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#1 KnightWriter

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 01:59 PM

I'm in the embryonic stages of a thriller about a married couple who faces the usual problems a marriage "suffers" from childbirth but have to ditch any negativity instantly because a very freaky burglar comes inside their home.  What I'd like to know is what kind of changes, both physical and mental, a new mother goes through after giving birth to quadruplets by c-section as far as recovery goes in about a month after the babies are born.  ANY advice is welcome and appreciated because I have a goose egg when it comes to experience.

 

Also, where do your opinions side on giving newborns their own room after being born?  Do you prefer to keep one of the hugest cribs for quads a few feet away, or do you put them next door?  I know they would probably have a month long stay in the NICU considering it was a multiple birth, but my mind is as foggy as Silent Hill after that.

 

Lastly, (at least for now...hey, I just realized my word choice earlier..."embryonic"...HA!), what do you think about the brain activity for an unconscious person?  I know coma patients do dream, sometimes even are aware of their surroundings when in the hospital, but if I were knocked out by a baseball bat for about twenty minutes...would I dream?  What does mainstream science and medicine consider about that?  Religious aspects?

 

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#2 Corin.Hamelton

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:09 PM

Look up post-partum depression and associated behavioral problems.

 

More to my expertise, unlike in television, any person knocked unconscious for longer than a minute has a serious brain injury... and of all the people that I've treated that have been rendered unconscious, nobody dreamed.


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#3 Yvette

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:29 PM

Well, I don't have quadruplets, but I did have a large baby via c-section.  :happy: In a nutshell: the body is forever changed. C-section mothers tend to keep a little bit of a "pudge" in the belly that no amount of crunches will get rid of. Whether the mother is nursing or not will dictate how the body feels and recovers also. I don't know how successfully a mother of quads can nurse.

 

Emotionally, the new parent (not just the mother) is exhausted. Because the mother is convalescing from surgery, the father takes over some (or a lot) of her slack. For four to six weeks he's the one vacuuming, doing laundry, grocery shopping, because mama isn't supposed to lift anything heavier than the baby. If mama is smart, she will sleep when the babies sleep, because that's all the sleep she's going to get. Diaper changing and feeding seem constant, and the new parent is sure she's screwing something up. Is baby on the right routine? Should I worry about that red spot on baby's bum? Gawd, cradle cap is gross....and let's not even get started on the umbilical cord stub falling off! Why's baby crying? Why's baby crying ALL THE TIME? Is that a normal colour, there in the diaper? I need to get out of the house, but I don't want to get out of my yoga pants. Oh, there's the peanut butter sandwich I made three hours ago, took two bites of, and then forgot about. I could go on, and on...

 

My son slept in a bassinet in our room for six months after birth. I have no doubt that if I'd had quads ( gosh!: ) that situation would have been the same.

 

I hope that helps!


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#4 Jeanne

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:43 PM

The general rule after a C-section is no driving for six weeks. I've had two C-sections and recovered fairly quickly, but I suspect a C-section for quads would require a longer period of recovery time. There can be a lot of pain for several weeks, and the mom isn't allowed to lift anything heavy. She is probably exhausted from no sleep plus the stress of carrying the babies to viability.

 

With quads, the parents (hopefully) have some sort of support network of people coming in to help with cleaning, feeding babies, errands, and food preparation for the adults. Some hospitals have support groups for parents of multiples where volunteers step in to help out where needed.

 

It's quite likely the babies would be premature and of varying birth weights. They may have spent some time in the NICU. The length of time in the NICU depends on birth weight, any neonatal health problems, such as problems with sucking/swallowing, jaundice, and the gestational age. Most premature babies are not released until they can feed from a bottle and maintain their body temperature.

 

It's also possible one or more babies would be sent home on oxygen and/or a home heart monitor or a monitor for sleep apnea. I doubt the parents would put all of the babies in the same crib for a number of reasons. One crying baby could wake 3 other babies. One sick baby could infect 3 other babies. The babies could also be on different eating schedules, depending on their birth weight. However, since one or more of the babies could be on monitors, the parents would probably want them in the same room or very close. Those monitors have very loud alarms and can be a huge pain if they go off all the time for no reason. Our daughter used to  pull the probes off and set off the alarms--sometimes several times a night.

