Bed Rest, Early Babies, and NICU Time with Andy Shaw – Podcast 105

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - October 22, 2020

Bed Rest, Early Babies, and NICU Time with Andy Shaw – Podcast 105

Episode 105 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

We continue our Father of Twins Interview Series with Andy Shaw from InstaFather.com:

  • How a surprise phone call revealed their twin pregnancy
  • Why bed rest was a challenge for their family
  • Juggling work, family, and a wife in the hospital for bed rest
  • The shock of twins arriving at 31 weeks
  • How dad got to participate in the twin delivery
  • Importance of a birth plan
  • The reality of twins in the NICU for about two months
  • Key indicators for healthy babies in the NICU
  • The scary night when they had to rush one of the twins to the hospital
  • Dealing with the needs of a toddler when twins are born
  • Why you must have helpers with newborns
  • How to create a flexible work arrangement
  • Why it is OK to accidentally mix up your twins
  • Traveling with infant twins
  • How to maintain the relationship with your wife through all these challenges

Reach out to Andy:

Instafather
@InstafatherAndy on Twitter
@InstafatherAndy on Instagram

Transcript

Joe Rawlinson: Hi there and welcome to the 105th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always, you can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com where you’ll find much more information on having and raising twins along with the show notes for this episode and the transcript as well for this and all previous podcast episodes.

I’ve made a great deal with Audible where you can get a free audio book version of my first book, The Dads Guide to Twins at freetwinbook.com. Once again, that’s freetwinbook.com.

I hope you enjoyed the last episode of the podcast where I interviewed bestselling author Carol Tuttle about her concepts behind the child whisperer. I invite you to go back and listen to that episode if you have not already. You will get insights on how to best tailor your parenting to the individual natures and needs of each of your children. It was an eye-opening interview for myself as I try to adapt my parenting to each of my four children which have very unique individual needs and personalities.

4 Critical Mistakes Expectant Twin Parents Make

Today on the podcast I have a great guest, a fellow father of twins, Andy Shaw who runs a wonderful site called instafather.com and the story of how their twins got into the world is quite the adventure. I look forward to sharing that interview with you; so let’s jump right into it.

Today on the podcast, I’d like to welcome Andy Shaw. He’s the father of three including twin girls and he runs an excellent site for expectant and new dads called instafather.com. Welcome to the show, Andy.

Andy Shaw: Hey, thanks for having me.

(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)

Joe Rawlinson: Glad you could be here with us. Why don’t you take us back in time, kind of describe your family situation and your experience when you found out that you were having your twins.

Andy Shaw: I have a bit of a unique situation because we at the time had a one-year-old boy and my wife found out that she was pregnant. There were no twins really in her family or my family so that wasn’t even on either of my minds. We’ve got twin girls now that are seven months old but back then that was like the farthest thing I could have possibly imagined. I remember it all clear as day when we found out. We were at a wedding rehearsal of all places and my wife gets a phone call from the OB/GYN who had looked at the ultrasound and over the phone tells my wife, who is in the wedding party by the way, that we’re having twins. I’m looking across the church and see my wife start to tear up and I know she’s talking to the doctor so I’m actually getting worried that something is going on because why else would the doctor be calling on a Friday night.

My wife calls me over and basically just blurts out, “We’re having twins.” My first reaction according to her was, “Wait what?” As I’m sure you’ve heard many a dad say. I mean just baffled. I couldn’t even process what’s going on. The best part is, remember we’re at a wedding rehearsal so we take a minute to kind of gather our thoughts and then we have to go back in and do the whole wedding rehearsal and a wedding rehearsal dinner and we can’t tell anybody at this point because no body even knows really that my wife is pregnant let alone having twins because we found out really early on. She was a high risk pregnancy regardless so she had an early ultrasound. That’s how we figured it all out. We had to sit in this wedding rehearsal dinner and not mention the fact that we just found out the biggest news we could possibly have. I just keep flashing like a two sign to my wife ad we keep shaking our heads.

We get that in and people start to find out and everybody is excited. The funny thing is as growing up my wife had always wanted twins. Always wanted them. Now after we had our son who is now two-and-a-half. There were times we’re like, how does anybody handle twins, that seems insane. Even now it does seem a little bit insane. We got really excited for it and then we found out we were having twin girls, which was great, just super pumped.

