Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ticking away the moments that make up the dog day

Once again, we're the future parents of two good children who successfully complete their testing. We had an ultrasound yesterday (I will scan photos tonight, most likely), and everything looked fine. Jumpy is basically stretched out and taking up most of the room and Kicky is more typical: in a fetal position. Come on, Kicky...assert yourself! We also has another non-stress test (NST) today, and Kicky was all over the place. Jumpy is not a morning baby, so had a slow start. As the test was nearing the end, he started up. Phew.

We also had an appointment with Dr. Angle this morning, who said that Kathy was doing remarkably well for someone her age and expecting twins. Far, far better than the Doctor expected. Anyone who knows Kathy will attest that she's does the best she can at everything she tries, and she certainly gets many gold stars on the forehead for her efforts in taking such great care of herself and her unborn babies.

As of Wednesday, Kicky is 4lbs, 15oz. Jumpy is 5lbs, 6oz. Heart rates were excellent at 148 and 156. I think Jumpy has Kathy's nose, can be the judge when I post the photos.

So the big news: Dr. Angle decided that we should schedule a C-section at 38 weeks as both babies are breech and it is very improbable that Kicky will turn. It's possible, just not probable. While a C-section isn't preferable, it's necessary in this case. Also means a lot more work for me while Kathy's recovering...but that's perfectly fine with me. Can't wait to meet these little buggers. We will go in for a pre-exam on February 28 and the surgery will be on February 29th. Yes, the leap-year day. It's just too cool to pass up.

I'm utterly thrilled and excited and terrified. I'm terripsyched. Thrillified. Just keep on cooking, K&J. Get nice and big and strong and healthy for as long as you can...we'll be seeing you soon.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kathy photo and heartbeats - 33 weeks

Sorry I haven't written in a few days. But I do have some new things to share.

First of all, if you cast a glance to the photo, you'll notice that Kathy has grown another 2 inches since her last measuring 3 weeks ago. Needless to say, she's right on target and hasn't looked more beautiful.

Kath is getting to the point now where she can wear my clothes and they fit. I think that should bother me, but it doesn't. It's called a healthy sense of self-denial, folks. Invest in one and be happy!

You can click on the photo to get a little larger view. She's feeling tired, but happy. Kicky & Jumpy are certainly active and you can physically see them moving all around. The more I consider the miracle of propagating the human race, the more I'm utterly astounded. And utterly grateful that it's not the males of the species that carry the young. We're such tremendous wussies. Just ask a guy who has a bad headcold. Wussies, I tells ya.

And yes, I can speak for all males everywhere. :-P

Gomez came over on Saturday and provided two mighty arms for moving things and provided some much-needed relaxation and fun. While he was helping Kath downstairs, I was able to steam clean the carpets upstairs. Looks like brand new crappy carpet. I'm very proud. I was also able to use the cleaner to do the vinyl kitchen floor...sparkly! Why didn't I get one of these before?! But I digress from babynews.

I bought this little heart monitor that is very much like my stethoscope with the added benefit of having a little amplifier built in. That way we can tape the heartbeats of the twins for y'all. So, without further adieu (spelling?), here are a couple mp3s with a few seconds of heartbeats. Now, this ain't Abbey Road studios...just me with my Cool Edit Pro editing program.

So there you have it. Anyone who cannot open/play these files, lemme know and I'll send 'em to you.

Tomorrow afternoon we go for an ultrasound and Thursday morning is another non-stress test. More reports as events warrant,


Thursday, January 24, 2008

CPR class and guess what...MORE TESTS! Wheeee!

Okay, last things first. This morning, we went for yet another non-stress test. I firmly believe that I could drive, park and walk directly to the Maternal Fetal Medicine department blindfolded with a badger. Why a badger? That's for you to figure out. The test went very well. Kicky was especially funny today as he not only had the hiccups (very audible hiccups, mind you), he was moving right under the monitor. The monitor looked like the Orca, bouncing up and down and moving all around. It was laugh-out-loud funny.

After that we had an appointment to meet another one of Dr. Angle's compatriots, Dr. Dolinger. She was very peppy and seemed to be more excited about the twins than we are. Kathy's blood pressure was a little higher than last time, but she doesn't need to be on bedrest (yet). I think Kathy's going to request to work at home an additional day (Betsy, if you're reading this...Kathy would like to work at home an additional day), which I believe is a very intelligent, responsible concept.

