Episode 149 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
We continue our father of twins interview series with Jason Corns, father of identical twin girls.
Listen as we explore his twin journey, including:
- Breaking news of twins to a toddler son
- Helping make sure son gets enough attention even after twins
- When the twins share a placenta and have associated complications
- Roller coaster of emotions with each doctor’s visit
- When one twin’s growth is lagging the other (Intrauterine growth restriction)
- One of the twins got down to 7% weight forces early delivery
- Handling a three year old when mom goes into labor
- Arriving just in time for the delivery
- NICU stays of 24 and 28 days
- Going home from the hospital without your infant twins
- Key NICU milestones
- Introducing big brother to the twins in the NICU
- Bringing one twin home before the other
- How one twin interacts and distracts the other
- Tricks to telling identical twins apart
- How life revolves around the twins’ schedule
Reach out to Jason, email him here.
Joe: Hello everybody, and welcome to the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast, Episode 149. This is Joe Rawlinson, I’m glad you can join me today. As always, you can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com, where you’ll find the transcript, and show notes for this episode, and all previous podcast episodes. Once again, that’s twindadpodcast.com.
Today’s show is brought to you by twintshirtcompany.com, where you’ll find dozens of T-shirts designed specifically for fathers of twins, like yourselves, mothers of twins, and grandparents of twins. Check out those shirts today at twintshirtcompany.com.
Today we are continuing our Father of Twins Interview Series with fellow father of twins, Jason Corns. Listen in as he shares his story of how they handled twins arriving earlier than expected, how they helped their toddler son adjust to life, and prepare for life with twins, and much more. Let’s jump right into that interview.
Today I’d like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins, Jason Corns. Welcome to the show, Jason.
Jason: Thank you for having me.
Joe: Jason, how old are your twins right now, and what’s the best part of this stage of your twin journey?
Jason: My twins are three months right now, and I’d say the best part right now is they’re on the same schedule. They eat at the same time, they sleep at the same time, so we’re not fighting one another to get one done, and the other one’s crying, or nothing.
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Joe: Yeah, when you get them in sync, that’s like magic, right? Everything starts to fall into place.
Jason: Oh yeah.
Joe: It’s a huge relief.
Jason: When there’s only one parent around, and they’re both screaming, it’s one of those you’ve got to be … you need three or four hands.
Joe: Absolutely. Let’s rewind a little bit, back to when you found out that you were having twins. What was your family situation like?
Jason: Our family knew that we were pregnant, and then we also have a three-year-old right now, so we went for our ultrasound, and that’s when we found out we were having twins, at our nine-week ultrasound. It was just shocking. It was shocking for us, and shocking for our parents, and relatives, and everybody.
Joe: Yeah, it was shocking for us as well. We had no family history of twins, and it was the last thing on our minds that we were expecting to have more than one in that pregnancy. You’ve got twin girls, right?
Jason: Yes, identical girls.
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
Joe: We have identical girls as well, and we found out, they don’t need family history to have twins. Identical twins are random surprises that we get. I’m sure you felt some of that shock as well. What were some of your biggest concerns that you had during the twin pregnancy?
Jason: During the whole twin pregnancy, I don’t think we had any concerns. It was just once we found out some more information about our twins, and there were some other complications and stuff, that’s when we started to worry.
Joe: How did you go about preparing your son, who I guess at the time was two, to get ready for your new babies?
Jason: We just kind of told him that he’s going to be having baby brothers, or baby sister at the time because we didn’t really know we were having twins, but he was excited. He loves kids, and he loves them now. He shows the affection all the time for him, but he’s adjusting. He’s a three-year-old to start, and then he’s not getting as much attention as he used to.
Joe: Have you done anything in particular to help make sure that he gets some more attention that he might need?
Jason: Oh yeah. My parents, and her parents are around where we live, and they’ll take the girls once in a while, and my wife, my son, and I will go to a baseball game, or we went to the fair recently and stuff. We set time aside for him.
Joe: When we had our twins, we had two very young boys, age three and under, very similar to you. It’s interesting to watch their interactions with the twins. One of our boys showed affection, like you’re describing your son, and one of them was kind of standoffish in the beginning with his little sisters. You mentioned as the pregnancy went on, you had a few things pop up that were of concern. Tell us about what happened there.
Jason: We found out that they’re mono/di twins, and they were sharing the same placenta. Then we, the wife and I, kind of did our own research, and we came across all the complications that can happen in a Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. That started worrying us. We were sent to a high-risk doctor at the time.
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They have to tell you information because they have to tell you, not necessarily that that’s what’s going on with you, so my wife and I would leave every appointment not knowing if that was a good one, or a bad one. We would just have to wait until the next appointment. It was just every appointment was a flip of a coin, you know? We’d go to one appointment with our heads in the air, can’t wait to meet these little girls.
Then we’ll get some news, and the next appointment we’re walking in with our heads down hoping that we get some good news. We never knew what kind of appointment we were going to have.
