Episode 240 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Steven Driver, father of three, including twin girls. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:
- Keeping up with active 18-month-old non-identical twin girls
- Keeping kids safe inside the house
- Finding a pushchair for 3 children
- Toddler’s reaction to newborns
- Making sure oldest has time with parents
- Typical daily schedule for 18-month-olds
- Emergency c-section for second twin after the first was born naturally
- PTSD to the traumatic birth experience
- Improving interactions with the twins
- When birth doesn’t go as planned
- Helping Mom recover from a c-section
- Breastfeeding twins for the first 3 months
- Managing time off work and getting creative with paternity leave
- and more…
So what do you do when the birth of your twins does not quite go according to plans, and that has some lingering challenges for both mom and dad? We talked about that and much more today on the show.
Welcome to the dads guide to twins podcast, the podcast that will help you survive and thrive as a father of twins. Now, here’s your host, the author of the book, “Dad’s Guide to Twins”, Joe Rawlinson.
Hey everybody, welcome to the 240th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. You can find the complete show notes and transcript for this episode and listen to all previous podcast episodes at twindadpodcast.com. Today, we are continuing our father of twins interview series with a fellow father of twin girls. But before we jump into that story, I want to let you know that you can get a free audiobook version of my first book for dads. It’s called “Dad’s Guide to Twins”. If you visit freetwinbook.com once again, that’s freetwinbook.com. Now let’s jump straight into that interview. Today, I would like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins, Steven Driver. Welcome to the show, Steven.
Hello. Thanks for having me.
Steven, how old are your twins right now and what’s something exciting about this age?
They are nearly 18 months old in about, I’d say about two weeks. And what’s really exciting is that they’ve recently started walking. And basically, that’s given us a lot of freedom with them as well, you’d have to kind of put them around in the pushchair and in the rain. And they’re actually today they’re out in the rain in puddle suits, splashing around having fun playing together. And that’s just a joy to see them playing together. And that’s just really exciting to see them develop and become more like toddlers rather than babies.
Do you have two girls? Two boys are one of each?
We have two girls. Yeah.
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Are they identical? Or fraternal?
They’re not identical.
And are these twins your only children? Or do you have another?
No, we have a child that’s only 18 months older than they are. So an older sister.
So you mentioned that your girls have just started walking was one of them started that process early. And the other followed, are were they kind of the same time?
Kind of the same time. What was really funny was that one of the this is where their personalities are so different. One of them have has been trying to walk in for a very long time, months and months. But it’s so reliant on other people, just the personality of someone who’d rather be helped to walk. But the other one kind of stormed through in a couple of weeks when they realize oh, it’s much better to walk same time because then the other one realized, Oh, it’s better if I actually get up and join in. So yeah, it was about the same time that came from different angles.
We saw that pattern in our girls, where one would figure out something in this case, maybe walking, and then the other sister would want to do that same thing. And so she would learn just by watching her sister do it.
Yeah, I think there was a collaborative experience there. I think she’s the one who actually eventually started walking first, actually had seen the other one being lifted up and walked around a load more because she seemed more eager. But I think the whole time she was just studying it. So when she came through was she just surprised us all, with her eagerness to do it. And then the other one realized, yeah, I want to join in, I’m going to let go of dad’s hand and go for it.
(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….)
So now that they’re walking, there’s no stopping them from getting into trouble or mischief. Have you done anything around the house to try to keep them contained or safe?
Yeah, we have a playpen in the middle of the living room, my wife calls it the baby jail. Which is perfect, really we open it up and but lock in the area that we want them to be in. And they seem to love that. It keeps them safe. Otherwise, they’d be going up and down the stairs, which would be really dangerous. Our house so yeah, we use a playpen, keep them contained.
You have another girl who’s not much older than the twins. So what gear or equipment or supplies did you need that you couldn’t reuse from your first singleton?
The pushchair was major one. So we had to look into something that could handle three children at the same time because you know, she was only 18 months old she wasn’t gonna be able to walk for long distances and still can’t really like it’s a lots of fun, nearly three year old and so we had to research and find one that would suit our situation and that took a long time. And thankfully, my wife’s grandparents gave us some money so we could buy this really nice one. But if I can say what it is but it’s Lots of Babies one which is just brilliant for us because you can have This attaches from the front. So if you wanted just to be for two kids, you can but also it can handle three. And you can actually get an attachment with handles for. So that’s been really, that’s a big thing that we had to adjust to we also got a bigger car. That was our immediate response was that all we needed a bigger car to handle it all.
