Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Distinct Personalities

It's amazing how personalities get carried into our children. "it's in your genes" as they say.  Derek has undoubtedly gotten his refined features, petite figure, and feisty personality from Christy. He's very sensitive to his surroundings - always with open eyes to carefully observe everything around him. He's very particular about everything as well - totally got it from his graphic designer mother.  On the other hand, Andric got his broad-stroke features, tall figure, and careless-ness from me. as indicated in the following photos and video you can definitely tell who's who.

Ning Ning & Ran Ran from Brian Wen on Vimeo.


Grandma and Great-Grandma came timely when we're about on cruise control.  Great-Grandma prepared "red envelops" as good fortune according to Chinese traditions.
(Hsieh Lao Lao 解姥姥 is super healthy. At age 90 she has full set of original teeth, and can walk faster than me - shame on me, I know.)
(Wen Nai Nai 溫奶奶 was there with us when the twins were born. She comes once a week to supply all-organic groceries)

The grandmas and great grandma sitting around while listening to how Christy is recovering

These feeding pictures came from the other day

Let the fun begin!

Going into second week at home, I've already picked up a set routine where I get the night shift (12am to 6am), and rest before and after. My mom-in-law would get the shift when I'm resting, and rest when I'm running the show. During the day, both of us take turns to care for the twins and rest in between.  The boys still feed every 3 hours, and it gets challenging when feeding them both at the same time. We tried to offset them by an hour, but that gets even more tiring for us. (a never-ending cycle of tasks). Sometimes I'd have to put one on the diaper changing station and let him feed himself (as indicated below) while I feed another one at the same time.
Thanks to my mom-in-law's tremendous help, now I actually can take a breather and start to really appreciate every bit of my two new borns.
Derek's tiny foot compared with Christy's elbow

Derek and me - a size comparison

Derek's tiny toes.

Day #8, Shower #4

Surviving the first week

After five days of hospital. We were finally discharged.  Below is Andric sitting in the brand new ride getting ready for the real world!

With all the early warnings from my new-parent friends, I was at least mentally prepared for this. The expectation going into the first month is that I wouldn't get much sleep. Sure, but no one went through the list of things we as new parents had to do!! I never knew how hard it was going to be until now.

We spent the first 4 postpartum days in the hospital, where I picked up all the needed skills to keep the twins from crying their lungs out.  

First it's feeding

they feed every three hours, from the 20 c.c. in the first 48 hours to now 90 c.c. at second week. In the hospital it is easy because they give you unlimited supply of single-use formula bottles where you can plug and play. but after hospital it gets tricky because feeding every three hours means A LOT of bottles to clean, sterilize, and dry.  
  The convenient single-use 60c.c. package (given to us when we were in the hospital)

Then it's burping

Burping is essential task because it keeps them from throwing up and being fussy. If you'd want any breather at all, this is the part that you can't ignore. I can now get them to burp within 5 minutes each, and that's pretty good!  

Once they are fed and burped, you move onto changing diapers and clothes.

This is the part when they get super uncomfortable and start crying. If you're unlucky like me, you can totally get pooped and pee-ed on.  I realized the trick is to wait to hear them poop before you open their diapers, and even if you open them up, make sure the new one is right underneath ready to go.

Since I'm still learning how much they should eat, I often don't feed them enough, and when I put them back to the crib they start crying again, which can become a dragged-out process of trying to assess what's wrong yet cluelessly end up with two loud crying babies to calm down (so very true to my blog's icon).  This whole feeding, burping, changing, swaddling, calming process takes about 2 hours. and yes you guessed it, in another hour, everything starts over again. In this very precious hour, what do I do? - clean, sterilize and dry bottles & breast pump equipment, and if I'm lucky I get to feed myself.
Thanks again to Zephyr and Jenny for thinking ahead for us. we totally forgot to buy a drying rack. this is so essential and I highly recommend it.

Also, a special thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law who used to be a professional RN and is a Godsend for relieving me from misery.  I'm so useless compared to my mom-in-law. I whine so much caring for two. Yet she is smooth sailing caring for five (twins, christy/me, and herself)  She's always so graceful and pleasant to be around, and my twins are so lucky to have her as a grandmother!

Postpartum hours

Immediately following the operation, we were sent to the postpartum unit where we would spend the next four days in.  It's a basic patient room, with a fold-up bed where the husband (or a care-taker) can crash out on.
First thing first, calling both of our dads in Taiwan to announce their promotion to "grandfather"!

In the first 24 hours, there was still lots of pain medication in Christy's system, but she was already put to work! This breathing exercise tool was intended to help her work back up her lung capacity after anesthesia with semi-collapsed lungs. The three plastic balls' weights increase from left to right, and the goal is to lift all three in one inhale, for me was easy. but it was apparently very difficult for Christy to do in the first 24 hours.

Pumping out breast milk has been the most physically intense part of the first two days. The picture below is the result of intense pumping for 15min every 3 hours in the first two days.  That's right, these two "drops" AKA colostrum took soooooo long to get!!
We were sooooo happy that we finally got them out and went to the nursery to feed that to them, that's right, we are fair parents, 3 c.c. each.  supplemented with Enfamil Premium formula that the hospital provided. They don't eat much at all in the first couple of days. 20 c.c. would be considered a lot - since that's roughly the size of their little stomachs.

Between pumping and feeding, Christy wasn't able to get nearly enough rest as she should after the C-section. Yet the nurses encouraged her to get up to walk around as much as she could handle.  This was 3 am in the hospital when we walked back from the nursery.
In the first 48 hours, I learned how to swaddle the newborns, change diapers, feeding, burping, and pumping (not me, of course!). In the first two days we insisted keeping the boys in our room for the most part, but quickly realized that we needed to be smart and utilize the nursery while we could. The hospital staff were really nice and understanding about it, they would care for the newborns anytime when we need some rest.