Joe: Yeah, that’s so rough. We had the same thing. We had mo/di twins, and you’re right. You’re excited for a doctor’s appointment because you’re going to get an update on their progress, and hopefully, it’s good news. Maybe you’re getting an ultrasound, but then you’re right, the doctor just tells you everything, all the possibilities, and it can be overwhelming. Did you have some medical issues pop up with your twins during the pregnancy?
Jason: Yeah, we had Baby A, she was behind Baby B by quite a bit, but they ruled out Twin-to-Twin Transfusion after, I believe it was 25 weeks, or something like that, but she still had intrauterine growth restriction, and they were watching her progress. That was when the high-risk doctor moved us to ultrasound every week, and then we were getting two ultrasounds a week just to keep an eye on Baby A.
Every appointment or so, she was losing a little, and losing a little. They were just keeping a pretty good eye on her. Then that’s pretty much what sent my wife into labor there is she had just got to the point, she got down to seven percentile, so her doctor set up her scheduled C-Section, but she ended up going into labor sooner than that, so everything was a big hassle then.
Joe: How far along in the pregnancy was that?
Jason: 34 weeks.
Joe: The babies came before the scheduled C-Section?
Jason: Yes, they set up her scheduled C-Section, and then we went to an appointment before that, and they told her a week prior, so they moved it up a week. Then they had everything set up, and then she went into labor two days before her C-Section.
Joe: What did you do with your son when your wife went into labor?
Jason: I was at work, and my wife was home with my son, and she drove herself to the hospital in labor. Her mom left work early, and met my wife at the hospital front door, and they just exchanged my son right there. My wife went and checked herself in, and I was headed there from work.
Joe: You were able to be there for her at the birth. You were able to make it from work in time?
Jason: Barely, yeah. I walked in, they threw scrubs at me, and pointed me towards the ER.
Joe: Had your first son been born VIA C-Section?
Jason: No, he was natural.
Joe: How was your experience different this time around?
Jason: Mainly nervous for her. Neither one of us knew what to expect. You only hear the stories, and read the articles of what happens, but I stayed strong for her. I couldn’t go in the room while they were giving her the spinal tap, so that was just nerve-wracking for me, pacing in the hallway until they told me I could go back there. I seen the relief on her face when I walked back in that room. It just put me at ease.
It was just waiting for the process to take place. They said, “Happy Birthday to my Baby A, Emma, and then it was just a relief that the girls are finally here. We head them crying. We knew everything was okay.
Joe: Yeah, that’s a great feeling when you see them and you hear them, and you know it’s going to be okay. Were you able to hold them right away?
Jason: No, because they went right on oxygen right away. They were trying to clean out their lungs and everything. We could go look at them, but we weren’t allowed to touch them right away. They cleaned them up in the operating room. I was able to go over there, and take a couple pictures, and they took them over to the NICU right away.
Joe: How long were they in the NICU before they were able to come home?
Jason: Baby B was in the NICU for 24 days, and Baby A was in there for 28 days.
Joe: Tell us about the experience when your wife’s recovered from the C-Section, she’s ready to be discharged from the hospital, and you have to go home without your babies. Tell us about what you were thinking and feeling at that moment.
Jason: That was terrible. I mean we knew they were in good hands, and they were in the best place they could be in the NICU, but we talk about it to this day. That walk out of the hospital room to our car when we were discharged, that was the worst walk. Then every time we would go visit them in the NICU, and we would leave the NICU, and walk down those hallways, and down the elevators without our babies, that was horrible. It kind of takes away from the bringing the new baby home experience, you know?
Joe: How did you work your schedule around visiting them in the NICU?
Jason: My wife’s a stay-at-home mom, and I would leave extra early for work, and stop in there and drop off the breast milk because she was pumping. I’d visit with the girls for a little bit, then I would go to work. Her and my son would come up mid-day, then I would stop on the way home from work. You know, all of us would go back in the evening, or she would go back. We were there three or four times a day.
Joe: How much time were you able to take off of work?
Jason: I was able to take a … I had a week off. I had the weekend, and I took a couple vacation days. It was one of those, my wife was home, and everything was okay, and without the girls at home with us, there was kind of no big reason for me to be sitting at home.
Joe: What were some of the milestones that you were looking for with your twins in the NICU?
Jason: Just every day we went in there, and we got the positive news. There was a couple times we went in there, they took them off oxygen, then we’d go in there the next day, and they’d be back on it, or the bilirubin light, we would go in there, and everything was great, their numbers looked great, then the next visit, they’d be back under the bilirubin light. It was just great to see when they were finally off of all that stuff, and they were just on their own. Mainly they just had to gain some weight to get out of there, eat on their own and everything.
Joe: What was the experience like for your son. What did he think of seeing his little sisters in the hospital hooked up to machines, and things like that?
Jason: He had a lot of questions, naturally. We just had to tell him that everything’s okay. The NICU nurses were great. They let them hold his hand, and he was able to sit in a chair next to them, and stuff like that. They were pretty good with them. He always asked when they were able to come home because he knew we had all their toys, and their cribs, and everything ready at home. They just weren’t there yet. He adapted really well.
Joe: You said there was like four or five days between the two of them coming home. How was that experience, bringing one of the babies home?
