The sprouts are here! (Unexpectedly early but they are are here!)
Alexander and Alivianna were born at about 8:30am on May 21st at 33 weeks and a couple of days. Full-term for twins is 37 weeks so they were about a month early. As a result, they weren’t/aren’t quite ready for life outside the hospital just yet. That means they are going to spend time in the NICU. (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) As far as we can tell their development is normal for their age so the doctors don’t anticipate any bad effects from them arriving early at this point. (Their immune systems will be a bit more vulnerable than usual for the first year or so.)
Alexander was a bit bigger at 4 pounds 2 ounces compared to Alivianna’s 3 pounds 12 ounces. However, girls develop faster apparently and she has been gaining on her brother over the last week or so. We can’t predict when they will get out of the hospital but best-case would be a stay of about 3 weeks and worst-case being 6 weeks maybe. (Unless something unexpected happens. Then all bets are off.)
It’s been an interesting experience for me to bond with these little beasties. Rationally, there isn’t much to them yet. They mostly just sleep and fidget on occasion. I love them like crazy anyway. At the hospital they spend most of their time in little isolation beds.
However, the nurses encourage us to take the sprouts out periodically and give them “Kangaroo Care”. The care essentially amounts to me taking off my shirt and letting a baby nap on my chest. It’s hard to describe what it is like to have my tiny offspring nustled up all peaceful against me sleeping. It triggers lots of hormones and bonding and is pretty awesome. I didn’t really have a lightning strike of devotion or anything but somehow I already have a deep love for them.
I was there in the delivery room when it all went down and that was a pretty intense experience. The doctors pulled Alexander out by his head using forceps. Then one doctor reached inside Jalaine, grabbed Alivianna’s feet, and pulled her out. I cut both umbilical cords with scissors and the whole thing. Jalaine was a total champ through all of it. (However to say she enjoyed the experience would be a huge lie.) The sprouts were passed into the NICU and I had a moment to hang out with them while the staff wheeled Jalaine into the recovery room.
Standing there in the NICU alone without Jalaine staring down at these little wrinkled up things was pretty surreal. I tried to pay close attention to the experience to be able to remember it later. I find it hard to get the right words to describe it. There was an overwhelming feeling of responsibility and an awareness that as of right now life had changed in a major way. At the same time, I was completely and totally useless. I wasn’t really supposed to touch the sprouts and the staff certainly didn’t need me around. So, I just sort of stood there with my mind stuck for a little while before I went to see how Jalaine was faring and to show her pictures of them I took for her. It was weird to walk out of the room because at some level I felt like I should be near the sprouts. On the other hand I felt like I should be with Jalaine. I suspect I’m going to spend a lot of time with torn priorities now.
Jalaine has suffered greatly from the aftermath of childbirth. I don’t know if it is worse than other women experience but it really looks awful. She is rebounding quickly though and it is pretty amazing to see how fast she is bouncing back. If you just had to go by what the delivery room looked like after the fact you’d be amazed she’s alive. For you guys reading this who will witness this sort of thing in the future but haven’t before, ask about the placenta and what happens with it. I didn’t know. It was fascinating and horrifying. I’m just saying… ask. It’s probably good to be warned in advance.
All in all we are super excited about hanging out with the kids. I had been counting on the magic of “when they are yours it is different” as it relates to kids and thankfully it’s true. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t find most kids cute. MAYBE like 3 kids out of 10 on a good day are cute. (Babies are about the same but maybe only 2 out of 10.) I think ours are adorable. I don’t even mind the tiny little diapers. No hesitation at all to dive right in other than not knowing what I’m doing. So, I can attest to how different it is. (Which is great.) I can step back and objectively look at them and see that they are pretty much just like all the other little people at the hospital around them and yet somehow THEY JUST AREN’T. I love them already. It changes everything.
So… I’ll probably be tough to get in touch with for a while but I’m looking forward to sharing the details of it all with you when we connect. Especially some of you guys out there who know I’ll give you the straight scoop on things… those conversations are going to be fun!