Twinning in Taiwan: Part 2

Last we left off, the twins were days away from making their entry into the world. Today we’ve got month-old twins, precious little sleep, and lots more love in our home than ever before! Welcome to the world, Judah Joshua and Evangeline (pronounced “-leen”) Elisabeth! Here’s a bit of the story of their entry into the world and our adjustment to becoming a family of 5…

On November 6 we were told to arrive at the hospital at noon to get checked in for my cesarean section. Another mom was scheduled for a c-section with my doctor before me, so we knew that it would be later in the day when we finally got to meet the twins. That was one of the longest mornings of our lives! We’d already scrambled to get everything ready over the previous few days, so we had nothing to do but wait… and wait and wait… for noon to roll around.

When we finally left for the hospital we gave Hosanna lots of hugs and kisses and left her in the capable care of Josh’s parents Rod and Beth. Beth stayed with Hosanna at our house through our entire hospital stay, took her to therapy, and helped her “meet” the twins through pictures in videos while she waited for us to come home. Rod brought us all our meals, plus all the items we forgot to pack the first time. We really could not have done it without their help!

Going in to the twins’ birth, I tried not to have too many expectations for what I thought would happen… I knew from our experience with Hosanna that too many expectations can sometimes lead to a whole lot more stress when things don’t go as planned! I spent a lot of time praying in advance that God would give me contentment to accept the situations that came up that were simply out of our control, and the Lord was gracious to give me His peace each time that happened. And we certainly had some surprises!

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Two surprises that we were really thankful for were that Josh was allowed to be in the operating room when the twins were born, which is not usually allowed in Taiwan, and that we were able to get a single room on the first night. Often, the single rooms are all taken and you have to stay in a double or triple room until one becomes available.

We also had a few unexpected events that were a little less welcome. We were told we could have skin-to-skin time with the babies immediately (in the operating room), but it ended up being nearly 3 hours before we were able to see or hold either one of our babies! We still don’t know why, but the nurses showed us the babies and let us give each one a kiss right after they were born, then whisked them away to the nursery and refused to let Josh come in. In addition to that, Judah had aspirated a small amount of amniotic fluid, so they kept him in NICU for the entirety of our hospital stay to monitor him. I was not able to see him until the next day which was frustrating, but thankfully Evangeline was totally healthy and able to stay with us the rest of the time. (Judah was pretty much fine the whole time and is perfectly healthy now!)

Two big differences between the American and Taiwanese views on postpartum care stood out during our five day stay. In Taiwan, and many other parts of Asia, women are expected to take a month of rest after giving birth. No cleaning, no leaving the house, no washing your hair! A mother or mother-in-law will often step in to help during this time. I completely forgot about the Taiwanese views on washing your hair, and washed mine the second night in the hospital. When I went out to visit Judah in the NICU afterwards, the nurses on duty were appalled to see my wet hair air-drying and immediately offered to bring me a hair dryer so I wouldn’t catch a cold. Ironic, in my opinion, since the hospital doesn’t even provide hand soap in the rooms, which I would think could do a bit more to prevent colds from spreading!

Pain management is different here, too. After my c-section in the US, the nurses would frequently remind me to “stay ahead of the pain” by taking strong painkillers before the pain got too bad. Here in Taiwan, I was offered one strong painkiller per day and only allowed to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen the rest of the time. Additionally, some nurses seemed to think even that was too much, and if I wasn’t crying they would tell me that I should wait until the pain was more serious! Thankfully once I got past those first two (excruciating) days of recovery, my healing seemed to go much more quickly than it had in the US, and I was completely off of all medicines before we left the hospital.

Having Judah and Evangeline in our family has already been such a delight. They are completely different little people, and it doesn’t feel so much like we have “twins” (which makes it sound like they are some kind of matching set) as it does that we just have two babies at the same time. Judah, born first, is a big snuggle bug. He looks so much like Josh did as a baby, and seems to grow every time we lay him down for a nap! He’s working hard to keep his head up all the time so he doesn’t miss out on what’s going on around him. Evangeline, with her darker hair, calm and quiet disposition, and petite little figure, reminds me of Hosanna as a baby. She makes adorable little squeaking noises in her sleep and loves to watch the world intently with her big blue eyes when she’s awake.

Both of them, like Hosanna, love music, so we sing all throughout the day! Hosanna wasn’t sure about the babies at first, but now she really enjoys taking care of them by bringing pacifiers when they cry, rocking their swings, and giving them “pat-pats” on the back after they eat.

We can’t wait to see what the next year of our lives will bring, and we feel incredibly blessed by both the joys and growing opportunities life with lots of little ones brings.

Last reminder: send us your mailing address if you haven’t already so we can send you our Christmas card!

Peace to you and your family in this precious Christmas season.

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