When toddlers attack

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 5 - What's left to worry about?

President Obama is visiting our neighborhood today, heading to a fundraiser at George Clooney's house that's supposed to rake in $15 million for his reelection campaign.  Actually, he's not in our immediate neighborhood anyway, but in the nicer part with hills and woods and movie stars, which is good, because every time the president visits, traffic grinds to a halt.

I'm sure my invitation was inadvertently tossed out with a pile of old newspapers or something.  Come to think of it, I wasn't invited to George's last soiree, either...

We're focused on other things in our household, anyway, and on day five of our daughters' lives, we're settling into a rhythm:

Wake up.  Turn on laptop.  Look at pictures of Olivia and Clara.  Get out of bed.  Put on sweats.  Quick look at pictures before letting dog out to pee and feeding said dog.  Make coffee, then back to the bedroom to stare at the photos some more.  Eat breakfast.  Photos.  Shower.  Photos.  Work.  Photos at work.  Call husband to gush over photos.  He gushes too.  Head home.  Avoid temptation to look at photos on cellphone on freeway, 'cause that's, like, illegal.  And dangerous.  Okay, maybe one quick peek.  Home.  Photos.  Call Dr Gupta.  Photos.  Dinnerphotoswatchmoviewhilelookingatphotosphotosphotosbed.

Tanorexic?  Me?
Each evening we hold our breath, stare at each other and the phone for a minute or two, and call Dr. Gupta.  The first night, I had no idea what to ask, but now I've established a pattern:  weight, breathing, feeding, thank you, bye.  He's very patient.  His goodbyes are abrupt.
Neither baby is on oxygen.  Clara's occasional episodes of apnea have stopped and she's taking formula through her gastric tube.  She's down to less than 1200 g, but Dr. Gupta says she's doing well.  Olivia isn't taking food yet because they're still aspirating pretty colors from her stomach, but he expects her to start within two or three days.
The highlight of our evenings is when Bernadette (who finally got to take her daughter Scarlett out into the big world - yay!) manages to charm the nurses into letting her take additional photos.  These shots of our daughters' salon session, combating a touch of jaundice and that 'I've been indoors or in the womb all winter' pallor, are her latest dispatch, along with this progress report:
"I tried to teach today's nurses Clara and Olivia's names. I think we made progress with Clara. I felt like a Sesame Street episode. Point to Clara. Very slowly say C-l-a-ra. Then faster Cla-ra. Then all together- Clara! Clara! Yay, Clara! Pointing and Claraing!!! Pretty funny, actually! We'll tackle Olivia tomorrow."
I don't know about the nurses, but Dr. Gupta as of last night was using their names.  It's a powerful, solemn, magical feeling to know that they officially have identities recognized by other people now and that their lives have begun.  It makes me want to be with them all that much more.

Since I can't, I Google.  I've been doing that from the start of the pregnancy, of course, but now that I'm running out of things to worry, obsess and stress about, my focus is becoming laser-sharp. 

Thirty-three weeks.  That means I can eliminate serious brain damage, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy.  They're breathing on their own.  What's left to worry about?  Asthma, motor delays, learning disabilities.  And more.  I found this oh-so-helpful study on the Moms of Twins Club website.  It's a veritable neurotic's garden of worries:

Ninety-two parents of multiples returned completed surveys to NOMOTC. There were 80 sets of twins, 11 sets of triplets, and one set of quadruplets represented in the study. The total number of multiple-birth children was 197. About a third of the multiples were identical. The ages of the children ranged from 5 to 33, but most of them were 5-10 years old. The majority of the multiples were born at a gestational age between 32-36 weeks (with 40 weeks representing the normal pregnancy length), but the range was 25-37 weeks. The birth weight of the multiples ranged from 1 lb. 6 oz. to 7 lbs. 6 oz. However, most of the pre-term multiples in this study weighed between 3 lbs. 3 oz. and 5 lbs. 14 oz. Three of the families had a death of one of the multiples- all three were in a higher-order multiple pregnancy.

Developmental delays and learning disabilities are also a common result of a premature birth. By the age of five, these are the areas they had deficits in and the number of children affected by developmental delays:

Motor Coordination (15 children); Self-help Skills (10 children); Social Interaction (12 children); Language (24 children); and Cognition (6 children).

The pre-term multiples in our study also had the following learning disabilities:

Attention-Deficit Disorder (2 children); Dyslexia (2 children); Speech and language delay (5 children); Auditory Processing Delay (1 child) and Visual Problems (1 child).

And it goes on and on.  Seriously, you could do a version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" to this list of woes: 

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a pulmonary hem-mho-rage...

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... two torticollis, and a pulmonary hem-mho-raaaaage....

