling off clothing. Outer play outfit was fine… inner onesie… fine. Thank god the diaper did it’s job. But it was now time to open said diaper. I unstick the tabs and begin to peel back this last bastion between my old self and my new reality.

First, if I thought the smell was bad before, it just got 1000% worse. I have a fairly strong constitution but this was too much. I was still coughing and gagging. It was just that the smell would get into your nose and throat and set up residence. This was a life event. A transforming moment.

This 1-2 size diaper was full. Now, when I say full, I mean it was absolutely full. “It” had pressed to every edge, but did not spill over. Thank you Kirkland brand. You were able to save at least a small bit of my psyche.

Up until this point, their poop had been really mostly watery. No big deal. A lot would soak into the diaper. This one, however, was not soaking into anything. We’re talking maybe 3/4 of an inch thick at the bottom. Downright shocking. Consistency? Let me just put it this way… I will not be partaking in any chocolate pudding in the near future. I just stood there, dumbfounded for a bit. I could not look away. I had to call Jess over, who was feeding Meri across the room, because she needed to see this with her own 2 eyes. I could not be the only one to see this. That would be like being the only person to see Bigfoot… only if Bigfoot came into your tent and filled your sleeping bag with poop.

I don’t think I wanted to know such things could exist in this world. What has been seen, cannot be unseen.

Upon removal, this diaper easily weighed 2lbs. That may be a conservative estimate. Bear in mind, that Alex herself only weighs probably 12lbs. For reference, that’s like a 200 lb man having a “movement” of 32 pounds. Then came the cleaning. This was certainly not like their usual, where a “bad” one constituted the use of 2 wipes. Oh no… I believe all told, I was forced to use 5 or 6 separate wipes in order to get her clean… I think I had begun losing connection to the real world. Events are hazy. Honestly, she looked like she had sat herself straight down into a mud puddle… only that ain’t mud…

This was as visceral an experience as I’ve had recently. This was not a diaper change. This was something else. My adrenalin was flowing. When I finally sat down to get back to the job at hand of feeding her, I felt… different. I was breathing heavy. Perhaps a little light headed.

Now, I know a lot of you parents out there have your own poop stories. Stories about explosions at inopportune times or places. Of ruining clothing and/or events. I now can appreciate this. This was my first real brush with the evil that lurks below.

I’m not sure I can look at my cute little 3 month old daughter in quite the same way…

Things I miss since having twins

Two Months OldI’m just going to say it… Having newborn twins is a gargantuan pain in the ass.  There. It’s out there. I’m not going to sugar coat this thing by saying how magical everything is and how rainbows and moonbeams flow from our household like unrestrained rivers of milk and honey. No, it’s more like stress and poop and sleep deprivation.

That being said, we do love the little twerps, even if we don’t like them all the time. They are lucky they are cute, otherwise we’d have already sold them to the gypsies long ago.

What follows is a list of all the stuff I want to bitch about these past 3 months. So, if you have an idealized vision of what having twins is like and don’t want to ruin that with reality, I suggest you stop reading now. Oh, and Alex and Meri… if you’re reading this at some point in the future, know this. Payback is coming…

Sleep

Let’s get the big one out of the way. Obviously, everyone knows that with any kid your sleeping goes straight into the toilet.  Intellectually, I knew this was coming. However, there is no way to really prepare yourself for just what happens once they arrive. When you’re pregnant, other parents always say, “be sure to stock up on extra sleep… you’re gonna need it! Har har har, ” they chuckle. You know what I say? Screw that. If you are having twins my advice is this. About a month before they are born start weaning yourself OFF of sleep. Seriously. Get yourself down to 5-6 hours max… preferably with an hour break in the middle somewhere. That way you’ll be able to function for that first month. It took me at least a full month of serious pain before I reached a place where I could be trusted to even look at heavy machinery. At least I’ve reached a place after 3 months where I’m functional, but I’m still not enjoying myself.

It’s like this. You don’t have an option with twins. Conceivably, if you just had one kid parents could maybe switch off nights and let the other sleep.  With twins you are both up every time. No if’s, and’s or but’s. I kinda equate it to this scene in the movie Goodfellas (caution, rough language). “You’re really tired? F*-you… feed me.  You’ve got a wicked cold? F*-you… feed me. You honestly think you might die if you don’t sleep? F*-you… feed me.” These twin girls are like little mob bosses. No flexibility. You do it their way or you’re in for a LOT more pain.

People always ask us, “Do you have family in the area to help?” Of course, we have a lot of family in the area and they have helped us out. But you know what? Not one of them has ever been there at 3am when we could really really really use the help. You know why? BECAUSE BEING UP AT 3AM, ESPECIALLY FOR EVERY NIGHT FOR MONTHS, TOTALLY SUCKS. This may just be the deprivation talking, but I don’t like any of my family members enough to go to their houses in the middle of the night, either. Ya know… no offense…

You’re probably thinking, “hey asshole… why don’t you just nap?” Like it’s that simple. Jess, being home with the girls alone all day, considers it a major win if she can get 20 minutes of sleep during the day when one or both girls aren’t squaking. I don’t know how they do it, but they seem to know just when the other one is falling asleep that it is then your turn to crank it up. It never fails. Last weekend Jess’s sister was in town and I was able to sneak away for a 2 hour nap. I would have thought that would be worth a mint. However, when I woke up I was WAY more tired than when I fell asleep. I was seriously groggy and stumbling around the house for 3 hours after that nap. I was a danger to myself and others. Note to self… just keep going. Naps will just hurt you more in the long run.

I’ll just throw feedings in general in here. They are brutal. It is really tough living in a world where every 4 hours something is going to happen that you dread. Normally, you may think that 4 hours is a long time, but let me tell you. When another feeding is staring you in the face, it feels like 15 minutes. The stress of getting them to eat sometimes can be overwhelming. It’s really fun when they wake up and cry that they’re hungry… then DON’T eat for 45 minutes.

