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Table for 9 please

A Fathers perspective of a huge family, finally…..

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Almost there

It’s a good thing I eat stress for breakfast!

Would you believe me if I said having 5 boys, a busy pediatric dental practice, and a wife pregnant with twins, was not stressful? Neither would I, in fact this year has been one of my most stressful years to date.  Last week was the culmination of, what I like to call, the first wave of the “perfect storm.”

I believe in that movie from 2000, it was the storm of the century, the perfect mix of three different storm systems coming together at once.  The result was this massive storm that demolished the Andrea Gail and all of its crew, swallowing them in the black abyss of the north Atlantic ocean.

So unlike the movie, we don’t plan on losing any crew(staff), or enduring any harsh conditions(the storm), or not surviving this patch of stress to fight another day.  I think sometimes in life it is necessary to make a sacrifice, face some significant challenges, lose some sleep, and get away from what is comfortable in order to set yourself up for success.  Just to clarify, success is not measured by the size of ones house, or the type of cars driven, or the zeros behind your bank account, it is internal happiness and mental satisfaction with what YOUR situation may be.  I believe a sanitation worker can be just as “successful” as a neurosurgeon, it just depends on what drives you to happiness.  We all have big dreams, but those are only realized by hard work, sacrifice, and the one thing no one likes to be exposed to, RISK.

Yes, it is risky to merge this other practice into the wonderful thing that we have going.  I remember the evening we went to dinner with this “other” doctor and his wife, knowing he was contemplating retirement, and anticipating him approaching us to buy his practice.  The days leading up to this “date” I was giddy with excitement and flattery.  This is a man we both admired and respected, he taught us pediatric dentistry in school and is someone really well looked at in the community for his skill.  To say the least this was going to be a humbling discussion at dinner to have your mentor ask you to buy the practice he built up.  As dinner progressed through courses there was not one mention of the impending retirement.  We finished the main course and were approached about dessert, which we all wanted.  Then I looked up and his wife gave him this look of, “get on with it already”.  He then proceeded to ask us the thing we anticipated would happen this night and I vividly remembered my butterflies.  Here was my mentor telling us he thought we would take the same care of his patients that he has over the decades of practice.  Wow, what a feeling, but then, fast forward to today, and the reality has set in, this is going to be busy and the purchase happened this past Wednesday, what timing!

The thing we have focused on most of all in our practice is customer service, and providing an unparalleled experience, both for the kiddo and the parent.  Our daily goal for each person that graces our doors is to make them feel like they were the only family there.  So logically, we added staff from the other office and now we have to train all of them to buy into our vision and goals of customer service.  Teaching them to not tell people where the bathroom is, but walk them there, ask the parents if they would like coffee or a magazine, little things that make this different from any other office.  It is a little stressful to get people to look through your eyes and envision what your practice should feel like.

Then there is the construction of remodeling this practice to feel like us.  Our practice is 45 years old, obviously we bought from previous owner, and was in need of a facelift.  For those of you that have remodeled or built a house, you know how painstakingly slow and frustrating it can be.  There are delays, inspections, delays, material problems, delays, and worst of all, things you just didn’t think about and they always happen mid project, did I mention delays?  It is a complete mess right now and a little, umm, stressful.  It will be amazing once it is done, if we survive the process.  I didn’t even mention that my super woman is on bed rest and I have to make all the decisions, which as most dads can attest will not alway be the “right” decisions!  They will not all be bad decision or the wrong decision, but it all leads to more stress.

Then the biggest thing in our lives we have going, the twinkies!  She is now 36 weeks!  This some magic number for twins to, hopefully, stay out of the NICU.  She can go into labor now and we can be pretty sure these boys will be going home with mom and dad and meeting their 5 brothers.  Wait, did I just say 5 brothers(gulp).  Thats right, there are 5 other boys with practices and homework and baths, and breakfasts, and dinners, and cub scouts, and……the list goes on and the stress mounts.  I feel like that UPS commercial, I need logistics!  By most accounts I am a laid back, calm, take things as they come, kind of guy, but even I am a little overwhelmed.  Now things will work out and be fine, but the journey will be interesting.  The one reason I love this family is we are a team.  Nothing will defeat us and we will persevere.

Although stress is tough, and takes a lot out of your spirit sometimes, just eat it for breakfast and take a look around you.  We all have it pretty darn good and things could always be worse.  I have lived a few lives and each one is much different from the next.  The best thing about that is I keep improving from one to the next and this will be no different.  There was a great quote I saw from a man who endured insurmountable stress, Gandhi, and he said “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever.”  #carpediem

 

 

And here we go….or so we thought.

This will be a fairly quick post, so here goes.  Headed to the hospital last night for what we thought was a baby or two.  We weren’t sure, however, if this would be the end, and beginning.  Either way in the coming days this journey is about to get a little more exciting.

Some one asked me last night if we were ready and my response was, “Are you ever?”  It all seems surreal when you pack that bag and head out the door.  I still remember each time, all 5 so far,  my life was transformed when this miracle of childbirth occurs.  I believe no matter what check list you have or how organized you think you are, there is no way to be ready for what is about to happen to your life.  Take out the tangibles: diapers, wipes, bottles, cribs, car seats, strollers, etc., those are all things you can have ready.  The things that are un-preparable are:  did we choose the right name, sleep deprivation, your life schedule destroyed, how do you prepare for that, and the answer is you don’t!  It is absolutely impossible, and that is why you are never really ready.  Now multiply all that by a factor of 2, for the twins, and you have the perfect moment in time of panic and apprehension.