What was the was the brand name of the push chair?
It’s called the Lots of Babies T3.
And that fits nicely in your new car as well?
Yeah, we had to get an estate to do it big boot. But it fits, yeah.
(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….)
Were there any other changes around the house, they needed to make to accommodate two new ones?
we had to change the room layout which room we were in a room the living room was in. So basically, just to make sure the cots could fit. Because there would be two of them. I don’t think much else that I think we were already in a very strong place with the first child who like to say 18 months old, you’ve got things ready, which was a, you know, a real blessing to us to know that. Actually, we didn’t have to, really, we were already in shape of looking after a baby. We were just adding two.
There’s already so much changing with the addition of twins. So if you already have some things in order, that’s fantastic. So your older daughter was, was still very young, when the twins were born, what was her reaction to having two little sisters?
initially incredibly excited. You know, she, she loves babies. She had already got like a little baby doll and things. And so she’s just been really excited about the whole thing. She doesn’t like them crying. That was very clear, very early on, she would get quite distressed when the girls were crying at the same time. I think she joined me in with me, really, my wife when both of them were going at full pelt that we then had to calm her down. Because she you know, she was getting quite wound up by the fact that babies wouldn’t stop crying. So it’s kind of a domino effect, something that we still encounter. Now if both of them go, our eldest will cry with them. Because she’s distressed for them. Which is very sweet on one side, but also, you know, it’s it’s a very difficult situation when you’re pushing a pushchair up a hill to have to then try and calm all three of them down at the same time.
Yeah, that can get a little bit overwhelming when all three are going at the same time for sure. How are you able to manage getting them down for naps, or bedtime when they may all be on different schedules, the twins versus your three year old?
We’ve gone come with the solution that our eldest deserves her own time with us. And so she will always get an hour later than what the twins have. So she’s so recently we just moved the schedules around a little bit. But we always put the twins down one hour before. And then she needs less nap time anyway. And so we get them all up at the same time. But she goes later. And she’s been incredibly flexible with that it doesn’t seem to disturb things too badly. And initially, there was no issues anywhere because there were so different that she just did her thing. But when we got into a routine of nap times, she there was definitely a pattern that emerged that she would have an hour later, particularly the big morning nap.
What is the typical schedule on a daily basis right now for your twins, like what time do they wake up and eat and things like that?
They’re waking up to between seven and eight in the morning, which is great. They’re sleeping through now that’s just started happening. One of them didn’t for a while, until very recently, and then would have breakfast soon after that. Then the we play they’ve got, they play in the playpen, run around, do do activities. Normally now we’re putting the need snack at some point and some activities to more to stimulate them and to entertain them a lot more than they use to. 11 o’clock they go down for a nap. It’s their only nap of the day. Then we they wake up at about one o’clock they have two hours. And then they have lunch. And then the afternoon we do the big activity because there’s a big swell of time. So we normally go out which at the moment during lockdown is just we’re surrounded by countryside where I am. So basically a walk in the countryside and dinner at five, five o’clock six, and then about an hour long bedtime routine. They’re down at seven o’clock in the evening. That’s that seems to be what’s consistently come out now as being their day.
So as you look back over these last 18 months with your twins, what were some of the things that surprised you, maybe they were different than with your, your first daughter?
I think the biggest surprise for me is that is that for the my first one, I everything kind of went as well as it could have gone in terms of her her sleep patterns when she was born, like she was really easy to use quite she self entertains as well. She all that kind of stuff. But the second one is the labor was really, really difficult. My wife had an emergency c section on the second child. So the first one came out relatively normal with an epidural. And then the second one was a C section. And I got a minor form of PTSD that I didn’t realize that had until about six months later, where I had counseling, and the counselor said, Oh, you clearly got this. And that shock, everything. So my reactions to things, when they were very little, or much more extreme, not just because there was two of them. But because the relation I had to the that the labor, and that was really shocking to me, obviously, to struggle with something that came quite easily with the first child, that the labor had this big effect for at least their first kind of nine to 10 months of their life. So it’s only in the last six months, really that I’ve managed to get out of this kind of loop, and into a more positive way of dealing with them. And now what it does feel very similar to how it was with our first child.
So how have you been able to change maybe your interactions with them or your behaviors to make that a more positive experience?