(Revisit) The first bath took place only 3 hours after their birth

Derek curiously opened his eyes before the bath!

Andric getting wet in the tub!

Derek getting the mafia look!

Andric feeling secure holding his daddy's giant index finger

First poop!!

Sucking test - PASS!!

Getting tagged. Also, getting tested for blood sugar level (bandage on the right)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My life is forever changed.

No, not because Steve Jobs introduced Apple's revolutionary iPhone 4.  In fact, I will probably never again find a reason to indulge myself in things that will eat away the college fund, which I will need to start thinking about for our newly arrived twins.

Introducing the newest addition to our family - Andric Hao-Ran Wen (left) and Derek Huai-Ning Wen (right) born on Monday June 7th, at 6:20pm with only seconds apart from each other. 

Derek (溫懷寧) is marked below as "Baby A". He's been guarding the door all these months because of a breech position inside the womb. He was first pulled out at 6:19pm and weighs 5lb. 13oz.  Inside the womb, he's always been the feisty one that began to kick early and hard.  And I think it's remarkable that he has Christy's frown!!

Andric (溫浩然) is marked below as "Baby B".  Notice he looks chubbier, and that's because he came out at 6lb. 4 oz.  He's been the quiet one throughout the pregnancy, only in the last few weeks he began to kick really hard but that's probably because of his size.  The personality of each baby surprisingly reflected on their expression in the very first hours after their birth!

The true hero here was really my wife, who suffered so much through this whole pregnancy, and got to extend it to full term! She was so brave during the whole C-section process, and before she could barely catch a breath, she immediately picked up the duty of motherhood. 

This embarrassing picture below was shot at the operating room. One that I always joked about - holding my new born twins with braces, so later on I can convince my two sons to get braces when they're at a younger age.
The most amazing experience was minutes before this shot was taken - The retrieval of the twins.  I have to admit, even though I began to mentally prepare myself for this moment since March, I had no idea what fatherhood meant until the moment when they pulled out the baby and when the baby began to cry. All of the sudden, I was mesmerized and started to think OH SHIT I'M A FATHER.  For the next 20 minutes my hands were shanking, words didn't come out right, and when nurses asked me "Did you have a name for your son?" I replied "My who?"

This is how Andric was keeping it real for me. A "Welcome to the Daddyhood" present. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Final count-down

Most expectant parents *probably* envy our situation. A calm, planned delivery, rather than waiting for the water to break, and sending everyone into a state of mayhem. At 6pm today. we will go into the operating room to retrieve the twins, which means the weekend that went by so fast was my last weekend to F around, be immature, and irresponsible. But no, I didn't even get to sleep in!!

I just fed Christy her meal for the day and she won't be eating or drinking for the next 8 hours until the operation. (Oh how cranky she will be!!)  I told her this morning that however prepared I seem to be, I will never be as mentally prepared as she is, because the twins have been alive and kicking all these months inside her. The moment of truth will be when I hold them in my arms.  Guess what my lovely wife said to me? "I'm the same, I think for the most part the kicks just feel like a bad stomach". How sweet of her to comfort my nerves in the final peaceful hours..

A memorable night

June 6th was a memorable night. If nothing else, my boy Rajon Rondo led the Celtics to win game 2 against Lakers with a tripple double! But while the game was hot, Christy and I went down to Huntington Beach Mazda and made a deal with them on a 2010 Mazda 5!

After months of looking for a suitable car, which hasn't been an easy task, given a twin tandem stroller, two infant car seats and a potential nanny sitting with us, plus all the bags and luggages if we were to go on a road trip to SF to visit family and friends. We really wanted a 6+ seater car that was big enough so we don't have to worry about the space, yet small enough so it's nimble and agile on the mean streets of LA. We also wanted it to be fuel efficient. and surprisingly, just these three criteria would limit us down to one option. and that's Jun's original recommendation - Mazda 5.  

We were going to wait until the end of the year to get a better deal, but the A/C on our 15 year old car stopped working since 5 years ago. It would be fine if we lived in Finland or somewhere cold. but we live in southern California where the summer heat gets above 100 degrees.  and plus it's no longer safe in today's standards, so we decided to get it now. I visited 4 Mazda dealerships, and called up to 6. After 2 days of intense negotiation we finally agreed to the best offer we got from Huntington Beach Mazda 

Of course, no any less than expected, Christy drove a hard bargain all night with the twins in her belly!!! 

The car will be delivered to us (Straight from Japan) on Wednesday, just in time to pick up the new borns!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Roaming with style

So in the past few days we've totally enjoyed the priority parking privilege City of Los Angeles has given us because we got the temporary disability placard.  This this is beyond sweet. Never more do we need to worry about finding a parking spot, and we get to park FREE at meters. IT IS AWESOME!!

wk 37 - The calm before the storm

It's week 37! If the twins continue to stay in the belly, our scheduled C-section will be coming up next Monday at 6pm. Just this morning I got an email from a colleague who is also a parent of twins to advise me to stay in bed for the whole weekend, because that will be the last of it.  

Yesterday Christy could not wait to get a fix of KFC and Marie Calenders, so we went and got the 10 piece family meal package. see the picture below. Everyone in the KFC was looking at us, and I felt like they were especially judging me, a mean husband who is too lazy to cook and bringing my pregnant wife to eat these hormone and food additive-enriched, deep fried things my wife called deliciousness. 

Since it's extra quiet and calm in the past few days, I have also begun to learn about how to feed and bathe infants through the trusty youtube. and bought a Canon Vixia HF S20 to get ready for the Big moment! The camera will arrive today and I can't wait to play with it!!
Canon VIXIA HF S20 HD Dual Flash Memory Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom