Monday, September 22, 2014

Thoughts From a Twin Dad

Today's guest contributor is a very close friend of mine.  He also happens to be my husband and the first male writer for Twin Talk!

I asked if he would write to new and soon-to-be twin dads and offer a bit of knowledge now that he's got (almost) two years under his belt.  He replied, "I don't remember the first six weeks.  At all.  Nothing."  And I believe him.  But after thinking on it a few days, he came up with some pretty great tips (and a few lighthearted stories) that I hope new dads will appreciate and new moms will applaud! 


There is a stereotype that pregnant women can be a bit emotional.  I'm not here to address this rumor, but I simply suggest this is a special time in your relationship and you should let your pregnant wife know how pretty she is even more than usual.  Speaking of emotional, she's going to say things that may come across as insulting.  Either to you or about you.  Don't take it personally, I'm pretty sure she doesn't mean it. 

If you choose to sleep in the hospital room (and I highly advise you do), they provide you with a nice couch that extends into a torture bed.  It's too short to stretch out and it has a firm wooden arm that will slice your Achilles if you follow that path.  Since you're in the room with a woman who has recently expelled two humans from her body, the hospital wants to ensure you don't wake up all peppy and ready to go.  

Be aware that most babies are nocturnal in the womb.  Their mom knows this, but you didn't get to enjoy the sensation of two tiny humans stomping the yard on your bladder.  The kids slept in the nursery at night during our hospital stay, so we only saw them when the nurses would bring them in every three hours to feed.  This didn't allow us to fully grasp their sleeping patterns.  Surprise!  The children gave us more joy than we could imagine during the day and then slowly sucked it away at night.  We'll still call it a net profit, but man those first few nights at home were rough.  The first night Meredith became very paranoid and thought everything in our room would suffocate the babies.  Another night I was so tired I walked back and forth between the pack n plays thinking I was holding a baby.  I was actually holding my pillow and offering zero help whatsoever.  One night I ended up on the couch with my knees up.  A baby was on each leg and they were both sucking on my pinky finger.  It was uncomfortable and I couldn't sleep, but I didn't want to stop when Meredith came to relieve me because they were quiet.  This stage passes quickly, in retrospect.  

I would encourage everyone with new babies to take pictures all the time and label them when possible.  Albums can be put together later, but the pictures and a little context will serve as the memory your mind failed to create on a Saturday morning after sleeping 3.5 hours.  

On that note, sleep when you can.  There was a period in the first few weeks where I would sleep from 7-10:30 at night.  It was a time where they both usually slept between feedings.  Waking up at 10:30 isn't easy, but it's sleep I wouldn't have had otherwise and I was still able to help Meredith.  

Speaking of being helpful...  There are certainly times where you'll feel like a waste of space.  If the kids are breastfeeding, the dad can't really tag in.  Dad can help in all the prep that goes into making breastfeeding a (hopefully) quick and successful task.  When the kids needed to eat, I would get up and throw all the pillows to Meredith so she could get set up (this was before she purchased that giant nursing pillow).  I would grab the loudest baby and change their diaper and hand off to Meredith.  This would give her time to get one going, while I changed the second diaper.  I stayed up during the process and helped burp and get everyone back to bed.   I was obviously able to participate more if she pumped and we were feeding the kids bottles.  

The first few months are also a time for dads to complete the household chores.  All of them.  And don't even tell her everything you did - no scorekeeping necessary. After birthing two babies at the same time, she's always going to win.

Diapers were not as terrible as I imagined.  The first few are rough for a couple of different reasons.  If it's a boy and he undergoes the snippity snip snip, you have to apply Vaseline generously and it can get to be messy and weird.  For either sex, the first few bowel movements are...different.  I think I compared them to those commercials where they're trying to wipe oil off of a seagull and it's not working at all.

She's not going to want to share her personal space with you for a very long time.  After spending every waking hour with two babies in her space, she wants a break.  I remember trying to cuddle up next to Meredith one night and she asked if holding hands could count.  And then she offered me a pinky. 

The easiest advice is to enjoy the little moments of downtime with your new additions to the family.  You may only hear the stories of the work involved in keeping infants happy, but there's plenty of time where they're perfectly happy to sleep on your chest for an hour or lay quietly on a blanket and practice smiling.  Every stage with our kids has been so much fun, but those first few months are your chance to have them in your arms for as long as you want.   


If you have a question for Michael, CLICK HERE to email him!

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  1. How fabulous was this post?!? Thanks for the candidness & honesty. Especially appreciated the pinky holding counting as cuddling! In retrospect, you're absolutely right, those first few months just fly by & are so easily forgotten. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Ha, love this! And now that I've gotten to "hear" from both of you via the blog, I'm pretty certain that the 8 of us should be friends in real life, so let's make that happen :)

  3. Great post! Can totally identify with the pinky thing. And the one thing my husband always shares with dads-to-be... 'watch a utube on 'how to swaddle'. On the first night in the hospital, after multiple swaddles coming undone, he got so frustrated saying, 'why didn't anyone just tell me to learn to swaddle!' He definitely had the hang of it (much better than I did), by the time we left :)

  4. This post made my overly pregnant self laugh for the first time today! Thank you for making my day.