High Risk Twin Pregnancy (TTTS and TAPS) with Anton Mykhaylov – Podcast 252

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - November 9, 2021

High Risk Twin Pregnancy (TTTS and TAPS)

Episode 252 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Anton Mykhaylov, father of identical twin boys. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:

  • Had a high risk pregnancy – TTTS, TAPS
  • Laser surgery to separate boys and drain fluid
  • Water broke at 33 weeks and rush to hospital
  • Premature birth leading to the boys staying in NICU for 30 days
  • How to interact with twins in NICU
  • Wife pumping to feed boys
  • Twins sleeping in twin bassinet
  • Taking shifts as parents during the night
  • Hiring a nanny to help with the twins
  • The gear that they’ve found most helpful
  • Traveling with infants

Connect with Anton via email.

Podcast Transcript

This is auto-generated so please forgive any mistakes.

Joe 0:00
As you know, twin pregnancies can be quite risky. So what do you do if your twins are at risk of actually not making it through the pregnancy? Today we talked with a father of twins, who had that exact thing happened with his twin boys during the pregnancy. We’ll talk about what they did to help save the lives of their boys, and how things have been going so before.

Intro 0:19
Welcome to the Dad’s 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, the “Dad’s Guide to Twins” Joe Rawlinson.

Joe 0:35
Hey everybody, welcome to the 252nd 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 can listen to all previous podcast episodes. Today we get real with another father of twins and some of the hardcore challenges that he and his wife and the babies had during the pregnancy and after birth. But the good news is that they’ve made it through and you can too, so want to take some inspiration, some motivation from this podcast, even though there may be challenges that you may face with your twins, life and death challenges. You can get through those and make it out on the other side. Before jumping on interview, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by my first book, it’s called “Dad’s Guide to Twins”, you can get a free audiobook version through audible over at freetwinbook.com once again, that’s freetwinbook.com.

(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)

Today we are continuing our father twins interview series with a father of twins where he and his wife had some serious complications with the twins during the pregnancy and we’re gonna jump into those details in a minute. One thing we do talk about is TTTS and TAPS. Now those are both acronyms TTTS like we’ve talked about before on the podcast is twin to twin transfusion syndrome. And TAPS is Twin Anemia Polycythemia Sequence. those are both mouthfuls but now you know why we refer to them most often by their acronyms, TAPS and TTTS. So our guest today will jump into some details of how his twins went through this experience with taps in particular. But I just wanna let you know that, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, TAPS is a rare condition that occurs when there are unequal blood counts between the twins in the womb. unequal blood counts caused the twins to suffer from an imbalance in red blood cells. And hemoglobin. Let’s means that one twin is not receiving the appropriate amount of oxygen and nutrients. It needs to develop properly. TAPS can occur randomly with twins and has a much more severe case of twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Okay, so some of those details under your belt. You’re ready to jump into our conversation today. Today I’d like to welcome to the show father of twins Anton Mykhaylov. Welcome to the show, Anton.

Anton 2:42
Thanks for having me, Joe.

Joe 2:44
Anton, how old are your twins right now and what’s something exciting about this age?

Anton 2:49
They’re about three months just to age. So they’re born premature 33 weeks on March 24th something exciting I think there are smiling a lot now they’re a lot more interactive. They’re not just you know, kind of lay there and stare at you blankly so it’s you know, they, they play with toys, they know this you. And something exciting is that they also started noticing each other very recently. So that’s that’s also been fun to see that. And just they just seem like they’re very curious now about the world around them. So it’s so it’s fun to see them do new things and just kind of explore.

Joe 3:33
Do you have boys girls, or one of each?

Anton 3:34
identical twin boys

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Joe 3:36
Yep. So let’s go back to when you found out that you would be having twins. What was your family situation like at that time? And how was your reaction to that news?

Anton 3:44
These are first kids. And it was kind of funny the way we found out about it. My This is my wife’s I think it was her first. First your second ultrasound. And you know, this is during COVID obviously kind of the height of the pandemic. So I wasn’t able to go to her ultrasound appointment or a lot of them actually. But we were we were doing a FaceTime call and the audio is kind of coming in and out. And, you know, she was she’s female something and I didn’t quite catch that. And I said like, what, what do you say? And she said, Did you hear what what the tech said? There’s two in there. So that was a really, really fun surprise. For us. I wasn’t really happy about it. We actually talked about having twins, you know, while we were trying to get pregnant, and I was kind of like, well, I really want to have twin girls I really want to girls, but you know, where we end up with boys, which is just as great I think. And they, you know, they’re, they’re healthy and they’re doing great, which is the most important part. But yeah, very stoked about it.

