Colic Twins, Nannies, and Twin Pregnancy Stress with Tim Blaisdell – Podcast 125

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - October 22, 2020

podcast125

Episode 125 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

We continue our father of twins interview series with Tim Blaisdell, fellow father of identical twin girls.

Listen as we explore his twin journey, including:

  • Dealing with bad news early on in the twin pregnancy
  • Stress of dealing with a mo/mo twin pregnancy
  • When Mom doesn’t make it all the way to a scheduled c-section
  • Emotions of when one baby is whisked away to NICU at birth
  • Leaving one baby at the hospital when other goes home
  • Handling logistics of one twin in NICU and other home
  • Hidden advantage of bringing just one twin home.
  • When developmental delays require physical therapy
  • Twins with colic for 3 months
  • Secret to getting twins into a sleep routine – “Twelve Hours in Twelve Weeks”
  • Using white noise to help babies sleep
  • How they found a nanny for their twins (and why it was worth it)
  • Deciding when to move on from a nanny

Contact Tim via email or on twitter: @TimBlaze

Transcript

Hey everybody and welcome to the 125th 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 about having and raising twins, along with the show notes for this episode and all previous podcast episodes. Today’s show is brought to you by my first book for fathers of twins, Dad’s Guide to Twins. You can get a free audiobook version of that book at freetwinbook.com. Once again, that’s freetwinbook.com. Now today we are continuing our father of twins interview series with fellow father of twins, Tim Blaisdell. Lets jump right in to that interview.

Today I’d like to welcome to the show Tim Blaisdell, fellow father of twin girls. Welcome to the show Tim.

Tim:
Thank you very much.

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Joe:
So Tim, could you give listeners just a brief snapshot of your family, right now, then we can kind of step back and go through your twin journey.

Tim:
Just my wife and I and right now we have 3 year old identical twin girls

Joe:
So tell us about when you found out that you were having your twins. What was that experience like?

(RELATED: Still expecting twins? Will you be having two boys, two girls, or boy/girl twins? Answer these quick questions to see what several old wives’ tales claim you’ll be having….)

Tim:
Oh, we went in the initial the first sonogram just expecting to hear the heart beat, and you know just thought it was just going to be a normal visit, normal as it can be anyway for new parents and we, when the, she was taking the sonogram, when the, the tech was taking the sonogram we heard the heartbeat and it was a very special moment and then she all of a sudden said there’s another one. And we both kind of looked at each other and we asked her to repeat it, and she said there’s another one. And at that point, like the world stopped and so but at that time they couldn’t actually find the heart beat to that one, so it was a little concerning and then after that we were rushed to the, the doctors office, so we went into the doctors office and we decided just because there were you know twins or you know or all new twin parents or whatever are treated this was but they were actually concerned because they couldn’t find a membrane in between the two embryos, meaning that they would be mono-mono twins

And mono-mono twins it’s like I said, there is no membrane in between it so usually there is a division between, even though they’re identical and they came from the same egg there’s a protective membrane that forms between the two to keep them separated for the pregnancy. And they couldn’t find the membrane so there was a risk of having, you know, having the umbilical cord being wrapped around each other and so my wife would have to been on bed rest for at like 20 weeks or something or even hospitalized so that was really stressful and the doctor went over all the options and he even went as far as saying that you know some parents choose to terminate the pregnancy if its gonna to be mono-mono and also unfortunately it was during the holiday season so and our next appointment wasn’t even until the new year so we had to go through the holiday season wondering about this like it was it was really really hard for us

Joe:
How, how many weeks or how many visits did you have to go until you got some more clarity into that?

Tim:
Well, so we went to another we actually we did go to one I think as a late December, that was December 8th I think or early December and then we went to another one at the same place and they still couldn’t find the membrane. So this point we were thinking that its mono-mono twins. And then January 8th, we actually remember the date, we went to a specialist and they had more high tech equipment and as soon as she put the wand on on my wife’s belly they instantly saw the membrane and it was completely that you know its gonna be a run of the mill identical twin pregnancy. So we were very relieved about that so.