Last night after work we went over to my home away from home (the NW Hospital) and took a class in infant/child CPR. Gotta say, the class was excellent. I took CPR something along the lines of 20 years ago, so this was a good thing. CPR has changed slightly in 2 decades. The nurse even pointed out that I "was old" when I mentioned what we used to be taught. Ha. Ha. Ha. Well, at least I don't have a strong New England accent, lady. The way these two nurses talked only reinforces that we're not naming a kid "Mark" (MAAAAHHHK!! COME IN FOAH DINNAH).

The class was also extremely informative as to how to make your home more child-proof. As you probably can guess, our home is evidently something of a deathtrap for young children. So, more things to add to the "to-do" list. If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm really not. This is a good thing to do, and I'm happy to do it.

We've been ordering some lovely little items for the babies from Amazon, Kohls (they had an online sale recently) and Target. In case you're wondering, we're registered at Amazon & Target, and we're also happily accepting hand-me-downs. The Johnsons, Dohertys, Haggertys, Bellars, Bennetts, Ericksons and Kleins have already given us so many wonderful clothes, swings, baskets, etc. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

This weekend I plan to steam clean the carpets upstairs. The kitties lived up there for most of 2007, so this cleaning might take a while. I went out and bought a steam cleaner vacuum from Walmart. They had one on sale for like $120. I figured I'll get lots of use out of it, so it should be a good investment.

I think at one point this week I realized that I'm going to be a dad. If it sounds like a "Duh" statement, then you're not a dad (moms are excluded from this realization, obviously). I wonder if all guys get that sudden lightning bolt to the brain that says, "your life is going to change so damned much you won't know what hit you". I think I can handle the lack of sleep. I don't sleep long as it is.

During the safety video at CPR class, they were showing you a list of things not to do. The final entry was "Do not shake your baby". Again, Duh. They then showed an obviously frustrated mother putting her wailing baby in the crib and taking a moment to calm down back to sanity. Yes, ok...the mom was acting, but the baby was really crying. It's a sound I know I'll become familiar with (times two), but's a pretty foreign sound to a guy's ears. The initial reaction to the sound is panic. Oh my God, I broke the baby. What do I do to make it stop.

Don't worry. I'm sure I'll figure it all out and then you can read about it right here. And probably laugh at me and slap your head thinking, "" Hey, I can tell you, I'm already there.

All the best,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More tests...much better results

We had a terrific weekend with Sue & Rebecca. They were so very helpful around the house...especially moving all those photo albums from the 2nd to 1st floor. My back & I thank you very much. And my tummy thanks you for the Chicken Parm pizza from D'Andrea's.

This morning we went for our followup non-stress test. I'm happy to report the boys did really well. Kicky was moving around all over the place. I'm so very proud of them and their mom.

More later. I need to work and earn diaper money,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

tests, more tests and a little aggravation

We spent this morning at the hospital. We go weekly to have the twins undergo non-stress testing. This morning, Jumpy failed the test, so it was all hands on deck. We had to go to radiology to get some sort of intense ultrasound scrutiny. The ultrasound took about 1.5 hours, and was totally unsatisfying. Seems everything is fine, babies are well....I guess. The tech emerged after writing up his report and said, "you're all set...the nurse says you can go home". And we're what the f*** happened?! And the dude was like...dunno. I just take the photos. So 5 hours after going to the hospital, we finally left with no answers other than "you seem to be fine".

Once we find out the results of the report, we'll let you know. But one particular instance of the ultrasound was really frustrating...only (thankfully) because it was all benign. About 1.4 hours into the scan, the tech...who up til this point was fairly quiet...said, "ok, we're almost all done with the test. All I need to see is Baby B take a breath, and we're all set." He puts the scanner on Jumpy and then...just kinda stares at the screen. I, too, am watching the screen intently. I see the heart beating away, but other than that all I can see in this ultrasound are circles and different shades of grey.

So the tech just sits there, staring. Now I'm starting to it possible for the baby to be moving around, heart beating, but have no lungs?! Can I donate a lung to an unborn son?!?! Sign me up, dammit. I have no idea if the baby's breathing or not. He asks Kathy to flip onto her side and take a few breaths herself. The image on the screen was pretty much the same (to me). Then, he jumps up and says, "ok...we're all set. I'm gonna go write up the report and I'll give it to the doctor for review". And away he goes (yes, paraphrasing Jackie Gleason today).