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Joe 4:58
That’s great. That’s interesting. Whether you were We’ll find out even though it was remote, I guess that’s the age that we live in these days, we can’t always be in person to things even important milestones like that. You mentioned that you’re you weren’t able to go with your wife very often. How were you able to stay involved there during the pregnancy to stay up to date with with what was happening was all like via FaceTime or zoom calls?

Anton 5:19
Yeah, you know, when we we had an MFM assigned to us because we had a high risk pregnancy. So you know, our, you know, our boys were, you know, we were diagnosed with having a twin to twin transfusion syndrome and taps. So we have a more kind of critical care person assigned to us, and MFM, sort of ob gyn. So for those appointments, my wife would just call me on FaceTime. And I would just join in and listen and ask questions, which was, which was helpful. So as mostly, mostly that and then further, kind of further, more into the deeper into their pregnancy, I was able to go to some appointments, and then we had one of those, I don’t know if you ever heard of this place called the belly factory. But you can, you can go and get kind of an ultrasound there. And they, they take a lot, lots of 3d pictures, which is pretty fun. So he you know, it was kind of a perfect alternative place during pet during COVID. Because the hospital where we’re wasn’t allowing a partner to come in for the ultrasounds. So we’re able to get into this other place to get to get an ultrasound together, and you know, look at the pictures and then wiggling around. It was really fun.

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Joe 6:46
That’s good. That’s clever way to work around the system to get a good picture of your babies, for sure. You mentioned that they were higher risk, they had twin to twin transfusion syndrome, and TAPs. So when did you find out that that was the case?

Anton 6:59
We found out fairly early on. Because with with twins, we started getting ultrasounds. I mean, I think at one point, we were getting like four ultrasounds a week, you know, they noticed that their fluid levels were off, they were fairly low. And over time, they started getting, you know, lower and lower, and we started getting more worried, obviously. And that’s when we started looking at, you know, looking at treatments for twin-to-twin transfusion. And we found a wonderful team at John Hopkins. So highly recommend John Hopkins, for anyone that’s has the unfortunate luck of going through the same thing. They have a great, great team of doctors and staff for that, for that issue. And it was, it was kind of refreshing because I called the number at the hospital and an actual doctor picked up and kind of talked me through a lot of things which instilled a lot of confidence in me and my wife, we call it around a few different places. But this was the only place for an actual doctor to cut the phone, which is kind of unexpected, and kind of talk through all of the things that we should expect, you know, the procedure monitoring. And so we started checking in with them fairly often. And then eventually, you know, we did with another scan and saw that the levels were like super, super low, I think they’re like point two or something like that. They’re just like kind of dangerously low. And then we ended up having to fly out to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, to get laser the laser ablation surgery to save, save their lives, basically. So it was pretty scary. Pretty scary and stressful time. But thankfully we were able to get there really quickly. And the surgery was was successful. I will say it was kind of an all of that it was kind of neat to see them going inside with the instruments that kind of the camera you could have I saw, like the boys his hands and feet, which is kind of neat to see. But yeah, that was was pretty stressful. pretty stressful time. One of the we had a couple of stressful times, but that was probably one of the more stressful times that we had during a pregnancy.

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Joe 9:31
Yeah, that does sound pretty intense. Tell us a little bit more about that procedure. And you mentioned you’re able to see some things were you in the room or observing remotely?

