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hrrkkkh

18 Mar

Men!

Listen: your wife is suffering. Do you think she chooses to feel this way? Do you think the glow of one, two or even three babies ripening in her tummy is enough to cancel the pain and anguish of sleepless nights, perpetual sickness and an ever-expanding physique?

It’s possible to dull your own senses!
If the sound of your wife’s explosive vomit in the bathroom near the dinner table is offensive and stomach turning, no worries! After 2-3 straight weeks of repeat performances, you’ll barely notice. Encourage her to spew away to her heart’s content, the pasta Alfredo on the plate in front of you will be no less delicious!

Remember: you did this to her! That’s your seed she’s carrying! Man up and take responsibility! The burden of self-sacrificing, fearless fatherhood does not begin once those little ones glimpse daylight… IT BEGINS NOW.

Too vague? Okay, gents, let’s get practical!

Probably the biggest hurdle of the first trimester is the dreaded demon called Morning Sickness. (Hint: it isn’t just in the morning. In fact, your wife would prefer it if you didn’t refer to it as “Morning Sickness”. In fact, don’t refer to it at all. It’s best to just apologize a lot.)

Here’s how it works: she’s always nauseous. Always. It’s not a question of whether or not she’ll throw up today, it’s a question of how many times. Don’t wonder whether or not she’s sick. She is. If she’s not, she’ll let you know. But don’t hold your breath. She’s sick.

Also, keep in mind that it’s your fault. Oh, the fun you’ll have later, remembering your pitiable little arguments, trying to convince her she’s “being unreasonable” and you “have it tough also”! Ha ha ha! Little man, don’t you understand? This is pregnancy. It’s bigger than you! It’s bigger than all of us! Look at her: she’s swollen with life, bursting with matriarchal potential! Now look at you! G’wan. Look.

Exactly. You’re kind of an asshole.

But good news! You don’t have to be! Your put-upon spouse may be drowning in her own body chemistry, but you can help. Remember four simple words and you’ll effortlessly navigate these choppy waters. That’s all! Just four!

Ready?

Here they are:

  1. Don’t
  2. Be
  3. A
  4. Dick

Sounds easy, right? And, mostly, it is! Let’s dig deeper:

DON’T BE A DICK. The kitchen’s a mess and it’s been that way most of the week. Your wife would like to prepare a nice cup of bread-n-butter pickles for herself, but when she sees dishes in the sink, she gags… Well, don’t be a dick, man! Empty the dishwasher and replace them with the dirty ones. Maybe wipe the counter down a little. After all, she’s hungry. Seriously, dude, come on.

DON’T BE A DICK. If you cut your toenails on the couch, don’t leave them on the coffee table, unless you want her to blow chunks on the spot. She’ll hate you and you’ll hate yourself. And both of you will be right for doing so.

DON’T BE A DICK. She’s going to spend a significant portion of her week with her head in the toilet. Is it too much to ask you to scrub it down and pube-sweep the area? God, man, don’t be a dick.

DON’T BE A DICK. It’s 6:30 and you’re driving home from work, Irvine to Long Beach, which is some kind of haul. She phones you on the way: baby carrots. She has a jones for baby carrots. She knows you’re tired, but will you pick some up? Of course you will! She’s pregnant, numbskull! She’s hungry! This isn’t rocket science. Just do it! WTF

DON’T BE A DICK. No, it’s not traditionally your job to feed the cats, particularly their wet food. But keep in mind, your wife needs about 3,000 calories a day and, if she’s required to feed them herself, she stands a really good chance of losing about 1,200 of those calories right then and there. See what I mean, douchebag? Hello? Is this sinking in??? DON’T BE A DICK.

Good luck, fellas!

And remember: T.O.T. taught ya how!

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Jumping Beans

17 Mar

Tuesday, for the first time, I heard their heartbeats. But let me get back to that.

Last week, Dr. Chao, our OB, had told me, in no uncertain terms, “you need to be at the first high-risk-pregnancy-specialist appointment with your wife. If your work won’t let you go, you need to call in sick.  It’s important.” Fortunately, work was amenable, so, Tuesday morning, we headed to the Magella Medical Group in Long Beach.

It’s where you go when you’re pregnant with a disease or a disorder that puts you at risk.  Or pregnant with a child with a disease or disorder that puts him/herself at risk.  Or if there’s anything non-standard about anything having to do with your pregnancy.  Like, say, you’re 53 and find out you’re carrying a litter of pumas.

Or, say, 34, with Lupus, carrying triplets.

