March 15, 2012

March Madness Day One

Jamie and her friends are in South Carolina for Amanda Sims' bachelorette party. Leaving me at home with the twins to run daddy daycare.

Jamie had a 8 am flight, so she was out of the house just after 6. That left me to wake the girls up, feed them and dress them; chores we typically tag team each morning. The twins usually wake us up by 7:15, but this morning they slept until 8. Totally awesome, except with mom gone their schedule was already in danger of being utterly wacky. Rather than be cautious I opted to feed them solids for breakfast...for the first time. Thankfully both girls enjoyed their oatmeal with bananas and finished their bottles!

After breakfast we played with blocks and read a few books. Even though they had slept in, both girls showed signs of being tired at 10 am. Amazingly, Paige slept for an hour and a half. I entertained Paige until noon when I decided I had better wake Lilly up for lunch. The girls rarely sleep this long for Jamie, score one for daddy!

After lunch the girls and I got a surprise visit from Grandma and Grandpa Avery. They had taken the twins' nearly three year old cousin Avery (confusing I know) skiing at Sandia. It's always fun to watch Avery interact with the girls she usually gets Paige to laugh. While I made bottles Grandma very nicely got the girls dressed in the clothes I had laid out- their typical Lobo game day garb.

Shortly thereafter the Avery's left and my parents arrived. As I said, Game Day! My parents were nice enough to watch the girls so I could meet David and Leigh Anna to watch the Lobos beat Long Beach State 75 - 68 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. As soon as the game was over I rushed home.

The girls had been good for my parents, but had only slept twenty minutes. A recipe which can make the six to seven o'clock hour a real nightmare. Hoping for the best I fed the girls bananas at 5:30. After dinner we played with cups and stacking rings. Though obviously tired the girls did great. Paige did get fussy around 6:40, but it was no big deal. After changing the girls into their pajamas I fed them their nighttime bottles. During the feed both girls passed out, making it incredibly easy to put them to bed.

March Madness Day One was a resounding success: the girls got a double helping of grandparents, I was able to catch the Lobo game, and the girls went to sleep easily. My only fear is that the day went so well I'm about to enter a nightmare.

January 15, 2012

Baby Programming

From time to time I have held the girls on my lap while I program. The rhythmic, swiftly paced succession of keys captivating their attention while occasionally lulling them to sleep. (I'm proud of the previous sentence.)

Sleeping was obviously not on the agenda in this webcam photo from December.
A week ago Lilly stopped being an observer and reached for the keyboard.

In the above clip I am obviously a very proud father. Her banging opened a few programs including Notepad, resulting in arguably the most important character string every typed.
I am sure I have broken some parenting rule by having the girls occasionally hang out on my lap while I use the computer, but Lilly has obviously learned from the experience. I would love to give the girls a keyboard to play with but at this point I would be afraid of them swallowing one of the keys. For now it will be fun to let them occasionally bang on the keys in a supervised setting.

I would feel remiss if I did not point out that at home I use a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite from 1998, while not as loud as the 1984 IBM Model M I use at work it still has a nice clickety-clack sound. For those of scratching your heads, I am not the only programmer with a keyboard addiction preference.

January 07, 2012

Steele Babies In Plain Sight

I wondered in Steele Baby might be Babies how I was going to pay for college.
Jamie swears that upon hearing this news [that we were having twins] I went white as a sheet. I am sure I did, as the first thought that raced through my mind was “how am I going to pay for college?”
Amazingly the girls have already started to help dad with that problem. Exactly 364 days after we found out we were having twins, the girls "auditioned" and were cast to play the baby of Mary Shannon the main character on In Plain Sight.

In Plain Sight Poster

The entire casting began as something of a lark. A friend of mine sent me an advertisement for a casting call. Mostly tongue in cheek I forwarded it to Jamie and said we should do this. As the weeks progressed and the deadline for submission loomed it seemed less like a joke. Finally, the night of the deadline we submitted a few photos and other casting information.

Almost a month later Jamie and I found ourselves in a room with eight other sets of twins. Out of the eight Lilly and Paige were selected with another set to play Mary's baby. Now the girls are being sent "pages" and photo doubles are being cast for them. As you might expect it's a bit of a whirlwind. This just sort of happened, but we are definitely excited it did!