4 Critical Mistakes Expectant Twin Parents Make

Then things started to get a little bit crazy. Joe, I know you know a little bit of this start o the story but things got a little dicey. I think this happens with a lot of twin parents. Around February, my girls were born in the spring, but around February we started to wonder if they were going to start to come too early. By March, my wife had to be put on bed rest, which is just about the last possible thing that you want, especially when she mostly takes care of our son during the day. Now all of a sudden she can’t take care of our son, she can’t go anywhere. She had periods where she had to be on hospital bed rest and even then our girls decided they wanted to come at 31 weeks.

Joe Rawlinson: How early did y’all start on bed rest?

Andy Shaw: We did about four-and-a-half weeks I think of it and I’ve heard of people who do months upon months but even just doing the better part of a month of it, especially when you have a baby on top of that was not easy. When I say all this stuff, whatever is not easy for me, times ten for my wife because she’s the one who is dealing with all this stuff. It’s scary too because we never had to deal with twins and you just want your girls to be healthy. Before they’re born, you don’t know what the heck is going on. We’re thinking, okay, we’re going to be okay. We’re just going to stick with this bed rest thing.

I was doing crazy routines where I would try to spend as much time as I could at the hospital when my wife was on bed rest and then I’d run home at night to put my son to bed while his grandparent watched him. I’d tuck him in and then drive back and sleep overnight at the hospital with my wife so that way she wouldn’t be alone night and just in case something happened. Then I’d drive back in the morning, take my son to take daycare, drive to work, then go to the hospital, and so on and so forth. Just getting lots of gas mileage.

(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)

Joe Rawlinson: That’s quite the schedule. How long was she in the hospital versus at home on bed rest?

Andy Shaw: She was only at home on bed rest for about I want to say 7-8 days in the middle of all that. At one point they say, hey yeah you can go home and that worked out just for a little bit and the one day she got a little pain, I don’t remember what it was. It might have been like a little twinge or just some reason that she wanted to go back in and they said, no you’ve got to go back to the hospital. That was that, she was at the hospital until the day the that the girls arrived in April. That was a crazy day. Well you know, like the bed rest stuff it’s wait, wait, wait and then all of a sudden … She’s on hospital bed rest and you’re not supposed to even leave the bed. She start feeling like she’s having some contractions. That’s not usually a huge thing, those things can happen. I wasn’t there but she goes out into the hallway and tells the nurse “Hey I think I might have some contractions here, do you want to check?”

It turns out she was like 7-8 centimeters dilated and it was go time. Fortunately, I work almost across the street from the hospital. She texts me with the image of the contraction monitor . I’m seeing it spiking up and down, I freak out because I know what’s going on so I race over there. Even though I’m right near the hospital, by the time I got there they were already throwing all her stuff into a cart and racing her down to labor and deliver. Our girls were born pretty shortly after that, I think it might have been within the hour after that. It was so fast that even though she got an epidural, it didn’t like kick in and I know it didn’t kick in because my wife’s reaction to pushing out the babies was a little different than our son whenever the epidural did have a little bit more time. She was a rock star through the whole thing.

4 Critical Mistakes Expectant Twin Parents Make

Joe Rawlinson: You did make it in time to see the girls be born.

Andy Shaw: I did make it in time. I got to help slide them out into the world. The funny thing was and I never experienced this before or even heard about it. I was reading your stuff and trying to get a good sense of what I’m going into here with twins. Our first daughter came out by way of natural delivery and everything was great. Then our second daughter, all I see is a foot hanging out, just dangling basically like she kicked her sister out of the womb, finally I have some space. The nurse and I looked at each other like, huh, that’s interesting. We had this amazing doctor who knew that we weren’t really fans of C-sections and they just basically reached up and pulled her out by the legs and everything was great. It all worked out. I don’t think I could have ever thought that one day I’d see a foot dangling out of my wife, but there we are.

Joe Rawlinson: There you are.

Andy Shaw: Parenthood, right?

Joe Rawlinson: That’s right.

(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)

Andy Shaw: That kind of kicked off the whole NICU journey after that.

Joe Rawlinson: They were born at 31 weeks, which is way early even for twins. Did you get some time with them in the delivery room or were they rushed right off to the NICU?

