Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's been an amazing Christmas.

Some ups, some downs, but the best was definitely the end. Boys have had their "pre sleep" meal and weren't acting too sleepy, so we let them frolic on the Tummy Time mat.

This is amazing. I'm watching my sons interact for ...well, really the first time. Sure, they've been next to each other before, and touched, but ... there's something about this. They seem to be gaining an awareness of "this is me. This is something else." Their gestures, though still flail-y, are becoming more coordinated. They aren't just "hungry or tired or awake", they're actively starting to show an interest in their worlds.

They've both gained some new noises. Besides the various volumes of "cry", they now have a new noise. It's not a happy "coo", it's more like "Hey." It's a bit like what I say an owl "means" when it hoots. It could be "hey, I'm over here", or "HEY! I'm over here." or just "Hey." But it's not an unhappy noise.

I'm so in awe of them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just try to breathe

Today's shaping up to be a "straining capacity" day. Boys are bringing back up almost as much formula as they're drinking. The term "burp cloth" is WAY too cutesy for its actual purpose, and a frilly little blue number is woefully inadequate for the puke-fountains that come out of my little guys.

Add to that a botched attempt at making coffee that ended in burnt thighs, an overturned French press, and a HUGE mess on the kitchen floor... plus the feeling that the to-do list is growing every time I try to tackle it ... and the prospect of returning to work in two and a half weeks.... yikes.

The pile, it is big. The shovel, it is small. Time to start digging....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh my god, they're PEOPLE.

It's weird. I get so used to the tactical "stuff" of being a parent - the sleepwalking diaper changes, the millions of loads of laundry, case after case of formula - that sometimes it feels routine.

Then I feel my son's breath on my face and it hits me like nothing I can describe: We MADE THIS PERSON. It's amazing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


It's been a while.

Occasionally, over the last week, I've thought to myself some profound thoughts about the boys' homecoming, about caring for children and the challenges therein, and other ramblings. I had some really good ideas for posts. But they usually came to me seconds before I passed out in bed, or in the middle of changing a poopy diaper.

So instead, I'll just post about what's been going on.

Sidebar: I don't know what it is about it, but the "DH/DW/DS/DD" abbreviations annoy the piss out of me. If you don't know, on a LOT of baby/parenting/etc blogs, "DH" is "dear husband", "DD" is "Dear Daughter", etc, as in "I went to the park today with DS and DD. DH stayed home and played Xbox, he missed all the fun!" Don't know what it is, but it just seems like such an affectation, like this would be the same sort of people who would say "widdle" for "little", totally unironically, about anything marginally cute and small. So all of this is a background bit to saying this: I haven't decided how personal I want to be in this blog, so I'll refer to my wife as S.

Now that that's out of the way, I have no idea what I had been thinking. Oh. Yeah, right.

S's mom & grandmother came to visit, coming in Friday & leaving Tuesday; my parents came Tuesday and left Thursday. It has been a hell of a busy week. TONS AND TONS of cleaning and organizing, plus the babies' first doctor's visit, a photography session, and lots and lots and lots of diapers.

The boys are getting hair. I mean, they were born with hair, but it was a very thin coating of wispy hair that mostly clung to their little heads. Now it's starting to fill in and get thickness. They're also starting to develop a third mood besides "sleep" and "Hungry!"; this new mood is "well. THIS is interesting". They're looking around and taking the world in. They're developing coordination between muscles and eyes - not quite to "grab the thing", but getting there. They've also rolled themselves over. This is WAY early for that, and we're really proud of the little guys.

OK, more soon. I've finished my glass of port and I have a dentist appointment in the morning...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

BOYS ARE HOME!!!/Time Management

First: The boys came home Monday!!! Such great news.

I've never been great at personal time management. Professionally, I'm pretty good -- I have X to do, and Y hours to do it, and I lay out a plan and we're off to the races. But personally.... Hmm, clean the house or write a witty response on Facebook...hmmmmm.

This has changed so much since the boys came home. I just made a cup of coffee (OMG delicious, btw) that I've been meaning to fix for around 30 hours. Free time comes in slivers and dabs, and can NOT be relied upon. I'm hoping to squeeze in a run tomorrow; we'll see how things go.

I thought I was "having a tough time" balancing triathlon training around the rest of my life. That was NOTHING compared to this. It's a whole new ball game.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boys are home

It's 1245 am. I'm blogging quietly in the boys' room. There's a white noise generator making a heartbeat sound. Boys are making occasional squeaks & grunts. Exhausted. Sleep can't be postponed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

....and there it is again, stress.

Kitchen is together and looks great (hooray!) ....
...only now I discover that they did not replace the insulation and drywall behind the sink. This means that I have to have a large chunk of this work re-done. Trying not to stress is like trying not to breathe. Even if you can do it for a little while, when you stop trying, it starts again, and it's even more intense than before.