Anton 9:39
Yeah, the procedure itself didn’t take too long, I think and you know, she didn’t my wife didn’t. Kelly didn’t have to be put under. It was kind of local anesthesia. And what they do is they go into they enter into one of the sacs. So we had our twins were mono-di. So they each have their own sac and but they’re attached to the same placenta, one placenta. So, they had to enter it through one of the boy’s sacs and then they go in and what they do is they do essentially laser the placenta along the epicenter. So, with Twin Twin transfusion and taps basically the placenta has all these connecting blood vessels You know, one of the one of the one of the boys is getting a lot like a ton of blood flow and the other one is not getting outside. So, the blood almost becomes kind of like coagulated and just moves very, very slowly. And same with the fluids, you know, one is the donor one is the recipient recipient, so, one is getting a lot more fluids and the other one is not as barely getting any at all. So, so what they do is they go in they want is they drain the fluids from, from from the recipient, who has kind of too much fluid. And then they also laser along the placenta, and kind of tried to cut those connections with the blood vessels so that the flow of blood equals out. And the and the, during this whole time they go in with this instrument, they just kind of Enter Enter in and there’s a carry on there and then there’s a big, big screen and you can kind of see the whole happen in real time. Which is kind of neat. But yeah, that’s kind of the gist of it.

Joe 11:38
how long did the procedure take?

Anton 11:40
About 40 minutes and then we stayed a few more days near the hospital for recovery and just some kind of checking in it’s a pretty I will say it’s a it’s a pretty high risk procedure as well. But essentially when you get to the point if you don’t get the surgery done then it’s almost guaranteed that either one or both of both the both of the kids what would die so but the procedure there’s a there’s a good chance that both will be saved depends on kind of the situation there. But you know, things could also go wrong, you know, there’s no guarantees. So there’s been definitely there’s been instances where you know, something happens and one of the either one or both of them could also kind of know there can be complications that happen during the procedure so that it’s not a sure thing but it’s kind of the only the only thing that you can do to save their lives when you get to that point.

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Joe 12:45
Right so definitely worth the worth the effort there. So you flew to Baltimore you’re there for a few days after a procedure and came home and were there any lingering complications because of this?

Anton 12:54
my wife actually felt like significantly the better after the procedure was done because she had so much extra fluid built up because of this twin to twin transfusion. So they drained about 1.3 liters of fluid out of her and she felt I think like instantly better you know prior to that she was very uncomfortable. It was painful to just kind of do some basic movements for her and a lot of discomfort but after the procedure she actually felt like a ton better you know and we kind of you know without even going to the doctor a week before being diagnosed with this we kind of sort of thought that something was a ride just because of how quickly how how big she got and how quickly you know it was even with twins we both kind of were kind of like something’s wrong because that you know just an increase in size kind of quickly and that was because of the fluid build build up that was happening. So once once they were able to drain on all of that out of her she felt a ton better so the procedure was actually obviously life saving for the for the boys but also a lot of benefits for her as well.

Joe 14:13
Is this something that you had to pay for out of pocket or was this covered at all by insurance from work or anything like that?

Anton 14:18
Well our insurance was able to cover it. So my wife works at University of Chicago hospital and so she has that nice hospital insurance and Hopkins is thankfully connected with her hospital so she was able to use her insurance on the procedure. So we didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket but from what I understand that it’s it’s, it can be fairly expensive if your insurance does not cover it, especially just the ultrasounds alone. You know, when we got diagnosed with this, we’re just getting, we’re getting an ultrasound twice a week. And then when it started to get worse in terms Have fluid levels. And some of the other symptoms, you know, we were getting going in sometimes like three four times for ultrasound. So we have tons of tons of baby pictures, which is great for an ultrasound. But I imagine, you know, if you don’t have great insurance, it’s something that would be fairly expensive.

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Joe 15:19
Yeah, and a lot of our international listeners are always like, What are you talking about insurance, it’s not just covered. So we have a kind of a unique set up here in the States. But I’m glad that you were able to get the care that you needed for your babies and for your wife. Did she? Does she have to go on any kind of bed rest because of this? or was she still very active and working?

Anton 15:38
No, thankfully, not. Yeah, we were worried worried about that, too. You know, there has been some instances where they, I guess some, some people recommend that dressed But no, you know, she was able to get the procedure, you know, and then recover, go back, you know, go back to work. And then once, once she gave birth, you know, she was able to go on maternity leave, and kind of do all the same things. She wasn’t able to drive for, I think, a few weeks after the procedure, just because she was in some pain medication and things like that, but nothing, nothing too serious. In terms of, you know, things that she can she can or she can’t do.

Joe 16:27
You mentioned, this wasn’t the only complication or surprised was there something else during the pregnancy that hit you?

Anton 16:33
I mentioned earlier that they were premature. So we ended up staying in the NICU for a month 30 days, and I’d say that was that was probably more stressful than the procedure, you know, getting getting a surgery done. It was just disheartening to leave them in the hospital in the beginning for you know, for a while, and then eventually my wife was able to kind of use in us some influence to be able to stay in the hospital with them. So she would she you know, they ended up shooting them getting like a car over there. When they moved them to, from the, from the NICU ICU, up to a more kind of a transitional unit. So she was able to get, like a car up there, and she camped out there for the rest of their stay. And then I was you know, working during that time, so I would, you know, I’d work from eight, until five or show or 4pm or so. And then every day I would, after our drive down to the hospital to see the boys and her and stay there until about like nine or 10pm and then go go home. So very long days, you seen your kids hooked up to a lot of wires alarms always going off. And then, you know, the unit the ice unit that we were in is not how would you said it wasn’t private, right. So there were maybe like eight other beds in there. And during during our stay, there are a couple of babies that unfortunately passed away while we were there. So it’s kind of a you know, kind of a scary place to be in and very stressful. And you just you know, you’re while you’re there, you know you’re hanging out with your kids, and then you know a few feet away you’re hearing you know, Doctor talking to some other parents and they’re giving him you know, telling him that like hey to your, your kid has like two to three months to live. And it’s just, it’s just a rough, rough environment to be in, especially when you first get in there. And you know, he seen your kids hooked up to all these alarms and wires, and there’s alarms going off all the time, and the nurses are running over and it’s just, it’s just a lot like a lot of stimulation, you know, to deal with. I think it still bothers me a little bit to this day to be honest. And so in some ways, I mean, I’m it’s kind of in the rearview mirror, but whenever I think about that time, it’s always kind of always stirs some emotions inside of me.

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Joe 19:06
Oh, for sure. I mean, you had to go through the TAPS challenge during the pregnancy which was a huge huge ordeal and possibly risk of losing them and then have them in the NICU and you know, maybe a repeat risk as well. It definitely can leave some some scars, for sure.

Anton 19:24
Yeah, I mean, my wife’s a trooper, she, she stayed there, you know, for a long time with them. And, yeah, it’s very hard to for I guess for anyone that’s considering doing the same, it’s very hard to sleep, just because the nurses are always coming in, in and out doing various tests and all that stuff. You know, obviously there’s alarms going off and babies are making noise. So, you know, there were like a lot of days where she would get maybe three, four hours of sleep and I could see that she was kind of starting to deteriorate a little bit mentally and I had to pull her out of out of there a couple times and kind of force her to go home. Get a full night’s sleep a few times which was hard to see her having to go through that but you’d be amazed what some full a full night’s of sleep can do to a person in terms of recovery

Joe 20:14
was this the same hospital where she works at?

Anton 20:17
yeah yep same hospital I don’t believe they normally allow parents to spend the night and kind of I guess live there which is true basically living there for almost a month but I think that was mostly because she you know, she was an employee and she was able to kind of influence some of those things there

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Joe 20:37
yeah, that does sound like a unique setup most most parents visit during the day and like you did as the dad and then they go home at night and repeat the process the next day

Anton 20:46
Yeah, yeah, it was for me it was kind of interesting to see some people just visiting for maybe 10 minutes or so and then leaving I don’t know seemed to me I guess it seemed a little short I suppose. But I know everyone everyone’s situation is different. Everyone’s got their own schedules but thankfully we were able to spend a lot of time with them given kind of our our situation even when they were in the NICU

Joe 21:12
How are you able to interact with the boys in the NICU were you are able to hold them touch touch them, feed them?

Anton 21:16
Oh yeah, they love us they let us hold them they were under those that UV lamp for in the beginning for a while but and even during that time we were able to take them out and hold them they were able to take one of those isolettes to scan to scan to have them hold them you know that’s why that’s where I learned how to change diapers. I never had to do that before but it’s in a way it was kind of a good way for like maybe I would say maybe like a new dad to learn a lot of stuff from nurses there and they’re very helpful and knowledgeable and you can I just asked a lot of questions and they let me you know do some things that I you know they helped guide me through so with the boys which I think helped me kind of when we when we finally took them home and I was more comfortable with just you know just holding them because you know and then NICU they were so kind of frail looking you know and you just kind of afraid of even just changing their diaper you’re like oh man I I’m afraid to I’m going to twist something they’re wrong way or hurt them or something like that. But you know the kids are a lot more resilient than you think it’s just that little extra level of comfort of doing that with some support from nurses was was helpful as well.

