Early Autism Diagnosis in Twins with John Hale – Podcast 235

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - March 22, 2021

Early Autism Diagnosis in Twins

Episode 235 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

Today we continue our father of twins interview series with John Hale, father of six-year-old fraternal twin girls. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:

  • Trouble after birth with Mom’s health due to blood loss
  • Separating the twins for preschool
  • Moving to different bedrooms to help good and bad sleepers both sleep better
  • Having one twin on the autism spectrum
  • Getting their daughter diagnosed early because they were twins
  • Having another child after twins
  • and more…

Connect with John via email.

Transcript

Joe 0:00
Today we’re talking with a fellow twin dad about a clever way they use to transition their twin girls from a shared bedroom to their own bedrooms and what to do when they found out one of their twins was on the spectrum with autism. That’s so much more today on the show.

Intro 0:13
Welcome to the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast, the podcast that’ll help you survive and thrive as a father of twins Now, here’s your host, the author of the book, “The Dad’s Guide to Twins”, Joe Rawlinson.

Joe 0:27
Hey everybody, and welcome to the 235th 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 a transcript for this episode. And you can listen to all previous podcast episodes. Today we are continuing our interview with a fellow father of twins, John Hale, father of fraternal six-year-old girls. But before we jump into the interview, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by twintshirtcompany.com. Where you can find shirts for your twins and matching shirts. For mom and dads. How cool is that? Check out all those amazing shirts over at twintshirtcompany.com. Let’s jump right into the interview with John. Today I’d like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins John Hale. Welcome to the show, John.

John 1:09
Thanks, Joe. appreciate you having me on.

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Joe 1:12
John, how old are your twins right now? And what’s something really exciting about this age?

John 1:16
They are six years old right now we are now in full-time, kindergarten. When I say full-time we go all day long. As the girls said, they figured out how fun riding the bus can be. We did this last year we separated them in preschool. So they could be in different classes, we felt like somewhere in that we needed to do that it’d be good for the health of breaking things up. They are almost inseparable. And so I think the exciting thing is watching them grow and develop even during the restrictions of COVID just watching them learn in different things. I mean, you know, as a dad fellow dad that the first time they get on a bus or they do some of those things, it’s gut-wrenching. And it’s been cool to watch that journey. And I mean, we got a whole process down like, as you know, everything’s a routine when you got multiples for sure. And I think the cool thing is just watching them go through that getting ready for the bus every day getting their backpacks and getting their scan ID card and their masks. You know, this is the environment that they know about schools, you got to have masks and all that. But it’s really cool, watching them develop and then coming home. And I think the thing I’ve enjoyed the most where you know, preschool was just half a day this is all day with kindergarten is the different stories that they’re telling.

And hopefully, the different friends and watching each one develop in a different way has really been cool. Even if it’s been limited space this year.

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Joe 2:38
Are you girls identical or fraternal?

John 2:39
They are fraternal.

Joe 2:40
Last year, you decided to separate them for preschool. So that was moving from home to preschool environment, tell us a little bit about the decision to separate them versus keeping them together in preschool.

John 2:48
We kind of talked to a lot of our friends. You know, one of the first things we did when we had twins, after we I don’t know, came up for air. At some point during that process, we kind of reached out to groups and my wife got connected with some moms group, multiple moms, that’s pretty popular and moms of multiples. And then I kind of reached out and did some dad stuff.

4 Critical Mistakes Expectant Twin Parents Make

And just kind of asked people what they thought. But what we really did is we did a litmus test, really, Joe’s the summer before we separated them from the bedroom to and trying to develop. And one of the reasons we did that is one of our daughters is on the spectrum. for autism. She is I what they could consider high functioning, it’s really more sensory. They’re wanting to reevaluate her and probably I would say she, she might lose that medical diagnosis, I don’t know. So we’re not really in a hurry. It obviously opens different doors for her from a resource level.

But having said that, I think the reason we did it is we wanted to try to see is my one daughter is a really, really good sleeper and my other daughter wasn’t. And so I was like somebody’s got to get some rest in this house. And so we separated them. And it was a little bit of a struggle at first because you know, since the beginning of time, they’ve had two cribs next to each other. And then we got two little twin beds and so forth. And we just kind of slowly transitioned out of that. And I think that helps set us up. Had we not done that. I don’t know that it would have gone as well, the first year. I think ultimately to answer your question, it came down to a decision of I wanted them to experience different things and not always be relying and be self-dependent on one another.