I’ve decided that I liked the first morning feeding the best. Mainly because even though I was getting up for the day and there was no more sleep, but at least the sun started to come up. I could get a cup of coffee. I didn’t have to worry about trying to get any more sleep. It was just time to go to work. Which, at least, gave me a break from the girls.

There are times… like every 4am… where you honestly wonder if it will ever end. You are so delirious that you can’t imagine a time when this will all be just another faded horrible memory. I long for those days.

For the record, the lack of sleep is a major factor in each and every one of the other list items to follow.

Meals

One thing that Jess and I enjoyed pre-kids was cooking. Spending a little quality time in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, eating it, then cleaning up and closing the dishes.  Since the girls were born?  Fuggedaboutit. Let’s break this down piece by piece. First off, you’re so wore out that the very idea of expending the energy to create a whole meal sounds like someone asking, “Hey… you wanna go rock climbing right now?”  The answer is no. You really don’t want to break out everything you need to cook, the ingredients and pots & pans.  Which, doesn’t matter because you won’t have time to eat what you prepare anyway because at least one kid will lose their shit before you can get a single bite into your mouth. Finally, the only thing you want to do LESS than get everything out to cook is washing everything and putting it away. That’s like asking “wanna go rockclimbing while I repeatedly punch you in the face?”.  Again… answer = no.

Early on after the girls were born, we had lots of good friends and family bringing us meals. That was tremendous. We could just pull something from the fridge or freezer, pop it in the oven and even though we didn’t have time to eat, we could at least have something good and homemade to cram into our faces in 30 seconds flat.

However, that couldn’t last forever. We have reached a point now where a good 3 or 4 times a week, we’ll finally finish a feeding at 7:30pm or something and look at each other like “oh god… now we have to figure out food.” You know what happens more often than not? We decide we’ll just “snack” for dinner, where “snack” is a euphemism for “maybe we’ll eat something or more likely not.”

The few times that we do actually manage to make something resembling a meal, say like tacos or something, you are still forced to eat at mach 2. Why? Well, for me I know one of the girls will not sit quietly for the 15 minutes it would take for both of us to eat together. Jess usually volunteers first watch, so I wolf mine down mainly so her’s won’t be stone cold when she gets to eat. Plus, the other one could lose it any second. Life is better with free hands.

Plus side? I’m losing weight. Stress and not eating will do that to ya, I suppose.

Leaving the House

Having any kid will create a massive amount of crap you need to take along with you whenever you decide to leave the house. Twins? That amount is exponentially raised. When we bought our mid-size SUV last summer I never imagined that we could run out of space. Well… yeah. Even collapsed, a double stroller is giant. And it’s not just the amount of stuff you have to remember to take with you. Honestly, it is the stress of wondering if a meltdown of epic proportions is going to happen upon your arriving at your destination. Nothing in the world is worse than spending the 45 minutes of assembling the crap and prepping the girls to go out only to get there and they both freak out inconsolably. Not good times. Life right now is about doing what you can to make things simpler… and that ain’t it.

Not to mention that it has been winter. Jess especially has been cooped up in the house for so long. At least I’ve been able to go to work. We have taken them for a few walks around the neighborhood on the couple of warmish days we’ve had, but not enough to feel like you have done anything but sit around the house and watch Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives for the 409th time.

Reading

I love to read. In fact, Jess just bought me a new Amazon Kindle for my birthday in November and I love that thing. However, nowadays if I attempt to read anything longer than a paragraph or 2, chances are I’m going to pass out. I haven’t hardly touched my Kindle in the past 3 months. It’s kinda like in college when you would attempt to read a text book… You could end up “reading” 3 or 4 pages only to realize you have no idea what the hell you just read. That’s me. In fact, before that 2 hour nap I was reading. Got 2 Kindle page-turns down before I passed out. And we know how that turned out.

Reading is just not enough stimulation to keep my brain going. Maybe someday that ability will return. I sure hope so.

Traveling

Yes, I know that the girls have only been around for 12 weeks and that we had no vacations planned in that time anyway, but this is a “looking forward” sorta thing. It is more a feeling that the chances of us going anywhere farther than an hour away from our house for at least the next 2 or 3 years is pretty slim.

There are a few factors at play in this one. First, the logistics of packing everything we would need for even a weekend away is WAY too much for us to handle in our current states. For example, Jess, on a whim last fall, bought tickets for the U2 show in Pittsburgh this summer. Her thought was, maybe we could fly with the girls and have the tons of family we have there to watch them. Umm… yeah… this was before the girls actually arrived and reality set in. That’s just not going to happen. I can’t even fathom flying with 2 five-month olds. I’d rather light my own hair on fire. So, I seriously doubt we’re gonna make that show. On the plus side though, who needs 4 tickets?

Secondly, even with all the family help we have in the area, dumping off 2 needy babies on someone for any extended period of time is a very tall order. No offense, but I wouldn’t volunteer to do that for anyone else either.

Watching TV doesn’t help either, since there are shows about traveling and eating all over the place. I’ve been craving a Las Vegas trip badly, however I’m sure I’m waaay too tired to enjoy such a thing right now.  I can remember asking Jess one middle of the night a couple months ago if there was a place similar in function to Camp Bow Wow (animal boarding) but for babies. You know… for those couples who need to get away from their kids for a weekend or something. She assured me that their wasn’t.  Damn…

TiredIntelligent Conversation and Cognitive Thought

Again, you can probably chalk this one up to the whole sleep thing again. I was home from work for that first painful month and Jess and I spent nearly every waking moment together. We definitely reached a point where there was really nothing more to say to each other. Neither of us had done anything that the other didn’t already know about. Neither of us had seen any TV, read any article, or had any other thought pop into our heads that we hadn’t already shared.  So, what did we talk about? The girls, of course. On the couple of occasions when our parents would come by and watch the girls so we could go out to eat together, what did we talk about? You guessed it. The twins. Really, the only interesting thing that happens for that first month is poop. So, that’s what you discuss. Such is life.