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Joe:
Oh I can imagine. We had we had something like that but not as long to wait I guess the first ultrasound we had wasn’t really clear if there was a membrane or not

Tim:
Yeah

Joe:
But then the next visit we had they were able to see it, so I had some of those same feelings you were having, you know, its like kind of worst case scenario

Tim:
Yeah we were online looking at support groups and everything so we were really doing a lot of research in order to prepare ourselves but luckily it turned out for the best.

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

Joe:
So after after those the follow up visit and you saw the membrane, how did the rest of the pregnancy go for babies?

Tim:
Ah, pretty well. You know is it everything went healthy everything went well and there were really no no concerns. Very healthy pregnancy. Very stressful of course. Checking, I remember especially checking when they were checking all the organs and you know they were going through one, it was like ok there’s the liver and lungs and whatever and then I was relieved and then I remembered now we have to check another one.

Joe:
Right.

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Tim:
So so that was it was but everything they were, they were very healthy, it was a very healthy pregnancy.

Joe:
That’s good. Yeah I remember the ultra sounds were there was it was a source of stress and like joy and happiness at the same time, its like.

Tim:
Yeah.

Joe:
You’re excited to see the babies and at the same time you’re like freaking out that something bad some bad news is gonna come.

Tim:
Yeah, exactly. We were waiting for it and just very stressful.

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

Joe:
How far along the pregnancy when the babies were dilevered and how did that delivery go?

Tim:
It was so we went in for a regular check up. We had a scheduled C-section, I think it was July 21st. And so we just went in for just a normal visit, normal check up and apparently my wife was having contractions so they it was basically said they’re going to keep monitoring it they were trying to get the, try to I don’t know, what was it, think trying to get the contractions down or something and it just they didn’t stop so the doctor said ok we’re gonna, we’re gonna have a birthday today and I just I just remember like completely like freaking out on the inside like when we were waiting I was I was running around finding a doctor and clarifying with her, so this is it this is it. And she was like yes, yep they’re gonna be delivered today. So so they just went in the C-section and so I was for like 10 and so so I was there of course when during the C-section which was quite an experience and one of them, my second baby baby B Caroline she was having breathing problems and they had to rush her to the NICU so that was terrifying but but Natalie our baby A was you know we we got to, I got to hold her for a little bit but yeah so Caroline stayed in the NICU for just it was like 8 days or so.

Joe:
So you didn’t even get to see really see or hold Caroline before she got wisked away to the NICU?

Tim:
No no unfortunately not. We got to take a quick picture, but that that’s about it. She had already had the mask on and they were trying to I just remember seeing her chest just like cave in every time she tried to struggle for a breath. It was it was really hard. Went to recovery and they they finished up with with Alison so I got to spend time with Natalie just holding her it was you know a little moment with with Natalie you know of course I was always thinking about my other one Caroline in the NICU. So but but yeah it it was it was still very special time just with Natalie.

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Joe:
So you ended up having a situation where you came home, mom came home, one baby came home and the other girl was still in the hospital. How did you, How did you manage the logistics of that and some of the emotional burden that that had?

Tim:
Of course it was it was very hard just bringing one back but it almost kind of kind of eased us into it a little bit, so we so we had some practice with with just just the one. But we, we would have my my mother in law watch Natalie or actually other people would volunteer and we would have like friends or whatever watch Natalie while we went to the the hospital and visit Caroline in the NICU. That we only had to do that for 3 days before we had brought Caroline home so. But we, but we went we brough Natalie with us when we went to pick her up and everything so. It was still special we brought them both back home you know in in one car with Caroline had her sister with her.

Joe:
Did you, did the girls have any after effects of that like any developmental delays or anything of that nature?

Tim:
Not not really. They didn’t really hit their motor skills milestones so we were a little worried about that. They had to go to physical therapy and then that went into occupational therapy but as far as I can tell now, that they’re they’re fine. A little behind with speaking, but they’re really, just everyday they’re saying something new, and it’s just really fun to see that. But but yeah we were really worried about them even like rolling over they weren’t rolling over. That was really stressful and then crawling they weren’t crawling very well for a while and then walking so they were just late for everything. But and it’s hard to compare your yours to others other children especially single kid babies.