My one daughter is more of a social butterfly. She’s kind of shy, but when she gets going, she won’t stop talking. But she seems to make friends easily. More so than maybe Rachel is on the spectrum. And so we kind of did that more from a growth perspective. And it was one of those we weren’t sure if we’re making the right decision but I think overall it’s worked out. Now they both had their separate rooms we moved into big new house this year. had to you know if we’re gonna homeschool we had to kind of get out of the small house. In the house, we had before, that we didn’t have kids. So it worked out just fine. But really, it was ultimately can they grow and develop from a social standpoint and adapting to the interactions that come across that school and in other circles, but more to break it up, because I think two is as good as they are a friend. And I think they’re going to be lifelong friends, I think it’s gonna be awesome. And I think there’ll be buddies. They also can, it’s like oil and water, right, just like any siblings, they can fight. And I wanted to kind of create that separation early in hopes that when they are together, there’s a deeper appreciation. And that’s what we’re seeing so far.

Joe 5:40
You mentioned slowly transitioning them from a shared room, to their own rooms. So I suppose it wasn’t just one night, they’re in one bedroom together. And the next night, they’re in two rooms. So how did you What were some of the logistics of that move?

(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….)

With my one daughter, what we’ve learned is everything’s about transition. And like you and I were on this call, and we’re gonna get off this call, we’re gonna go right to the next thing we got to do? Well, my one daughter, you kind of got to walk through that and explain and say, Hey, okay, this is what we’re doing in 20 minutes. This is what we’re doing in half an hour or whatever. And so we kind of talked it up for a while and early on. My one daughter totally was on board, the one that sleeps very well, Alexis, she was like, yeah, this is great. What we did is we turned it into a project and said, hey, look, you’re going to have your own room, and you’re going to have your own room and let’s decorate my one daughter, it’s all pink mother daughter, it’s all red, my one daughter loves red, and ladybugs mother daughter loves more princesses and, and Tiaras and things like that. So it gave us a chance to say this is your room, let’s go have fun.

John 5:57
So my wife, she went and got some of those decals and put on the walls, we let them pick a, you know, a wall that they could just make that color. And that’s what we did. And, and so that was part of it, too, is prepping. And we basically we did one room on a Saturday and one room on a Sunday, the first few nights to your point were rough. But eventually, it was just having the patience, knowing that we’re gonna have to implement that into our bedtime routine. So maybe it’s going to be a little bit longer to get everybody down and everybody settled and feeling comfortable before you know you and your wife can take a break or go have your independent time, whatever that looks like.

So it was just kind of looking at that from that perspective, and then reassessing if we needed to change that up, but it worked out really well. But I think just not saying it, Joe, I think making it a fun thing, you get to make your own room. Whereas before the room look like any room that’s being shared by siblings, it was a blend of both their, their taste and their, their, you know, their likes and dislikes, my you know, we’ve got their initials in these big wooden block letters that are specific to their colors, well, they were in the same room with those things. So kind of one half of the room already looked like what the one liked in one day, you know, kind of like what you do when you first have kids and have a nursery. And then we slowly transitioned it. But I think making it a project made it sound much less daunting, in especially my one daughter size, who has trouble with transition.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

And this is a course now we’ve been doing this for two years, you know, she was four. So she was just now coming through that diagnosis for autism. And that’s allowed us to navigate that, you know, she graduated through ABA therapy. And so that’s why I say it’s more sensory for her. But it was all about communication.

But we really turned it into a project and that seemed to seal the deal. It took a little while. And there were a few nights where you know, Hey, you got to go down there at 10:30 and down the hallway. And somebody rousted up whatever. And we just tried to we knew that. And we were patient with that. And I’d probably say in a couple of weeks, it was sleeping like we normally do, and everything’s fine. And what I’m finding now is while they’ll play together at home, there are times they’ll go off into their separate rooms and have independent playtime. And I don’t know that that gets accomplished if we don’t break them up both at school and at home. Because you break it up in one place. I feel like at some point, personally, you got to do it in both spaces.

