Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lo, They Shall Inherit Many Transformers, and a Pinball Table

And so, as those of you who actually know me and are hooked up with me on Facebook already know, it has finally happened. At the stroke of midnight early Friday morning, my wife was taken from me so that a huge needle could be stuck in her spine and her lower belly could be cut open. I hid, along with her head, behind a curtain as she held my hand tightly and I did an impromptu comedy routine to help alleviate our fear. The doctors and nurses laughed quite a bit more than Debby did. And there was this huge lamp in the room that looked just like the planet-destroying laser on the Death Star!

At 12:35am or so, we heard crying. I stayed with my wife until the crying erupted a second time. Then, with her permission, I disengaged from her and moved ten feet to the right to take pictures and see my sons for the first time.

To be honest, it wasn't quite like I expected. The babies weren't awe-inspiringly beautiful, glowing, or even paradigm changing. I did not look upon them and see a different world or a different future. I didn't see them and think that suddenly my personality would be completely different. I didn't even look at them and think they were beautiful; my first thought about appearance was probably something along the lines of, "Wow, they're covered in slime."

I soon had to return to my wife, who was very sick from being, well, cut open. She thought she was going to throw up, and I had the enviable job of holding a tiny cup in front of her mouth in case she did, with my face remaining well within splashing distance. Didn't complain, though, so it must be love... right?

The doctors were surprised by both their weight (they're big for twins premature by a month) and their length (they're a bit on the tall side, apparently). Both manifested odd breathing - the eldest, Benjamin, especially. He was whisked off to ICU, while his as-yet-unnamed brother stayed behind.

I spent most of the remainder of the night with Benjamin in ICU - he stayed under an oxygen tent the whole time, but I could at least touch his feet. It was a very, very long night. At a couple of points he stopped breathing altogether for a little while - we talked a bit, and eventually he seemed to get a little better. They kicked me out at 6:30 am, at which point I quietly entered the room where my wife and mother-in-law slept. When I returned a couple of hours later as the ICU reopened, the tent was gone, and his recovery continued. He's since been moved to "Intermediate Care", which is something of a middle ground. He still breathes far too quickly, but he's otherwise fine and normal.

We got to pick him up and hold him for a while today (although Debby and I can only go in to see him one at a time). I sat with him for a little over an hour this afternoon, during which time we had a long conversation about practical jokes to play on Brother and Mom, intrinsic job characteristics, Scooby-Doo, fluorescent lighting, New Orleans jazz music, and New York style pizza. I mentioned Kenny Chesney and he scrunched up his face in disgust. I mentioned lightsabers and he smiled. It was... awesome. Although I admit, it would have been better if he didn't have that feeding tube shoved down his throat, or if I could have taken him to see his brother.

Meanwhile, Baby-B, or He-Who-May-Not-Be-Named, as I've taken to calling him, is a curious sort. He's an inch shorter and about half a pound lighter than his brother... but he also came out healthier, with no complications. He happens to be the one who did a cartwheel in the womb a few hours before we arrived at the hospital, forcing a C-section on my wife, and the one who became famous in our ultrasound tech's office for having an amusing habit of kicking his brother in the face. His eyes focus and move more than should be expected for a newborn (much less a premature one), and there's an intelligence to those eyes, unless fatherly bias is kicking in. Sometimes he gets the exact same look on his face that I get when I'm carefully listening and analyzing someone. It's kind of cool.

And lest there be any confusion regarding the lack of a name for Baby B, let me just say quite clearly here: "It's Not My Fault." I came up with the name for Baby A years ago... Debby had primary responsibility for the name for Baby B. I promise you, I've been trying to have a conversation with her about it for months! But always she found a way to change the subject, usually by saying something like "Babies want me to have a milkshake. Let's go get one."

And now for the part of this that's actually an update for those of you following us on Facebook.

Debby recovers nicely. She's taken a shower today (all by herself!), is learning to feed the babies (Baby B, anyway, since Benjamin's over in Intermediate Care), got her epidural needle out, and has ruled out (rather rudely, I might add) most names suggested by our friends on Facebook, and - as she specifically asked me to mention - especially "SuperFly" and "Thor."

Benjamin is still in Intermediate care. I'm about to go visit him again. He has to be fed through a tube until his breathing slows down. The latest x-ray came back with improvement, so the doctor thinks it's just a bit of leftover fluid in his lungs causing all of this... which is a good thing, given the alternatives. We're hoping his breathing will return to normal levels, and that we can finally reunite him with his brother tomorrow. If he does, then he gets to go home with us on Monday or Tuesday.

Baby B and I are developing quite an attachment - he seems to love attention and he always stops pouting and fussing as soon as I pick him up. I kind of like that. Debby has at last seriously suggested a final name for the kid, over which I have veto power: Christopher Franklin. Or maybe Kristopher Franklin - I get to decide how it's spelled. What do you say, loyal readers? Should I give the go-ahead? I'm all for feedback, so please post a comment here or over in Facebook.

Let's see, I updated on Debby, Benjamin, Baby B... well, I guess that just leaves me. I'm happy to be here.

And here are a few more pics, for those who've been waiting:


Baby B


  1. Love this post (even if I'm not mentioned)! It is a great reflection. Both babies will love reading it when they are old enough to understand the significance! Glad to see you are taking time to document the experience. It is priceless!

  2. Cute babies! You guys did well. And I really like Christopher with a C. Spell it with a K and it reminds me of the Kardashians' mother.

    I'm glad both babies are doing well, and happy for you guys. Again, congratulations!

  3. I so enjoy reading everything you write. I really like the name Christopher Franklin. Sounds like a very smart, and distinguished little guy. I am happy for you and your lovely wife!

  4. Accept it!
    And spell it with a K :)

  5. Doc here! Great wife and mother, great kids with great names and of course the greatest father! Just think of the tax break! I can't wait to teach the twins how to bend spoons! And then bend steel with their necks! Love to Deb (great job girl) Hope to see you someday soon! You should come to Vegas!

  6. How blessed your babies are to have a dad like you!!! The name is perfect and knowing you I am pretty sure you will choose the more unusual of the spellings!!! Congrats, they are absolutely beautiful!!!!!

  7. Love the name...I like Kristopher :) Mainly because we already have a cousin Chris. Not that you guys really run in the same circle or anything. I guess he's not a close relative...I digress. I like the K :)

  8. I didn't know you had the final say-so over the spelling... -- Debby

  9. Sorry, darling... assumed that when you said, "You can spell it however you want, I just really like the sound of it." Perhaps I misunderstood you?

    And Doc... I'm getting some miniature forks for them! But I get to bend steel with my neck before they do....

  10. Love from SD--Congrats to you and Debby and your new family! they are lifes greatest blessings!! :) Just remember that when they are spilling cheerios on the carpet and stepping on them because they like the sound, drawing with marker on the wall and bringing toads in the house. :) They are very lucky little boys to have parents like you. Although they will need a visit from me to promote the purple pride and teach them how to understand dad's sometimes perplexing statements! :) If you need a nanny, I'm off for 2.5 weeks in Dec!! :)
    Oh, and my vote for Baby B is Camden.
    Love ya all--

  11. Love the name Jim, but I'd go with "C" spelling. Maybe because my youngest son's middle name is Christopher or maybe because my grandson's name is Brandan..with an "a" (Daughter wanted it to be "different") But at nine years old now, he gets upset when everyone misspells his name. Regardless, the boys are beautiful!! You will be amazed at how they relate and communicate with each other. Takes me back a few years when my grandsons were born!! All the best to you, Debby and Boys!!!