 

Sorry. Can't tell you anything about what it's like to be unconscious.

 

Hope that helps.

 

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:50 PM

I've been knocked out twice, both times thanks to horses. The second time I was kicked in the head and knocked out and I can tell you there is no dreaming or state of awareness. It's black and the loss of time still freaks me out six years later. Your brain "knows" that time is missing and you are utterly unable to account for it. I lost 24 hours around the immediate injury (even after I regained consciousness time disappeared on me) and I suffered short term memory problems for about a year.



#6 Corin.Hamelton

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:34 AM

That's called anterograde amnesia. 

 

irrelevant fact here: women that don't breastfeed have a much harder time getting their bellies into shape.  Breastfeeding shrinks the abdomen, but it also comes with uncomfortable cramps... like doing a thousand situps.


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#7 KnightWriter

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:50 AM

Thank you all for your advice!  This actually forces me to hack off some note cards to move the story more towards realism.  BTW, LOVE the Hemmingway quote!  I'm trying to dabble in poetry, but it feels like I'm writing old-school compared to today's standards.  I still love it though.  As for the notes ya'll gave me, I have new questions.

 

When the parents are "emotionally exhausted," I know the effort into it is for the well-being of the children.  What about the marriage and the thoughts of the parents?  Is the focus directed toward the children so much that any parents will realize that the new status quo is a complete 180 from before and not know how to cope with the changes to their marriage?  Would communication suffer greatly, especially from personal self-doubt and not wanting to admit to it (even if you did admit to it, the "problem" would not disappear...the kids will still be there and mommy will need A LOT of physical help)?

 

Speaking of which, physically (thank you all for that advice...kinda scares me considering I've never even dated before and this is a possible future for me. :Woah!: Guess I'll have to really get back to reading Tony Horton and be a P90X graduate :tongue: ) would the extreme cramping just be pain or would there be somewhat of a burning added to it?  I've done situps and felt like regretting each one, but that's just from a guy's perspective.  How would mobility be affected?  I mean, a grueling pregnancy, a gash across your stomach, bulge in almost every corner of the body...I know I wouldn't want to move.  But, for a woman, how difficult would it be to get around like from out of bed to go to anywhere [especially move on a whim because 1) there's a burglar and 2) what about the kids?]

 

This support network of friends, family, coworkers, volunteers, and even Billy Bob from down the street is something I've never considered before (because I didn't know about it of course).  I assume this is all free of charge, especially for the financial status of new parents.  Would all this help ease some of the stress involved here?  I mean, quads?  Like I said, I know the marriage suffers a bit...but since everyone's helping, it shouldn't be that bad, right?  Or am I wrong and both parents are wearing emotional armor that hides their true colors despite all the relief effort?

 

Finally, (sorry for sounding like the typical inquisitive 3-year-old...it's obvious I'm a green horn in everything!) with all the bodily changes that Mama is "suffering" from...I know she'd be unsatisified with how she looks and probably doesn't believe anyone's encouragement...especially from hubby.  And I also know that there's the NO ENTRY sign on her forehead with a picture of daddy beneath it since the property deal now belongs to the kids despite the fact that dad's kinda checking her out and noticing the curves in more ways than one.  Is it possible that the mother can eventually get out of this kind of PPD and maybe develop some sort of liking to her body?  And, (for the sake of argument here) if the husband "wanted in" with this kind of enjoyment, considering the circumstances...would mommy oblige and try to cheer him up some way?

 

Thanks again for the tremendous help and deviating me away from the unconscious thing.  I seriously did not know that the whole thing was glitz-ized for TV.  It's funny how I work in hospitals and know zilch when it comes to the ER and the patients.  FYI...I work in the lab, so the only patient interaction (unless it involves phlebotomy) is a computer screen and a sticker with their name on it.



#8 LittleJoni

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:35 PM

How would mobility be affected?  I mean, a grueling pregnancy, a gash across your stomach, bulge in almost every corner of the body...I know I wouldn't want to move.  But, for a woman, how difficult would it be to get around like from out of bed to go to anywhere [especially move on a whim because 1) there's a burglar and 2) what about the kids?]