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Joe 22:40
Yeah, that’s true. I hear from a lot of dads I mean myself I had the same experience where I was trying to learn as much as I could in the hospital from the experts before I got sent home and was responsible for everything myself So you mentioned that your boys were premature that’s what led to the time that NICU did did their birth sneak up on you or or how did that come about?

Anton 22:59
We both got home from work or you know my wife got home from work and I just finished working it was around like six o’clock or so. And I was on the phone with this this guy that owns this brewery that we were planning our wedding in and I was trying to book this venue so I was downstairs in a phone with him and my wife is upstairs and all of a sudden I hear like antani Tom and I go upstairs and you know there’s she’s in the bathroom and there’s all this fluid on the ground and for a second for a second I was like wait are you did your water break and Are you sure and there was just like so much fluid that was kind of kind of obvious but it’s still shocking to see it first so we you know we already had like our bags prepped ahead of time very important to do that just so you can kind of get your bags ready and just jump in a car so we grabbed some blankets and stuff for her you know cuz she was leaking all the fluid which happens put them in, put them in a car with her and grabbed our bags and jumped down and started driving and I have a little bit I was fairly nervous to the point where I actually missed one of the one of the exits on the highway and kind of a double backup sort of but we still you know made it to the asphalt on time and everything still made it that still made it there fairly quickly. And then you know, she got admitted she was put on monitors and I started going to some some pain so I had I asked the nurse to bring the doctor and when we first got there the doctor actually said well you know we can I think we can keep you here for like a week. You know so you can you know so we can kind of stretch it out for maybe a week. They didn’t think that she was gonna go you know Go into pregnancy right away. But yeah, and then shortly, like, around midnight, she started having a lot of pain. So I called the Doctor back and she was like, yep, you’re going into labor. So, you know, shortly after that, I, they moved, they moved her over to the, you know, a bar, there was like a huge, huge team there for because I guess you need to, you know, kind of double the size for twins. There’s, like 20 or 30 people in the room. But I was sitting outside sitting outside waiting for them to call me in. And, and my wife Kelly told me that, I guess they like forgot to call me in or they forgot to ask them to call me and so they finally got someone to run down and get me and I got there just in time for for the birth. Like at the last second. I saw them I saw them pulling out pulling the boys out, like one of the time it was done really quickly. They were born in the same minute. And it was a it was a C section procedure. with twins and kind of the situation that we’re in. But yeah, it was kind of cool to see that. But also just kind of, you know, it’s, it’s like 3am, you’re tired. And it’s just like really overwhelming. You’re in the room with like, 20-30 people and all this stuff is happening so fast. It’s kind of a blur. And then, you know, they asked me to cut the cord for each of the boys, which I was also nervous. But I was like, Is it okay to cuddle here is Are you sure? And I did it. And then they took the boys away. And then the week kind of went to kind of the recovery area. And we’re just hanging out to hospital there. And I I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at some point when next to my wife when we were still waiting in the recovery area because it was like super late and I was exhausted.

Joe 26:55
Yes, the middle of the night we had a fever kids born in the middle of night and yeah, and you like wait all day mom’s and labor all days just wants it once the birth happens. It’s just a huge sigh of relief. Did you know right away that the boys are going to be in the NICU? Or did they tell you what was going on there?

Anton 27:09
No, you know, I, I didn’t know I think I might Kelly was saying that, like, you know, they’re gonna be in the NICU, they’re gonna end up there. But I didn’t really know what that meant. You know. And I understood that they’d be they’d have to stay at the hospital for some time to kind of just learn how to be a baby, I guess you know, we just need to fat, fatten up a little bit, gain some weight, learn how to, you know, feed all of that stuff. So I wasn’t I would say I was not really prepared for it. There was just something I just, I guess I just got kind of thrown into and had to sort of learn learn as we went along and adapt to it was definitely a lot of lot of adjustments during the pregnancy if we had to make kind of, there’s always some kind of like a next level evolution that we have to learn how to deal with. But yeah, I didn’t really know what being in the queue meant, but it’s definitely I would say probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life is just work through work through the NICU stay.

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Joe 28:21
Yeah, babies go to the NICU for many different reasons that sound like, like yours, they just needed more time to grow and be able to be self sufficient.

