Following my wife’s example, I’ll start at the beginning. The VERY beginning. We had just gotten home from grocery shopping and picking up a pregnancy test because Hollie was feeling nauseous and car sick, which is unusual for her. She came out of the bathroom and gave me a look that said “what have we done?” My natural response was to ask her if we won – little did I know how much we won – as if the pregnancy test was some sort of game. Then the feelings really set in. We’re pregnant! Now what do we do? Am I ready to be a dad (the answer is almost always no by the way)? Our life would forever be changed (and that is just the beginning). Before we got to our first ultrasound Hollie told me on 3 occasions that we would be having twins and one dream had her telling me they would be identical girls at that! I assumed pregnancy had caused her to lose her mind and there was of course no way we were having twins – it’s frowned upon to call your pregnant wife crazy though. Fast forward to the ultra sound and the technician says “here is your baby” while she scrolls a little too far over and I begin to see the second little sac. I lean back against the wall while she dramatically shows us the second. Hollie gleamed with joy in knowing that she was right (wives love being right) meanwhile I slowly had to pull my soul back into my body and attempt to not pass out. Twins. TWINS. I returned to work that day and it was honestly the least productive day I have ever had. I was in complete shock.
Once I came back to reality the fun part of pregnancy (for me) began. Thinking of names, 2 boy names, 2 girl names, what middle names would sound best with both names, buying snacks (a wide variety of snacks) and trying to stick to my usual schedule as I knew that would change in a real hurry once babies arrived. Other than an absurd amount of morning sickness, Hollie had a relatively uneventful pregnancy. I was thrilled, she was only irrationally hormonal at me a handful of occasions and being the smart man I am, I didn’t engage. I just had a steady supply of Nutella and things went pretty smoothly! We had decided early on that we wouldn’t find out if we were having boys, girls or one of each. Seeing as we were on the fence about having 1 or 2 to begin with this seemed like the best way to have some semblance of a surprise (because having twins clearly wasn’t surprise enough). I had decided to switch locations at work so I could be closer to Hollie and the twins. As a result I had to spend a lot of my time at work rebuilding up a client base in the later stages of Hollie’s pregnancy. We concluded that I would miss one mid-wife appointment as there was no major information that would be shared and as such not worth missing any work for. My phone rings. My phone never rings. It’s Hollie. She is crying.. hysterically. Now like any rational human being at this point I had both incredible regret for missing this appointment and my mind starts to spiral. I don’t even try to calm her down I just need to hear what’s wrong… she found out what we’re having. Thank baby jesus! Of all the things I could have heard at that point in time, this was the best case scenario by far. Once I got over that initial shock I was mad. Real mad. But recognizing that this would not be a good time to express my feelings about having the surprise blown I decided it was a good time to work out. When I got home Hollie let me know we were having boys and I was over the moon excited. I was either way but I knew two little girls would have cost me way more money as they would have me immediately wrapped around their fingers! (Little did I know two boys had the exact same capacity to do that…) Now the waiting game begins.
We recognized that I would be able to take some time off work but we also knew that we needed some experience around the house so the pressure on my mother in law started and ended very quickly. Looking back at it why did we have any doubts that she would come help immediately and for a long time. 6 weeks of help. My initial thoughts was that 6 weeks seemed a bit long..hindsight is 20/20 and it went by far too fast.