For this question, I'm assuming you mean after having a c-section?  I had one with my first child, and keep in mind I only birthed one at that time, not four at once, so this is just my experience.  After the c-section I spent four days in the hospital, I could not go home until I could move.  So there was mobility, but I was still in a great deal of pain.  Getting in and out of bed was pretty difficult for at least the first week after coming home, but after that it was quite a bit better.  Moving quick was not on my agenda, but then again, we do crazy things when our survival is at stake.  I would think that if I had had to move fast I could have but it would have been painful.  I could not cough or sneeze without pain (more like stabbing, not burning) and it took a while before I could stand up straight.  You have no idea how much you use your abdominal muscles until someone slices into them and then stitches them together.

 

 

This support network of friends, family, coworkers, volunteers, and even Billy Bob from down the street is something I've never considered before (because I didn't know about it of course).  I assume this is all free of charge, especially for the financial status of new parents.  Would all this help ease some of the stress involved here?  I mean, quads?  Like I said, I know the marriage suffers a bit...but since everyone's helping, it shouldn't be that bad, right?  Or am I wrong and both parents are wearing emotional armor that hides their true colors despite all the relief effort?

No personal experience with multiples, but from what I've heard, sometimes this support system coming in to help, while indeed helpful, can also cause a lot of stress to a marriage because you have no privacy, and when everyone goes home all you want to do is sleep, not get cuddly with each other.  I would guess with multiples, you're not going to get away from the stress ever.


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#9 jadah

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 01:41 PM

....I'm never having kids.


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#10 Jeanne

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 02:13 PM

Hmm. Let me see if I can fill in some more details.

 

The emotional exhaustion comes from all directions. First, bear in mind that most multiples are premature. That means the parents have probably been spending hours and hours with their babies in the NICU long before they can come home. Depending on the condition of the babies and their birth weights, they could face hospital stays ranging from weeks to months. That is expensive and emotionally draining. Every day in the NICU is a roller coaster. A baby who is doing well in the morning could be near death's door by evening. Things change that fast.

 

Also, it's quite likely the babies won't all come home at the same time. Again, it depends on their progress. So that means Mom and Dad may be juggling the care of one or more babies at home AND making daily trips to the hospital to spend time with the other babies. Someone has to drive Mom because she isn't allowed to drive and is in too much pain. She may not even be strong enough to ride to the hospital, so the burden of visiting babies there could fall entirely on Dad. But Mom would still need help at home while he is visiting babies in the hospital. She's going to need help feeding, changing diapers, tending to monitors, as well as her own self-care for bathing, eating, etc.

 

Most newborns feed approximately every 2-3 hours at first. This means massive sleep-deprivation. Preemies who are underweight will feed every 2-3 hours for an extended time frame. Mom can't possibly breast-feed four babies, but she may be pumping breast milk. And she will be using formula (probably high-calorie to bring up the babies' weights) too.

 

The support network could be free or inexpensive for a short period of time but not for more than a few weeks. After that, the parents will need to muster friends, family, church members, etc., to step in and help out. Yes, this support network can be intrusive and not always that much help. Think about the people with good intentions who are uncomfortable handling a small baby or who are reluctant to check monitors or who fix food Mom can't eat or leave lots of dirty dishes after fixing a meal.

 

Body awareness and sex are probably the last thing on anybody's minds, including the Dad, who is probably stressed about his wife's health, finances, and the welfare of his children. It's not that the parents no longer love each other, but they are overwhelmed. Imagine this environment in your home:

 

Four-to-ten strangers or relatives taking charge of everything, including food, cleaning, errands. None of them do things the way you're used to. You have no privacy because someone is always there.

 

Sleeping no more than two hours for any given time.

 

Crying babies. Alarms going off at random times.

 

Hospital bills rolling in with numbers ranging in the hundred thousands.

 

A boss asking how long you plan to be off work (for the dad). Worries about using up family leave. Worries about taking care of the wife, the babies at home, and the other baby+ in the hospital.

 

Constant questions about health issues with the babies: Why is this one spitting up all the time? Why has this one lost weight? Does this one have jaundice again? Shouldn't they all be growing at the same rate? Do we need to take this one back to the hospital because she/he is listless, crying, throwing up, etc.?