Andy Shaw: We were big advocates and I would suggest this to a lot of dads or moms the same way, just letting your doctors and nurses know what you want ahead of time. Because we had been on bed rest and dealing with doctors all the time, they had a pretty good sense of what we wanted. But we said, whatever we could do to just even get a moment with them. Even when they were delivered, they made sure to bring them over to my wife for a second. What we decided was, once the second one was born, I’d go over to the NICU with them and stay with them the whole time and my wife would recover a little bit and be over as soon as she could. It worked out.

Joe Rawlinson: You make a good point there with setting expectations with your medical staff. Otherwise, they’re going to take the path of least resistance and it may not match up with your wishes as a parent.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Andy Shaw: It’s about that birth plan. Sometimes you hear jokes like, oh birth plan. There’s no real plan with it. But there is something to be said of having something written down so in the heat of the moment you don’t forget everything that you had planned. Then you can hand it to them and I swear, they will look at it and they will do their best to help fulfill your wishes. If you’ve got crazy things on there, probably not. But if you’re pretty reasonable about it, I think a lot of hospitals will be accommodating.

Joe Rawlinson: That’s true. Your girls, you get a little bit of time with them and then they’re off to the NICU. Tell us about your NICU experience. How long were they there and what were some of their challenges that they had?

Andy Shaw: The hospital I was at they have a really incredible NICU. The doctor who founded it years and years ago, he’s still there. He built this really great team but we were still terrified of the whole thing. You hear NICU and you kind of think about these sickly babies and everybody is in a plastic container and it just doesn’t seem like where you want your kid. But life is funny like that and sometimes you end up places you don’t expect. Our girls were in there, I’m trying to think the total time, basically they got out … They were born in April, they got out around June. More or less two months is a decent estimate on it. Our daughter Quinn was there a week longer than Hannah so they didn’t go quite home at the same time.

They didn’t have any huge issues while they were in there. It’s just a matter that they were born under four pounds. They just needed time to grow. Especially if you’re born that early, it’s a lot about lung capacity and development where they have to be able to show they’re not going to have lapses in breathing. I’ve written on my site that you learn about apnea and bradycardias, As and Bs. You’re constantly worried about did they have any lapses in breathing because if they did, that can prolong their NICU stay, stuff that you worry about all the time.

You look at monitors so much, you hear those beeping sounds in your nightmares. You get used to the whole NICU experience. Again, it’s the same thing, just talking with your nurses and doctors, letting them know that you want to be informed. We were there as much as we possibly could and it’s one of those things where on one hand it goes so slow like you feel like you’re never going to leave there. Even looking back, we had some moments, oh my God this is it. We’re just going to live here for the rest of our lives. Other times you look back and say, that was so fast. It looks like even at seven months now, that seems like a lifetime ago that we were in the NICU.

We got them home but then we had a huge, huge setback. Both girls were home, everybody is happy. Our two-year-old loves his sisters to death, gives them kisses all the time. Actually loves them a little bit too much because he tries to feed them grapes and stuff but that’s a different thing. He’s trying to give them a blanket and I’m like, “Not over the head, buddy not over the head.” He’s trying to be a good big brother, which is great but you might also try to murder them sometimes.

Joe Rawlinson: Right.

Andy Shaw: We had a pretty serious situation though with Quinn who was actually he first baby born, not the kicking one, the other one. She one day about a week after she was home from the NICU so we were just settling in, she was just getting kind of lethargic all day and we knew something was up but it’s hard to tell because they’re still preemie babies and they had even said it takes a while for them to adjust to things so just be patient. My wife is looking at her, something is not right.

We end up calling 911 and 911 gets there and everything seems like it might be all right. She’s getting a little bit more responsive. They go to the hospital just to kind of check her out. I have to grab my two-year-old and our other daughter who I’m still getting used to just being home. It’s the middle of the night so we go to the hospital and I’m in the waiting room. My wife is back with Quinn and she tries to nurse her just to at least give her something to eat. She becomes totally unresponsive. Her face actually started turning black from what my wife said, like her mouth was turning black because she was totally unresponsive out of nowhere. They had to rush a whole team in, did CPR for a couple of minutes. Fortunately, they had great people there, they were able to get her back but then they had to put a tube in, this whole thing.

