Having Twins in Sweden with Daniel Persson – Podcast 213

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - October 22, 2020

Having Twins in Sweden with Daniel Persson

Episode 213 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Daniel Persson, father of identical twin boys! Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:

  • Twins in the same class at school
  • Similarities and differences between identical twins
  • When one twin encourages the other to participate
  • One on one time vs family time
  • Handling twin pregnancy due when Mom has a previous health condition
  • When you need a bigger place and car with twins
  • Twins arriving 2 months premature
  • Regret over going back to work too early after the boys’ birth

Connect with Daniel on Instagram.


Joe 0:00
Hey everybody and welcome to the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. This is Episode 213 of the podcast and today we’re chatting with fellow twin dad, Daniel Persson from Sweden. Today’s show is brought to you by my second book for dads of twins. It’s called “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins”. You can learn more about the book and get a copy for yourself at raisingtwinsbook.com. Let’s jump right into that chat with fellow twin dad Daniel.

Today I’d like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins Daniel Persson. Welcome to the show, Daniel. How old are your twins right now? What’s the best part of this age?

Daniel 0:48
Well, they’re six they’re turning seven now in April. It’s a tough time. It’s like having two teenagers at home small teenagers that want to learn everything and they think they know everything.

Joe 0:59
Yeah. twin boys. Is that right?

(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)

Daniel 1:01
Yeah, I have identical twin boys is their name is Adrian and Philip. So at this age, they’re very curious are inquisitive. Are they getting into trouble a lot. They’re two jokesters. They like to run around at school. They say that my kids, they don’t walk, they run. So I mean, they love action. They’re full of life. They’re not like obedient or anything like that, but they’re full of life. They’re curious. They’re eager to learn. It’s really, really fun. I will have them so I can’t compare to anything else. But I will say that they’re very eager to learn stuff and interested right now. They’re really into Titanic. And they know everything about Titanic. I think

Joe 1:42
That’s great. Are they in the same class at school?

Daniel 1:45
Yeah, actually, we put them in the same class because we thought about dividing them how to say before preschool before first grade, we thought about splitting them putting them in separate classes, but I think that it was a tough decision from day one. We were like, Certain that we’re going to have them in separate classes, but the more time progressed and we saw how much they actually helped each other, it felt a little bit wrong to split them up. Because if you split them up from kindergarten up to school, it would be a little bit of competition who gets the best friends and who doesn’t. So that was one thing that made us have them in the same class actually,

Joe 2:24
Is their second year in school?

Daniel 2:26
Now, actually, this is like before first grade, we call it the zero in Sweden. It’s like you go to school, but you only do like a couple of hours, simple stuff, sort of like adopt to begin first grade. So they go from kindergarten to that. So next year will be their first year in actual school when they started doing more school stuff. Right now. It’s like very basic school stuff. They will be in this class when they start first grade.

Joe 2:54
Has there been any challenges that you’ve seen having them together in the same class?

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Daniel 2:58
maybe a little bit when it comes to To friends, they are very social. So a lot of kids, they like being around them, they get a little bit much attention. Maybe sometimes, I don’t feel that there has been any big struggles or anything. It’s more like keeping their energy level controlled, not letting them freak out. I don’t see it as a problem. And the other ones don’t either. I think that they benefit from being together. They’re stronger as a unit.

Joe 3:27
Yeah, we’ve seen that with our identical girls in school, we’ve had them together. And we’ve also had them in separate classes. They’re in separate classes right now. And they do tend to support each other and help each other out. It’s also been good for them to be on their own or not dependent on each other. So it’s been interesting to watch, watch that develop over time.

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Daniel 3:46
But when you had them in separate classes, did you feel like did they get more separated or were they longing to be together more afterwards?

Joe 3:55
It depends on the girl one of our girls is more independent than the other So she was fine being in her own class away from her sister. But the other girl really wanted the companionship of her sister. And so she missed it more.

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Daniel 4:10
I think that that would actually be the same for us also, one is a little bit more independent, a little bit more self going, has his own path.

Joe 4:18
Yeah, that is a fun thing about identical twins as they still are very unique in their personalities and in what they care about what they want to do. What are some of the things that were your boys are very unique?

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Daniel 4:30
I want to say that Adrian has a little bit more ants in his pant. Phillip has more. For instance, building Lego Philip can do a whole Lego set from start to finish without any help. Adrian needs a little bit more of pushing maybe sort of like helping him out he gets when he doesn’t really understand he sort of like wants to give up. Phillip is more persistent and keeps on going. That is one difference. Otherwise, they’re quite similar actually. We tried not to make them into a unit. But if they are like a unit.