Joe 9:03
Yeah, I love how you made that a big project, I’m thinking back to what we did with our girls. And even though they still share a bedroom, we did make a big deal, a big project or their transition from cribs to beds, just like yes, we took them to the store, they could pick out sheets, you know, pillows, stuff like that. And of course, potty training was also a big, big ordeal a big project, making it a huge event and involving them in the preparations. And the transition really helped with these kinds of big milestones.

John
And I think that’s one page that we’ve learned, Joe, that we kind of apply it to a lot of the big things that we do with them are big decisions, so maybe a big family trip, whatever. That definitely has been a good best practice.

Joe
You mentioned, one of your girls is on the spectrum and she was diagnosed a couple of years ago. How did you come to the realization that he needed to take some action or change course there?

(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….)

John
That is a great question. And I’ve been asked a lot and I feel like I try to answer it the same way but over time it evolves a little deeper. Initially, I was one of my peers at work. He was sitting on a board of directors for a school that it takes. It’s one of the more renowned schools here in Denver for autism. And I would go to their annual gala. And I just, you know, like anything, Joe, you bid on a few things. It’s a great evening black-tie affair, and you get out with the wife, and it’s fun. And that was my involvement at some point. But inevitably, during that gala, they obviously are promoting awareness around autism, which is optimistic, diagnosed very much in boys. But girls as well, because girls do a much better job at masking the symptoms than boys do is what you learned.

John 10:37
But had I not sat in that, that big conference of ballroom and or that ballroom and listen to, they’d always have a heartwarming story about a parent that’s been impacted at the school and what the school’s done to help them in their journey. And I started listening to the facts and the science. And then we go home. And we … It was like a science experiment, Joe, is Alexis would do one thing. And the same thing would happen to Rachel and complete opposite. And I would tell you very rarely with autism, do you get your, your son or your daughter diagnosed this early, we went in before she was three years old. And we had a professionally analyzed, there was a waitlist at the General Hospital, which insurance would have covered. But that waitlist turned in to much longer than I wanted to be one of the things I learned early on is, the sooner you intervene, especially with something like diagnosis like autism, the quicker they can get help, the quicker they can establish those resources and those tools in their tool toolkit to help them transition to help them develop and to help them grow. And that really was the key. And because we had twins, I think I saw all those things earlier than if we had had a singleton. And that really started it. Now, it was probably fortuitous. I guess you could say that I was already attending some little gala once a year. But from that journey, Joe, I turned into how do I volunteer at this event to last year, because of all the work we’ve done in the community and what I’ve been able to do with my company and the influence I’ve had, that organization invited me and interviewed me to be a board of director for that organization.

So we could talk the whole podcast about autism, and we’re not, you know, I won’t do that to anyone. But I will tell you, there are so many resources out there, there are so many resources available if your kids are under three that are free, that are from the government that you just got to research. What I would tell parents that are on that map. And this is what I tell anyone that asked me is go get them checked out if you think there’s something wrong. Here’s the thing if you’re sitting there belaboring, you know, I don’t know or now she’s just a kid or he’s a kid, we’ll work it out. You’re making that decision selfishly. And what I mean by that is, you’re making it you’re not making a good decision because you’re afraid of your own, you know your own and you’re kind of just struggling there with your own indiscretions, if you will, you are more worried about maybe a label or oh my gosh, my kid has a cognitive disorder that that’s been labeled now. Now they got to be on these IEPs in school, you got to put that’s hogwash, man, you got to put all that aside, and you got to do what’s best for your child.

And if you get them diagnosed, they opens up so many doors. And so long story short, we got them, we got her in then next thing you know, she’s in this great place. And I’m going to tell you one thing about my daughter, resilient. I’ve never seen any kid work as hard as she did from three to four. She was going to preschool half a day for about 12 ish hours Monday through Friday. And then she was going to full time therapy 30 hours a week in the afternoon, I pick her up I had to get with my boss that a great boss, it’s time still do but it’s a different one. And she allowed me to leave work early so I could get in traffic and go pick her up by six and, and it. She did that for a year. And then she graduated what’s called ABA cognitive therapy. And now it’s just, you know, teaching her other life skills. Obviously in school, she’ll have some therapists with her like occupational and vocational and things of that nature, like any kid that that’s on an IEP for other other cognitive disorders or cognitive labels. And what I’ve learned is that you have high functioning, low functioning, she’s always been verbal, that’s helped. But I think getting her in early was so key. Had I not had a twin and I could see the other one mirroring and not mirroring. I probably wouldn’t have seen the masking that goes on.