Well, it mainly affected with one of the twins, it was really odd. The first one that was fine was I had a great relationship with quite easy, I didn’t react second was the issue. So I did everything that I could to spend one on one time with the with that child and you know, bring them upstairs and play with them, if they were crying be the one to deal with it. So I could get used to how they reacted to things. It’s all you know, treat them as their individual person that they are. And, and I found that to be really helpful, I think I still do now is to try and separate them from time to time, just so I can spend one on one time with all three of them, and know what their reactions are to things because they are significantly different people and and reacting to them takes practice to know what works for them. So it’s not it’s not I can’t, I can’t treat them all the same in the way that I deal with that crying needs to be different. So that was something I learned by taking action. In my parenting, I guess.
that’s great. I found that when I spend one on one time with my children as well that you’re able to build that relationship, that bond with them a little bit easier and able to see their individual personalities and that really helps nurture that relationship. So it’s great, you’re able to find that time to do that. You mentioned the birth did not quite go as you had expected. And obviously they had some ramifications down the road. Let’s go back to when when you found out it was time to have the babies. How did you find that out and let’s talk through that day?
So my wife was induced. So we had a date. That was two weeks before her official due date. Don’t know if that’s common where you are but it is where we are. And the so we had this day and she had a she was already apparently a centimeter gone, which is great. And so it is very kind of very organized, the way that it all happened. We knew that there were different very likely that there’ll be a c section and all that kind of stuff. It took a long time, the whole process, there was a induction that happened that the induction took a long time to really work. And then we got to the point where we actually got moved to a surgical suite where they were they did some kind of a little bit of hormones into my wife’s system to really speed things along which led to the epidural because the epidural, the hormones, were making things so severe that they needed to give her an epidural to deal with the pain of that because it was far more than you would normally experience the day just kind of went really it was very, very slow for a very long time. And then it was very, very quick. So first, first one came out within like 10 minutes of being told she was going into they’re going to deliver now And then the speed of which they took her into an actual surgery theater room. And I came in late and it was very difficult. That whole thing because you just don’t know what to expect, and you’re holding one child’s, and then your wife is in a different room, and you don’t know what’s happening to her. And you are then put in late. And then you see kind of all the things you’re not supposed to see, I think I normally try and keep your, your eyes away from kind of the surgery of it. But because I came in late, I did see things I really shouldn’t. And then so I was just holding this child I hadn’t really met. And then given this other child that had caused my wife, a lot of distress in her body at this, she was actually quite drugged up. So she had no idea what was going on. But I knew her body did suffer quite a lot. And then we had the normal kind of recovery period, afterwards, which meant that she couldn’t do very much my eldest was with us. And so she couldn’t pick up my oldest when she was crying, and still had the twins as well. So there was a lot on all at the same time. So it was a bit of a difficult, very slow thing became very quick, and then became hugely impactful. We knew that having twins would be impactful, but I think that the whole combination, made it that much more.
Yeah, everything is kind of turned upside down. Very quickly. In those moments, I can see why you had some lingering challenges with that after the birth. Did your girls have any complications? So they needed to stay in the hospital? Or were they able to come home soon thereafter?
Yeah, we were out within a few days. Yeah, there were a good size, I can’t I think it was five pounds that they were which was both so they were even in weight, there was no issues with their feeding. And I think also there was a false confidence in us because we had, obviously again, we had a child, a baby or a baby that just become a toddler. So I was them watching us to make sure we knew what we were doing. They felt like they could just let us get on with it. So yeah, absolutely fine.
How was your wife’s recovery from the C section?
Really well, she was definitely textbook in what they said it would be like her recovery. I think the big shock and and I think maybe helpful to others to hear is that once you get to the C section, you’ve got you go into you’re in a hospital bed. So if you want to get up, you can just press a button that helps you up and you don’t realize that you’re not using muscles when you’re doing that you are using the bed to do that. And so when we came home, it was a huge shock to us, actually, that she couldn’t get out of bed. She couldn’t, she couldn’t lift her body up. And that was she actually had to sleep on a chair for a long time, for a lot of time because she just couldn’t move in any other way she couldn’t pull herself up, because our bed just wasn’t suitable. And so then if it’s helpful to others to hear listening, but the idea of just having that in mind when you come home if your wife has had that operation that there’s issues when it comes to just getting themselves up in the morning or out of bed at any point.