Joe 5:07
what are some things that you’ve done to try to not make them a unit to give them individual one on one attention?

Daniel 5:13
Oh, that’s a tough one. I sort of like when I see something that they really enjoy, I sort of like tried to encourage them to keep on doing it without being too pushy or anything like that. But they sort of like also was one of them enjoys it. He also encouraged the other one to sort of like participate. So they’re very loving towards each other. Philip is very helping when they build Lego and Adrian is very helpful when they’re playing video games. He’s a little bit better than him at that. So but they’re very supportive of each other, they become very easily a unit. That is something that is maybe should work a little bit more on. I tried to sort of like separate them to stick the different stuff with them. Like take one of them with me, my wife takes the other one. We try to do that. more of them. Usually they start complaining, I want to do it together. They want us to be all together like a big family.

Joe 6:06
which is also great to have family time together for sure.

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Daniel 6:10
Oh, of course, but sometimes it feels like they need a break from each other.

Joe 6:14
Yes, we have that too with our girls. It’s often difficult to make sure that it actually happens and you get it on the schedule, coordinating that and work in school and everything else. Looking back over the last several years as they’ve grown, have they kind of developed the same pace or as one been ahead of the other?

Daniel 6:30
Phillip has always been a little bit bigger from the start. And it’s such a minor difference. Adrian has always been a little bit a little bit shorter, a little bit lighter has been that from the start when they were born. I don’t know they say that. It will catch up and when they become teenagers, but I don’t know. It’s always been like that even though you go through like when someone’s sick. Phillip always keeps just that half a kilo heavier than Adrian and he’s always like it. Couple of centimeters longer. So it doesn’t change really.

Joe 7:04
That’s very similar to our daughters. One of them’s always been a little bit bigger than the than her sister. That’s been consistent ever since they were born. Let’s rewind the clock back to when you found out that you’d be having twins. How did you find out what was your reaction?

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Daniel 7:17
another funny story, actually, my wife tells it quite often, actually, what happened was that we did an IVF so we tried having kids for a couple of years didn’t work out. So we did an IVF and found out that we were pregnant and so I think was like three or four weeks into it. My wife, I had a bleeding so we went into the hospital straightaway. So I thought, like, okay, it’s a miscarriage. And they took out the word called outer ultrasound. And all the doctor was like, she started laughing. And we were kind of heartbroken and she said, Oh, my God, it’s a duplex. I had no idea what she was talking. I was like, excuse me. I was starting to get annoyed. Because she was sort of like smiling. She said, Well, there’s two of them. And I stood up quite fast. And I felt rushed through my mind is like our apartments too small. We need a bigger car. Oh my god, what have I got myself into? My wife started crying out of happiness. And I was like sort of walking around in the room. Don’t know what to do. I was petrified, really petrified. And it was really, really scary. So that’s how we found out that we had twins and since my wife she was on blood thinner because she had blood clots in her lungs earlier in her life, and she had to take a pill that thins your blood to you won’t get any blood clots or anything like that. So the whole hospital thing started with a lot of doctors actually taking real good care of us. It was a lot of visits to the doctor because of her previous illness with a blood clot. And everything. So, because it was a high risk pregnancy and all the doctor said was like, you’re the only one that we wouldn’t like to have twins because of our previous medical history. So that started a lot of hospital visits, and frequently checked, and it was quite hectic, actually. But I remember the first like two weeks, I was totally blown away. I didn’t know what to think I was really stressed, like one kid is enough to is even more.

Joe 9:33
it is overwhelming. You mentioned concerns about having to move or get a bigger vehicle. Did those things have to happen during the pregnancy?

Daniel 9:40
No, no, no. It was just my first thoughts like we had a two bedroom apartment and we had a normal car, but sort of like everything escalated really fast when you started thinking about it, but actually, we didn’t move for the first year of their life and we didn’t need a bigger car until we had to bump up the car. seats for the kids, because that’s when we started getting into trouble. Because I’m at six foot three. So it’s kind of hard to be sitting in the car and having a child behind you. Right? That actually made us get a minivan so we could fit the whole family. But I was almost a year after.

Joe 10:19
Well, that’s a great point. I know lots of dads that are expecting have the same fears that you mentioned, I know I had the same ones. I thought I had to buy a bigger house, bigger car, bigger everything. But you make a wonderful example where that may not be the case you may be able to make do with what you have, at least for that first year till the twins start to get bigger.

