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Double Trouble

Hudson Valley Dad shares his experience with twin daughters

Hudson Valley Dad shares his experience with twin daughters

“You’re already sitting down on the job,” teased my wife, Kristen. After the doctor revealed two heartbeats during the ultrasound, I quickly turned pale. We’re having twins, wow.

We instantly began to picture how our lives would change with not one, but two new babies on the scene. A flood of emotions soon followed: happiness, hope, joy and panic! We knew our lives would change drastically but nothing could prepare us for having twins!

A challenging birth

On January 11, 2011 at thirty-six weeks and six days, we welcomed our little ladies into the world. Avery Jane weighed five pounds and Eva Grace tipped the scales at four pounds, one ounce and only sixteen inches long. They were little, but they were alive and they were perfect.

Both girls went directly to the NICU. They needed oxygen the first night and Eva needed a feeding tube. After twenty-four hours, all tubes were removed, but they remained in the NICU to learn how to breathe, to eat and to gain weight. Avery came home after one week and Eva came home after two weeks.

The NICU nurses taught us how to hold the girls, how to burp them, how much to feed them and how long to feed them. Our babies were so little and delicate; Kristen and I were afraid to do anything wrong. Luckily, we had great nurses helping and reassuring us that everything would be alright. I could not fathom the idea of having both girls home and doing this all on our own.

Preparation problems

Due to the difficulty of the pregnancy, we never really felt fully prepared to have the twins at home. Before their birth, we spent so much time going back and forth to the doctor, which made preparing ourselves, and our home for our two bundles of joy, almost impossible.

Between doctor visits, we feverishly read as many baby books as possible. Then we began buying everything in multiples of two — two car seats, four car seat bases, two cribs, two bouncers, two swings — you get the idea. Once our twins came home, our biggest concern was establishing a routine and sticking to it. We followed the feeding schedule from the hospital, which was every three hours. 

Double duty

The best piece of advice we received was “if one baby is up, both babies should be up.” So, during the night we fed them both at the same time. We noticed after a while that we no longer needed to set the alarm during the night. Like clock work, the twins would be up telling us it’s time to eat every three hours.

READ MORE: Manage your stress while pregnant!

It was difficult for me to wake up every three hours and then go to work the next morning; however, I got off easy compared to my wife. She stayed home with the twins, who soon developed colic and reflux. I don’t know how she did it, but keeping a schedule definitely helped.

Each day we prepared sixteen bottles of formula and washed two loads of laundry. Each day we changed roughly twenty-four dirty diapers. There were so many bottles, diapers and changes of dirty clothes for the girls and us, it was hard to keep up sometimes. Then there were the weekly trips to the doctor’s office. Our routine is what kept us going those first several months.

Learning process

The twins are now eighteen months old. A lot has changed, but Kristen and I continue to learn something new about our twins each day. Reflecting back on those early days, it was easy to get caught up in worrying about getting bottles ready, laundry washed and making sure their routine was followed. It was easy to lose sight of the incredible miracle in front of us.

In our case, we prayed for two strong heartbeats each doctor’s visit three times per week during Kristen’s pregnancy. Now we find ourselves enjoying their individual personalities, the exciting world of language they are discovering and appreciating small moments each and every day.

I have learned so much about love and life throughout this journey. I didn’t know that love at first sight existed until my beautiful twin daughters were placed in my arms on that January evening. I didn’t know a smile could remain on my face all day  because my daughters have greeted me from their cribs in the morning, saying proudly, “Hi my daddy!”

Kristen and I know that the lives of our daughters are a very special gift and we are thankful for every minute we share with them, even when we’re changing dirty diapers.

Dan Chuckran is a teacher and enjoys living in Warwick with his wife and twin daughters.