 

When do things get better for the couple? When the kids are stable, the mom and dad have a routine that works, and the mom's health is back. Not before. Best guess is at least several months.

 

Could the mom take extreme actions if she or her family were threatened? Probably. But it wouldn't be easy, and there would be a price to her health. She could open stitches, develop post-pregnancy complications, or injure herself internally.

 

Hope that gives you some more insight.

 

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#11 Kelly Haworth

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:06 PM

Oh my, reading this thread makes me petrified to have a c-section.  *looks up at 6-foot-3 husband* I'm doomed...  (my first baby was premature and I had a natural birth, doctor told me on the birthing bed that a full term baby would have been a c-section)

Being a new parent is really scary.  I can't even imagine having quadruplets.

You've gotten a lot of great advice.  Best of luck to you!


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#12 E.B. Black

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 04:22 PM

One thing I remember from watching documentaries of women who have had multiple births is that the skin on their stomach stretches more than regular births and can't go back to normal unless they get surgery. It turns into this giant saggy mess where there stomach was that looks like the face of a pitbull.

 

I hope this links right, but here's a picture of Kate Gosselin's belly after sextuplets:

 

http://nyppagesix.fi...152_photo02.jpg

 

She got surgery to have the belly she has now, so I'm pretty sure she wasn't feeling at all attractive before that surgery.


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#13 JayMG

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:41 AM

When the parents are "emotionally exhausted," I know the effort into it is for the well-being of the children.  What about the marriage and the thoughts of the parents?  Is the focus directed toward the children so much that any parents will realize that the new status quo is a complete 180 from before and not know how to cope with the changes to their marriage?  Would communication suffer greatly, especially from personal self-doubt and not wanting to admit to it (even if you did admit to it, the "problem" would not disappear...the kids will still be there and mommy will need A LOT of physical help)?

 

...

 

This support network of friends, family, coworkers, volunteers, and even Billy Bob from down the street is something I've never considered before (because I didn't know about it of course).  I assume this is all free of charge, especially for the financial status of new parents.  Would all this help ease some of the stress involved here?  I mean, quads?  Like I said, I know the marriage suffers a bit...but since everyone's helping, it shouldn't be that bad, right?  Or am I wrong and both parents are wearing emotional armor that hides their true colors despite all the relief effort?

 

There's still plenty of space for selfishness and feeling sorry for themselves and playing the fatal "who's more tired" game. The first 6 months of having a new baby (let alone multiples!) are so daunting, and there's usually a battle between trying to retain a sense of your previous normality and adapting to the 'new normal'. Communication can be awful, especially when you're sleep-deprived (there's a reason it's a method of torture) - you're irrational and almost constantly irritable and when you're squabbling about the washing up or whose turn it is to change the baby, things can seem like the end of the world when really all it takes is a sensible view. But of course you don't get that until you find your 'groove' with the babycare or the kids start sleeping better. There can be an incredible strain on trying to maintain a relationship when you have so little energy or time. If there are already problems in the marriage they will definitely come out when kids come along - it's a really vulnerable place for both parents. For the mum, you're pouring all your efforts and love and commitment into looking after the baby/ies and there's usually very little left for your partner for a while because your brain is re-wired to focus on the baby. For the dad, your position has suddenly shifted to a supportive role and there's often a sort of jealousy of the bond between mum and baby, not to mention that society/extended families generally don't see the dad as needing help/support/encouragement and they get pushed aside when they're also going through a huge transition and may be feeling equally vulnerable and lost. 

 

The support network would definitely ease some of the practical help but your hormones after birth are like a rollercoaster. The permanent dose of oxytocin (happy hormone) you've had during pregnancy plummets after birth and you can be teary and totally depressed for no reason, then laughing and crying over how wonderful your life is the next. Your brain becomes more emotive rather than logical (hence: baby brain) so that you can bond with your babies and respond to their cues on a primal level. This means you get forgetful, clumsy, unable to work things out logically (OJ in your cereal, answering the door with one boob hanging out... it's been done...ahem). Also - if you had a steady stream of people in and out of your house you'd never relax - well meaning in-laws, nosy neighbours, talkative friends etc. And when you just want to sleep all that unwanted company would drive you crazy. Having to constantly make cups of coffee and having people move your shit around or try to help when they're actually making things more complicated... ugh. Lots of pitfalls. Plus, EVERYONE is suddenly an expert on parenting and will be telling you what to do, what not to do, why the baby's crying, what their mother told them, how to do this, how not to do that - arghhhh! Oh, and what everyone REALLY wants is to just hold/cuddle the baby.... Sometimes you can feel such a protective urge that having some random person holding your baby makes you want to snatch them right back. We're talking primal stuff, at times. 