Since that first month, there still isn’t much else to talk about. Especially with other people. Twins are our major story line. People see us and ask, “how are the girls?”. Which is fine, but that is basically all we talk about. Plus, since forming thoughts about anything we aren’t immediately experiencing is difficult at best, it’s all we can think to talk about. I’m sure we’ve bored the hell out of some folks out there on Facebook. Oh well. That’s all we have to offer right now.

I’ve tried to keep watching Jeopardy! just to try to keep some of my mental faculties about me. Sometimes it works… sometimes it doesn’t. Also, during the morning feeding we would watch the Today show, and I would just spend the whole time ripping on what I was seeing. The hosts, the guests, the dumbass stories, and even dumber commercials. I think Jess secretly enjoyed that and I know it felt good for me to vent a little. Don’t get me started on the Realtor they have on there from time to time…

Self Maintenace

You know what the first thing to go is when you have no time and no energy? Keeping up on yourself. I was one of those type of guys who wouldn’t leave the house in just a t-shirt or sweatpants. I just didn’t. Those days are long gone. There are days where you feel like you should shower, but you just can’t drag yourself to do it. Sometimes 2 days. Sometimes 3 days. Meh. How about fixing your hair, feel like doing that?  Um, no. I don’t. Shaving? Pass… Wanna wear some item of clothing that doesn’t have spit-up on it? Maybe, but I don’t actually wanna do anything about it.  Laundry? Thank god Jess stayed on top of that otherwise I would be wearing pajama pants and old T-shirts 2 sizes too small right now.

Free Time or Leisurely Anything

Duh. You have no free time.  That concept has ceased to exist in your world. Gone are the days of a needed 20 minute shower. Want to do a little video gaming? Dream on.  Hey the new ESPN Magazine came… Well, tough shit cause you don’t have time to look at it. One good thing about it being winter is there isn’t currently any yard work to be done. I can’t imagine what my lawn would have looked like if these girls had been born in July. We did actually watch a movie on HBO the other night. Of course, there was a 30 minute break in the middle where we had to attend to other things, but we finished it. And neither of us fell asleep. That’s a plus.

Now… all that being said, there are some positives. When they smile at you, it can sorta mask all the other shit they put you through. However, when they’d rather smile at 4 in the morning than eat, it’s not quite as cute. But really, when stuff really sucks, it certainly gives you something to look forward to. So that’s nice.

Another great thing is that Jess and I have probably only grown closer together throughout this. You hear about how kids often times puts strain on marriages. Well, I’d say we’re going in the opposite direction. It’s us against the world and we’re gonna win. I love you baby.

Someday all of these things will return and we’ll laugh about it… Someday.

Remember how I said I would get revenge on these girls when the time came? Well, I’m going to take extreme glee in waking them up when they are teenagers, at ungodly times in the morning, for absolutely no good reason… all while I cackle in delight. Man, I can’t wait.

Get Your Baby Pic Fix Here

Ok, I know I’ve been slacking horribly about posting baby pictures. In my defense, I’ve been doing a total of like 5 things every day. Feeding, Burping, Changing, Sleeping, and Working. That’s it. It is difficult for me to do anything more than that.

But, today was a bit different. I scrubbed the shower. I walked the dog. We shot more pictures of the girls (on top of all the regular feeding, burping and changing)… So I figured I might as well get some pictures out to all of you.

The first set was taken the day after Christmas. Although we had done nothing to celebrate the holiday, we did dress up the girls in their Christmas best if for no other reason to remember it happened.

As always, click on the image to view it on Flickr. There are more pictures there than I am posting into this blog. So be sure you go visit and view those!

Christmas Twins on Flickr

Meri - Alex

Meri bottom Alex top

Alex top, Meri bottom

Alex

This one just cracks me up.
Alex - Meri


First Bath on Flickr

Set 2 is the occasion of the girls’ first bath. Meri went first, and didn’t really enjoy the experience. Alex, however, seemed to really like the warm water and just hung out in the tub and enjoyed the attention.

Meri

Meri

Alex

Alex


Set 3 is the 1 month old group that we shot today. Jess bought some big ol stickers for each month that we can use to mark their ages. Should be fun going forward! These were taken on one of the beautiful blankets their great grandma just sent them.

One Month Old on Flickr

Meri - 1 month

Alex - Meri

Alex - Meri

Alex - Meri

Day 29 of Captivity

Their main torture method is sleep deprivation. And they excel in it’s application.

Our captors know how to push us. How to break us. They know the times and methods to force us to our limits and beyond.

Day 29 of our captivity. We were snatched up just as we were headed to a holiday party. Little did we know that we would never make it. Instead, we were seemingly sold into a state of bondage by our two miniature captors. We knew it was coming, but I don’t think we fully understood just what they would do to us… or the glee they would seem to take while doing it. Nothing can prepare you to have your freedom ripped from you in such a way.

Early on, you seem ok with it. There is a newness… a novelty to the whole situation. Maybe you’ll even enjoy the captivity. Unfortunately, this feeling wears off. It wears off and all you are left with are memories of how life used to be. How easy things were and how you didn’t fully appreciate what you had. But, that’s life isn’t it? You’re told that your captive situation will improve, but it is difficult to picture that happening.

The demands of our captors are certainly unique. In addition to the aforementioned sleep deprivation they have many other torture methods. We are forced to feed them at very strict schedules. Normal food is not good enough. Oh no… they will only eat a very specific diet, of which I decline to mention how it is obtained. After said feedings, it is up to us to make sure their seemingly delicate systems are not burdened by excess gas. Who knew that such evil masterminds could have such an Achilles heel? If this gas is not expunged from their system, you will pay for it. The howls can be maddening. Following, we are then coerced into cleaning our captors from their bodily functions. Apparently, these kidnappers wish to do nothing for themselves and we are forced to pick up the slack. Sometimes, just to show you they are still in charge, they will forcibly expel some bodily effluence at an inopportune time, forcing you to clean them again. Such is their madness.