Long story short, she ends up being life-flighted to a different hospital that specializes in this kind of thing and we had eight more days in the hospital there. The good news is, she’s fine. Basically, she got pneumonia and that’s one of the things you have with preemies that are really susceptible to germs. You’ll never wash your hands more in your entire life than you will in the NICU. While her sister actually had a cold too, her’s didn’t turn into anything but with Quinn it turned into pneumonia and basically blocked her breathing airway and her lung ended up collapsing so they had to fix all that. Imagine being in the NICU for basically a couple of months, your wife had just been on hospital bed rest for a month and now you’re faced with going back to the hospital for more than week. It was one of those things where we felt like we were never ever going to get out of the hospital. You looking at all that and there’s so much turmoil, the toughest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my whole life by far and now our kids, two-and-a-half and seven months old I just put them all in the bed tonight by myself because my wife was working. Everybody is laughing and playing together and I’m feeding them and it seems like a lifetime ago that we had to deal with all that stuff. It’s amazing how fast life goes.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Joe Rawlinson: Yeah, that’s an incredible journey with a roller coaster of ins and outs of emotions. You mentioned that your parents or your wife’s parents were helping out during this time?

Andy Shaw: Yeah, my wife’s parents basically moved in more or less. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Their big thing was taking care of our two-year-old. He still needs help, he’s two years old, he needs attention an somebody to play with him and everything. We for many reasons couldn’t do that on a day in, day out basis. They took care of him a lot and just the basic things like making sure like we had some food and things were getting taken care of. I can’t say enough that if you are in a situation like this, if you have twins … I remember reading the stuff you’ve written of you’ve got to have that support system in place and even ahead of time is smart because you’re going to need help. It’s not pride thing, it’s just realistic. You need someone to help you out.

Joe Rawlinson: It’s true. We had family and friends stay with us for a couple of months and it was … I can’t imagine how we would have done it otherwise. Like you, but we had two little kids plus the girls. It’s hard to be a parent of newborns plus managing your other children at the same time.

Andy Shaw: Sometimes it’s like a logistical thing. You only have two hands. Taking them to daycare, in the morning I take them to daycare. They only go part time but I carry them all in but I have to carry two car seats and then I have to hope my son feels like walking that day because you know dealing with toddlers some days it’s, no you have to pick me up.

Joe Rawlinson: That’s right.

Andy Shaw: You can only do so much so as much as we can, we have somebody meet me so they can help carry the girls up and down the stairs, that kind of thing. You need somebody because when you have twins, you’ve got two people right away who need you for everything. They can’t do anything on their own so they don’t really care if you’ve got help or not, they need held for example, sometimes both twins need held at the same moment and if they don’t, you’re going to have a meltdown. That’s when it helps to have somebody there.

Joe Rawlinson: Absolutely. How did you handle your time off from work between the bed rest, early delivery, and NICU time?

Andy Shaw: This is where a little bit of planning ahead paid off. I have been a journalist for about a decade or so. I wrote for a newspaper, really loved the whole career. It’s just what I thought I was going to do forever. Then when I realized I was going go down this track as becoming a dad, I already could look down into future and realize that I didn’t want to be covering some meeting when my kids were born and I wasn’t able to get out of it or you know, the news doesn’t stop even if you have kids. I decided to switch career paths. Now I work at a college and I work for the communications department and I do marketing and social media and so forth but I got in a job in particular lets me work from home if I need to. During those NICU days, I just had my laptop with me and I would just work from there a lot. You have to have a really flexible boss, not every boss will let you do that but I had a boss who knew my situation, knew that I was going to get everything done and I made sure to get all the things done I could so I had to minimize the days I had to take off. Basically, I would just work from home except home was the hospital because that’s basically where I live.

Joe Rawlinson: That’s great, the type of career you have. Me too for that matter, we can work from anywhere and that comes in really handy when your family needs you to be in a certain place that’s not an office.

Andy Shaw: I think other dads, there are so many dads who don’t have that kind of situation. I don’t think you have to get discouraged about that. I heard a lot of people have success maybe during the NICU days they keep working but when the baby comes home, that’s when they take their time off, which makes sense. I think you’re an advocate of that too because that way you’re home whenever they need you the most. At he NICU, the nice thing is you’ve got a whole team of nurses and doctors who are watching your kid nonstop so you can go in after hours and you’re good to go. It was nice that I was able to do a little bit of both.

