Author: Darryl Lehane, Our Small Footprint
I remember the day Nyssa told me she was having twins. Of course, I didn’t believe her. I had always joked that she would be having twins his time, whenever she fell pregnant before, so, I thought she was just getting her own back.
She had rung me on my mobile, because I was at work, and I said something like “Yeah, ha ha good one baby.” Next thing I get a text message with the scan pic clearly showing two babies.
From that point life changed drastically. We moved from Victoria where we were living at the time, back to Brisbane, so we could be closer to family. We already had the three older kids, and we knew this would be a challenge.
Dad of twins – Our twin birth story
The boys were born by emergency c section at 33 weeks 2 days. I only just made it to be there with Nyssa for the birth. I was at home with the kids when one of the twins decided it was time to come out feet first. Thankfully, I managed to get a family friend to come and watch the other three and made it to the hospital as they were leading her through the doors, into the theater.
Seeing babies born by c section is vastly different from natural childbirth. And watching them being rushed out and into NICU is a bit harrowing, even more so because your wife is sitting there with her lower abdomen opened. As soon as I felt I could leave Nyssa I went to see them, which was the first time I had seen one of our kids before Nyssa really had a chance to.
Note from Twinfo: Read this blog written by another Dad of twins. SPECIAL CARE NURSERY AND TWINS. TIPS FROM A TWIN DAD.
Being a Dad of twins in NICU when you work long hours and have a large family at home
They spent many weeks in NICU after that. Up until that point I had pretty much gotten up each morning and gone to work. It wasn’t unusual for me to work 60-80 hours a week at times, so sometimes I wouldn’t’ even see he kids awake in a day.
Now Nyssa was at the hospital most of the time, looking after the boys, making sure they breast fed and that she spent the time she needed to with them, which left me to look after the other 3. A job I was terrible at.
I remember one day; I had taken the kids to the shops and was walking down an aisle when a child said something to their mother. The mother must have thought she was whispering, but I clearly heard her say something about “Unemployed people” (I had just purchased a franchise and was far from unemployed) but looking at the kids I could see what a terrible job I had done dressing them and making them look presentable in public.
Bring our twins home from NICU
Eventually the twins came home, and there started another new thing, called never sleeping. Nyssa had spared me a lot of the nighttime activities with the other kids, partly because she breast fed, partly because she believe I needed the sleep to function at work (At the time, my job involved a lot of travel, so being alert while driving was important)
With the twins that couldn’t happen. For quite some time (weeks I guess, but it is hard to recall) we both got very little in the way of sleep. The twins would tag team sleeping and crying. One would sleep for 45 minutes while his brother cried, then when he fell asleep, the other twin would wake up and cry for 45 minutes.
As the twins grew and we took them out in public, we would get stopped constantly. “Are they twins?” became the opening line to many conversations. It can make an already long trip longer when you must stop every hundred meters for an impromptu chat about twins.
Raising twins in a large family
Being a Dad of twins is pretty great. I think though, that the most amazing thing for me was how close the two of them are.
All our kids get along well, but the twins have a bond that is far different. In their own twin language, hey used to call each other Narna (I have no idea how it would be spelt) which we came to realize meant something like brother, but even closer. They still sleep in the same bed even now and a rarely more than 100 meters apart.
We have always allowed them the space to be different, never dressed them the same, or treated them like two of the same person, but that bond is there and it is strong. They are closer than any two people I have ever met, even if they have adopted their little brother as an unofficial triplet.
I often wonder if they will have that closeness throughout their lives, or whether it will fade away as the world gets bigger.
The twins are 7 now. For the first time a few weeks back I heard one of them pretend to be the other twin. I laughed, even as I called him cheeky. Maybe every silly twin movie was right, and they will get up to all sorts of shenanigans as they grow older, pretending to be each other.
Follow Darryl and his family as they share their life living off grid.
Our Small Footprint – A large family living off grid in Australia, gardens, pigs, chickens and ducks and a mob of children all living slow.