While we are required to tend to their every need, our own needs go unmet. You start to realize that any desire to live a clean and orderly existence goes right out the window. Part of your coping mechanism is to let things go. Laundry? Dishes? Who cares? Our captors certainly don’t. Their needs become your needs and you’d better get used to that.

Oh sure, they sometimes allow us visitors. Family and friends are allowed visitation rights, but only for so long. You wouldn’t want to risk their wrath if our captors are disturbed for too long. Trust me on this.

Luckily, our captors have not seemed fit to curtail our outward communication channels. They seem oblivious to all forms of written and verbal communication to the outside world. I think this will be their downfall… eventually. We are able to seek advice and well-wishes from family and former captives who have since escaped and/or were able to alter the terms of their captivity. We hope to do the same eventually, but it is a slow process. It certainly keeps our spirits up.

Our abductors have begun to allow some unsupervised excursions, trusting we will return on our own. Not many and not frequently, but they have happened. Interesting strategy on their part I must admit. We’re hoping this is the beginning of a trend.

One positive aspect to our captivity is we have seemed to be deeply affected by the Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages begin to feel very positive feelings towards their captors. Despite all the demands on us, we can’t seem to get enough of our little tormentors. I hesitate to say it, but it is perhaps even evolving into love…

And so, we survive. Day by day we survive. Perhaps, if we do survive, we can look back on this time and laugh.

We hope.

Our Feeding Process – Twin Style

This is another post in the “let’s remember the pain, since people say you won’t remember it but I seriously wonder how I could possibly forget” department.  I’m going to document just how crazy our feeding processes have been with these two little girlies.

Bear in mind, that we have done this every three hours (or sooner in many cases) for the past 3 weeks. How about this: we’ve been home for 19 days.  That’s 456 hours. Divided by a feeding every 3 hours is 152 feedings. That makes me even more tired to think about than I was previously… Anyways, here is our process.

Scene: 2:15am

Meri starts stirring and squaking. It’s time. Jess gets out of bed to grab Meri before she full on blasts into crying. Jess gets her feeding pillow ready and works to get Meri to latch and start eating. Meanwhile, I will get up and quiet Alex, if necessary, otherwise I head to the kitchen to get our gear together. Here is what I pull out. 2 syringes, 2 plastic pipettes, a snappy full of breast milk from the fridge and a bowl of hot water. Plus 2 bottles and “nipple cups” for Jess to pump into. I fill the two syringes with 30ml of milk each and put them in the hot water to warm. I take all of this back to the bedroom and wait for Meri to finish her 15 minutes of breastfeeding time.

Jess burps Meri and I get Alex rousted and ready to go. I also take Meri’s swaddles to the changing table and lay them out ready to go. I swap Alex from the crib to Jess and I take Meri to my chair to proceed with “finger feeding” her, while Jess gets Alex on the breast for her 15 minutes.

For those who don’t know, “finger feeding” is done in order to supplement babies without creating nipple confusion. Since these girls were so small (3rd and 5th percentile for size/weight) they needed to eat more. The process works like this. Holding the syringe in my right hand, I use a piece of scotch tape to affix the plastic pipette to my left pinky finger. I then insert the tube and finger into Meri’s mouth and (ideally) she starts sucking. As she sucks on the finger (and straw) I have to keep pressure on the plunger of the syringe to make sure she gets milk when she sucks. Some times, she sucks hard enough to almost take the plunger down on her own. Other times, she is fairly lazy and it takes a long time to try to get the 30ML into her. Not to mention, that many breaks need to be made in order to burp her, since if I don’t she will scream and/or turn into a milk-based fountain and spew it everywhere. Probably 50% of the time, Meri likes to do what I call the “suck-suck-cry” method, which just extends the amount of time it takes to feed her. I’m not sure I can adequately describe how tough this is, but it’s not fun.

While I’m doing this, Jess has finished breastfeeding and burping Alex and starts to finger feed her. I take Meri to the changing table and change her diaper. Pull her diaper off and wipe her down (which always results in screaming). Hopefully she doesn’t pee when her diaper is off or puke on her blankets before I can get her swaddled up. Clothing goes as follows: new diaper, shirt (more crying), swaddle with one blanket, swaddle with a 2nd blanket and then her hat. Since she’s worked herself all up crying while changing, it is now time to try to do more burping and calming before trying to put her down again.

In a perfect world, Meri is starting to doze off as soon as Jess is finishing changing Alex. Then, I can take Alex and calm her. Otherwise, I have to finish calming Meri while Jess starts calming Alex. Eventually, one of them will go down and I can take the other. This will allow Jess to start pumping her breasts in order to give us extra milk with which to feed the girls next time. She pumps for 15 minutes. If both the girls are down, I can then take all of the gear back out to the kitchen and clean it all. Fill a bowl with hot water, and squeeze water through both syringes and pipettes and clean out the snappy we emptied with this feeding. Jess finishes pumping and takes the bottles and pump gear out to be stored and cleaned while I do any remaining calming.

By this time, both girls are in the crib but not necessarily sleeping. They will grunt and groan and make all sorts of noises. Hopefully, neither cries and needs to be picked up and burped or calmed more. We then try to lay down and fall back asleep. With any luck, it’s now 3:45 or 4am. We’ve been done feeding for about 30 minutes ago. Which means at 6:15am, just 2 short hours away, we gotta do it ALL over again.

The really bad nights are when all you want to do is sleep and you keep staring at the clock. Doing the mental math, “if they fall asleep right now, I’ll still have 2 and a half hours to sleep…”  tick tick tick tick “ok, 2 hours wouldn’t be bad…” tick tick tick tick “hour and a half… better than nothing.” tick tick tick tick “they’re finally down… Shit… it’s 49 minutes until next feeding… *sigh*”.