Jason: It’s not the same. You need them both there. Having one kind of gave us a little warm up for the night time feedings, and all the diaper changes, and everything, kind of got her warmed up again for when the other one came home.
Joe: Once they were both home with you, all together, what’s something that kind of surprised you the most about having twins in the home?
Jason: My girls definitely had twin sense. One will be completely asleep, and if one starts fussing and crying, the other one will wake right up, and start crying along with her. It’s kind of funny how they interact with each other.
Joe: Are they in the same room with you, or are they in their nursery?
Jason: They’re in our room right now, but they sleep in their bassinets.
Joe: You mentioned that your girls are identical. How are you able to tell them apart?
Jason: Right now, Baby A, or Emma, she’s still a couple pounds smaller, so visually just by their size you could tell them apart, but other than that, they are identical in the face and everything. Their smiles, their eyes, everything. Our family members can’t tell them apart until they stare at them for a while, but my wife and I go right up to them.
Joe: That’ll be fun as they get older. Our girls have been very similar. They’re very identical. One was a little size difference, just like yours are. One was a little bit bigger than the other one, and it still fools people today, and our girls are nine. We used to dress them in different colors to help family members tell them apart, but eventually they have a preference, they have an opinion on what they wear. The systems that we devise as parents go out the window.
Today, one of them has pierced ears, and one of them does not, and that was their choice, so that’s kind of the permanent distinguishing factor right now. Are your girls being breast fed, or bottle fed?
Jason: They’re on formula right now. They were being … My wife was pumping, and they were getting the breast milk, but with the three kids at home, and the whole hassle, she kind of had to give that up. Then the pediatrician put them on a high-calorie formula, tried to get their weight picked up a little bit.
Joe: Have there been any milestones since you’ve brought the girls home that have made your life a little easier on a day-to-day basis?
Jason: Yeah, they’re entertaining themselves now. You know, you don’t have to keep a close eye on them, and entertain them. When they wake up from their naps or something like that, they’ll stare at the ceiling fan, or they’ll start cooing, chewing on their fingers or something. You don’t have to constantly worry about what they’re doing, or listen to them cry all the time now.
Joe: Has there been any particular baby gear that you have used that’s really made things easier for taking care of the kids?
Jason: We do have a double stroller, and that makes our shopping trips, and everything nice because you can’t fit the two car seats in a shopping cart, but it’s pretty much a two-parent job now to go to the grocery store with all the kids. We just purchased the carriers where you strap them to your chest, and we haven’t had the opportunity to use them yet, so I’m curious to see how that works out.
Joe: What kind of carrier did you get?
Jason: Infantino. We have two of them, so there will be one of them in the front of each of us.
Joe: We had something similar with a front carrier. My wife would wear one, and I would wear the other. Now that your girls are three months old, walk us through a typical day in the life of your schedule. What’s your schedule like from when they get up to when they go to sleep?
Jason: Well, the last feeding’s usually around 8:00. They’ll probably wake up around 3:00. We’ll do our feeding, and from there I’ll just get ready and go to work. Wife, bless her heart, is home with all three kids until I get home from work, or she’s there for about 10 hours with them all. I get home, and we’ve got another feeding to do. By then, wife, and I, and my son will eat dinner.
That pretty much revolves around their schedule. If they’re crabby, and they’re crying, and it’s kind of hard to calm them down or something, that means we don’t go to the store that night, or we don’t go out for our walk, or go visit family. Kind of life revolves around them right now.
Joe: How are they doing on their naps during the day?
Jason: They take about an hour, hour and a half at a time. They’re eating about every four and a half hours, four hours, four and a half hours, so usually in between there is about an hour and a half nap, then they just … Like I said, they’ll wake up, and they’ll entertain themselves. They’ll sit and stare at the TV or the ceiling fan. We don’t go over and pick them up right away unless they start fussing or something like that. We kind of let them be.
Joe: If you could share a piece of advice on how to keep your marriage strong throughout this whole twin journey, and the ups and downs that you experienced, what would you tell your fellow fathers of twins?
Jason: I would say just to relax. Frustration builds up all around. My wife and I, we’ll kind of butt heads here and there, but it’s one of those where we both just take a breath, and we just kind of calm ourselves down, and realize we’ll get through everything. It’s only this one time that they’re crying, and we’re kind of frustrated with something else that’s going on in our lives, and we just got to remember that it’s no one’s fault. You just got to get through that moment.
Joe: Well, Jason, as we wrap up today, if listeners would like to connect with you, what’s the best way to get in touch?
Jason: I’m pretty good at responding to emails. My email is [email protected]
Joe: Jason, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.
Jason: Not a problem. Thank you for having me.
Joe: I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jason today. If you want to reach out and contact him, go ahead, and check out the show notes at twindadpodcast.com, or I’ve linked up to his contact information. If you would like to share your story, as a father of twins, on this very podcast, why don’t you reach out to me, and we’ll make it happen? [email protected]
As I mentioned at the top of this show, today is brought to you by twintshirtcompany.com, where you’ll find dozens of T-shirts designed specifically for parents of twins. That’s twintshirtcompany.com. Thank you so much for listening. Have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you next time.
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