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Kevin's Twins-Father-to-Be Journal

April 19, 2000; 39+ weeks
~ They're Here!

Sean and Michael5:31 PM - Sean Robert Lonnie is born
5:53 PM - Michael Patrick Lonnie is born

What an amazing week. Let me begin with Monday, the 17th. We saw Susan's doctor to get the latest on the boys. Dr. M tells us that since Susan is full term, we can induce the birth anytime now. That's all Susan needs to hear. We originally scheduled the inducement for Thursday, but later push that up a day to fit the doctor's schedule.

The thing I like about scheduling the inducement is being able to drop off Kate (our 18 month old) with her Aunt Betsy first thing in the morning. Since Kate normally spends the day there anyway, it won't be that disruptive.

Early Wednesday, we drop off Kate and head for the hospital. As luck would have it, we get stuck at a railroad crossing for what seems like an eternity. Even though Susan isn't in labor, I'm still in "Dad, get your wife to the hospital now!!!" rehearsal mode. Damn you New Jersey Transit! Anyway after an interminable delay (Susan later pointed out it was a whole seven minutes) we make our way to the hospital.

Around 11:45 am, Dr. L comes to break Susan's water. Once I see him approaching Susan with something I keep on my tool bench, I head out of view. They also put Susan on a Pitocin drip to help bring along contractions. And darn if that combination isn't effective. By 1 pm, Susan is having serious contractions. After an hour of building labor, I did the one thing Susan had spent months training me to do, I ask for an epidural. By 2:15 pm, the epidural is doing its thing and the pain begins to subside.

Two hours later, they take us to the O.R. With twins, this is standard procedure. There is also an attending physician assisting Dr. L. We have two nurses with us, including Jane who has been with us all day and has been Susan's greatest champion all day.

Now the thing you have to remember is we are looking to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) which is tough enough when you're having singletons, let alone multiples. But both boys were vertex (head down) so there is no reason not to try.

Around 4:45 pm, the team is assembled and Susan is asked to start bearing down. Since the epidural is still working, Susan has little feeling in her legs. After one of her gams flaps onto Doctor L, I'm asked to hold her leg. In fact, the Doc wants me to push the leg back towards Susan so she can feel some pressure. It also gives her a focal point to push against. I move from Susan's side to the vaginal area where all the action is taking place. I have to admit that the combination of watching the fluids (e.g. blood and other stuff) drain along with the odors makes me nauseous. I'm thinking "Jeez Kevin, your wife has the guts to go for a vaginal delivery and now you're going to pass out". After some deep breaths, the nauseous feeling passes and doesn't return. By 5:20 pm, Sean is getting close. The doctors decide to perform an episiotomy. Susan isn't aware of it, and I'm not going to tell her. The doctors have apparently decided not to say anything and Susan needs to focus on her job.

Around 5:25 pm, I can see Sean's head. I have a much better view of the birthing process than Susan. Another advantage of being the father. Susan is really pushing like a champ; she is determined not to have another c-section. And, unlike Kate, she isn't exhausted from going through 25 hours of labor. (Remember guys, order those epidurals early, your spouse will thank you later.)

And at 5:31 pm, Sean Robert makes his appearance. This beautiful doll like figure emerges from his mother. Then after his lungs are drained of fluid, he begins kicking and crying. Susan is able to hold him for a few minutes. She takes one look at Sean and tells him how much she loves him. After only a few minutes, one of the nurses takes Sean to an incubator and Susan begins to experience contractions again. Doctor L wants to make sure that Susan delivers Michael with the current contractions. He doesn't want her uterus to take a rest. Fortunately, Michael is already in position and is following his brother's lead down the birthing canal.

Like his brother and just as miraculous, Michael emerges from his mother's womb at 5:53 pm. Susan is able to hold Michael for a nice long time. "Michael, I love you so much too", she says as she holds her youngest son. While she is doing that, I am dispatched to brother Sean. He isn't crying enough to suit Nurse Jane (believe me, this lack of crying was a short term problem). I start tapping Sean on the foot which seems to annoy the heck out of him.