Bad is being up 2/3 of the night feeding. Worse is spending the other 1/3 dreaming about feeding. It’s like you never stop.

That was the original process, but we have since made some changes. As of a week ago, we’ve swapped the finger feeding for bottles. Which is MUCH easier. Especially since the syringes only held 30ML and the girls are now easily downing between 40 and 80MLs which would have been a super pain in the ass if we had to do that with syringes. Bottle, nipple and insert cleaning is a pain, but the actual eating part is better.

Also, we’ve introduced pacifiers which is both good and bad. Good, in that we can use them to quiet down the girls when they’re fussy. However, that is a double edged sword. These girls will often times be sucking on them, only to spit them out and start crying. Which introduces the really fun game of “catch the bink”. You wouldn’t think it would be that tough, but you’d be wrong. Especially when they suck on it juuuuust long enough for you to get back into bed before they spit and cry. Drag ass out of bed to put it back in. Repeat as necessary.

I’m not even mentioning the diapers: 152 feedings… 1 diaper per kid, per feeding is over 300 diaper changes in just under 3 weeks. Also not mentioned is the random getting peed or puked on. Often this will happen when you are least equipped to deal with it.

Such is life with twins. Sometimes it feels like we’ll never sleep again. People tell us that things will be so much better in 6 weeks. All I can think is, “6 weeks!? You might as well say 10 years. I’ll never make it.” To be perfectly honest, Jess and I have talked about how pissed we are at single baby couples. They could swap feedings and sleep 6 solid hours! A feeding could conceivably be done in 30 minutes. They don’t have to worry about one kid screaming and waking the other. I’m sure they have their challenges as well, but man… I’d like to try that for a few nights.

But, we are seeing some slow improvement. We’re pushing almost 4 hours between feedings. The girls have started looking at your face while you feed them, which is far superior to them rolling their eyes around the room. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 5+ hours. That would be incredible, especially since I go back to work in less than a week.

And so it goes. We’re sticking with baby steps…

Birthday Story

The following is the story of the day our brand spanking new baby girls were born. Mainly writing this for their mother and and I so that we can remember what the hell happened, since it feels like we’ve been hit with a freight train every day after this momentous day. I’m sure all you other parents out there can relate. Note, you can click on any of the images to view them on Flickr.

So, without further ado…

Sunday, December 5th 2010

The day had started just like every other day for the past couple weeks. Jess had been off work since before Thanksgiving so she was relaxing. I had just finished my work for the year the previous Friday. We were both preparing mentally for the coming Tuesday which was when we were scheduled for the c-section to remove these little girls, since both of them were breach and there was no possibility for normal labor. I can tell you, neither of us were expecting this to be our last childless morning of our lives.

After lounging around sipping coffee and watching some early football, we decided that we needed to do a little shopping. So, we headed out to the Nampa marketplace. We browsed around in Cost Plus for a while, purchasing some Christmas candy and looking at possible stocking stuffers for each other (Jess loves marzipan). We also did a lap through Bed, Bath & Beyond and ended up getting old Murphy a stocking stuffer also. Final stop of the day was Costco. We walked the aisles looking for more Christmas presents and purchasing a couple of frozen food items to stock up for the baby arrival. On our way out we hit up the food court for a hot dog for me and a beef bake for her. This was exactly like every other Costco trip we’d ever made. Although we had plans to hit a craft store on the way home, but Jess was feeling a bit wore out and wisely decided to just head home.

After we got home she decided she was going to take a nap, which I thought was a terrific idea. I wiled away time on the computer, as usual. Jess didn’t sleep very long and soon she was up and cleaning the bedroom. “I can’t bring babies home to this mess,” she said. Going so far as to vacuum our nightstands. I told her she was seriously nesting, but she didn’t believe me.

Late that afternoon we had plans to make an appearance at an annual family Christmas party so she was getting ready as I was looking up directions to get to our cousin’s house. I called my mom to confirm we had the right address and told her we’d see them in about an hour. As Lee Corso might have said, “Not so fast my friend…”

About 4:30pm or so, I was memorizing our route, and Jess had finally gotten ready and was just going to the bathroom one final time. We were literally 5 minutes away from leaving when she walked into the office: “Um… I think my water just broke,” she told me. I’m fairly certain that I just stared at her as a wave of ultimate panic washed behind my eyes. “Wait wait wait… that can’t be” I thought. “We’re scheduled for Tuesday. This can’t happen until Tuesday. We’re not ready!” my brain was screaming at me. Jess asked what we should do and if she should call her doctor. “Yes,” I decided. “Fine idea… they’ll know what we should do”. Jess was standing in the dining room on the phone with the on-call doctor with a towel between her legs because the volume of “water” had not abated. I just stood there dumbfounded looking at her and hearing her side of the conversation.

Last Pregnancy PhotoI believe I did know what to do, but I just didn’t want to believe it. I mean, we had a plan! We don’t deviate from the plan! For this entire pregnancy these girls never once gave any indication that they would come early. Even at our doctor’s appointment the previous Thursday our doc said we were all scheduled for Tuesday and there was no reason to bring them out early. That Tuesday was locked in my brain as the day. And since these girls were both breach, I don’t believe it ever crossed my mind that they might come early. We knew Jess would not labor normally, so why would they come early? It makes no sense, right?

Well, the doctor indeed confirmed our amateur diagnosis that these babies were indeed inbound and it was time to head to the hospital. HO-LEE SHEEE-IT.

I will fully admit that I got a little manic at this point. Mainly for this reason… we had done NOTHING to prepare for our trip to the hospital. For some reason, we were waiting until the final Monday to pack our bag and get everything we might need for a couple day stay in the hospital. We had a plan! We don’t alter the plan! So, we didn’t even have an empty bag set out. I kicked into high gear and started grabbing everything we might need. Jess packed her clothes and I went for everything else. Luckily, I had a idea in my head for what I wanted to remember to bring, especially cameras and laptop and other electronics (various chargers and cables for said electronics). But I was also prodding Jess to hurry since she was taking her own sweet time grabbing her clothes. Of course, I forgot to bring any clothing changes for me (more on this later). We also hadn’t installed the car seats yet, so I just threw those in the back of the SUV with all our other stuff.