By my reckoning, 20 percent of the 197 kids in the study had learning disabilities or cognitive problems.  That gives Clara and Olivia an 80 percent chance of not having anything wrong at all -- depending how you look at it, those are either really good odds... or a whole lot of uncertainty.

So I consulted the undisputable expert on the subject... internet tarot.

Will Clara have learning disabilities and do other bad things like fling her own poo at strangers?
Click for DetailsThe card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. Queen of Swords: The essence of air behaving as water, such as a refreshing mist: A person gifted with both keen logic and natural intuition, giving them uncanny powers of perception and insight. One who easily sees past deception and confusion to the heart of a matter, and understands both sides of any argument. The embodiment of calm, forthrightness, and wit, in the face of even the most trying circumstances.
Will Olivia have learning disabilities and spend her days living in a decaying trailer in someone's driveway?
Click for DetailsThe card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. The Chariot: Victory through might. Advancement through bold action. Change through force. Order established through vigilance. A trying situation mastered by balancing opposing forces against each other. Discipline, individual effort and endurance will turn the tide.

Whew.  Glad that's settled.  Okay, I'll stop worrying.

Yeah, right.


  1. Sorry I'm a really crappy blog friend I have missed your girls birth! Congrats Guys and I'm so sorry you can't be there with them yet, hang in there and STOP googling your going to end up NUTS! Easier said than done! My brothers are twins and born premature, they are now 19 and over 6 foot 2, and according to my mother the smartest kids she's ever had.....hey I think i'm offended! LOL!
    Hoping the shitty time apart flies by and you are with your sweet little girls before you know it!!

  2. You are sooooo funny. Serious concerns but oh so funny. These babies WILL be fine because they were not born too prem. Can you stop worrying and concentrate on teaching their nurses how to pronounce olivia?lolll.

  3. Your little girls are beautiful!!!! It's good that you are alert to potential issues due to premmie birth but lots of these things can be overcome. These little girls are gonna be loved and cherished and that is a powerful antidote for many ailments. Thrive little girls. Hope you guys stay well so you can get over to Delhi real soon.

  4. I can so relate to each and every google search and worry. Please try not to worry too much (easier said than done I know). Our girls were born at 32 (Vivian) and 33 weeks (Aria/Sidney). We have had minimal, if any, delays. We have had s few issues on that long list that I would assume applies to the general population of full term babies as well.
    Once you get to India, you'll see those babies and none of the google-found studies will matter much...because you'll be doing everything you can to be good parents and help your children find their path to thrive!
    I also totally get your stare-at-the-photos obsession...it all seems surreal that you are going about life with this new title - DAD - and as absolutely certain it is that you are a parent, it still feels abstract!
    We're thinking good thoughts for you both and hoping you can get to India soon to start seeing/helping those babies THRIVE!!!

  5. Holy crap Jason you need to STOP GOOGLING!!! There is way to much info on line!
    Your little girls are doing great, looking pretty and tan, getting ready for all of their movie star neighbors! Just don't let them play soccer - apparently that's some new plague according to NBC news.

  6. Google is your worst enemy when it comes to this kind of stuff. I have freaked myself out with worry several times already and we're only in the 2WW. I can only imagine what I will be like at your stage. Happy to hear that they are doing so well. In the meantime, lay off of the Google!!

  7. So glad that Bern is able to send you pics each day.I can totally relate to the staring at pics ALL THE TIME aspect of your day.As for the neurotic google stuff,this is what my Dr. Sadhguru says about fear and worrying.Watch it and then just enjoy gushing over the pics (just not on the 405).Olivia,Clara and Hayden will be just fine!!!!!

  8. Jason -- you are a smart man, with a striking similarity to a shorter me -- so I am saying what everyone else is...lay off the GOOGLE. The fact that they are breathing on their own is fantastic. Nuff said!

  9. Oh my, you really need to get to India and come by for a glass of Indian wine. It's not the best, but it sure keeps these types of silly thoughts from brewing. Of course we want our children to be healthy, but it's funny, once you meet them, you'll be too busy obsessing over how incredibly perfect they are to worry about anything going wrong. Indeed, their "flaws" are what make you love them all the more.

  10. I wonder how many singleton kids born on time have would have these things (like in comparison). My son, came on his due date and is now 20, has a lazy eye, was born with jaundice, and was diagnosed with ADD. Course all of that MAY be because I have a very slight lazy eye and ADD, and his liver wasn't fully developed.

    So no worries. Kids have problems no matter what. :-)

  11. Also, as an FYI, my friend here in the states had a baby born recently at 29 weeks. There were some minor issues as first, but now their baby is at home and doing super great.
    The world's youngest baby was at 21 weeks. He's an adult now and has no issues other than the fact that he's easily found on wikipedia and probably Guinness book of records.