Anton 28:29
Yeah, yeah, thankfully, it was, they didn’t really have any I mean, other than the, let’s call the bilirubin levels were slightly elevated, you know, they had to be under the UV lamp a few times. That was really the only thing. And then, you know, then the kids learning how to feed, which was also very frustrating, you know, it’s because they have to, you know, in the nichia, they have to meet a certain kind of level or threshold before they release them. So we’re always like, come on, just, you know, drink these two miles or one ml of have milk and, you know, and you’re always just like, it’s just a stressful, like, it’s always everything is just stressful, you know, because you’re, they have to meet certain criteria through discharge. So you’re always kind of trying your hardest to do everything you can for them to feed themselves and gain weight and do all these things. And it’s like, you always have somebody kind of watching over your shoulder and this kind of external force deciding whether you can take your children home or not.

Joe 29:32
Was everything bottle fed? Or was your wife trying to breastfeed or express?

Anton 29:37
Oh, she was she was pumping. Yeah, she pumped a lot. So we had a lot of, and we still, you know, we’re still breastfeeding. The boys. I will continue to do that until they start, you know, trying, trying solid foods and stuff like that. But yeah, then we didn’t we didn’t use formula or anything like that. Just Just breast milk. And yeah, thankfully, she pumped a lot actually during that time. And now we have a, we have a giant freezer full of full of breast milk as a backup, which is great now that, you know, she’s back to work and on days where, you know, there’s been some days where I had to watch both of them at by myself, you know, I can just use the bottles and use breast milk to feed them.

Joe 30:25
How was the transition to home and getting used to life with with infants in the house?

Anton 30:31
They sleep in a twin bassinet right now, I would say it was pretty hard in the beginning just getting sleep down. You know, they, they, it was hard to get him to sleep, and then they would just make a ton of noise throughout the night. And it was almost impossible to sleep, we both tried to be in the room with them at the same time in the beginning. And then that wasn’t really working well, because neither one of us were was getting enough any sleep really. And they were just getting frustrated and stressed out. So we ended up doing shifts where, you know, like I would watch them from, like 9pm until 2am. And then my wife would sleep during that time, and then around to 2:30am, we would switch so I would go to sleep and then she would come in and stay in the room with them. And watch them. But so that was that was pretty hard in the beginning. But now they’re I think somebody told us I forgot, I think one of Kelly’s friends said something like, you know, once they gain 10 pounds, and once they get into that 10 pound range, like everything becomes easier. And that person was was right. I don’t know if that’s like a magic number or watch. But once they hit that weight range there, they started to sleeping a lot better. And they would, they would wake up, you know, maybe like three times a night. But now most of the time they that like last night, for example, they woke up at like, three 3:30am or so. And then and then the second time they woke up around 640 or 6:50am. So most of the time now they they’ve only wake up a couple of times starting tonight, you know, I just changed her diaper and my wife eats them and we put them back to sleep. And most of the time they go back to sleep. Now, now we’re during the daytime that were sort of it’s a new challenge of naptime. So they’re pretty good with like their first morning nap like around 11am and the subsequent one, but then more closer to late FM is that they just sometimes refuse to go to sleep, and then they end up getting like pretty cranky around bedtime. So it’s been kind of a evolution with with sleep. But yeah, definitely in the beginning, it was super hard. And it was where it was down. And probably in the first two, three days when we had them home just because they just wouldn’t sleep and they’re just making a lot of noise and waking up quite often. So

Joe 33:03
yeah, those getting used to having babies is a tough season, especially even those first couple weeks, first couple months. And then things start to settle down a little bit are you and your wife both back to work now and how who who’s watching the babies during the day?

Anton 33:18
I work from home where my job is pretty much fully remote. Well, it is fully remote right now and has been for a while and I think it’s going to stay that way, which I’m happy about. And my wife is back to work. So so during you know while she was on maternity leave, obviously she you know, she watched the babies, but now that she’s back to work, and I’m working during the day, we end up hiring a nanny who actually just started yesterday. So that was a, you know, kind of another another thing to get used to and being comfortable with somebody else watching watching your boys especially or your kids that’s especially kind of knowing what everything that they went through and being comfortable with kind of a new person taking care of them. But she’s been great so far. I think we’re hoping she stays for for a long time for a while for a couple of years at least. Because eventually my no my wife wants to quit. Stop working and then you know, be a full time mom essentially stay on with the babies, which is I’m aligned to that. I think it’s kind of I think it’s what would be best kids.