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And what I I’ll explain that what I mean by masking is is the term in autism world is basically I can disguise because girls are so good at mimicking the behavior of other girls and other kids that you just think okay, maybe she shocked or maybe she’s socially awkward. When in reality, there could be something going on there. And had we not had twins, we probably don’t get her in soon. I think eventually we get there. I think part of that’s because of my involvement in learning through those events before we had kids, but I don’t know that we get her interested.

Joe 15:13
That is a huge advantage of having twins, as you’re able to compare their milestones or developmental milestones. And some aspects you don’t, you try not to compare your twins, because you know, they’re individuals. But at the same time, you can’t help but observe the differences between them. And in this case, whether we’re to manage to detect something earlier than you would have otherwise. I know, oftentimes, twins are born early, premature, and they may have some lingering physical or mental or cognitive challenges down the road. Because of that, when I think about our girls, they had some speech challenges. And we kind of got used to them, you know, we kind of could speak there, speak their gibberish, speak their language. But we saw the signs started to come from outside the house like the grandparents had a hard time understanding them. And friends, same thing, and we’re like, oh, maybe there’s something to look into here. And so we did take our girls into speech therapy, it was about a year clearly wasn’t as intense as your daughter had to go through, it was not 30 hours a week, but therapies are for a reason it works. I mean, helps it turned out it turned our girls around, and it was very successful for you and your daughter. So listeners, if you’re concerned at all, just like John said, you know, talk to your doctor to investigate options, because the worst that happens is you just go through the exercise, and you find everything’s cool. And you just got to wait a little longer for your, for your twins to develop, but then you may find out something is missing, you can start taking care of that right away, which is a huge win.

John
Absolutely. Your resources are out there, you just got to spend a little bit of time getting past that, that self doubt, or I don’t want to do it or I don’t want my kid to be different. Well, guess what, you have the blessing of multiples, you’re already different, okay, you’re in a different category. So run with it, and embrace it. And the sooner we did that, and I say this real quickly, Joe, that that didn’t come with a lot of difficult conversations with me and my wife, not that we were fighting, just listening to her feelings, because the mom feels much differently about these things than the dad obviously. And so we had a hot a lot of healthy conversations.

John 17:13
But I really pushed to, to get her in and get her done early. But that doesn’t happen if my wife doesn’t get there too. And I wanted to be respectful of that. So I want to make sure listeners understand that too, is that you’re both going to see that from a much different perspective. But ultimately, it’s your child’s, it’s your child that you’re making a decision for, and you got to put your kind of own it. Whatever is prohibiting you put that back, just push it back, clear your mind and utilize your resources. someone out there has already been on that path, I promise you.

Joe 17:47
You have to have healthy open conversation with your partner about what’s happening with the kids. One thing I would do is I would try my best to go to the well-child checkups with my wife and the girls. It was kind of at a necessity early on because we had two very active toddlers too. So I was kind of childcare/assistant. But it did give me an opportunity to ask questions when we’re at the doctor, that maybe my wife had not thought of where she was distracted with the kids, because we had four little ones.

So it was like, that’s also kind of a safe place where you can say, hey, I’ve observed this in my child, you know, doctor was, I mean, tell me what that means. Right? And then two brains are often better than one in that case, where each get your questions answered, and something doesn’t get missed. So when you’re maybe your partner goes with to the doctor with the kids comes home, and you’re like, Hey, did you ask the doctor about XYZ? And she’s like, What? Are you kidding me? The kids were crawling all over me. I didn’t even think of that. So there’s always a chance to, to seek out the help that you need for sure. Let’s rewind the clock a little bit to tell us a little bit about the birth experience. Did that go as planned? Or was there some surprises along the way there?