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Daniel 10:36
I would say that the biggest difference is when they start walking. That’s when you need a bigger apartment or a bigger house or bigger car. Everything is just about when they get a little bit bigger. You want them to move around a little bit small apartment, it’s not so fun. I mean, you have to do the best of the situation. That’s it.

Joe 10:53
Does your wife have to spend time in the hospital for example on bed rest leading up to the birth?

Daniel 10:59
No, they’re premature. So I mean, they came two months early. So I don’t know what really started but she started having small bleeding during the pregnancy would like say it was three months before they were supposed to come at the first visit we had they said like, Okay, this is not good. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, we had to take them out. That was three months before the due date. That started getting us nervous. They gave my wife a shot. So the lungs would develop faster. They wanted to check for 24 hours, we went in like three months before they were due. We went in with the bleeding and the bleeding stopped. We had to go home. But we went back and forth like that for a couple of weeks. And then it was like two months before they were supposed to come. We had a small bleeding. We went in thought we were going home, and they just stepped inside our room and said okay, you’re next within 30 minutes. You’re going to be parents. That was the emergency c section. So it was quiet. fast. I told the nurse like oh, no, no, no, not today we’re having. We’re having guys coming over to fix some stuff in our apartment today. So it’s impossible. I was like, I couldn’t grasp the situation that we were going to have kids today. Everything moved really, really fast.

Joe 12:15
So two months, that’s still pretty early for twins. Do they have to spend time in the hospital after birth?

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Daniel 12:21
Yeah, we had to spend a whole month at hospital actually add premature department. So we were there for like a month. It’s actually quite good. And in Sweden, it’s doesn’t cost anything. It’s free of charge. So we lived at the hospital for a month you get a like a really small hotel room, crappy beds, but it’s all about the children. So we had to stay there for a month. Make sure that they were growing and everything was okay. When they came out. They had these like in Sweden, it’s called sip up. It’s a thing that you put over the nose to fill the lungs with them with air to keep them pressurized. So they had those for like, a couple of days. And then they removed them. They grew really fast in the beginning.

Joe 13:07
Were they in the same room as you and your wife are in a different area?

Daniel 13:10
Yeah, we live the whole family in that small hotel room. And outside there was like a nurses box where all the nurses were. So there was always like five nurses stationary outside the room. So you did most all the things yourself. They were outside, watching monitors, make sure that everything was okay came in to blood works and stuff like that almost every day and kept sort of like you did most of the job. But they were monitoring you that everything was working. Okay. So was like being schooled for a month.

Joe 13:43
That’s right, getting a training and how to be a parent how to take care of babies.

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Daniel 13:49
Yes, really small babies. They weren’t eating by themselves. So like feeding tubes and going through their nose. And that was one of the reasons why we actually start They’re in the beginning also sort of like, make sure that they were growing and everything like that, and also helping out to make sure that everything worked for us with my wife feeding them and stuff like that. So when they’re really small, they can’t really grasp to the nipple and stuff like that was good.

Joe 14:20
Did your boys have any lasting complications? Because they were premature?

Daniel 14:25
No, actually, they didn’t. Nothing, really. I mean, they were big for being two months early, they said on the ultrasounds quite early that they’re going to be basketball players. And they definitely going to be basketball players because they’re really tall. So they weren’t quite big when they came out. And so we had no complications at all, actually. I mean, they’re intelligent six year olds.

Joe 14:50
That’s great. I know in the moment when you’re in the hospital with these itty bitty babies, it’s really hard to picture the future, when they’re going to be like you say they’re going to be tall basketball players. It’s hard to vision that but they eventually make it out of the hospital. And the beauties of modern medicine is that often there’s not lingering complications, just like you’re describing with your boys.

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Daniel 15:12
They have come so far to manage with with premature baby. It’s it’s amazing to premature there was a lot of families there. And I mean, there were kids that was almost a month younger than our kids that actually survived and that we know, healthy. Everything. So I mean, it’s amazing what doctors can do today.

Joe 15:33
That’s right. So as you transition out of the hospital and back to your home, was it just you and your wife taking care of the boys?