 

 

Speaking of which, physically (thank you all for that advice...kinda scares me considering I've never even dated before and this is a possible future for me. :Woah!: Guess I'll have to really get back to reading Tony Horton and be a P90X graduate :tongue: ) would the extreme cramping just be pain or would there be somewhat of a burning added to it?  I've done situps and felt like regretting each one, but that's just from a guy's perspective.  How would mobility be affected?  I mean, a grueling pregnancy, a gash across your stomach, bulge in almost every corner of the body...I know I wouldn't want to move.  But, for a woman, how difficult would it be to get around like from out of bed to go to anywhere [especially move on a whim because 1) there's a burglar and 2) what about the kids?]

 

The cramping can be like period pains or much worse - a throbbing ache in your lower abdomen that sometimes feels like it's going right through to your lower back. It can double you up in pain, make you grit your teeth. I don't think sit ups feel the same. I felt like I'd been stabbed in the guts. The uterus contracts (as it does in labour) so it can shrink back down to normal size - it happens while breastfeeding or whenever you get a dose of oxytocin (so when you get a rush of love hormones - staring at sleeping baby, cuddling, whatever) in the first week or two then disappears, so may not be relevant for the timeframe you're talking about. 

 

Re: mobility - exhaustion is the main issue. And I don't mean "she's really tired", I mean like she's been carrying almost the equivalent of half her own body weight around - that affects your hips, your knees, your pelvis, your back. Surgery/labour are a bit like running a marathon - your body needs to rest big time afterwards. There are also side effects of the anaesthetic and pain relief drugs. Just getting up to the bathroom can make you feel like fainting. Bending over will be painful with her c-section wound, her breasts will be extremely tender if she's breastfeeding in the early weeks (to the point where she would yelp if anyone touched her). If a burglar broke into my house in those early days there's no doubt I would move as fast as possible to protect my children but that's not to say it wouldn't be without pain and difficulty. Adrenaline would certainly make her move faster than you probably should but she would obviously be more at risk of injury.

 

 

Finally, (sorry for sounding like the typical inquisitive 3-year-old...it's obvious I'm a green horn in everything!) with all the bodily changes that Mama is "suffering" from...I know she'd be unsatisified with how she looks and probably doesn't believe anyone's encouragement...especially from hubby.  And I also know that there's the NO ENTRY sign on her forehead with a picture of daddy beneath it since the property deal now belongs to the kids despite the fact that dad's kinda checking her out and noticing the curves in more ways than one.  Is it possible that the mother can eventually get out of this kind of PPD and maybe develop some sort of liking to her body?  And, (for the sake of argument here) if the husband "wanted in" with this kind of enjoyment, considering the circumstances...would mommy oblige and try to cheer him up some way?

 

Feeling bad about your body after birth isn't necessarily PPD and will vary from woman to woman - I know mums who have snapped back into shape with no effort, and others who have struggled with their weight ever since. I imagine with quads you'll have a lot of extra skin on your tummy and probably some extra pounds everywhere else. If you breastfeed, the weight usually slowly drops off but may not go completely, and your skin gradually gets tighter but yes there's the c-section paunch and as others have said a multiple pregnancy leaves some hefty side effects - she'll definitely have stretch marks, which fade over time but can be quite prominent early on. I don't know the male perspective, although my partner and my friends' partners all seemed to have no problem with the changes (or at least never said it out loud - sensible men) - maybe they'd have preferred a more pert version but sexual attraction isn't just about looks, eh? ;)  Boobs usually get bigger during pregnancy and after - esp if she's breastfeeding, maybe that's a factor! As for 'obliging' and 'wanting in' - well, it's personal. I know women who have had sex three days after birth (doctors suggest 6 weeks after birth) and some who didn't have sex for a year afterwards. For about 6 weeks after birth she'll be experiencing lochia - post-partum bleeding - which is basically a 6 week period while the body flushes out the material left in the womb after birth - blood, tissue, mucus. Great joy, as you can imagine. That means she'll be wearing giant maternity pads and probably feeling pretty crap - probably not very sexy. Libido can be very low after birth in a natural attempt to avoid further pregnancy so soon, so she may have difficulty in convincing herself to get involved sexually. 