John
So we did IVF. My wife and I were married before she did not have kids. In her previous marriage. I had a couple older boys. But along that journey, we went through the same things. It turned out that that it was my wife that that was I guess part of the reason and and that’s always difficult to to hear from a doctor and you’re sitting there with your partner, like you said, and you know, it’s not the news you want to hear. But ultimately, that led us to our UI, which didn’t work. We did, I think two attempts, but ultimately, it did work with IVF. And I think everything went fine. We made it to 38 weeks, which is pretty standard for twins. Alexis was breech Rachel was transfer. So C section was the only option. And the birthing went fine. The probably the funniest story out of that is they’re in the room, they’re prepping her on down the hallway in some other room. And I’m down there for like forever. I felt like they’d taken my wife, you know, years ago. You know, you’re just sitting there and waiting and waiting, waiting and she was going to be induced next day, but her water broke that night. And so that’s why that led us to the hospital. That’s Saturday afternoon, evening, and I’m down there and I’m down there. And, and finally, I obviously I know this later because we share what was happening in the room before I got there kind of my wife has a great memory. And in the doctor said, Okay, we’re ready. And she looks around. She’s like, was anyone going to go get John? So like, thing they’d forgotten to come get me. So I go in there. And of course, you got the curtain and, and I didn’t want to be on the other side of that curtain. I would strongly recommend against that. Yeah, I think nowadays, they don’t even do that. But everything went fine.

John 20:31
I think the most coolest thing that I remember about that is Alexis came out first. And I actually mixed up the names. April, Alexis before Rachel. Alexis was supposed to be Rachel. And Rachel was supposed to be Alexis. No one caught it. But under all that sedation, and all that medication and all those drugs, and having your body in disarray, if you will, my wife remembers this. And we stuck with the names that I chose, or that that I picked. And I remember, they were two minutes apart. One was at 8:26. One was at 8:28. And Rachel was holding on to Alexis heal as they took Alexis from my wife, wife’s body, and so kind of cool. And then it got them on the table. And then after that, it’s just like you’re drinking from a firehose, I can’t underestimate that enough. It happened so fast, we’re putting wristlet bracelets on you and you got to run and, and then they asked me out of the room, and then it’s on down to the children’s ward, if you will, and we go down there. And so a couple hours go by, I haven’t even seen my wife. My wife’s parents are there. There’s this big glass, I’m walking over and showing them and, and we’re trying to get all that stuff cleaned up and get the ID tags and, you know, birth certificates done and all those things that you do.

And so everything was fine at that point. I remember about 50 minutes into being in that room that I’d asked, you know, when can I go see my wife? How is she doing? And then the lady said, Well, let me check. She should be in the room by now. And I said, Okay, and that was on another floor, we’re on the main floor. She goes over to call. And I remember I was taking care of Rachel. But out of the corner of my eye, I could see the lady’s face change. Whoever was telling her whatever they were telling her that it wasn’t great news. And she comes back and says, Well, they’re just trying to clean her up. Everything’s fine. They just, she just lost a lot of blood. And they’re just going to continue to monitor for a little while. I was like, Okay, well, can I go see her? And she said, Well, let’s get the kids up to the room. First. I said, Okay, my first thought I was gonna question I was like, Well, if they’re up in the room, and my wife’s not in that room, then I can’t go see my wife, right? Someone’s got to be with kids at all times. But the lady was like, well, by then your wife should be in the room. That’s kind of why I didn’t, you know, second guess that. We get up to the room. I get the kids there. We roll them in, you know, two by two, if you will. grandparents are there we’re talking about that time. My father-in-law gets a text from my wife. And he’s like, John, Amy wants you now. And I’m like, Okay, so then I go out in the hallway, and you know, it’s late. I go to the nurse’s station, I can’t find anybody. I’m looking around, I finally get someone I’m like, hey, my wife needs me. I need to know what’s going on. She’s still not up in this room. Is everything okay? They said she lost a lot of blood, but that some of that was natural. Is everything going to be okay? And so then the fight or flight kicks in Joe, and then it’s all you know, now you’re, you’re already tired.

