Such Happiness In Thought Happens

July 5, 2008

The new family at home

Filed under: Fatherhood — Duane @ 5:03 pm

What a dreary day it is today! Wet, damp, cold and overcast. Unlike the joy I feel when I think about having our daughters home. I sometimes wonder how Stone Age man coped with having newborns, especially newborn twins. It has been nearly two weeks since they were born, and they have spent nearly a week home. Monday night everyone came home after getting the all clear from the paediatrician. This time last weekend, Agnes and I were at the Children’s hospital learning how to feed the girls. And I have just realised that I am starting at the end and going back to the start. Let’s rewind and start this again.

Two Mondays ago Caitlin and Emma were born. They were in the Special Care Unit til Friday. Agnes was also in the hospital til Friday, but as the girls were still not feeding properly, Agnes and the girls were moved to the Children’s hospital and would be there until everyone had learnt how to breastfeed. That first week I spent most of my days in the hospital and going home at night to sleep in a proper bed (they only have day beds for partners in the Mother’s hospital). While at the hospital I would ferry Agnes down to the Special Care Unit as she was still weak and needed to use a wheelchair to get around, and run visitors to Agnes or down to Caitlin and Emma. Friday night was my last night at home alone.

I spent all last weekend from Saturday morning to Monday arvo at the hospital. I had to sleep in a day bed, but it was more worn in and thus more comfortable than they other room. The staff were a lot more relaxed, patient and friendly than at the other hospital. I won’t go into the dramas we had with nurses and midwives at the other hospital.

So back to this Monday. Monday afternoon the girls were given nearly the all clear to go home. There was a slight problem with Emma, but that would be looked at on Tuesday. So 5 to 6pm was a hive of activity getting everything together to go home. As we had not yet expected to get the go ahead to go home, we still had everything at the hospital and we had not prepared the house for the girls coming home. The first couple of nights were hectic with Caitlin and Emma feeding every three hours and mum and dad not getting a lot of sleep. Plus there were no nurses to call if you needed a hand. Tuesday day we went out as grocery shopping was a necessity as the fridge had been bare for one week. It was nice getting prepared to take the girls out on their first outing, and Agnes being somewhere different than a hospital. After the outing I had to rush Emma to the orthopaedics to be fitted with a harness and they only had the one spot that afternoon.

Emma in a harness? What is this? The paediatrician had noticed that Emma had a bit of movement in one hip and on the last day in hospital he noticed movement in the other hip. So Emma went down for an ultrasound and it was discovered that her hips were immature and still needed more growing. This is apparently common and easily corrected within six weeks with a special harness. So on Tuesday Emma was fitted with a special velcro harness, instead of the metal ones that had been used previously. She cannot be bathed while wearing the harness, only sponge baths, and the harness is not to be adjusted by anyone bar her doctors.

Tuesday night was not pleasant as Emma adjusted to the harness and the lack of movement she would like to have. Nowadays she is ok with it, and only gets annoyed occasionly by the harness. Wednesday we went back to the orthopaedics as I had to take off Emma’s name tags that were still around her ankles and think I might not have put the foot part back correctly (remember my previous statement of no touchy except by her doctor?). The orthopaedic people were lovely and we loved showing off both Emma and Caitlin to the staff. Everyone was exclaiming about how beautiful and perfect they are.

The last few nights have been more settled since we had the maternity nurse visit us on Thursday and helped out with a few things. For example, the thing about 3 to 4 hourly feeds that the hospitals like – that is for their benefit. It doesn’t help the parents sleep much if they are up every few hours to feed the babies. So yet another change to their routine. And the girls do not like change to their routine. We were also advised of the correct calculations for feeding babies, be it breast milk or formula, unlike the hospital where you are only given one calculation. We also had a few people help us out at night, instead of us trying to do it all on our own. Thanks to my parents for their help midweek, and then Tishan and Mel for their help the last few nights. We are going to try it solo tonight and see how we go.

Even though Caitlin and Emma are only a few weeks old they already have their own individual personalities. For example Emma doesn’t like baths all that much (good thing it was her in the harness), whereas Cailtin quite likes them. Caitlin is a lighter sleeper and when you try and move her to her place in the cot, she fusses quite a storm. Emma seems to be awake more in the morning, while Caitlin seems to be awake more in the late afternoon. If Caitlin does not want anything in her mouth, she scrounges it up by nearly pouting and won’t let anything past her gums.

Agnes and I are both over the moon that we finally have Emma and Caitlin with us, but at times we have our doubts about whether we can adequately love them and care for them. But then we look at either of them and our hearts melt.

That’s it from me for the moment. Thankfully I have the next month off to help get the girls into a semblence of a routine.

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