Joe Rawlinson: You have to really look at the situation you have. If you’re going to have people, hospital staff or family coming to help and kind of spread out your paternity leave if you need to, to make the most of it.

Andy Shaw: If we were really smart, we’d move to like Spain and then you get like a year off for being a dad. But my Spanish is pretty rusty, I don’t know about yours so here we are.

Joe Rawlinson: Here we are, we’ve got to do the best with what we have, right?

Andy Shaw: Right.

Joe Rawlinson: What’s something that you really like about this age with them.

Andy Shaw: I love a bunch of things. One, is that they are interacting with each other and their brother more. Put one in the exer-saucer and … That’s another note, they’re at the age where I can put them in an exer-saucer and you now how big that is, to be able to put them down. That part is great. My son will come up to them and he’ll start making faces or try to play around with and they’re kind of giggling with him and interacting and that’s just so great to see.

Another thing is that they’re just better at doing things on their own. They’re better at being able to put down for a nap and fall asleep on their own. We can feed them solids. We’re feeding them homemade applesauce tonight. Just to be able to use the spoon and use that rather than I having to go through a breast milk supply, that part is great. But man, it’s just crazy to see two of them grow up at the same time like this because you start to see the little personality differences, I’m sure you saw this with your kids. You think in your head, they’re twins, they’re going to be pretty much the same for a while. No.

Mine are fraternal pretty sure. It’s one of those you can’t ever, like unless you do the DNA thing, I guess you can’t ever know for sure. They actually look more alike now than they did when they were born. Quinn has her own personality, she always looks a little bit doubtful like she’s second guessing your parenting decisions and Hannah laughs at everything. That girl wakes up in the morning with a big smile on her face like, oh my gosh guys you’re killing it. You guys are so funny. We’re like, Quinn what’s wrong with your sister, why is she laughing at us? You can tell right away. If I couldn’t see anything in the middle of the night, I could just kind of see who is smiling, that’s how I know which baby it is.

Joe Rawlinson: Yeah, that’s fun. The fun thing about being a dad of twins is you notice those personality traits and quirks. Our girls are identical and like you’re describing your girls look very similar. We can tell right away as soon as they move, make a motion, or make a sound you’re like I know who you are. Everyone else is like, I can’t tell them apart, who’s who?

Andy Shaw: To be fair and I’m sure you’ve had this, I did have a day not that long ago maybe a couple of weeks ago, where for a half of a day I had them mixed up. I was putting them down for a nap, I think it was a nap and I for whatever reason put them in the opposite cribs than I usually put them in. When one started waking up, I picked her up but my son was doing something so I didn’t really look at her face. I just picked her up and was holding her walking around my house with my son. Then I put her in a carrier and I was changing a diaper or something like that and I noticed she had a rash. I was like, oh that’s strange, my other daughter had a rash why does she have a rash all of a sudden? I’m texting my wife about it. She gets home, “It looks like Hannah has a rash now.” She’s like, “Babe that’s Quinn.” For half a day, I’ve been calling my daughter the wrong name. I thought well, that’s probably not the last time that’s going to happen.

Joe Rawlinson: Well, the good news is, they’re too young to remember that.

Andy Shaw: See, thanks. That’s good. I have not damaged them permanently. That’s good to know.

Joe Rawlinson: My girls are seven years old now and I still mix up names when I see them across the room, their back is to me, it just goes on and on.

Andy Shaw: Let me ask you this, since you’ve got older girls, I hear from people all the time, unsolicited because you know parenting advice is all unsolicited. They’re like, oh man you better watch out because once your girls hit, fill in the blank age, you’re screwed. Once they hit three, they’re going to start twisting your words. Once they hit seven, they’re going to start scheming. Once they hit 14, you’re going to want to leave the house and never come back. Why are you telling me this? This is not making me feel good. I don’t know, I am kind of in for it as they get a little bit older?