Joe 34:38
You mentioned just getting a nanny. How did you go about finding someone that you could bring into the home and trust?

Anton 34:45
Well, we used that there was a couple of services out there. I mean, first we tried to ask just people that we know that have nannies or had nannies that could recommend someone so we can really find anybody that way and then we turned to some online services like care calm and sitter city. So we ended up finding this person on one of those services and we interviewed her she had you know, she was you know CPR certified had had experience with you know, watched babies shouldn’t have experienced with twins but I don’t think that seems to be really an issue I think she’s she’s doing great so far. But, you know, she’s had experienced watching infants working daycare. So it’s just, you know, it’s an adjustment, you have to sort of let go to some extent, you know, and that try to try not to hover over them and sort of let them kind of do their thing and start to get comfortable with somebody else watching them during the daytime, but you know, I’m home, which is nice, because I can also kind of run down and help when they can. And also just kind of keep an eye on things, at least in the beginning. You know, just to get realized I’m somewhat of a hover parent so far. So just learning to kind of let go a little bit and trust somebody else to to watch them to take care of them.

Joe 36:18
Logistically, how is the schedule work with a nanny, she just come during daytime hours? How does she get time off stuff like that?

Anton 36:25
Yeah, so we she’s, she’s here Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from eight till five. My wife is off on Tuesdays. So Tuesday, she’s home with the kids. And then you know, we give her some holiday sick time. Things like that for having time off. But yeah, she’s here pretty much eight feet through five full time, you know? And on weekends, we don’t we don’t need her obviously. And then there’s sometimes my wife has, she has to work weekends, but then she gets like a Friday or Monday off. Just have to kind of be flexible with the schedule.

Joe 37:07
What is some of the baby gear that’s been really helpful in taking care of your twins?

Anton 37:13
We have this giant joovie stroller that’s been pretty nice. I mean it’s a kind of a beast. It takes up pretty much the entire trunk of our Chevy Equinox which makes me think we need to get a bigger car eventually but yeah, we you know we put them in their car seats which they hate but they’re getting used to it I think a little bit more so you know, we put that we put them in the car seats and the car seats attached to a stroller dummies that for their morning walks. And then we also have when we were in Colorado with the we had some carriers for them that we used on some hikes. So they’re kind of like front front and rear carriers, but we just use the front ones for kind of interactive things we have a subscription to a service called Love Every i think is what it’s called. But so they send you I believe they’re part of the Montessori like program or Montessori school system but they send you every kind of few months they send you toys and like books and stuff like that that aligns with kind of where the kids are supposed to be that are where they’re at from like a cognitive development standpoint so they get like things to you know to touch or to kind of be chew on things that make like different noises like little play areas play mats stuff like that so and that way you avoid just buying a bunch of random stuff for them that you’re not sure what would be great or not great so we we use I think that’s also been like a nice nice thing for them as well.

Joe 39:04
That’s pretty cool. Yeah, we actually had one of the co founders of Love Every on the podcast he has he has boy girl twins. you mentioned a trip to Colorado What was it like traveling with infants?

Anton 39:15
I think the worst part was just hauling all the gear with you you know the pack and plays the car seats the basis just all this stuff that you bring with you you know you know we had a we had a direct flight to Colorado which and then the airline change that to a layover but only an hour but still you know then the you know, from having to be on the plane you know, once to twice to just to get to the destination. So but what we ended up doing is just preparing, you know bottles of milk ahead of time so we would feed them on takeoff and then we would feed them on during during landing and that seemed to work really great. You know, we just give them like Two or three or something like that, or four ounces, and just and they would pretty much just pass out and sleep most of the time on a plane. So I would say this is probably like a pretty easy age to fly with infants, this old, really just feed them and then more likely than not, they’ll just kind of sleep through the entire flight, like one of the boys, the boys, one of the kids that he slept the entire flight, I think there. So he was super easy. And then on the way back, when we were coming back to Chicago and landing, the landing took a lot longer than expected, we were kind of circling for a while, and I ran out of ran out of milk sat to try to, you know, entertain, entertain him for a while before we actually were able to land but it wasn’t too bad. You know, I would say if you’re just if you just prepare with, with that, you know, with having milk prepared bottles, or, you know, what have you, or formula, you know, whatever you’re doing, right, like whatever they eat. If you have that stuff prepared for them that that helps a ton.