And you’re already going down some rabbit holes, you probably don’t want to. And I’m like, I got to get to my wife. And she said, Well, then we got to take the kids back to the nursery. I’m like, but I got my in-laws here. The grandparents. She goes, they’re not authorized yet. And I was like, Are you kidding me? And I was like, Okay, well, how do we do this? She goes, I’m gonna have to call another nurse. I can’t leave the station. So we have to wait on that we finally get the twins down there. I finally find a nurse we finally get in. What had happened is my wife had lost so much blood that she actually passed out for a little bit. Now. I don’t know if if I would, you know, it wasn’t like she coded or anything like that. But she literally passed out in and their turns was unresponsive for maybe half a minute. And anyway, were able to get that under control. By the time I walked in. I knew something was wrong. I could see the scared look on my wife’s face.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

And she was cold and they’re in this small room off to the side. I don’t even know where it was. It was so different from where we were when we had you know where we delivered the kids. We get through all that. Finally, get her up to the room and what had happened. She lost a lot of blood that she needed an iron transfusion. We wound up having to stay in the hospital for five full days. You know, normally you’re out in two or three depending on how things go. And so that part was pretty scary. The doctor said she was fine. We wound up staying an extra day. I’ll call My insurance company, I got a great benefit. And I just felt like it was safer to stay there.

And I remember when I was talking to my wife, you know, we’ve talked about this story so many times over the years. I said, you know what happened? And she goes, I just remember that I was shaking. I didn’t feel good. I was nauseous. And I felt like I was gonna pass out and I kept tell him that I could tell him I wanted you. I need you by my side. Can someone get my husband and the ladies like I need you to sit still need to sit still gonna take your blood pressure, I gotta get you ready. So they got the little you know, the cart to the side, her phones there. She’s trying to desperately grasp out and reach your phone. They can’t, she can’t get it. She’s like, just move the car over. I want to talk to my husband. And the lady’s like, you get to sit still. I can’t get your accurate blood pressure reading. Watch. Like, I want my husband. And I asked. So we’ve talked about that as well. What happened when you passed out? She said, All I can tell you is I saw Doshi’s his face. I’m like Doshi, our dog that died like years ago, before we had kids. She goes, Yeah, she goes, I can see her face. And there was a light around it. And then next day I woke up. And you know, I’m not. I mean, we’re pretty spiritual that I’m not. I mean, I don’t know about all that piece. That’s not the point of the story. I think it just it didn’t go the way we thought it was scary. Obviously, she recovered, everything was fine eventually. And then since then, you know, we had Max, we have a three-year-old. And we had him the old-fashioned way. And everybody was doing their thing, if you know what I mean, we were not looking to have another kid. And here comes another blessing, the old-fashioned way. So at the end of the day, it all worked out. But it was very, about a two-hour period there. Two and a half where I was I was scared. I was like, I for about half a minute Joe, I thought we’ve we’ve talked about this, but I couldn’t raise these girls by myself. Like I know our parents would help. And I just push that out. I’m like, that is not happening. That is not what’s going to happen here today. And we’re going to push through and she’s going to be just fine. And we’re going to raise these girls, the way we hope that we would get to and and that’s where we’re at.

Joe 27:08
Incredible story there. Especially right at the point of right after birth, you’re already high on emotions, adrenaline, you’re probably extremely tired. Like you said, I know that. I remember we had assigned a bunch of paperwork going into the C section. And that’s when you realize, Oh, hold on. Now. That’s good. Because if you read the fine print, it’s describing scenarios like you had or worse. And that, that you try to push that to the back of your mind. Because you’re like, no, that’s, that’s we’re not going to be that statistic today. But then something starts to happen. And your mind goes to the worst place possible. And so I’m glad that your wife was able to bounce back and recover from that, even though it’s a scary few moments there.

John
We joke to this day that her doctor said, Oh, no, it wasn’t that bad. And we were like, she wasn’t there. You know, I was like, I don’t know, but it worked out fine. And you’re right, you let your mind race a little too much. But I gave that about 20 seconds. And I’m like, this is not happening. Not that I had any control. But I just tried to be more positive with my emotions, because I needed to be strong for my wife, because she had already done, you know, the heavy lift.

Joe
Because to us, it’s probably you know, it’s maybe the first time we’ve ever been in this situation before like with you, or C sections don’t happen every day for dads. But for the doctor, it’s probably you know, their 10th of the day. They’ve done hundreds of these things. Everything’s routine. And so when you find yourself in these scenarios, where you’re like, this doesn’t quite seem right to me. That’s totally natural to feel that way. And to try to find someone to help you out as soon as possible.