January 01, 2012

Little Miracles

I am feeling extremely nostalgic today as I reflect back on 2011 as the year that I will never forget. I have always had the feeling that something extraordinary would happen to me...little did I know it would be in the form of two of the most beautiful human beings that I have ever laid my eyes on.  January 5th, 2011 is the day that Andrew and I found out we were going to have twins.  One year later as I sit in our home office typing this post, the girls play happily on the floor and stare at each other smiling. What a difference a year makes.
I am so thankful every day for my two little miracles, Lilly and Paige.

Happy New Year!

September 07, 2011

Labor and Delivery

To catch up with the story so far checkout the labor and delivery prologue.

On our way to the hospital Jamie debated whether she should call Deb. I told her “she gave you the number and encouraged you to call so you absolutely should.” We are both really glad she did. Jamie says for 3:00 AM Deb sounded incredibly awake and was super nice. Deb called the Presbyterian Labor and Delivery Triage nurse and let her know we were on our way. Throughout our stay at Labor and Delivery every nurse we spoke with said, “Oh, you are Deb’s friends.” While I am sure we would have received great care from the Labor and Delivery nurses having a connection made us feel like we were getting exceptional care.

We had learned during the Labor and Delivery course that when you begin labor you are supposed to go to Labor and Delivery to the triage room. Not sure where we would have gone otherwise, but it was nice to at least feel like we knew what we were doing. Triage confirmed that Jamie's water was broken and transferred us to a delivery room. We are not sure if it was because we knew Deb, but at 3:45 were given a very nice delivery room with an outstanding view.
Sunrise view from our delivery room
With us situated in a room at 3:45 AM we settled in to wait for doctors. The on call doctor visited first and since Jamie was in preterm labor decided it best for us to wait for the perinatal specialist to check on Jamie in the morning. While we had started with a very nice night shift nurse Jen, at 7:00 AM a very nice labor and deliver nurse named Marcie was assigned to Jamie and would be with her throughout the rest of her labor. Finally, at 9:00 AM Dr. Joffe from Perinatal Associates of New Mexico arrived and after running a few tests, performing an ultrasound, and making some observations decided it best to attempt to delay Jamie's labor for at least 24 hours. His immediate goal was to gain time for a steroid injection to help the twins lungs prepare for an early birth. After the 24 hour delay had Jamie's labor stopped she would have remained in the hospital until it was time to deliver the twins. Apparently, just because your water is broken does not mean you have to immediately deliver a baby. In fact, the doctors were talking about keeping Jamie pregnant for as long as a few more weeks!
Still very early in the delivery process.
There might be other mechanisms by which to delay preterm labor, but Dr. Joffe ordered the use of magnesium sulfate which has several side effects: itchiness, flushing, nausea, etc. She did not experience many of the side effects of the magnesium, but simply felt uncomfortable all over, in addition to being in labor. Interestingly, aside from helping to delay preterm labor magnesium sulfate has been shown to prevent cerebral palsy in premature infants. After the dose of magnesium sulfate Jamie started to experience what started as mild contractions, but which grew into very painful contractions. To help manage the pain she would grab the hospital bed's railing and “ride the wave.” As her contractions worsened it became evident that the gradual dose of magnesium sulfate had not slowed her labor Jamie was given a bolus (large dose) of magnesium.

Even after the bolus we now believe that Marcie saw the writing on the wall. While Jamie suffered through increasingly painful contractions and the side effects of the magnesium Marcie strongly suggested that I visit the hospital's Subway to get a sandwich and take a break. Thinking we had plenty of time I went down and ordered a foot long sub. As soon as I had finished the first six inches my phone rang calling me back to the delivery room, Jamie was 6 centimeters dilated and they were taking her into the operating room to deliver the twins via cesarean section.