Joe Rawlinson: I don’t know if there are certain milestones at certain ages when they reach but when I look at them compared to their brothers, there’s a lot more drama and a lot more … Yeah, drama is probably a good word. A lot more emotions and you mentioned scheming. They will scheme but they also play together very well.

Andy Shaw: They probably don’t throw things like their brothers do because my son is like a hurricane but that seems to be like a boy thing.

Joe Rawlinson: It is. The stereotypical boys are rougher and more physical and the girls are less so. It’s true in our case, anyway.

Andy Shaw: I saw my son try to ride our cockapoo tonight. I’m like, “Buddy, that is not a horse. You cannot ride our cockapoo.” He was like baffled, just baffled as why this was a terrible idea. I know this because he goes, “Why?” “What do you want me to tell you, this doesn’t even make sense, this is a small dog.” But toddlers, so.

Joe Rawlinson: Logic doesn’t work with kids. We haven’t reached that age yet where rational thought takes over.

Andy Shaw: Please let me know. I’d like to find out because it’s not happened yet.

Joe Rawlinson: Even when you think you got it down, they go and do something just completely crazy and you’re like, you can’t even ask the question why because they can’t explain why they did it, they just did it.

Andy Shaw: I guess that’s the nice thing about being a dad blogger because at least I think, this will be something good to write about. The stranger it gets, that’s good for the website.

Joe Rawlinson: That’s right. Have you been able to travel yet with your twins or it’s just at home with him.

Andy Shaw: We’re starting to kind of venture out. For a while, we were kind of terrified to go anywhere, especially with the whole hospital ordeal like we just didn’t want to take Quinn anywhere unless it was in a bubble. We have since taken them to Ocean City, New Jersey. That’s kind of our summer spot. We took them out for a week there. We had the double stroller, I’ve got the inline one, actually the one you recommended, it actually worked out really great. Although it’s funny when you take twins out like that, it’s like a magnet. People come from all around to come see them like they’re a side show or something.

Joe Rawlinson: That’s right.

Andy Shaw: You’ve seen the same thing happen. We’ve taken them out and they’re pretty good in the car. I think that’s kind of the barometer if you’re thinking should I take a trip with my kids? If they scream all the time going to the grocery store, odds are going to the beach is probably not a great idea. But we haven’t had that issue. They are pretty pleasant with all that. We took a gamble and figured we could make it the three hours to the beach and we did. It was great. I wish we could do it more often, to be honest.

Joe Rawlinson: Yeah, we found it was kind of contrary to what we were expecting. The younger they were, the easier they were to travel because you can kind of just put them somewhere or restrain them in their device of choice, the carrier or the stroller or the car seat. When they get older and more mobile like your son, that’s when things get kind of crazy town when you’re traveling.

Andy Shaw: That’s exactly it and that’s kind of backward what you think because he can feed himself. He can tell me if he needs something. He can tell me if he needs to go potty. You’d think that would make it easier, no. If there was a traveling thing, it’s easier to take the girls because once they’re fed and they’re changed, they’re good to go. My son will decide that he needs to run across the street or find a hose or take sand and shove it down his pants or something. There’s always some emergency situation that’s about to happen.

Joe Rawlinson: You on your twin journey so far, you’ve had some highs and some lows. How have you been able to maintain your relationship with your spouse, with your wife through all of this?

Andy Shaw: That’s actually a really good question. Part of it is we just in terms of our marriage, we were best friends going into it. We became best friends and then fell in love and then it kind of worked out wonderfully that way. I think just the fact that we had such a good foundation it means that when you are up for the 15th night in a row on two hours of sleep a night, which is basically what happened, even if I get cranky or even if she gets stressed about it, we know that we’re not mad at each other, it’s the situation. That can get you through a lot. I’m sure you’d agree.

Just knowing that we’re good, we’re not mad at each other or we’re not being mean to each other, it never gets to that level. In the morning, we can just kind of wipe it clean because we know we’re just tired and exhausted. Also looking at the long term, that this is not a forever thing. This crazy situation of three kids under three years old and usually when I tell people I have three kids under three years old the response is, oh are you okay? Whenever I think of that that at some point we’ll get out of the diapers and they’ll be able to feed themselves and all that stuff. Since that’s all the kids we’re going to have too, we can get through this part and focus on the long term. That helps out a lot.