Kathy sits up and we start chatting. We're both kinda tired...emotionally and physically. Even still, we're pretty freakin' funny (to each each other). 15 minutes and the tech returns, telling us the nurse says we're good to go. We stop and stare at the guy and say, "well....what are the results of the test?!" I mean, duh...! He said he thought everything looked fine. Well, so did I, Sherlock. Thanks.

We had a quick bite in the hospital coffee shop. We also had breakfast there. Breakfast sandwiches? Awesome. Chicken Marsala? Not so much. But we had to get back to work as my boss has been great so far but I don't know how long I can push it. So am I crazy for thinking, "WTF?!?"

I knew today was going to be a trying day when the toilet kept running this morning. Kathy's best friend Sue and her daughter Rebecca are coming down from Saratoga Springs, NY this weekend. I'm thrilled and cannot wait for them to arrive. They've agreed to help us get things ready for the babies. Heh...suckers. Plus, as a bonus, they're bringing pizza from D'Andreas - which just happens to be the best pizza I've ever had. Lookit my're reading the words of a man who obviously knows his pizza. Mmmmm...chicken parm pizza....


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Baby stuff and books

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I saw a baby swing for those parents doing the "hands-off" approach...but I was just more upset that they just didn't make these adult-sized. It's finally up on the Babies R Us website:

You know, this product is really amazing. I love the iPod connectors. But, you know...$170 can buy a lot of diapers. With twins, maybe even enough diapers for a whole DAY.

Last night I began reading a book my new friend Carlos (father of twin girls) recommended: "Hit the Ground Crawling: Lessons From 150,000 New Fathers" by Greg Bishop. This is a really great read. I'm actually finding answers to questions I didn't know I was going to ask but most assuredly would when the kiddos arrive. In the liner notes they have quotes from presumably real fathers. Little bits of advice and wisdom...even little comforting panic sentences like, "I was in no way prepared for this...but even if I was, I wouldn't have been."

I think the aspect of being a parent for the first time that I'm looking forward the most to is something that Gomez shared with me when his son Michael was born. He said that you don't know what love is until you see your child for the first time. You love your folks, your wife, your Xbox...but true love comes along when you're holding your infant.

'nuff said.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Caesar & Brutus

The babies are due to be born on March 15, 2008, so we've decided to name the children Brutus & Caesar Doherty. Okay, no. But that would be so cool. They'd be the greatest guards in the history of the NFL. Kathy & I started discussing names. We have it kinda narrowed down, but the final decision will be there in the delivery room. Alexander and Edward Van Doherty is probably not going to be the final pick. Nor will Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne Doherty. The collective sad sigh you just heard out your window would be all my friends' hopes flying away.

Can you tell I'm beginning to get excited about this whole baby thing? You betcha. This weekend I went out and bought two car seats from the Babies R Us megamart. I picked up the Graco SnugRide - Sterling infant car seat, times two.

I installed them on Sunday. Our car has those new LATCH connectors so installation was remarkably easy. Afterwards, I drove over to the Framingham Fire Department to have them inspect the seats. The fireman said they don't do that, so they sent me over to see the Police. I went to the Police station, and they told me they don't do that anymore. BUMMER! Turns out there's an insurance issue. I totally get it. But I would sign something that says I wouldn't sue if they inspected and something bad happened. I'm sure I'm in the minority, so there you go.

Buying & installing the seats was a real treat. Even just looking at these two seats in my car make me smile. I guess in some way it makes me feel like I'm contributing to the pregnancy. But I really enjoyed this. Made me feel all the more excited for the arrival of my sons. Walking around Babies R Us was, admittedly, kinda fun. The initial shock has worn off, and I even found myself happily looking at carriages, onesies, changing tables...all totally new concepts to this geek boy.

On Thursday we went to Newton-Wellsley for Kathy's checkup. Kath mentioned that she was concerned as she hadn't felt Jumpy moving like she used to. So they sent us to have a non-stress test done on the babies. It's a fascinating procedure where they monitor the babies' heartbeats and movement is indicated by proximity to the sensors and the sudden heart rate increase. As it turns out, both babies are doing fine. A lot of the movement she was feeling down low was Jumpy, not Kicky.

Kathy's working at home today. We got a ton of snow last night & this morning. Okay Mother Nature...get it out of your system now. I need nice clean roads for when Kathy's labor, dammit!