Daniel 15:41
Well, at the beginning, yes. My dad is quite old. My mom is not around anymore, but we had my father and mother in law. They were really supportive. In the beginning, we didn’t want so many strangers around because it was almost coming out of flu season and stuff. So you don’t really want The kids are on everyone. So they were helping us out a lot. But we were quite prepared for the twins. I mean, we had everything set up at home that I recommend, everybody’s going to have twins, prepare yourself, months I had, because you never know what’s going to happen. Have the baby crib and everything up and running. So we also stocked up the freezer with food, because the first couple of nights at home was so intense. Both me and my wife had trouble sleeping because he sort of like felt so secure with the nurses being so close. So I mean, the grandparents helped out a lot with the kids, like everyday, I would say just to help you sleep otherwise, most of the things worked out quite fine. And also one thing when you have premature babies in Sweden is that when when you move home, you’re not released from the hospitals everyday a nurse came to our house and helped us out and they were all He’s on call 24 hours so they would come instantly. So that is really nice that backup we had that for like two and a half weeks I think.

Joe 17:10
That is nice that makes the transition home a lot more smooth. Yeah ’cause we didn’t have anything like that. They sent us over the hospital and it’s like good luck. We hope you could figure it out and bring bring the babies back in about you know a couple days back to the hospital for a checkup and then but Yeah, having a nurse come to your house. That’s pretty awesome.

Daniel 17:27
And you wrote a post about it like you had a father leaving the hospital when one kid in each and walking out. That feeling is still remember really hard. Like when we walked out. They just said bye bye. And I will the feeling was like Okay, do they really know that I’m leaving? I’m leaving with this. Kids now. I’m supposed to take care of them and you’re fine with it. That is I will never forget.

Joe 17:55
You get used to having like you say the the nurses and the doctors there. But then it’s, you know, one day it’s time to leave the hospital and it’s all up to you and your partner to take care of the babies. How long were you and your wife able to stay home from work with the boys?

Daniel 18:11
I stayed at the hospital for the whole month and when we got home, I stayed like a couple of days extra. The problem is like I have my own company with my father and brother and with all the knowledge I have today, I would have stayed longer at home. I would have stayed at least a month extra to help my wife. So I think that I got a little bit too eager to go back to work. When we got back home. I didn’t work full days but still it was a little bit overwhelming for my wife. And that is something that I really regret. I could have stayed home longer if I wanted to. But if I was employed at a company I would, I would have stayed extra. But with the situation I was in with a company and 50 employees It’s It’s hard being away a lot of stuff. We’re getting stuck in the pipeline. You know what I mean?

Joe 19:03
And how about your wife? How long was she able to stay with the boys?

Daniel 19:06
She stayed home for a year and a half. After that, she went back to work and I stayed home for almost four months with them because in Sweden you can have paternity leave for quite a long time. So the she wasn’t a year and a half. She was almost a year and a half. So they were almost in January. They were born in April and January, almost two years after they started daycare. So they were home quite a long time.

Joe 19:34
How were you able to find a daycare that you could trust for your boys?

Daniel 19:38
In Sweden they supply you with daycare, you pay a small fee every month like in dollars, I would say $200 a month. You get daycare for both other kids. It’s something that is in Sweden it it’s a part of the Social Security net that you have everyone is 100% assured that you will get a daycare where you live The city council actually make sure that you have daycare. It’s written in the law. Everyone has 100% right to have your kids daycare for a small fee.

Joe 20:10
Wow, yeah, that is a relatively small fee, at least compared to what we pay here in the States. Or it could be thousands of dollars for daycare. Well, Daniel as we wrap up today, if listeners would like to connect with you, what’s the best way to get in touch?

Daniel 20:23
Instagram, BBQ unlimited @bbqunltd. If they want to get in touch with me or ask me anything. I mean, I’m open. I’m open to helping anyone out who has a twin dad or twin mom if they need it, because it’s not a simple task, becoming a twin parent.

Joe 20:47
It is not a simple task. So thank you for your offer. I’ll link up to that in the show notes for the podcast today. Again, that Daniel, thank you for spending time with us today. We really appreciate it.

Daniel 20:56
Yeah, thank you very much for having me on.

Joe 20:59
I hope you enjoy the conversation with Daniel about some of his challenges as a twin dad, some of the ventures they’ve had raising twins from two months premature to now where they’re not going on seven years of age. If you’d like to connect with Daniel, I linked up to his Instagram in the show notes of this episode over at twindadpodcast.com.

Today’s show is brought to you by my second book for fathers of twins. It’s called “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins”. You can learn more about the book and get a copy for yourself at raisingtwinsbook.com.

If you’d like to feature your twin story on the podcast, please reach out to me. You can email [email protected] or reach out to me on instagram or twitter @twindadjoe, and I’d love to hear from you. 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
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