Hollie and I were told we had 5 days before she would be induced so we knew the time was coming! We started planning out our weekend. Dinner with friends, a walk in the park, a picnic down by the ocean. The perfect weekend. I crawl into bed Friday night and open up a book. I am about 3.5 sentences into the very first page of the chapter and all I hear is “OH MY GOD.” I look over and Hollie with frantically wide eyes says “my water just broke” as she is half in our bed standing over the carpet. As she makes her way down the hallway I hear what can only be described as a hose on full hitting the tile floor. I am stunned. It took me a moment to get over that initial shock. At this point I would like to blame Hollie for not preparing me for this. She told me in most cases this doesn’t happen so I just took her word for it and expected something a bit more subtle. I go to walk down the hall, slip and almost fall before walking as if I am on ice down the rest of the hall to get my Mother-in-law. She was in an absolute panic at this point which ultimately surprised me more than anything but also made me panic less strangely. The first thing she does is get a mop. I literally laughed right out loud. The last thing I would ever think of at a moment like this is to mop up the floor. I then hear my lovely labouring wife let me know I need to call the midwifery to ensure they make the arrangements with the hospital and to grab our hospital bag. Some fatherly advice on this one: have it packed early and in a place that is easy to find. We were like a well oiled machine (once the floor was clean). Into the car we go! It’s my time! This is my moment, my only real job (or so I thought) was to get Hollie to the hospital safe and in a timely manner. We made great time! I drove as safe as is to be expected from a first time father that expected his wife to start delivering her babies in the car. The usual 20 minute drive took all of 10 minutes. Other than maybe speeding a little I did obey all traffic lights so I sum it up as good luck and well designed route to get all the green lights!
At the hospital we had to wait. And wait. And wait a little more. We get into our room and I start timing up contractions. I had to keep myself busy so figured hey why not. After 3 hours of being there I start to realize these suckers are coming on pretty often. I look back at my log and they are coming every 4 minutes. We page the nurse who comes in (I am assuming at the end of a shift) and she is so annoyed with us. We explain that the contractions are coming 4 minutes apart and we are now in active labour. She tells us we should be sleeping and at this point I try to show her the log I have kept on my phone and she tells me that she cannot read it and that I should just go to sleep. I’m pissed now. How in the world am I supposed to sleep with all the excitement going on in my little world right now. But hey forget about me, how in the F#&k is Hollie supposed to sleep when every 4 minutes she’s having a contraction. The nurse leaves the room and then we page again. Now she’s even more irritated. “Look you have a big day ahead of you and if you don’t go to sleep now you won’t be able to…ok fine but once I hook you up to the monitor you can’t move around” (fast forward 10 minutes) “oh well would you look at that… you are in active labour”. Well, genius of the year goes to our sleep deprived & skeptical nurse LOL. (We definitely now have a newfound appreciation for healthcare professionals, the absurd hours they have to work and the demand for them to be perfect and pleasant at all times). Now the real waiting begins. Other than Hollie being in periodic pain nothing is happening. At about “sun started to rise” o’clock my mother in law headed home to feed the dog. Of course now things speed up. Hollie is in more intense pain way more frequently. She is started to dilate and fast. I call Michele and tell her if she doesn’t get back fast she’s going to miss it (as if she wasn’t panicked enough already). In my defence, I truly believed that. Little did I know we still had another 6-7 hours to go. In that time Hollie had a blast with the laughing gas. Enter hysterically hilarious Hollie. The nurses were killing themselves with Hollie’s sarcasm from wanting vodka as opposed to apple juice to hoping we are having babies and not kittens (she’s a dog person). The only time I left the room was for her epidural because I would literally pass out seeing a needle like that. Once the real pushing started I went full Personal Trainer with Hollie. My sole focus was to ensure she was doing what she was instructed to do. Once we learned how to push when you have no feeling waist down we were good to go. Half of my job is to teach people how to breathe while exercising so what’s a little labour breathing right? Hollie locked in and listened to anything I told her to do until the first cry was heard. Why are they purple???? I’m freaked out until no one else is. The moment that I am now a father is short lived. Hollie has to now push #2 out. Back to Breathing coach Derek. 7 minutes later and we are now the proud parents of beautiful twin boys. 5lbs 9 oz and 5lbs 6 oz. Damn..That is a lot of baby. They had a short stay in the NICU due to some blood sugar problems but again, relatively uneventful.
9 months into fatherhood and not much has changed since the day the boys got here. My role then was to be a support and to take charge when I saw fit to do so. My role now is to be a support and to take charge when I see fit to do so. As I am the one working I am relying on Hollie to show me the ropes with the boys. Just like them the best way to learn is to play. I spend my weekends playing with the boys and learning their individual personalities. Supporting them in their endeavours (mostly climbing furniture) and taking charge when I see fit (before they fall off said furniture).