It’s tricky how they set these appointments up.  They spend the first 40 minutes or so filling you in on the 1,000 Reasons You Need To Worry.  Doctor Tith was extremely warm and helpful, but she didn’t shy away from the truth.  Fact is, any or all of our children could have CP.  Or Down Syndrome. Or some sort of mental handicap.  Or they could be sharing placentas and starving each other.  Or choking each other.  And, of course, for many of these issues, there are tests.  The tests can tell you within a 60% certainty whether your child has an 8% chance of having some disorder that’s 28% fatal.  Of course, you can take a more invasive test, which will give you 85% certainty, but you’ll increase your chances of miscarrying or delivering early by 13%, but only so early that your chances of it being fatally early are 38%.  Or some ridiculous combo thereof.

So, great.  Thanks everyone.  Consider us informed.  We feel way better.

Needless to say, halfway through this consult, I was convinced that at least one kid has some sort of fatal disease, the second one is going to be born with roughly half the organs it needs to sustain itself , and the third?  Oh, the third one’s fine, but s/he’s probably going to wind up a vampire when s/he’s 21.

I know my wife did way better than I did, but my swimming brain did at least take away a handful of important pieces of information.  Among them:

  • Strong heartbeats= good
  • 3 sacs = good
  • 3 placentas = good
  • The fact that these triplets are spontaneous, as opposed to IVF babies = moderately safer

So they took us in for the big ultrasound.  Triplets meant we’d already hit the fertility jackpot.  It was time to yank the lever again and find out what was heretofore unknown: are any of these goofballs sharing a placenta?  If so, that doesn”t necessarily spell disaster, but Tith was straight with us: we  should be hoping for 3 placentas.

Ultrasound began and we asked the tech, whose name is Michelle.  Michelle confirmed it: “Yes, I see three placentas.”

Finally, some friggin’ good news for a change.

And it was strange.  Here, only 11 weeks in, and they already seem to have different personalities.  Onscreen, Baby A swatted something in front of its little alien head.  Baby B kicked and flipped and did what it could to kung fu my wife’s innards. Baby C (who Chao calls The Lazy One) lounged up top in its amniotic hammock, irritated to have been bothered.

Jumping beans.

Michelle hit the vox and, out of nowhere, a very fast, very strong heartbeat filled the room, overpowering Love and Rockets’ So Alive, which had been playing on muzak. Baby A: 173 bpm.  Looking good.

Baby B: 173 bpm.  Very strong and looking good.

Baby C: 173 bpm. Everybody’s looking good.  Our kids have heartbeats.

In the space of a few moments, the majority of Tith’s concerns turned out to be just fine, or at least as fine as they can be.  And who knows, all of our children may end up with all of their organs. Maybe we wouldn’t miscarry.  Maybe they’ll all be (sh-shudder) healthy.

We talked about my wife’s job and her diet and her at-the-moment woefully inadequate calorie intake.  We found out later that, apparently, our case had been the talk of the office that morning.  A 34-year-old vegan with Lupus who’s carrying spontaneous triplets?  It’s odd.  Throughout the appointment, different doctors and other staffers kept poking their heads in and smiling at us: “Hiiii!  Sorry to interrupt, but I’m ___.  We heard everything’s looking good.  Congratulations!”  Then they’d disappear.  My wife is, it seems, medical journal case study fodder.

And it occurred to me that, as upset as we were when we found out we were having triplets, I now really want them all to be healthy and strong.  In fact, I think I want it very badly.  Maybe I’d even move heaven and earth if I have to to make sure they’re all right.

Good god.  When did I turn into a father all of a sudden?

In which Al drops by to offer a few genuine Tips on Triplets

11 Mar

If you don’t know Al Pollard, you should.  He runs StayAtHomeTripletDad.com and his family is the subject of the legendary Pollard Triplets blog.  He’s administrator for an online Triplet Dad network and he and his wife have lead courses on multiples parenting.  There probably isn’t such a thing as Celebrity Triplet Virtuosity, but if there is, I nominate Al.

Anyhow, sensitive to my nerves and insecurities as a soon-to-be triplet dad, Al reached out with spark and comfort.  He’s offered more than a few helpful words to me via email and his latest message was loaded with too much good material to remain unexploited.

Attendez-vous?