The experience of being in an operating room for delivery was intense. As explained to us during our first specialist checkup there were a lot of people in the room. The anesthesiologist and I were seated at Jamie's head. Jamie who had been given a spinal block was totally awake and able to talk. I don't remember what we talked about, but oddly I remember it was not about delivery. A curtain was drawn up to keep Jamie from seeing the procedure. Each of the twins had a team from the natal intensive care unit monitoring their vitals ready to act when they were born. Lilly was delivered at 2:19 PM and Paige with a bit of forceful tugging was delivered at 2:20 PM. When she was born Jamie was briefly shown Lilly who was then whisked to the NICU. At birth Paige had some complications and was immediately taken to the NICU before Jamie could see her. The entire procedure from spinal block to finishing took a little more than an hour with more time taken to put Jamie back together than was taken to get the girls out.
Jamie and I in the recovery room after Jamie's cesarean section.
The next post will detail our NICU experience.

August 19, 2011

Labor and Delivery Prologue

In an understatement a lot has happened since we crossed the thirty-two week pregnancy mark. Over the coming days, as time and sleep allow, we will try and post summations of the past month. Our last detailed post was two days before the girls were born, so it seems appropriate to start with the story of their birth.

At Jamie's perinatal appointment on Friday, July 15th her cervix measured 2.5 centimeters, which is about the smallest size allowed before a woman is put on bed rest. A shrinking / thinning cervix (called effacement) is normal late in pregnancy and is especially normal at 32 weeks for a mother of twins. Remember at this point Jamie's uterus was measuring the size of a 43 week pregnant mother of one. Since everything appeared to be status quo we scheduled the next months worth of appointments.

Friday night we met Meghan and Justin for dinner then went back to our place so Jamie could show Meghan the newly decorated nursery. As a present Justin's mother had painted the girl's names using the nursery's color pallet. Hanging these two pictures on the wall put the finishing touches on the room. Justin then very nicely took a series of pictures of the nursery.

Justin tries out the My Brest Friend Twin Nursing pillow
The next morning Jamie and I attended a Labor and Delivery course at Presbyterian. The course was a wealth of information providing labor tips, medical facts, and a hospital tour. During the class the instructor described several indicators that labor was starting. Jamie had one of the symptoms described which led her to contact her OBGYN's office. Unfortunately, since it was Saturday we were only able to speak with the on call doctor who felt Jamie's symptoms were probably the result of the battery of tests Jamie had received the day before. He indicated she should take it easy and stay out of the sun. Confident that everything was okay Jamie and I finished the class.

Sunday morning we met Nate, Lindsey, Ryan and Deb for breakfast. This was the first time Jamie was able to meet Ryan's new girlfriend Deb who is a labor and delivery nurse at Presbyterian. Deb was kind enough to give Jamie her contact information and encouraged her to call when she went into labor. After breakfast we headed over to Duff and Libbiey's to watch the Women's World Cup Final. We left at half time because Jamie was not feeling too well. We went home and she napped the rest of the afternoon.

Jamie on Sunday morning right before we left to meet our friends
That evening we went to my parent's house for our bi-weekly family meal. Jamie still felt under the weather, but felt better than she had earlier in the day. As we visited before dinner Jamie felt Baby A (the lower baby) turn from a transverse (crosswise position) to a breached position (feet down). The baby then proceeded to kick downward repeatedly. This whole process occurred very quickly and was very painful. Once in the breached position the baby kicked off and on for the rest of the evening.

At 2:00 AM I awoke to “Andrew I think my water just broke.” It certainly had. I spent the next 10 minutes hopping around our bedroom trying to quickly get dressed and get on my walking boot. A comedy writer could pay more justice to the hilarity of this scene. Jamie and I did not have “the bag” ready. While we waited for a call back from the on call OBGYN, we grabbed the things which had been emphasized during our Labor and Delivery course the day before most specifically a tooth brush. Which I might add I am really glad the instructor emphasized bringing, if you are going to be in close proximity to your partner breathing heavily for hours on end it's nice to do it with minty fresh breath and clean teeth. While Jamie was incredibly calm I was pretty frantic. We grabbed what made the most sense and headed out the door.

Our trip to the hospital and our experiences there will be detailed in a post on labor and delivery.

August 15, 2011

One Month Old

It's been a crazy four weeks, but the girls are one month old today. We'll be posting details of labor and delivery, our NICU experience, and first weeks at home soon. Thank you to everyone for all the support!