- Joe

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cloverfield Monster revealed: Geoffrey the Toys R Us Giraffe

So the other day Kathy & I went over to Babies R Us to check out car seats. Evidently they won't let you take the babies home from the hospital without car seats properly installed. Of course, in 1969, my mom just threw me into the back of the station wagon and off we went. Times are certainly different. But I digress.

I have to say that stepping into Babies R Us is something of a surreal experience for me. Hey, I'm just a guy. A guy who lived in an apartment for most of my adult life with my recliner/couch. This place is a whole different universe. There is much stuff. I look around and think, "Holy I need to buy all this stuff? Forget the college fund...I need a Babies R US fund."

Do you know they have an electronic baby seat that will robotically rock your baby and even has an input for your iPod? It's really for the "hands-off" parenting approach, apparently. You can program is to do all sorts of soothing rocking motions. It's not even on the Babies R Us site, it's so new. Maybe it was just a joke. I hope it was just a joke. After shouldn't be for your should be for ME. I WANT ONE.

Anyway I'm beginning to realize that this whole kid thing is going to be a serious detriment to my spare pocket change. I've heard that infant twins will go through so many diapers your head will explode (hence the reason I'm emptying my brain here, I suppose).

The expenses will be dealt with as they come. There's no real sense in stressing over abstract numbers (yet, the stress is there. Stupid stress...back the #$!& down!!). Overall, I'm praying for healthy children. Having the two get along would be gravy. They'd better...our house isn't big enough to hold grudges.

- Joe

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ultrasound and Mommy Photos

One of the benefits of having twins at our age is we get to have monthly ultrasounds. This month Kicky didn't want to pose for the camera. Jumpy, however, is quite thrilled with posing.

Here he is below with various points of interest pointed out. We thought it was very sweet of Jumpy to provide all these labels, and his understanding of English at a mere 30 weeks is quite remarkable.

This one here is a photo of Jumpy at 26 weeks.

Here's a photo of Kicky laying down and obviously quite contemplative.

Next, here are some photos of Mommy. Kathy's torso's circumference is 47" at 30 weeks. The doctor mentioned that she's the size of a woman carrying a singleton at 36 weeks.

As you may or may not know, we have 3 pets. Two cats, one dog. What's interesting is Ginger, kitty #2, has been utterly fascinated with Kathy since she began her pregnancy. I have heard that animals have a sense about these things. Ginger's been very needy and has taken to laying on top of Kathy's tummy and purring to the babies. We believe that Ginger was taken away from his mother a little too early in his developmental stages; he has many allergies that would seem to indicate that he did not receive enough nutrients from his mother before being separated. Then again, he was a pound kitty, so who knows.

All that being said, here's a cute photo of Ginger and Kathy napping:

Kathy's feeling very good today, although Ginger currently seems to be barfing on the rug. I'm so proud.

Also, please keep my cousin Brian Swanson in your thoughts and prayers as he battles his colon and liver cancer. If you've seen the movie "A Civil Action" then you know the cause. But he's just 34, married to another wonderful Kathy and an extremely cute baby daughter. He's in our prayers...please add him to yours.

All the best,


Thursday, January 3, 2008

number one request

I've had many, many requests to post photos of the ultrasounds, the Mom-to-be, etc. I will be doing so very soon.

As someone that works on a computer all day long, I find it difficult to be motivated to do anything creative (or mundane for that matter) when I get home. That's when the chores, the food preparation and, inevitably, the plopping in front of the television happens.

Television is a remarkable medium. Yes, it's there to entertain. But I also find it's a terribly good way to put my brain in neutral and let it coast to sleepytown. I digress.

I will be posting photos and if I can figure it out, a video or two, very soon.

- Joe

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year and an ultrasound

Happy 2008, everyone. Hope you all have a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

My in-laws spent the week of Christmas here in snowy New England helping us out tremendously. Kathy's back & ribs were hurting her, and it was wonderful to have Kay & Roger and Aunt Diane in town from Texas and Arizona assisting us. This comes mostly from me, as it gave me a little time to rest as well. Today Kath's feeling better and I feel a little more ahead of the to-do list. Thank you again, my family.

Today we went to the doc to have an ultrasound. Both babies are doing very well. Baby A (Kicky) is 3lbs 6oz and has a heart rate of 146. Baby B (Jumpy) is 3lbs 7oz and has a heart rate of 160. Both are still breech. We have a neat photo of Jumpy's face, with his eyes wide open.

I will post photos of the ultrasounds once I get home to a scanner.

Tomorrow begins week 30...! Hard to believe there's only a couple of months left.

All the best,