Finally, we hit the road, leaving a bewildered Murphy behind. We’d have to get some family to come grab him later. I had to remember to take deep breaths and not drive 70mph down Chinden Blvd. It was in the car that Jess grabbed my hand and I first became aware that she was actually having contractions. Good god! Contractions?? I finally got my wits about me and asked how far apart they were. “About 5 minutes” she replied through gritted teeth. Now, I didn’t recall much from our birthing class, but I remembered the 5 minute mark. These kids were ON THE WAY and I was freaking since they could not make it out the natural way. Jess called her mom along the way to let them know that we’re heading to the hospital but weren’t sure what was going on. Her mom told her that the hospital would probably send us home. Um, not exactly.

Luckily, I also remembered some of our breathing techniques from class, and I was able to safely make it to the hospital about 5:20pm. We pulled into the circle drop-off of the labor/maternity ward and she got out of the car and head in. I drove off to park in the parking lot. Nearly running over a couple people walking slowly in the middle of the road, and getting a stink-eye from both of them for my trouble. It took everything I had to not stop the car and scream at them, “F**K YOU! My wife is having twins and you’re dicking around in the road!!” but I digress. I find a parking spot, hop out of the car and grab the suitcase and cameras and try not to sprint into the hospital. As I’m walking in, I see a sign that says “Complimentary Valet Parking Mon-Fri 9am-7pm”. Shit. Thanks for nothing.

I get to the security door to the labor ward and pick up the call-phone. They let me in and I speed-walk to the nurses station as I hear someone mention “twins”. Yup, that’d be us. I see Jess with a nurse and they were heading into a room to change so I follow. We get in there and she strips down and puts on the supplied robe thing and we move into what I’ll call the “prep” room. I don’t know what the actual name of the room is…

I do not look calm.Jess climbs into bed and I take a seat and try not to freak out. The nurses strap a couple of baby monitors to her abdomen and I try not to hyperventilate. It doesn’t take long before the nurses confirm that yes, the babies are on their way and we had better call who we need to call. They used the phrase “within an hour” which tends to up the urgency a little bit.

First I call her parents and let them know… we ain’t going home and these babies will be here shortly. They said that they would be on their way down. I then try to call my family to let them know. They were all at the party that we were supposed to be at so I try cell numbers. First, I call Dad. No answer. Call big sis Kim. No answer. Call little sis Kristen. Still no answer. Call Dad again and finally he answers. I don’t remember what I said other than “babies”, “coming”, and “soon”.

Nurses try for the 4th time to insert the IVThis whole time, the nurses were trying to get Jess prepped. However, we were right at the shift change and they both seemed a little punchy. Took them like 6 times to get the IV in. They we’re both cracking stupid jokes that I didn’t find particularly funny at the moment. Apparently, they were stalling since they couldn’t reach our doctor on her pager and the on-call doc was in another procedure and wouldn’t be available for a while. Finally, the nurse tells me that I should go eat a little something in their little kitchen since it could be a long night and they didn’t want me passing out. Hmmmm… good idea. I don’t want to pass out either. So, I find the pantry and make myself a PB&J and wash it down with a carton of milk. I felt a little better as there is nothing that a PB&J can’t fix.

PaperworkNow it was time for Jess to push a little paper. Apparently, we shoulda done some sort of pre-registration for this, but true to our (lack of) pregnancy plan we didn’t. Thusly, Jess got to fill out 20 minutes of paper work between contractions of course. That probably could have been planned out a little better. While she was playing secretary, her family showed up and I went out to talk to them and give them an update.

Mythbuster?Finally after a couple hours in this prep room, Jess was wheeled out to head to get prepped in the OR. This, I did not like too much, since they left me in the prep room all by myself. They told me that “a nurse will be along to get you when it’s time” but all I wanted to do is go with her. Plus, being left to my own devices in this room gave me waay too much time to think. They gave me a paper suit to zip over my clothes with the protective booties and hat… even the surgical mask. I felt like a Mythbuster or something, which was pretty cool. I proceeded to pace around this small room and worry that they would forget to come grab me.

Deserted Zombie HospitalFinally, after what seemed like forever, but was really only about 15 minutes the NICU team picked me up on the way to the OR. Since it was about 8pm on a Sunday the hospital was pretty empty. We’re talking really empty. It was about a 5 minute walk to the OR and when we finally get there I’m thinking the hospital looks like something out of a horror movie. We make it to the OR and they point me to the “waiting chair” and I have a seat. I didn’t even peek in the window of the door for fear I would see something that I could not un-see, if you know what I mean. Both of the surgeons “scrubbed in” and we chit-chatted and I tried not to freak out.

Eventually, they grabbed me and told me it was time to come in.

Heading in the OR I see about 12 people in there. 2 surgeons, a few nurses, the anesthesiologist and 2 separate teams of people, one for each baby upon arrival. Jess is on a table with her arms out to each side. The drape is across her upper chest and the doctors are working behind it. I sit on the chair next to her head and ask Jess how she’s doing. “Good” she says, through her oxygen mask. I then pass the time by shooting a couple pictures.

Jess on Operating TableDuring the procedure, I was quite shocked at how violent the whole thing was. See, since both of these munchkins were breach, it was much tougher to pull them out. At times, the whole table was moving as they were torquing on her body. I guess I hadn’t fully thought out what would happen during this little procedure. Jess, luckily, was feeling no pain. She wasn’t even feeling a little discomfort which was my one saving grace. Once I saw a hand reach up to adjust the overhead lighting and the glove was covered in blood… Woo… it was like watching a live action ER episode. The doctors also set items on her chest at times and those items would touch the drape… spreading a little blood through it. It wasn’t queasy or anything, which was good. Just more fascinating.