I remember my wife was in recovery after her c section with our twins. And we were just in the room by ourselves. And the babies were still getting checked out in another room. And she was under like a mountain of blankets. And then she just starts shaking violently. And I’m like, What is this? What is going on? So I’m like running around trying to find a nurse. So yeah, I hear you. You’re like, someone should be paying more attention to my wife or to my babies than they are. So where are they? Where are these people?

John
They were dime a dozen a minute ago.

Joe
Yeah. And the operating room. There’s like 20 people.

John
And everyone has their own zone. Right, Joe, everyone has their own specialty. And so they’re everywhere. But you get out and it’s like what is going on? It was we can joke and laugh a little bit about it. But I think if anything that that brought us closer very quickly, when having twins was already make us pretty close. Anyway.

Joe
Let’s talk a bit separately about the transition between when you had the girls and then, three years later, here comes another addition to the family. What was the twins reaction to having a new little brother?

John
It was very different. Alexis was very much on board. I think she’s gonna be my little Mama Mama baby girl. She’s already told us she wants to have four kids when she gets married. And of course I’m like, Yeah, you’re never getting married because you’re my daughter. All right, and she and very specific to Joe, she’s like, I’m gonna have triplets. And then I’ll have a single, she already speaks, you know, twin language or multiple language. And my other daughter. You know, obviously that was three years ago, she was still in therapy at that time while my wife’s pregnant and going through, you know, all the appointments and stuff. So Alexis got to go to the appointment. So Alexis kind of had an inside track, kind of, like you had mentioned earlier in the beginning of this, that you had to do double duty and take care of the other kids. And that’s kind of what I did, too. I, I was always at the appointments or as many as I could. But with Max, I was trying to balance the twins at that point.

John 30:43
But Alexis got on board very quickly, Rachel was a little concerned. But that was kind of going back to all the things we’d already learned about her. And just talking about it and reading books about it, you know, children’s books about birthing and, and having a sibling, we just found different resources there. And just I tried to talk to her every night about it and say, you know, you’re going to be a big sister. And I’ll tell you now, they are like Bonnie and Clyde man, they are inseparable. And I use Bonnie and Clyde because they get into a lot of things, too, that, that keep them busy and keep us busy. You know, they’re they got some mischief in them for sure that they’re all good buddies in different ways.

But Rachel came around, it wasn’t long. I remember when we’re at the hospital, I made it such a big deal. I let’s go pick out some balloons. Let’s go pick out some stuff. And I just learned early on it’s it’s you make a you make a big deal out of the little things in life and the bigger things in life you really try to just talk more about. So everyone can have some expectations around what they think that’s going to look like because we all react differently. But the girls have adapted very well, a lot sooner than even I thought they would. I think for my wife, it was we’re dealing with a child who is going to therapy and on the spectrum. I’m at right back at work right away. And you got Alexis, that’s probably where that skill set set came in. She’s very, she has a high vocabulary. So she’s very talkative and, and so she was very much a big help to my wife and my and she helped Max before Rachel did, but you know, everything’s fine. Now. They’re all good buddies. But it was a bit of a transition at first, but not as bad as I anticipated, for sure.

Joe 31:53
Well, John has been wonderful getting to know more about you and your family today. If listeners want to connect with you, what’s the best way to reach out?

John
I think they could just reach out to my personal email. And it is [email protected] I’d be more than happy to be a resource and especially for anyone Joe, but if you’re thinking that man, something doesn’t seem right about one of my twins, man, reach out to me, and I’ll tell you as much as I can, and then you can hopefully have the information you need and you make the decision as best as possible.

Joe
All right. Thank you, John. I appreciate it. I hope you enjoy that chat with John about his experience as a twin dad thus far. If you want to connect with John, you can check all that information out at twindadpodcast.com. If you would like to share your story like John did today on the show, you can email me [email protected] or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter @twindadjoe and I would love to hear from you.

Today’s show is brought to you by twintshirtcompany.com. Where you will find dozens of T-shirts designed specifically for you, fathers are twins. And for moms of twins, grandparents of twins, and matching shirts for the twins themselves. Check those shirts out at twintshirtcompany.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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