Joe:
So how early did physical therapy start with them?

Tim:
I think they started at around 8 months old. They went started going to physical therapy. Yeah so I just remember they had to wear these special shorts. They like picture biking shorts that were like sewn like together so like it like kept their their thighs together or something. And you had to do these special exercises so and then they were with physical therapy for probably like 6 months or so and then then it went to the occupational therapy. So and we did that for maybe like 9 months or so.

Joe:
What were some of the challenges you had with with your very young twins and how did you overcome some of those?

Tim:
Just challenges of any new parent really but just with 2. The feeding, we we tried to do the breast feeding. We just ended up pumping so at least at that point I could help as well. So we were both doing the the night time feedings. At first it was both of us then we tried just just one of us doing it but that didn’t last long so then we just went back to both of us doing it. And the the sleeping was pretty they first slept with us in the Rock n Plays in the room for a bit and then we slowly put them into their own room then we had them in a den for a while right next to the room our our bedroom. Then we put them into their into their bedroom they they slept together, still separately but the in the same room. But at I think there was like first birth first month birthday they started to show signs of colic. So both of them had colic at the same time for about 3 months. And that was awful. And I still remember when people would ask I returned to work, and people said that how are how are the babies or you know how is it with the with the twins and I was like there’s lots of tears and we’re crying and you know and the babies are crying too. So so we were it was like everyday it was just I would I would go home, it was just just constant crying. And it was just really really bad for a while. But you know you just take it one day at a time and you have to keep in mind that its not permanent and this is going to get better and that’s exactly what it what happened and just one day it just stopped. I mean, it kind of faded out. We got we got the baby pepcid and for acid reflux and that helped a lot. I think that’s when they first started sleeping for, like that night that we gave them the medication it was like 5 hours in a row which was awesome.

Joe:
Oh yeah.

Tim:
That time. And then Allison was part of this mother of twins group and just randomly somebody called her just to check in. And she gave this advice, she said have the girls go on a schedule. So 30 90 minutes up, 90 minutes napping, 90 minutes up and 90 minutes napping. And just do that. And that worked. Like it takes I think we read it takes 3 days to make a habit and we just did that and it was it was it was a game changer and she also told us to read this book called 12 Hours in 12 Weeks. And we both read the book and it worked it worked really well. So then we started sleeping through the night and it was great. So I highly any time I even single kid parents twin parents whatever, 12 Hours in 12 Weeks. It works like a charm.

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Joe:
That’s great. It is so helpful to have a routine and a predictable schedule

Tim:
Yeah.

Joe:
And it syncs the babies up so they’re both on the same schedule and makes makes life so much easier

Tim:
I do I do remember one thing I was really stressed about was I read that white noise can help but then I was also worried about having the white noise being too loud in the room with them and I even had like an audiologist friend I asked about decibels I even went out to Radio Shack and I got a decibel meter to make sure that I wasn’t like giving the children hearing damage. So we had white noise when they were sleeping and there’s like there are products that you can buy that actually shush the babies like shushers I think they are called. I didn’t use that but I just had like an app on a old I had a couple old smartphones lying around so I just (inaudible 15:16) still like you know connect to WiFi and everything and download apps so I just I just used that and I connected it to an old radio and I had that and that worked pretty well.

Joe:
Did have anybody stay with you to help with the babies after you brought them home?

Tim:
My mother in law helped a lot. So after Allison went back to work part time she she would watch the girls and she she really helped tremendously. So I’m not I’m not sure what we would have done without her. This child care for for infants especially twin infants in the I live in the DC area. It’s astronomically high, so we were very lucky to have to have somebody to be near family to help out and she still helps out to this day with you know bringing them to school or just watching them a day or two like even if we’re we go out like we recently went to a wedding so she she watched them. And my mother actually came down from New England to watch them so it was great. So we we do we do have a lot of support.

Joe:
Ya’ll had a nanny for a little bit as well right?