As the day unfolded, the contractions increased, both in frequency and intensity.  So we headed in for what we thought was our moment, and we both knew, uh oh we aren’t ready for this.  Not because we are not pros, because we have a little experience, but because having twins will be something brand new to both of us, and its a bit scary.  Think about it, for those that only have “singlets”, two babies get up at night, which doubles the time it takes, two babies need to be rocked to sleep, two babies need diaper changes, man having only one at a time seems, on paper, way easier.  I hope, all who have taken the time to read my jabbering, can close their eyes and imagine that scenario played out in the sentence prior, it has to seem a little terrifying.  Well all that buildup and we went home empty handed.  Those contractions that began so promising, ended about an hour after being at Labor and Delivery.  Another first for this large family, a dry run to the hospital that ended in coming home empty handed.  We were not ready anyway, right!

They nice thing about our family is we are “ready” for anything that life throws at us.  Even the midst of eminent terror of a life changing event, we are upbeat and ready to tackle anything.  Love this family and can not wait to meet these boys, but I will have to wait another day, or so.

Could it be…….nah, not yet, but soon

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So today is officially 35 weeks and its getting a little bit crazy.  We had an appointment yesterday and her Dr.  proceed to tell us that she was dilated to 5ish cm and 80% effaced.  Now all you dads are probably wondering, yeah I am not really sure what all that means.  So typically 10 cm is fully dilated and, obviously 100% is 100% effaced, and all equals, its pushing time.  Now for my sweet wife, labor is a fairly quick ordeal.  She is not the type that is in the hospital for 36 hours, miserable, walking around, and trying to coax these babies out.  When we get the epidural, there is usually a baby in about 30 minutes.  All this past history makes me worry about her walking around being dilated to a 5!  Bottom line is we will be have a couple of rowdy boys in short order, and we still have not packed a bag yet.

Now the Queen of this 7/8 (if you include, which you should, me!) boy family is hanging in like the royalty she has become.  If you take a glance at the picture above and imagine two of them squished in to a 5’8″ 120 lb, model like frame, one can only fathom how unbelievably inhospitable that must feel.  Those boys have pushed her diaphragm so far north that breathing is a labor of love and now she has a head cold to top it all off.  Amidst all this torture her tiny body is going through, she continues to be the strong, type A, take charge, sharp woman I have grown to adore and admire throughout the 10 years we have been married.  A few years back I had the opportunity to deliver one of our beautiful sons, and since that moment I have marveled at the miracle a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy, and the violence that traveling through a birth canal must have been for each of us.  For those of us that have kids, how cool is it to see the joy and emotion of your wife the second that baby comes into the world.  All the hard work and misery over in a few pushes and you get to hold your creation.  It is truly an aw inspiring and humbling event, to say the least.

This time, baby 6 and 7, will be a bit different.  There is no fairy tale delivery in a beautiful room, decorated impeccably and, truly, rather comfortable.  No, we get to deliver in a cold, sterile OR, with the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) teamS, standing there, with two incubators waiting for these boys.  My mom was a NICU nurse for some 20 years, and they have a saying for the babies we will be having: WWB or weenie white boys.  That doesn’t sound too flattering and it isn’t.  WWBs do not do well in the NICU, so we are hoping for 2 plump little strong men that avoid any stay in the NICU!  #chunckybabies

Today she will go for a measurement and estimation of the size of these boys and the amount of amniotic fluid around each baby.  This could gage when we go to the hospital to bring these boys into this wild and crazy family.  We still haven’t settled on names yet, but hope to narrow the search in the coming days.

The end is near, the light is here, this tunnel is finally coming to an end.  Soon these boys can breath in the crisp fall air and meet their big brother Quinn!

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34 weeks……its getting kind of real now!

Uh oh #timestwo
Uh oh #timestwo
Going to need a trailer just to haul this thing around...
Going to need a trailer just to haul this thing around…

Today my sweet superwoman is officially 34 weeks.  What that means is in the next two weeks, or so, we will have 2 babies join this family…..OMG, this can’t be coming that fast.  We are definitely getting a little panicked at this point in time.  It just doesn’t seem right that we are that close, and I don’t feel ready, logistically, for these boys.  I have found, however, that life is similar to a game of hide and seek, ready or not hear “they” come!

It is now time for the Dad Checklist of, To Dos and Fix These and Put Together This:

Cribs:  Check,  Double Stroller:  check,  4 million diapers:  working on it,  2 wipe warmers:  really unnecessary,  Car Seats: bought, but not installed, etc, etc, etc, etc

Basically the prep for this is immense and immensely expensive since its all TIMES TWO!  I am really not sure how any of us survived life as an infant without wipe warmers, or bouncy seats, or spy camera baby monitors, the list is long.  Why do we think we actually NEED all this stuff for our babies?  Well, need it or not we got it all and then some.  I personally think John Lennon said it best for these boys, “all you need is love”.  Isn’t that what it all boils down too anyway?

As we get closer to the end of this journey I still almost daily recall the day we decided to take this journey.  We were on vacation at possibly one of the best places we have ever visited, Capella Pedregal.  It is one of the most tranquil spots on the earth that I have been.  We were laying on the bed one morning, doors open with the Pacific crashing in the background, and she looks at me and says, “Lets have one more”.  Of course I took a big gulp and said “lets do it”.   Little did I know in 2 weeks that dream will come to reality, except we will be getting TWO, not just one more.  And, honestly, I couldn’t be happier then I will be when those angels gasp their first breath.  I always dreamed of a big family, but never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be my life.  Job of my dreams, girl of my dreams, and a life I would have never imagined could come true with the past I have been through.  Carpe diem……

 

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