We discovered after my wife’s csection, just how tall our bed was that we were not you know, we weren’t expecting that so easy to jump in and out of bed until you have major abdominal surgery and then you realize oh maybe this is a little higher than I’m used to how did feeding go for the infants? Were was mom able to breastfeed or did you bottle feed?
Yeah at the start she breastfed both of them and did so for the first three months and very successfully. You know, she she got into a position of you know of comfort doing it and it was great. Though she got incredibly tired and exhausted, you know that late nights babies up or nice and and going into that position that my mom actually said, we came over we stayed with my mom and dad and my mom persuaded us and helped me persuade talk to Sarah, Sarah and talk to her about it as well. To not stop breastfeeding but to to mix feed because she was getting really tired to the point of she was getting ill regularly her body was just exhausted from the whole thing. So we now she until they were a year old they don’t really have bottles now and that’s just go to bed. Going to sleep at night but she mix fed because it was just destroying her ability to do anything. So yeah, that’s what she does. Now. What she did until they were a year old.
that’s a great reminder that it’s okay to adjust course as we go along with twins, sometimes feeding works one way and then you have to make sure that’s working for both the babies and mom and the family as a whole. Otherwise, it’s okay to adjust and do something different. How was your work situation when the twins arrived, and how were you able to manage time off with them?
my work were fantastic. I work for a church in in my town as a youth worker. And they were really gracious. So they gave me a month off. I remember my boss saying you’ve got two so you get two we get two weeks, usually in the UK as paternity leave. And he gave me a four. Because he said to get double it for the two kids. So that was great. But not only that, the and also the option to do it, how I wanted to utilize the paternity leave the way I wanted it. So they way we chose to do it was we had two weeks normally, and then utilizing my date, days off mixed with my paternity leave to fought to basically mean that I’m only going into work or doing any work maybe once a week for and I think that lasted for about it lasted for quite a long time about 10 weeks. So I was really I had a really good run of very little work. And on top of that the church because I worked for them and knew our situation. For the first month and a half they fed us so they cooked meals for us every single day. So we’d have like someone knock on our door and give us a pie or something. So yeah, my work situation was absolutely the best you could imagine. To be honest. It was really, really good. And the same goes for my wife’s one as well. They were that school that she’s a teacher. And they they’ve been brilliant with her as well.
That’s fantastic. Yeah, they have such a supportive workplace and community to help you get started with your twins. That’s, that’s wonderful. have both you and your wife come back to work at this point?
Yeah she’s, she wasn’t full time after the first anyway. But she’s going back to two days a week and I work full time. So yeah, so I work five days a week, full time as well. So it that’s worked out fine. In lockdown. It’s been interesting. Teachers here to do mobile learning. So she’s working from home. And I’ve got the kids downstairs in the living room. And I’ve been able to have furlough. So I’m not working one of those days as well as my day off to supplement that. So and that’s been absolutely fine. That’s where we’re at at the moment. So where I take days off and have a furlough day to look after the kids when she’s working. And I work on the other days,
As you look back over the last 18 months with your twins and three years as a father, what are some things that you’ve been able to do to keep your relationship strong with your wife?
We’re very passionate about date nights, and making time for that. And for also not being ashamed of our kids knowing that it’s a date night and all that stuff. So you know, we we set time, once a month, at least, to have an evening together, where we can just have fun, enjoy each other’s company, do something special. So you know, we had a special date night on Saturday, where we watched one of these kinds of live theater things that are streamed, which was fantastic. And that that kind of stuff that would just make us laugh and spend good quality time together. That’s been really special and something we’re very determined to keep going.
For sure. That’s a wonderful tradition to have. Even if it’s just taking time while you’re at home and the kids are asleep. You don’t even have to leave the house to make sure you’re spending time together. That’s great. So Steven, as we wrap up today, if listeners want to connect with you, what’s the best way to reach out?
Facebook is definitely the best place to get in contact with me.
Excellent. And I’ll link up to that in the show notes for this episode. Steven, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.
Great. No problem. Thank you for having me.
I hope you enjoy that chat with Steven about his adventures as a father of twins plus one if you want to connect with Steven I’ve linked up his contact information in the show notes for this episode over at twindadpodcast.com if you would like to share your story like Steven did today, please reach out to me, my email is [email protected] or you can reach me on instagram or twitter @twindadjoe. And of course we’re on Facebook as well. facebook.com/dadsguidetotwins. Hey, since you just listened to a podcast I know you love audio. And so you can get a free audio book version of my first book “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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