Tim:
We had a nanny and that was we really hit the jackpot with her. She the process was stressful. We had a lot of weird interviews very very strange people out there. We went on Care.com. We just filled out a profile and she wasn’t even at the top of the list, she was actually kind of like down far on the list probably like 10th or 8th or something on the list. But we noticed that she was from Argentina and we have my brother in law my wife’s sister’s husband is from Argentina so we just said oh that’s interesting so lets lets check her out and she we we she couldn’t have been a better nanny. She was awesome. And so she’s still in our lives now. She’s she actually lives about a 2 minute drive from from us so the girls are actually going to be flower girls in at her wedding. We decided on a nanny because like I said the day care is just so ridiculously expensive that a nanny was just a couple hundred dollars more but then you get the the convenience of the nanny coming to your house and you don’t have to take them anywhere. You don’t have to prepare them in the morning and pick them up or any of those logistics. The nanny just comes to your house and and you go to work. And it worked out really well.

Joe:
So when you when you first hired the nanny, did you know how long you would have her for and how did that decision happen when it was time to move on to different arrangements?

Tim:
We didn’t really have a idea. I knew that I would constantly kind of reevaluate the cost benefit of it, but as time went on she became part of our family. She just she wasn’t she was an employee but she wasn’t I didn’t we didn’t view her as that. She she was part of the family and I just looked at the finances one day and and was like we can’t do this for much longer. And so we decided to look at other options and we ended up picking a Montessori school in the area and which rolls over to a day care in the afternoons so that’s it works out really well. The nanny she would she would bring them to her nanny friends places so like they would have play dates and everything but we’re noticing that in the Montessori interacting with a whole bunch of kids at one point at one time that their social skills are actually improving a lot. So they are not as timid when other kids come around. Because like when we were on a playground and other kids come running onto the playground they just kind of freeze and just like look at them. And now they’re more interactive and they play with other kids. It’s great.

Joe: You’ve had some big stressors during pregnancy and afterwards and some challenges, how’ve you been able to maintain your relationship with your spouse through all of those things?

Tim:
It’s really hard. You just have to remember that you know you’re a team and you’re in this together and it’s just really stressful. It’s it’s hard to keep it like the child care 50 50 because sometimes especially when they get older they become clingy to one parent or the other and it’s it’s just like you’re trying to help out but the girls are just kind of like screaming at like sometimes they scream at me to go away or or they just or they just want mommy or sometimes they just want daddy you know its just just really hard and and at that point you just kind of feel helpless so when she’s dealing with the girls I try to do other things that help out like I prep bottles or I clean the house or I do something so its maybe its not 50 50 with child care but we try to keep it 50 50 as far as like the household duties. You got to keep things moving outside of child care too. So so that’s that’s that’s been a stressor and you just have to communicate well. You have to be like ok so what’s so I’ve kind of started to in the beginning of the day to say ok what’s on the agenda what do we have to do because there is a lot of logistics. You cant just with 4 kids just like she’s gonna go here I’m gonna go there. We have to you know figure out who’s staying with the girls and whatever so. It just it just communication is key and not to take anything personal. If you know if you feel like somebody is being short with one person it’s it’s just a lot a lot of patience so a lot of communication and just making sure that you guys are on the same page and you’re on the same team.

Joe: That’s great advice. On the same team. And communication don’t take it personally you are kind of on on this journey together. Its great. So Tim as we wrap up today if listeners want to connect with you what’s the best way to get in touch?

Tim:
Email. Timothy.Blaisdell T I M O T H Y . B L A I S D E L L @ gmail.com and at Twitter I guess its Tim Blaze B L A Z E

Joe:
Wonderful. And I’ll link up to those in the show notes. Thank you so much Tim for joining us today. I appreciate you sharing your story

Tim:
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Joe:
Well I hope you enjoyed that interview with Tim. I saw a lot of similarities between Tim and myself on our twin journeys. Including the fact that we have identical twin girls that were almost misdiagnosed or during the pregnancy of being momo twins. If you want to get a hold of Tim those links that he mentioned are in the show at twin.podcast.com. And once again this show today was brought to you by my first book for fathers of twins, The Dad’s Guide to Twins. You can get a free audio book version of Dad’s Guide to Twins by visiting freetwinbook.com. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.

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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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