Welcome to Our New Normal

Since the birth of the twins, we are slowly getting back to normal, though the definition of our new normal seems to be shifting daily. Evan came home two weeks ago, while Kate came home from the NICU this past Tuesday.

Leaving the NICU with both twins!

Leaving the NICU with both twins!

With one twin at home, the other still in the hospital, and Kendra unable to drive, I requested two weeks off from teaching. We have a very reasonable employer (yes, we teach at the same school), and I was granted the time out of work. Until Kate came home, one of us was in the hospital with her while the other stayed home with Evan. We also had several doctors appointments and visiting nurse appointments for Evan, as well as appointments for Kendra. (We were THRILLED when one of our friends, Stacey, was able to take on Evan. We coached all three of her wonderful kids, so we know he is in great hands.) With all the traveling to and from Boston during the day, and getting up at night to feed Evan, we are EXHAUSTED.

Addie ready for another day of preschool.Though I have been home from work, we had Addie continue her full-day preschool in an attempt to maintain “life as usual” for her. However, it was obvious the stress at home was affecting her as well – she started having accidents during the day, and she cried several times when I dropped her off at school. It was heartbreaking, so we came up with a few ideas to try to help her with all the big changes in her life – moving, the birth of her brother and sister, and starting preschool. Last Friday I took her to buy a fish. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while, and the timing seemed right. Naturally, she picked out a purple fish and decked the tank out with hot pink rocks and pink, purple and blue plants. On the way to buy the fish, I asked what she was going to name it. She replied, “Sally!” When we actually bought the fish, it was a boy, so I asked her if she wanted to change the name. She looked at me very seriously and said, “No mama – his name is Sally!”

Sally the boy fish.

Sally in his new tank – he’s hiding in the upper left.

Over the weekend, my father-in-law Boris, and I took Addie on a bike ride to give her some much-needed one-on-one time. Kendra also came up with a great idea – she drew a heart on all of our hands with a blue marker so that when any of us missed the other, we could look at the heart. Addie has insisted on drawing hearts every morning since. She even came up with some of her own coping mechanisms. She asked if she could take a photo from our fridge to school – one of the three of us together. We let her, and apparently she carries it around with her most of the day. Once Kate got home, things seemed to really shift for Addison. I think it was very hard for her to wrap her mind around the idea that her brother was home but her sister was still in the hospital. Her accidents are decreasing (none today!) and she woke up happy to go to school all week. Today I surprised her with a picture of the twins to take to school with her, and she proudly showed it to anyone who would look.

Now that both twins are home, Kendra and I are quickly figuring out how best to tackle the nighttime feedings. Their internal clocks are still wacky, so they sleep for five and six-hour stretches during the day, but then get up every two to three hours at night. Kate is a bit more feisty than Evan, but they are both easy-going. We’ve been doing tummy time and lots of cuddling – I think they like being back together.

Tummy time with the twins. The twins napping.

I have yet to take any photos with my camera – so far I have relied on my iPhone, but we have plans to do a photo shoot this weekend with all three kids.

Evan getting an EKGEvan had his first of many cardiology checkups at Children’s Hospital in Boston today. After taking his height and weight, the nurse ran an EKG to check the electrical activity of his heart. We spoke at length with his doctor, who confirmed for us that open-heart surgery is in Evan’s future. The second heart defect is still helping stave the effects of the first, which makes us oddly grateful for this particular defect – we were told without it, Evan would be in surgery in the next week or so. Instead, we are hoping to hold off until after winter and the cold/flu season.

As the reality of Evan’s condition continues to sink in, we’ve begun to watch the medical bills pile up. The cost of the NICU stays and Evan’s treatments are not going to be cheap. Thankfully we are both employed, have the opportunity to take paid leave, and decent medical insurance – I can’t imagine what it must be like for uninsured/unemployed parents facing such difficult circumstances. No one should have to worry about money or work when their little one is sick.

We return to the cardiologist in a month. Until then we’ll keep praying and adjusting to our new normal. Evan has no restrictions, so tomorrow we are taking all three kids on a hike. It’s time to introduce these little boos to nature!

About Jen

Outdoor adventurer and traveler. Writer, Photographer & Communications Professor. Wife. Mom of twins plus one. Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassador. Blogger at gayfamilytrips.com.

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16 Responses to Welcome to Our New Normal

  1. Brian Spector September 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    A very loving home you have. Best of luck with Evan.
    Luckily here in Canada we have a great health system so the bills would be far less.
    Smile….you have a lot to smile about.

    • Jen September 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      We do have a lot to smile about :) And yes, Canada has a pretty rockin’ health system. We need to take some notes from y’all.

      • Brian Spector September 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

        Keep that smile, and keep those shoes on, need them chasing Addie around(laugh here).
        Keep in touch.

  2. Kathy Larocque September 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    So glad you are all home and are on your way to a new normal. It will probably change in a week and you will on your way again. Don’t worry, this will stop in about 18 years. I’m so glad you have your in-laws to be there for you. Isn’t family great?
    Still praying for you all. <3

    • Jen September 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      Thanks Kathy! We are so happy to all be home. And family is great – and so are friends ;)

  3. Leonor September 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    So glad your family is all together. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love you

    • Jen September 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      Thank you Leonor :)

  4. 911shazza September 13, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    So glad everyone is home!! What a beautiful family!! Sounds like Evan has a great team looking after his medical stuff.

    • Jen September 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      Thank you :) He does – we are so lucky to live near Boston!

  5. Andrea September 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Congratulations! Our twins our now 14 months old, and it’s crazy, but amazing too. Keep focused on getting outdoors, the twins will LOVE the fresh air.

    • Jen September 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks Andrea :) Please tell me we get to sleep sometime in the next year? ;)

  6. Robin September 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    I love your family and glad you are all my family. I will be happy to take Addie sometime any weekend to a park, to play with Remi, bikeride or McDonalds or something… let me know when you need help. (I am no good with babies unless they have four legs on ONE body!)

    • Jen September 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Thanks Robin. :) We’re glad you’re our family too. Addie would be in heaven if she got to spend time with Remi.

  7. Janeiack September 14, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    You both are incredible parents, seemingly managing it all for your expanded family while adapting to a new house.

    • Jen September 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks Janiack. If nothing else, we’re great actresses ;)


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