I follow Nurse Jane out of the O.R. and to the nursery where the boys are measured and tested. Sean weighs in at 6 pounds, 1 ounce and Michael is 5 pounds, 15 ounces. Leave it to Susan to pump out an exact 12 pounds of babies. I take pictures and stay with them during the testing. The nurses could have dealt without me. They seem to welcome overexcited dads like the rest of us welcome root canals. Hey, that's their problem.

Later that evening, Michael is taken to intensive care because of a breathing apnea incident. One of the nurses noticed his color was bluish. He goes through a 12 hour test and although he doesn't set off any of the warning devices, he does have a couple of instances where he holds his breath for several seconds.

That makes the next few days a little more hectic. Susan nurses Sean in her hospital bed and then goes to another section of the hospital (who's the genius who came up with that layout?) to nurse Michael. On Friday, the 21st, we're able to take Sean home. We would have to wait until Monday, the 24th to take home Michael.

On Monday, the sun is finally shining after a rainy Easter weekend. I meet Susan at the hospital to get Michael. Mike will have to stay on a monitor for a month. After that time, he will visit a cardiologist who will download the data and see if we can lose the monitor. At first, I found the monitor to be a major league pain, but now I find it comforting when we're sleeping at night to know that Michael's breathing is being checked. It's really not that big a deal to move around his monitor and we can unhook it when we're walking around with him.

It seems right to reunite the two boys, who being identical, look darn similar. I can tell them apart at this stage. Their noses are a little different, but I don't know how long that will last. They definitely have different personalities. Michael is more easy going. If Sean is unhappy, he doesn't hesitate to let you know it.

Amazingly enough, they're already on a schedule, not an easy schedule but this is the one they cooked up in the womb. Who knows how long they'll stay on it, but for the first two nights, it's gone like this. One of the boys wakes up around 8:30 pm. I change each boy, then I bring them to their mother for joint dinners. By 9:30 pm we have them both fed and sleeping. Daddy will have changed about 4 diapers during this hour. The boys will then sleep until midnight. During the midnight hour, we'll go through the process again but a tad more expediently, so Susan and I are back asleep by 1 am. Come 4 am, they're up again. By 4:30 am, we're back asleep. The boys sleep until 7 am. Unfortunately, our 18 month is up at 6 am. We may have to start keeping Kate up a little longer so we can have all the kids on a similar schedule. When do Susan and I sleep? As often as we can. When the boys go down at 9:30, so do we. It's the only way we can get close to 6-7 hours of sleep a night. I'm in marathon mode now. This is the way it's going to be for the next three months or so. With luck we'll start stretching out the boys sleep duration, so we can get by with only one nocturnal feeding.

As I reach the end of this journal process, I want to share with you one great image. Yesterday I woke up to the sun sweeping through our bedroom. I stretched across the bed to see my two sons sleeping together in their bassinet. The sun was streaming across their faces. Both boys grimaced a little bit at this strong light and started waving their little arms in the air. Only four days old and I could already hear them say, "just another 10 minutes dad, I promise I'll be up".

When I first heard we were having twins, I didn't know what to think. But these boys are amazing. It just didn't seem right having Sean home without Michael there. When the boys were reunited, it felt to me that's the way it should be.

I don't know where their lives will take them. I don't know if they'll be the best of friends. I do know they'll have the special bond that only identical twins can experience. Susan and I are truly blessed to have received multiples. Now after a short but productive procreating career, we are taking early retirement from this "making babies" business.

For all the new moms and especially you dads, we offer our encouragement and best wishes. There is nothing like seeing your child born and being able to experience that same exhilaration twice in the same half hour is to be doubly blessed.

Good bye and good luck everybody, thanks for visiting.

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