Ed. Note: This post was written in spring of 2016 — more than a year ago. For reasons detailed in the headline, I forgot to hit “Publish.”
I got two babies for the price of one!
Helen and Gemma were born on December 18 — six weeks early — after my internal organs said, “GET THEM OUT NOW OR WE’RE THROUGH HERE.” The OB heralded their birth with the statement, “It’s not an emergency! We just have to deliver within two hours.”
Here are some things I have learned about having babies.
Birthing premature twins: I was super-impressed by the Broadway-scale production that was my C-section. There were maybe 22 people in the room: a four-person pit crew per baby, plus two surgeons, assorted nurses, assorted residents, the midwife, the anesthesiologist, his assistant, probably some other people I didn’t notice, and my mom. And two infants.
C-sections: The curtain is there to keep you from watching. Your birthing buddy, however, may have to travel beyond it. Says my mom: “If I was the kind of person that sort of thing bothered, I would have been bothered.”
The NICU: The Virginia Hospital Center NICU is the Ritz for preemies. Some advantages to NICU babies include: They come home housebroken (sleeping and eating on a schedule, able to tolerate noise, capable of champion self-soothing), and you encounter the sort of incredibly kind people who make your babies teeny-tiny Christmas vests.
Nicknames: I once joked that the twins would think their names were Sugarplum and Honeybun. No. They are lovingly referred to as, among other things, Miss Poopybutthole, Snot Monster, Warthog, Little Boogers, and Tiny Putrid One.
Vanity sizing: Like J. Crew and Banana Republic, baby brands commit vanity sizing — but in reverse. My 7-pound baby is wearing 3-to-6 month sleepers. As parents enjoy boasting about how abnormally large their babies are, I can only assume such inflation is all about bragging rights.
Reactions to twins: Female passersby gush about their cuteness and doubleness. Male passersby make some statement along the lines of “better you than me.”
Impractical clothing: Pulling anything over a very young baby’s head is like dressing semi-sentient, screaming Jell-O. Get kimono onesies and zip-up sleepers.
Listening to advice: Parents tell you stuff like, “Don’t buy them tons of clothes, because babies grow fast” and “bottle warmers are for pussies.” Like a teenager, you will think you know everything and will disregard the wisdom that comes with experience. Soon, you will have boxes of worn-once garments, and a device that regards you reproachfully as you heat bottles with hot tap water in a saucepan.