Ultimately, the table really moves and we hear the doctors say, “hello there!” followed by 15 seconds of silence before I heard the best sound I have ever heard in my life. Baby A was born and blasting forth with a healthy cry. They tell me that I could stand up and take a look so I do. I wasn’t sure what to expect to see, but it really wasn’t as bad as I would have thought. Mainly, I was focusing on this new little life the doctors were holding. After a few seconds, one of the NICU teams takes her over to their station to clean her up and do what they do, she’s wailing all the way. My eyes absolutely filled with tears. Had there been fewer people in the OR I would have cried. But I felt like I had to keep my composure, especially for Jess who was laying there and couldn’t see anything.

Baby B is BornI sat back down and tell Jess that Baby A looked awesome. Less than a minute later, they tell me to stand up again as they yanked Baby B screaming into existence. It was a mindblowing experience. It really was. The second NICU team takes Baby B to their station and start cleaning her up. Both girls crying in stereo. A minute or 2 later, one of the nurses asks me if I’d like to go see the girls. Um, of course I do. They give me one instruction for walking around Jess’s operating table: “Don’t touch anything blue.”. Roger. Got it.

I head around her open abdomen (without looking too closely) and stop at Baby B first. The nurse slaps a pair of surgical scissors in my hand and asks if I’d like to cut the cord. Absolutely! Their instruction is that, “It will be tough to cut… like a piece of gristle”. Sure enough, it was. Took a couple of saws with the sheers to snip it. One of the other nurses captured a picture of the moment. It was a bit interesting to see the “fluids” spurt from the cut cord… After I tried to hand the scissors back, only to have them say, “We’ve got one more!” So, we walk over to Baby A’s station and repeat the same routine. Definitely a moment I will not forget.

Cutting the cord on Baby B Cutting the cord on Baby A

Let's show momI then go back to Jess’s head and report to her that the girls look perfect. It didn’t take them long to stop crying and just look around the room serenely. The 2 nursing teams bring the girls over to Jess so she and I can see them both. The girls were just so peaceful. Not long after, it was time for the girls and I to return to the original prep room. I think they asked if I wanted to carry one there, and I chose to not… I could just see myself trip or something. I’d leave that to the professionals. After the long walk through the darkened hospital we made it back to the prep room. The nurses put the girls each onto their individual warmer table to do all of their necessary checks and balances. I just kind of hover around and shoot pictures. Funnily enough, it was during this time that I had the first mixup of who was who.

Baby A weight Baby B weight

New DadWe then measured Baby A for weight and length: 5lbs 4oz. 17 3/4 inches. Then we did Baby B and got 4lbs 15oz and 18 1/4 inches long. Once the nurses were done doing their work, they asked if I would like to hold both babies and I couldn’t have been happier.

Mom and girlsEventually, Jess was finished in post-op and was brought back to our prep room. It was here that I got to tell her everything about our little girls. She was fairly glazed over from the various anesthetics she was given, but she still looked really happy. I couldn’t stop smiling. Soon, with the help of the nurses, we got both of the girls to latch onto a breast and feed. It was awesome. The nurses mentioned that sometimes it can be difficult to get them to feed right away, but these 2 little girls acted like they were old pros.

It was about now that I started to feel bad about all the family that had congregated in the waiting room. It was now about 10:30 and many of them had been waiting since about 6. But, the nurses weren’t done with what they needed to do with both Jess and the babies, so the family would just have to wait.

About 11:20, we finally got moved to our postpartum room. The nurses loaded the girls onto moms bed, and pushed her… I followed with our cart loaded with all of our stuff. When we got to the room, the nurses told us that Baby B’s blood sugar was low and in order to prevent a trip to the NICU she needed some formula immediately. Well, the nurse gave me the bottle and told me to get it into her pronto. So, with that sort of pressure, I started to freak out a little bit. It was then that the entire family came into the room to fawn over these little bundles of joy. I don’t remember much of what went on in that room what with all the excitement, adrenalin, and added pressure of trying to get this 3 hour old little girl to eat as much formula as I can get down her. This was the first time since my little sister was born that I had fed a baby and there was serious consequences if I didn’t get it done. How’s that for pressure. Luckily, she had about 10ML of formula and got her blood sugar up enough that she could stay in our room that night.

The family didn’t stick around for long, mainly because it was so late. Jess wasn’t much of a conversationalist having just had a operation and I couldn’t be distracted with chit chat. They promised to come back the next day and all left in one large group. It was then that Jess and I were alone with our girls for the very first time. We just kinda looked at each other in disbelief of that evening’s events.

The rest of that night was a bit of a blur. I was super tired, coming off the rush of the previous hours. Jess was still a little loopy. Nurses were in and out of our room for most of that night. I attempted to sleep on this absolutely rock-hard couch they had in the room, but there really was no chance of that happening. I spent the night laying there, eyes closed and not sleeping a lick. You know that strange state between asleep and fully awake where you hear what is going on in the room, but you might still be dreaming/hallucinating? That was me that night. Jess finally ate a chicken sandwich she had ordered before she had gone into surgery.

I do remember trying to get the girls to breastfeed again around 3am. The nurse told us that because they were so small we needed to supplement their food intake. So, she showed us how to get them to latch on the breast then feed a syringe with a skinny pipette of plastic into the corner of their mouths while they were nursing. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you’re half out of your mind. Jess is on the bed and I’m bent over her trying to get these little babies to keep this formula in their mouths instead of dribbling it all over themselves. I was really starting to get frustrated when Jess calmed me down and we were able to get them fed.

Here they are

All in all it was a miraculous, crazy, draining, exciting, fascinating, unforgettable night.

That is just the beginning…

The Big Reveal – Baby Names

I know a lot of you out there have been on pins and needles wondering what the names were going to be with the newborn twins.  So here goes.

Baby A shall now be known as Alexandra Jaye Haberman. Alex for short… or perhaps AJ.