Advice to Parents-To-Be of Multiples
from new Parents of Triplets:

  • While pregnant, follow your doctor’s advice to the letter.  This can add days and even weeks to how long you carry your babies and we all know the longer the better!  That being said, some things are out of our control and sometimes babies are born premature (see “Let go of the guilt” below).
  • If your babies end up in the NICU—don’t wear yourself out spending too much time there.  Use that time to heal and prepare for their homecoming.  Understand that they are in the best of hands and receiving the best of care.  Don’t worry that they won’t know who you are … they do!  Or that you are a bad parent … you are not!
  • Let go of the guilt.  Know that you did and are doing the best that you can.
  • The best thing we did was to spend the first two weeks alone at home with the babies. This gave us time to bond with the babies and to put a system in place that worked for us, our babies, our house and our dog!
  • Blame everything on the Doctors!  People will want to come and visit (some of these will be family and close friends, but others will be people you barely know) … multiples seem to draw a large crowd.  You have to be selfish … think of yourself and the babies first.  Then, blame the doctors when you let them know it will be a few months before you are receiving visitors.
  • Get the babies on a schedule and use some type of system to track feeding and activities (tummy time, baths, walks, skin-to-skin time, etc.)
  • Learn (quickly!) to not let the unimportant things bother you.
  • Don’t feed two babies at a time (propped bottles).  Not only can this be dangerous, but this is your opportunity to spend one-on-one time with each baby.
  • Make sure you finish one baby before you start the next … sometimes, you will feel rushed when feeding one because the other is crying (here is where you need to let go of some of the guilt!), but going back and forth between two babies does not work.  Believe us!  We have tried it.
  • Things will not always go as planned!  Adapt your plan … don’t get upset!
  • Finally, just face it.  Your life is never going to be the same again.But it will be better than you ever imagined possible!

 

Al was also good enough to include a printable spreadsheet that he used to keep track of all the necessaries for kids 1,2 and 3.  Overboard?  I wondered, but Al assured me there’s not only a method behind the madness, but your kids’ health and nutrition could very well depend on your keeping an accurate log of who’s had what and when.

Finally, he sent along a hyper-detailed .doc, outlining to babysitters, family members or any other caregivers how to handle just about every triplet-related situation, from hygiene to feeding to medicine to bottle cleaning. A lot of it is personal and specific to his children, so I won’t post it here, but woof! what a lot to digest.

Thanks, Al, for doing your part to save us from calamity.  Let me know about that tattoo artwork, I surely do owe you one.

The Purge

7 Mar

I have to think every red-blooded, first-time expectant father wonders the same thing when it’s discovered that babies are on the way: how much material in this house am I now going to have to hide or chuck altogether?

The wife and I need to sell the house.  It’s a given.  Currently, we have 1,000 square feet and 2 bedrooms (1 of which is my office).  That, as the kids probably no longer say these days, is hella too small. So, clock ticking, we’re boxing everything up.  We’ve rented storage space and we’re car-loading our non-essentials over there in the event that God’s Little Gifts come earlier than expected.

Seven

Sure, genius. Go ahead and expose your innocent little crew to the brilliant cinematography contained within. No no, I'm sure they'll really appreciate it.

And then the inevitable happens: I’m sifting through our DVD collection and I run across some friggin’ hyper-violent David Fincher masterpiece and think, uh.  Hang on. Or, in the office, clearing books off the shelves and I spy a dusty copy of The Kama Sutra.  Er.  Wait.

Hey, I love David Fincher and I fully anticipate any offspring of mine to share my impeccable film sensibilities, but come on.  This material is not for children.  So what am I supposed to do?

I suppose it’s reasonable to assume that I have a few years before I need to actively shield these children from our house’s flirties and dirties, but I still feel the need to develop some sort of game plan.  Every guy who’s ever clicked a mouse (not to mention, statistically, most ladies) has done a digital porn-sweep of their browser history and this feels more or less like the big leagues version of that.

Lost Girls

Alan Moore's Lost Girls.
Sophisticated, illustrative erotica published by Top Shelf Productions (which is apt, as that's the very shelf on which it'll need to reside once our little crew starts walking).

But it raises the bigger issue of what is and isn’t good to have in the home, now that I’m a soon-to-be father.  Does everything in our lives need to be rated G now?  On the one hand, I can’t think of anything more boring and frustrating.  On the other, I’d rather not have to spend the first 10 years of their lives chasing their sticky little fingers around with a fly-swatter (“No no, baby!  That’s only for big people!  That’s adults-only! You’re not ready!  Put it down!  Don’t open that!  That’s mommies-and-daddies-only!”)

Realistically, sure, there’s some sort of happy medium.  Well, there has to be.  Granted, I was raised in a home with no traces of alcohol.  Or movies rated anything harder than PG.  And, come to think of it, when I was a teenager, we didn’t even have a TV.

And god knows I don’t want to over-shelter them either.

!!! This is hard, this parenting business.  And they’re letting just anyone with reproductive organs do this?  WTF

(If you happen to be my children, reading this years from now, what Daddy means is “What The Fantastic”.)