Joe 41:09
That’s good. Yeah, we found like you that it was actually a little easier to travel when they were really young. Aside from carrying all the gear with you, like you mentioned, they’re usually pretty portable, once they hit toddler age and want to just crawl and run everywhere, that’s when it got a little more challenging on the airplane. So I thought it was been some ups and downs through the pregnancy now with infant twins, how have you been able to strengthen and maintain your relationship with your partner through the, through the journey so far?

Anton 41:36
Well, we always thought that from the beginning is we don’t want our kids to kind of, you know, run our life, like we, you know, we always kind of talked about like, Well, you know, we’re gonna, if we focus on that just on them and not on us, then you know, by the time they turn 18, or, you know, and let you know, let’s say I they leave the house for school or, you know, whatever it is right, we would have spent all of our attention and emotions just on them, but not really our relationship and, you know, be talked about how you know, that could potentially kind of hollow out our marriage or our relationship if we just, if we just focused everything on them. So, you know, we still will, you know, we’ll leave the kids with the grandparents will go out on dates here and there, you know, we wait a little bit to do that, before we get comfortable with leaving them at home. But we started you know, small, like, we would leave for a couple hours or something like that, you know, just to go to like a nearby restaurant or something in the area. And then we started you know, taking them with us when we go there like a friend’s house. And just and, you know, with I would say with breastfeeding, it’s fairly easy to that right? Yeah, and so kind of bringing the Kabbalah warmer, I feel like that so, you know, she can just breastfeed them when they get hungry. So that that makes it also easier. But you know, we always try to check in with each other every so often to see how each, each other is doing. And we, you know, make, I think making time for each other is important like going on dates or, you know, just doing something fun together. Even if you’re having the kids or the kids with you know, going out to a park or going to going out to like your favorite coffee shop. Just, I think you just need to make sure that you don’t lose yourself in your children. And because they’re not always going to be home around with you and but your partner is and you know, and you need to make sure that your relationships stay strong and continues to grow.

Joe 43:39
That is great advice. That’s good perspective to have, you’re going to be with your with your wife or with your partner for much longer than you will be with your kids in the home. So you got to nurture and feed that relationship along the way. Anton, as we wrap up today, if listeners want to connect with you, what’s the best way to get in touch?

Anton 43:56
If anyone has any questions, either about, you know, having twins or twin to twin transfusion experience, or just want to talk about anything, any of those things, you can my email is [email protected]. And you can also find me on Facebook if you just type my name in or on LinkedIn, if you just type my name and as well, so happy to answer any questions or talk through any kind of concerns or anything like that, that anyone may have regarding having twins or NICU or, you know, have if someone is dealing with twin to twin transfusion and has questions on that. Happy to talk through any of those things.

Joe 44:45
Awesome. Well, thank you. And thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.

Anton 44:50
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate what you’re doing as well. Just want to say thank you as well for writing the book and doing the podcast. I also I read your book and I was listening to your podcast during your pregnancy, which helped helped us helped me out a ton. appreciate everything that you’re doing as well.

Joe 45:08
Hey, you’re welcome. Hope enjoy the show with Anton about his adventures as a twin father and some of the ups and downs that they had through the pregnancy with the complications due to TAPS and time in the NICU and adjusting to life with their twin boys. This is just a great story, an example of through the miracles of modern medicine, how we can overcome some of these really intense health challenges that twins can face and come out on the other side with healthy, happy twins. So no matter what you’re going through with your twin pregnancy, or with your twins, keep that eye on the light at the end of the tunnel because things are going to be okay. If you’d like to share your story like Anton did today, I would love to hear from you. You can reach out to me via email [email protected] or I’m also on Instagram or Twitter @twindadjoe. And you can reach me on Facebook as well. facebook.com/dadsguidetotwins And I’d love to hear from you about your twin story. I know you love audio because you’re enjoying this podcast today. You can get a free audiobook version of my first book “Dad’s Guide to Twins” through audible by visiting freetwinbook.com. Once again, that’s freetwinbook.com. Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

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Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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