Baby B will be known as Meredith Althea Haberman, or Meri for short.

There are stories behind those name choices but I am way too tired to come up with a creative way of telling them.  Keep watching this space.

Welcome to the world, Alex and Meri. Your mom and dad love you very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Reveal – I’m Officially Outnumbered

My other option for a title was going to be “What is 2/3 of a Motley Crue song?”

The answer?

Girls, Girls.

There you have it.  We have two little girls on the way.  It appears that my gut feeling yesterday morning turned out to be correct.  As did Jess’s gut (although she had an advantage as the kids are significantly closer to her guts and all).

On the health front, both girls size/weight are projecting them directly on the due date, which is good.  Right at .7 lbs each. All systems are still go.  All the anatomy checked out too… hearts, spines, brains, kidneys, the whole shooting match. I’m going to go on the record here.  You know, as much as you can deduce from a single 20 week ultrasound and all.  Baby A (the lower one) will be the hyperactive one.  She was basically Ester Williams in there.  Hardly remaining in one place and instead performing water ballet.  Baby B, the upper one, will be the more relaxed one.  She just kinda hung out while the ultrasound was going and sucked her thumb… in addition to laying completely upside down.  Full relaxation mode.

Downside… no boy.  Which, I have to admit, is a bit of a bummer for me.  More on this later.

I have to admit, there are a lot of plusses here.  One set of clothes. One set of toys. They can share a room a lot longer. We can refer to them as both “the twins” and “the girls”, you know, just to change it up, so that’s a plus right? I’m sure there will be other advantages too…

So there you have it.  The last big surprise until the bigger day comes.

Girls…

As a postscript, I’m taking to our other blog at http://thehabermans.net to do some micro-blogging about this whole thing.  I’m planning on using that one to just crank out short posts about how things are going in this whole deal. This blog will remain for the bigger posts, however. Keep your eye on that space as well for a snapshot of my thoughts on day to day life of having a wife pregnant with twins.  I believe Jess is going to blog there as well.

Wits and Wagers, Twin Style

Listen up twin fans.  If you’re interested at all about the big news as far as the sexes of these little twerps we currently have on layaway, we should have an answer to that during our August 3rd (20 week) ultrasound.  Needless to say, Jess and I are pretty friggin excited about that.

So, while we’re at it, we might as well get a little competition going!

Here’s the deal.  Post a comment on this blog post below with your guess (Note, guesses must be made here. Facebook or Twitter guesses will not be official).  The competition will consist of 2 separate guesses on your part.  First one being this pick of the sexes of each.  Obviously, there are 3 possible outcomes here: boy & boy, girl & girl, and boy & girl.  Some guesses which will NOT be accepted: “pale and pale-er” (too easy),  “mermaid and merman”, or “Edward and Jacob”.

Part 2 of your guess will come on delivery day.  As it approaches, we’ll have another round of guessing (here on this blog as well) where you will come up with the total combined weight of both of these munchkins.   Whoever picked the sexes correctly and is closest in weight wins.

We haven’t figured out fabulous prizes yet.  I’ll have to put some thought into that.  If you have ideas as far as that goes, go ahead and include them in your guess.

As far as heath wise, everyone is doing swimmingly.  Jess is an absolute trooper.  Aside from fatigue and the occasional heartburn she’s doing great.  Bathroom trips every 37 minutes excepted.  As far as we can tell, the kiddos are as good as can be expected.  By the way, we’re at 17 weeks today.

So, let us have it.  Anything worth doing is probably worth turning into a competition and gambling about, right?

Get your guesses in today!

Haber-Twin Powers… ACTIVATE!

The couple had tried for months.

They knew they wanted to create a legacy.  Something to follow them in this world.  Someone to impart their vast knowledge to.  Thus, the plan to create another being  was implemented.  They tried everything they could think of, but nothing seemed to work.  Apparently, some evil force was onto their plan and had foiled them each step of the way.  It was clear that they needed help even getting their goal off the ground.

That was, until one fateful April day.  Word came in that efforts were indeed successful and their name would continue.  Huzzah!  There was much celebration that day.

Little did they know just what was in store.

Just three weeks later, upon the first viewing of the newly formed being growing in its veritable cocoon, they got the shock of their lives.

“Well, there’s one little fluttering heartbeat…” the technician said to the beaming couple while twisting the scope, “… aaaaaand theres another little fluttering heartbeat!”

It was that exact moment when the full force of the news hit them.  And it hit hard…

Twins.

Yes, it’s true.  Jess and I are pregnant in a BIG ol’ way.  And yes, the news was quite a shock that probably STILL hasn’t worn off yet.  We first got the news we were pregnant on April 13th.  Followed by the bigger (literally and figuratively) news on May 4th.  Let me get to some specifics you are all going to be interested in:

Due Date: December 21st
They are currently 4cm long and chugging along at an ideal 163 beats per minute. At today’s ultrasound, they were both wiggling around doing what appeared to be either kung-fu or synchronized swimming.  I’m wondering what happens in a couple months when space becomes a premium in there and they are throwing their own version of a steel-cage match on each other or working Jess’s bladder as a speed bag. I guess we’ll see.

They each have their own placenta which is a good thing in a multiple situation.  I suppose they’ll have to learn to share later. We’re 9 weeks away from sexing these little munchkins, but  basic math tells us that there is a 25% chance both boys or both girls and a 50% chance of one of each. Jess is doing excellently.  No morning sickness at all.  Just tired and thirsty.  All systems are go.

And to our Moms… both of you… feel free to spread the word.  We know you have been absolutely chomping at the bit to tell people so now is your chance.  Go crazy.

I saw this a few days ago online and am going to pretend like I made it for our announcement too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snp3rHDHwPg Just change those names to Jason and Jessica in your head…

So, let’s make with some excitement people.  Something has to distract us from the mountain of diapers and simultaneous college funds I can’t seem to shake from my head…