Author: Chris Scott
Until you have been down the Special Care Nursery (SCN) with your own twins, its hard to really understand what it is like.
Twin Dad, Chris, shares his tips.
Special Care Nursery and Twins. Tips from a Twin Dad.
A few quick pictures of Cathy and kids, a last kiss with her and off I had to go with the kids, I wasn’t expecting this, but as the kids needed to be checked, etc. and no name tags/bands had been placed on them yet, I needed to stay with them to ensure that they were my kids.
Special Care Nursery and Twins born at 34 + 4 weeks
Down to the Special Care Nursery (SCN) we went, and I just stood back out of the way and let the nurses and doctors perform all their checks, all the while I was in a daze. I was listening to the nurses and doctors, remembering everything they tell you so I could update Cathy.
Later that night I had to leave to go home, I left my wife and my two new babies at a hospital. That is hard and a does a job on your mind and emotions. I cried when I got home, happy, frightened, scared, excited and alone. So alone. Neither Cathy’s or mine family live near Brisbane, so our support was limited.
Getting to be there the first time you and your wife get to see you babies is just awesome, the first time you have to leave the SCN and your babies, heart breaking. But you will be back. Support for you both is very important, there is a lot of paper work to fill out, things to consider that you had never contemplated, but you are in this together, and you have to remember that.
SCN is a very busy and overwhelming place
SCN is a very busy place (I imagine NICU to be even busier), but you do become accustomed to it. The need to wash your hands and arms upon entering is full on, but I am protecting my own kids as well; I even spent a couple of days not in the SCN due to a cold and I didn’t want to risk even the face mask. Your kids really do make you stop and think. You get use to the noises from all the machines, and can even end knowing when it is one of yours that just beeped or one next door or at the far end of the room. You will learn so much in SCN, how to read the machines, we even got taught baby CPR.
Here are some of my tips to help other Dads navigate the SCN journey with twins
If you end up in NICU or SCN, ask questions; there are no dumb questions and what is going through your head and worrying you they know the answer too and why not to worry about it, or how to help you with it. The nurses in these wards are brilliant and are only going to help you.
Your wife/partner’s emotions are really going through a roller coaster, more than normal and pre-birth. Yeah, your emotions are high as well, but in my opinion they are constant, whereas hers are a mess.
Talk to others in SCN
Talk to the people around you in the SCN, you will be each others support network. It will help. We are blokes, we don’t talk about emotions too much, but the support you will get from the other families and other dad’s going through what you are will be worth it.
Take time off – if possible
If you can manage it, take time off to help and be there in SCN. I am very grateful to my employer and manager that they understood and helped me with leave and flexibility. Thanks to them, I was able to be off work while the kids were in SCN, so I was able to be there for them and Cathy. I returned to work the week after they were released, only because Cathy’s family started arriving and helping out. When they had to leave some weeks later, I took another 4 weeks off work to help Cathy.
Be there, for your wife/partner and for the kids. It is not somewhere you want to be, but it is the best place to be if your kids aren’t ready for the world just yet. It will take a lot from you, but you get everything back and more. Be open to the new experiences, skin on skin time is just awesome, and I can’t explain how happy it makes you feel.
Look after yourself
Look after yourself as well, if you don’t you won’t be able to support them or be yourself.
So much of the time can be remembered but is blurry at the same time. We have photos of all the family and friends on a loop in a digital photo frame, and whenever a photo from SCN pops up, the memories come back, the good and difficult. But each of these photos reminds me of just how far our little family has come and helps me look forward to all of the adventures ahead of us.