We also try to do little things for each other whenever we can like little sweet things. One thing we haven’t been able to do a lot is try to fit in a date. We’ve had maybe one or two it feels like since the seven months that the girls have been born. To be fair with all the hospital stuff and everything, that’s not realistic bu we’re going to try to fit that in more and more as time goes on.

Joe Rawlinson: Great perspective. It’s like, no matter what happens you’ve both gone through this physical, mental, emotional press. It’s not personal the way you interact with each other when you’re sleep deprived, it’s just the reality of the situation. To acknowledge that is a very powerful thing.

Andy Shaw: I think it helps even if you have a bad day to just acknowledge it and don’t turn little things into big things. If you’re just having a bad day because you’re exhausted or because you’re financially stressed because having twins can make you financially stressed, something like that. Just acknowledge it, just say I’m having a bad day so that if you say something you kind of regret, they know where you’re coming from. But in general, just not taking things personally helps out a lot and also just having a sense of humor about it. Sometimes things get crazy around here and it seems like every kid is crying at once. We’ve had a couple of times where 4:00 in the morning all three of them start crying at the same time. We just start laughing because it’s like, what is our life right now? But then you get though it and then the next day happens and they’re all smiling and they’re having a good time, my son tells me he loves me, and our girls are kind of giggling and you know, it’s going to be okay. I get to be married to my best friend through all of that so how great is that?

Joe Rawlinson: It’s great to be a dad, absolutely.

Andy Shaw: Yes, it is.

Joe Rawlinson: Those little moments are what makes it all worth it, makes it manageable when it’s in the middle of the night and all the kids are crying. You’re right.

Andy Shaw: It does happen.

Joe Rawlinson: It does happen. Andy, you’ve got a great project going on with Instafather. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Andy Shaw: Yeah, I’m really excited about that. I thought it would be a great idea when I was about to have twins to start a website. I was like, this seems like something I should pile on but honestly, it’s been part therapeutic for me to be able to write about it and part just kind of doing what I love to do anyway, which is write. Like I said before, I’m kind of a writer by trade. Instafather.com is a site for new dad, expectant dads, and I have a lot of dads who have kids for several years elect to read it almost to kind of reminisce.

I go over things you can expect as a new dad. This week I’m writing about who is going to stay home? Are you going to both work? Are you going have one of you quit? With the things that go into that. I don’t do a lot of list noting so it’s not like I’m offering tons of, hey here’s the six things you need to do to change diapers. More, I try to talk about the emotional side of it. It might be a good idea as a dad to volunteer to be the diaper guy. If there are diapers to be changed, you do the diapers because that’s a great thing for dad to do because you can’t nurse. That’s a physical thing you can’t do, even though you can do bottles, by doing the diaper thing too, it helps to kind of even the scales a little bit. I talk about that side of things both from my own experience and I interview dads, I do a lot of research. I’m not just trying to give random advice. I’ve had a lot of fun with it. The funny thing is, I think my biggest readers are moms. I have moms all the time who read the site and say, I’ve got to show this to my husband. I’m like, okay I’ll take it. That works for me.

Joe Rawlinson: I’ve read the articles on your site too. It is a great perspective to have for fathers. Very tangible, tactical advice and focusing on the role that we have as fathers is very important so thank you for running that one for us. If listeners want to get a hold of you, they can go to instafather.com. Any social medial channels they can reach you?

Andy Shaw: Yeah, it’s a great thing if you do Instagram or Twitter, it’s instafatherandy. You can find me on Facebook, it’s just /instafather. Basically, if you type in instafather, you should be able to find it. If you go on the site, I do have a bunch of resources and guides if you’re a new dad and you’re like, what the heck am I supposed to do, you can go through that. I really encourage you, just go through past blog posts and I almost guarantee you there’s going to be something that really hits the situation you’re in right now. I’d love to connect with you guys too and I’m looking forward to meeting some of your readers.

Joe Rawlinson: Well, thanks again Andy for being on the show.

Andy Shaw: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Joe Rawlinson: All right. Well, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Andy. I know I sure did. All the links and sites that are mentioned are on the podcast show notes over at twindadpodcast.com. Don’t forget that if you want a free audio book version of my Dad’s Guide to Twins book, visit freetwinbook.com. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time on the podcast.

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Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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