Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Which One's The Girl?"

A week after the twins were born, Christina was admitted to the hospital for some testing.  For the first time, I was solely responsible for my sons' well-being.  Crap.

As I wheeled them around the hospital complex in their Double Snap N Go, I was continually hailed by well-wishers with their congratulations and compliments.  When we reached the maternity ward, where Christina had been the previous Friday, many of the nurses recognized us.  I was a bit dumbfounded by the number who asked me, "Which one's the girl?"  "They're both boys," I replied, hopefully not too testily.  I couldn't figure out why they were asking me that, until later Christina explained that they were getting our kids mixed up with the other set of twins born the same day.

The following night we were stumbling around in a sleep-deprived daze trying to keep them both fed and diapered.  At one point the twins woke us up, and Christina, in a fog, said to me, "Which one's the girl?"  I didn't remember the phrase from the previous night, so I said, helpfully, "What?"  She repeated her question, and I said, "What?"  This went back and forth a few times...possibly as many as fifty -- we were very tired.  Finally I said, "We have two boys."

She replied, "No, I mean which one's the girl...the nurse...telling us to feed first?"  She was in the middle of a dream that we were still in the NICU.  Fortunately, I had just exited that dream myself, so although I could relate, I was not in a position to continue the dream.

Around the same time, we borrowed onesies from friends who had twin girls earlier this year.  We avoided taking the boys out when they were wearing any of them, so as to avoid the inevitable psychological scarring.  Still, it did cross our mind that dressing one of them in borrowed clothing would help people answer their own, "Which one's the girl" question.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Babysitting Panic

Since bringing the angels home (three homecomings so far, counting the hotel jaunts), I've been wondering about the 3-month restriction on taking the kids to restaraunts, malls, and other basic first-world locales. Mainly, I've been wondering how not to feel trapped into lugging around a lot of equipment. In short, I've been thinking about babysitters for those special occasions when the in-laws are no longer in-state.

I mean, what babysitter in his/her right mind would take on a set of *twins* at any price? I'm somewhat relieved by a discussion on CAMOM, which we joined shortly before the birth, in which Barbara asks the going rate for babysitting four children, and J. A. recommends her sitter:
"I pay $12/hour for four kids ages 9,9,5,5. I also usually give her a tip."

Kinda puts things in perspective, thus reducing my house-arrest panic.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twin Panic in the OR

Last Friday at 5:00, Christina woke me with the news that her water had broken, a couple of weeks before her scheduled C-section. So it was off to the hospital for an unscheduled C-section.

We arrived at 6:00, and everything seemed under control. There was another woman in the queue ahead of Christina, but that was OK -- there are three ORs in the maternity ward. One is for normal operation, a second for more urgent cases, and a third reserved for true emergencies. We seemed to be under "normal operation," so we were waiting for the other woman to give birth. At one point, we were reassured that Christina would be wheeled into the operating room by 10.

Well, 10 became 10:30 and by 11, Christina's contractions were getting worse and worse. What had happened with the other woman? Well, she was having twins, which meant even though she was trying to have them the old-fashioned way, she was in the OR in case of complications. What about the idea that they would run two ORs for more urgent cases (which we now were)?

It turns out that the anesthesiology department wasn't comfortable running two ORs when both involved twin births. Since the other twins were taking so long to come out, they weren't willing to move Christina to the OR. So we were being foiled by a different set of twins!

After some pleading by Christina (you haven't seen pleading until you've seen a woman in labor plead), a solution was found. Christina was wheeled into the OR, and I was placed in a holding area. I soon discovered the solution -- in another part of the holding area was the other twin mother, who had been yanked out of the one OR in order so that Christina could go into the other. After some movie-quality pacing, I was ushered into the OR.

Then came the joyous moment of my sons' birth. But this is, and everything there went thankfully smoothly, so that's a story for another time. As Christina was being stitched up, however, some nurses rushed into the OR and asked how close we were to being done. Christina's doctor held up her hands to indicate the amount of stitching left. Now the other woman was ready to go, but they needed Christina's surgery to be done first.

The moral of the story: if you're going to have twins, plan it for a day when nobody else has the same idea.
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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Defeated by the Double Snap-N-Go

As the twins get closer to making their arrival, I expect this site to shift to more personal narratives of panic and frustration.  I wish I didn't have one right now...

Liza Munday, in Everything Conceivable, says
[I]t's easy to see why parents were so grateful when in 2003 Baby Trend came out with a twins version of its popular Snap N Go, a lightweight frame onto which two car seats can be clipped, turning it into an instant, easily assembled twins stroller. The advent of the double Snap N Go meant twins parents no longer had to load the children out of the big bulky car seat and into a big bulky stroller that they had to lug along in the trunk whenever they went anywhere.
To acquire such a coveted object, we decided to be a bit savvy and get one used -- after all, twins parents only need them until their kids are out of the infant car seats, and unlike infant car seats, there's no real safety concern about the provenance of the item.

We advertised on our local twins group for anyone wanting to sell one and, in fact, found a seller offering one for less than half of what one would cost new.  I drove out about an hour out of my way (seemed reasonable for the savings involved) to pick it up.  The woman selling offered to throw in their car seats, but since we already had some, and hers were pretty old (there's that question of provenance), I declined.  In passing, she mentioned that she had trouble getting their Graco car seats to attach to the Snap N Go.  But I knew it was possible to attach Graco car seats to a Double Snap N Go, so I didn't worry too much about this woman's inferior mechanical skills.  (Inferior to my wife's, that is.)

I brought the stroller home, and we stored it in the nursery for a few weeks.  After all, we wouldn't be strolling with the kids until we bring them home from the hospital, so it doesn't have to be figured out until later in the process than, say, the car seats themselves.  But last night, since I was getting the car seats out of their boxes, I figured it would be a good time to make sure the stroller worked, especially since, unlike the car seats, it didn't require going outside.

The first thing I discovered was that simply placing the car seats on the stroller and hoping they snapped was not going to work.  Not even if I fussed with them for a minute.  At this point, Christina downloaded the manual for the Baby Trend 1305TW Double Snap N Go.  The manual had a handy chart showing how to attach the bars to accommodate the Graco seats, so I figured we were in business.  Wait...where were the bars?  There were no signs of the 1" bars required to attach the seats! 

Well, fortunately, Baby Trend has a parts hotline.  Also fortunately, they're located on the West Coast, so I had a hope of getting in touch with them before they left for their 3-day weekend.  My first attempt to call reached a stern warning that I needed to read them my model number, lot number and date of manufacture when someone picked up, followed by what appeared to be a disconnection.  Fortunately, Christina was able to locate the sticker with the information.  Wait a second, we had the 1304TW, manufactured in 2003.  Well, at least it might have some historical value, since it was one of the first ones ever manufactured.

Armed with this information, I called back.  A very helpful woman named Amanda confirmed that the 1304TW in fact could accept the Graco seats, as long as I had the right adapter bars.  She even offered to e-mail me the 1304TW so I could see what the bars looked like and whether they were on the stroller.  They weren't, but I could order an "A1 bar", which the manual said I need to attach the front seat.  The back seat?  That required a "D bar", which...tap tap tap...was out of stock.  And since the 1304TW was a discontinued model, it would never be in stock.

So now we have a double stroller which can only hold one child, at least in the car seats we have.  Fortunately, we had already scheduled a charity pickup for Monday, so we can at least get a tax deduction out of it.  And if I can't get one in-store pre-assembled, Amazon will deliver one to my door by Thursday if I order it by Tuesday.

I've now sworn off trying to save money on anything.