 

Who'd have kids, eh? I used to teach antenatal classes and found women got so caught up in the pregnancy and idea of how life will be with a baby they didn't think about the physical and psychological issues post-partum. It's tough. Even more so if she had a scary time with the birth - I imagine there's a lot of stress and worry about the health of the babies and the success of the section. It's major abdominal surgery after all. I know mums who have suffered from PTSD for years after birth and having had a baby in NICU myself I can tell you that the fallout when you get home is massive. You hold your shit together while you're in hospital and then you go to pieces when it's all 'over' and you're back home. I think a lot of preemie parents can be initially terrified of looking after their babies without the support of the ICU staff - suddenly left to their own devices it must be pretty daunting.

 

I think your premise is really interesting and as you can see there are a ton of factors you can include to make things highly emotionally charged... Good luck.



#14 Jean Oram

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 10:52 AM

What EB said. A friend had triplets and she's quite small. Her stomach skin is UNREAL. It's very wrinkly. Lots of extra.


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#15 Jean Oram

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:06 PM

Oh, and the c-section area can be numb for months.


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#16 mwsinclair

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:37 PM

After the birth of our c-section twins, my wife had ongoing discomfort for months. I totally agree with the earlier comment about post-partum depression, too. Nasty, nasty stuff, that. I can't imagine what it would be like with four babies. In our case, our girls were both in the NICU immediately after birth, too -- one for about three weeks. I'd expect quads would also be there too, at least for some period of time, because they'd likely be small. But I'm no doctor.

 

As for the crib question, we had our girls in the bedroom/office that was literally a foot away from our bedroom, so that really wasn't much of a problem. Actually, looking back, before the second child came home, we had the first one in a bassinet for a few days in our bedroom.



#17 jwmstudio

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 11:22 AM

Body awareness and sex are probably the last thing on anybody's minds, including the Dad, who is probably stressed about his wife's health, finances, and the welfare of his children. It's not that the parents no longer love each other, but they are overwhelmed.

 

 

When do things get better for the couple? When the kids are stable, the mom and dad have a routine that works, and the mom's health is back. Not before. Best guess is at least several months.

 

I had three c-sections no multiples and I would agree with this. The scar area can be numb for a LONG time and your skin is sharpee like, but for the first month or so it's hard to care because you are so tired. Everything narrows to the immediate needs of the smallest noisiest person in the family. It's not that you don't want to be together as a couple or even that you are worried about how your body looks. None of that has even hit your radar yet. I can only imagine with multiples the challenges would be exponentially greater and for  the reasons Jeanne said, even greater for the father.

 

Getting out of bed post surgery is more of a rolling thing than a sitting up thing.


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#18 cecampanile

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 08:25 AM

Didn't have quadruplets but did have four babies via C-section (all single births).

 

Just want to throw it out there that a newborn baby doesn't necessarily mean a marriage "suffers."  Challenges - God yes - but my husband and I have found each child's birth brings us closer.

 

And couples with a newborn can enjoy a fabulous sex life as soon as the doc gives the go-ahead (post C-section, usually at 6 week check up) It's not always easy to find the time but it's worth being creative and making space to connect :)

 

The world changes when you have a baby - suddenly your baby means more to you than anything else. At least for me. And at least for me, it made me love my husband even more because we bought each child into the world together.



#19 KnightWriter

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 11:10 AM

I'm back after my first two weeks at my new job and I got to say, you all are a TREMENDOUS help!  I had nothing for realism before joining AQ...just more of the thrill of the plot.  Now, after letting the idea simmer and studying up on your comments...it won't be long before I have my sheets filled out and my first draft on paper!  See you all at the finish line. :wink:






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