I took a shower Saturday. Was it Saturday? I think it was Saturday.

Continuing to cope with this feeling of just trying to stay right-side-up. Working from home is an amazing boon. I don't know how I'd manage without it. Regarding today's title .... That was Monday; I realized while at the NICU that it had been a while since I'd sprayed off the top layer of gunk. It's gross, I know. But I literally feel like it's a huge luxury to take a shower. Not for the $0.38 in hot water and $0.23 in cleaning products, but because it's a good 20 minutes from "going in dirty" to "coming out dressed and dry"; right now, my priorities are visiting boys, getting work done, sleeping, and (maybe?) working out. So I feel like I'm stealing from my other priorities with anything else.

In happier news, the kitchen is done and looks amazing. Got a new sink - stainless steel - and one of those faucets with the built-in sprayer. It looks SHARP.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What it's like

I am *supposed* to be on a work from home contract. It was supposed to start in early September...then mid September...then several times in October.

It still hasn't started. I'm able to do some work from home and augment that with vacation time, but this is not sustainable.

Here's how I feel:
I'm in a diner. For various reasons, the ONLY thing I can eat on the menu is french fries. But the cook won't turn on the fryer until a couple more people order fries. So I wait. I can't really ask other patrons "Hey, wouldn't you like some fries?" and the cook tells me "Well, the regulars usually come in at 10. They'll order fries." They don't show up. 10 comes, then 11. I eat a couple of packets of crackers. 12 comes and goes. Nobody in the lunch rush orders fries. I eat more crackers. I make a sandwich with crackers, ketchup, and mustard. It's disgusting. I order a glass of water.

I have no control over this decision, and the people who *do* have control have no motivation to hurry.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting at the counter eating goddamn crackers.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Holding them

Today was pretty amazing. I got to hold my babies. Not Kangaroo Care, where they nestle against my chest (which is great and all, but it's 60 very quiet minutes of not moving). This was actually picking up my boys from cribs, holding them, and putting them back.

You never know how much you can appreciate such a simple act.

The boys are doing okay, their head ultrasounds & chest xrays & eye exams came back pretty much normal; their biggest hurdle is the breathing. As soon as they can slow down their breathing, everything else will fall in line.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I swear, this is like rock climbing.

You never get a solid toe-hold or a solid foot-hold. You get a toe-hold that will hold you for just long enough to get you to the next finger-hold, which you can hang on to for a moment while you jam your foot into that crack, which will start sliding out as your hand reaches for that little jutting bit of rock that will let you move your foot up to that tiny ledge...

You can't rest. Everything is in flux. And if you think that everything is finally calm and OK, it's because you forgot to do something.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When do we get ... small?

Years ago, I heard an episode of This American Life, in which they were talking about the world through childrens' eyes. One of the stories I remember was that of an older woman sitting next to a young girl on an airplane. It was obviously the girl's first trip on an airplane. The older woman was talking her through what was happening and trying to ease her nervousness. The little girl did well, and the plane took off and she was all filled with wide-eyed wonder. After several minutes, though, she looked at her seatmate with puzzlement and asked, "When do we get small?"

It's a cute story. But I've been thinking about it a lot lately ... because I don't feel like a *grownup* yet. Sure, I've got a mortgage and a 401(k) and two new sons and a job and a car and utility bills... but I still don't feel like a real... grownup. I still sing along to the radio in the car (sometimes well, usually very poorly). I've never worn a suit to work. I often work from home; "changing into work clothes" means "putting on some pants, and maybe slippers if it's cold".

It's an arbitrary thing, really. I guess I am going to be what a grownup is for my kids.

Maybe I should buy a pair of wingtips. Dad had wingtips.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Everything is scary and wonderful.

I'm terrified that I'm going to do something wrong. I have two boys relying on me for EVERYTHING. I feel like if I hold them wrong, if I do something wrong in the slightest, it could wreck their lives. I know the odds aren't great of that happening, but it's still so scary.

Having said that, I look forward to holding them every day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hangin'; with the boys.

Sitting in the hospital while mom pumps. Boys are sleeping quietly. "a" just had lunch. It's almost 2 weeks in, and the medical equipment is starting to disappear... Both physically and metaphorically. The IVs are out and the oxygen canulae (canulas?) are going soon. At the same time.... I'm less aware of all the stuff ... And more aware of just spending time with my amazing kids.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kangaroo Love

Kangaroo Time is wonderful. That's all for now.

...OK, one more thing. So in the process of cleaning up the moldy grossness that was my basement, I decided to go full-on biohazard. I took off my shirt before I went into the basement, and I was wearing jeans that I"d been planning on chucking anyway (they're old and huge and have holes in them). Plus a pair of old running shoes that the cats had peed on[not recently, but there was a faint funk] (another trashcan candidate), a mask, respirator, and gloves, and I was ready to go. So as I hauled nasty bags of crap to the curb, I realized:

I'm shirtless and wearing old jeans, elbow-length rubber gloves, a respirator, and goggles. Holy crap, my neighbors are going to think I'm cooking meth.

well, crap

First the good: Boys are great and are wearing clothes now (they'd been in just diapers before). Somehow, this is a milestone I hadn't thought about, but is very very comforting. Also, they could be home before thanksgiving. Also GREAT news.

Now the tough part: Discovered a leak in my house. First suspect was an overwatered plant. Next suspect was a rotten window. Finally found the culprit: A @#$!# leaky pipe. And not a "serious issue, call a plumber" kinda thing, but a goddamn U bend pipe under the kitchen sink. There's light at the end of the tunnel now, but today's been a really scary day.

Low point: "Worst case is gutting the entire inside, spraying what's left with special mold killer, putting in all new paper-free sheet rock and insulation, paint, and treating the slab and new flooring". Turns out that's for severely flood-damaged homes. I think all I need to worry about is under $500 in parts and labor, then I can go on with my life.

It's been a scary day. Seeing the boys in less than an hour will help immeasurably. I may bawl. I probably will bawl.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Money update

Looks like hospital stay is covered once my deductible is met. Huge HUGE weight off my shoulders. Can't really afford an $800,000 hospital stay right now.

Not joking.

NICU is more expensive than the mack-daddy suite at an exclusive resort in Hawaii. For reals.

One Week

The twins are one week old today. At this point, age is a weird thing. When you're, say, fourteen years old, that's it - you're fourteen. When you're a preemie, though, it's more complicated. The twins were born at 30 weeks, 4 days, but for developmental purposes, they drop the 4 days and use the "gestational age" to track development. So the boys are now "at 31 weeks gestational age"; a full-term mom would be looking at about 2 more months of pregnancy. We could be looking at 2 more months of NICU care.

I am - frankly - terrified of the coming NICU bills. I mean, I'm insured (thank goodness), but -- let's just say -- 2 babies x $7,000/day x 60 days = $840,000. I kinda pulled the monetary estimates out of my butt, but I have no idea. Hoping that my wife's insurance will cover this; it might be worth extending COBRA for her by a month or 2, just for the additional "insurance bandwidth", so to speak.

Of course, the money concern is real, but it still takes a backseat to the joy of babies. Held Baby A last night during Kangaroo Care; he made little fists and pulled at my chest hair.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A new life

Double-meaning on the title... Two new lives have entered this world; at the same time, my life is completely changed. It's weird - the same guy looks back at me from the mirror, and I'm wearing the same clothes, and driving the same car, and eating the same food, but things -- inside and outside -- have changed permanently, profoundly, and in ways that I can't describe.

Getting back to work is really really tough. My mother-in-law is here for a while, and her assistance in all this is beyond amazing. I need to get back to work, but I really want to do the million-and-one things that I need to take care of - from cleaning the house to buying a faucet handle at Lowe's to mowing the lawn. Also I miss my tiny little awesome men. Twins are doing great, and they have their first big test today - their head ultrasound. This will make sure that there's no brain issues (like a bleed) that could affect them. If their brains are OK, we may get to do "kangaroo care" with them -- where they lounge on mom or dad's chest, skin to skin. It's good for them, it's good for us, it helps bonding, and I CAN'T WAIT. Cross your fingers.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Second diaper change!

Starting to settle into my new life: Working, living, and wearing a path between home and the hospital. BabyboyA and BabyboyB (their names on their hospital tags) are doing great. Their photo treatments are done, so the purple headgear blindfolds are off; we can see their little faces.

Nice long visit today. Really starting to feel the bonding. Spent several minutes with Robert's head cradled in my palm. It was an amazing feeling, watching him breathing and sleeping. Got to hear Michael's tiny furious heartbeat.

Starting out

First post here. Going to try to keep up with this; I'm notoriously bad for starting and forgetting blogs.

It's been a crazy, crazy year. In late 2010, I was working from home, training for a triathlon, and generally felt like all of my pots were simmering nicely, so to speak. I'd lift a lid, give it a stir, and keep going. Then life happened.

In 2011, S. was diagnosed with diabetes. Then I started working on the road again, for the first time in 3 years. I had to navigate the web of air travel, rental cars, expense reports, and being away from home.

Then, after trying for years and lots of struggles (more on that later), S. got pregnant! I was on the road; being away was really really tough. More on that later, too. A few weeks after the "S.'s pregnant" news, we discovered that it's twins.

The summer went by in a flash - training for a half-ironman, then performing in a renaissance festival, then driving (with pregnant wife!) across three states for a class reunion.

In late September, S. was diagnosed with preeclampsia.

On October 4, our twins entered the world. They're early - just 30w4d - but doing great.

This blog is -- I hope -- more of a journal/diary thing; a way to share my personal thoughts/hopes/fears somewhere. More soon, I have a million things to do....