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By Jessica T

The naivete of experienced parents

Uploaded: Oct 13, 2013

Despite my previous post about my dependable maternal instincts, my husband and I had a lot to learn about newborns at the hospital. One of my daughter's friends gave me a great book about twins which I read cover to cover several times, but if you've had a newborn before, you figure it's like riding a bike. It will all come back, right? We didn't take any childbirth or infant preparation classes, having taken the full slate 10 years ago.

But - we didn't have any experience with babies born at 37 weeks. We had a few worrisome incidents in the hospital when the nurse came in and took the twins' temperature and revealed they were cold because they'd been in their grandparents arms without a cap in a draft for too long. This was quickly remedied by putting the babies against me, skin on skin, covered in hats and warm blankets for a half hour until their body temperatures rose.

When we arrived home from the hospital (after the world's slowest, most surreal ride home - I remember only one other such trip ten years ago with my daughter), we settled back into our northern California routine, putting on sweatshirts to tend to things around our concrete home. A few hours later, I realized the twins were cold and sluggish. At this juncture, their newborn clothes hung off their bodies, exposing shoulders and limbs (remember how they lost weight at the hospital?) My husband and I hurriedly took their axillary temperatures as we'd been instructed at the hospital - they were down. We had family bring preemie clothes and piled the twins on my belly under blankets until we raised their temperatures an hour later.

The next morning, the twins were cold again. We panicked, calling a pediatrician friend and canceling all visits from family before hurrying out of the house to head back to the hospital. I fought tears in the car, sure that the twins would be readmitted to the hospital where at last they would discover something dire which was inhibiting my babies' ability to maintain their body temperature over several hours.

We saw a lovely Indian doctor who took their temperatures and looked them over and declared them "normal," even "healthy."

"Out of curiosity, how high are you keeping your thermostat for these little ones?"

"Umm...65 or so?" (We run an energy efficient home!)

"Oh no!" She explained that we should be keeping the thermostat at a minimum of 75 degrees regardless of the season until the twins were big enough to regulate their body temperature. We hung our heads in shame and incompetence and drove home relieved, feeling farcically stupid.

Our families sweated it out for the next several weeks. I spent the time blissfully topless, relishing my warm little babies.

Do you have your own anecdotes about your silly naivete as a parent? Was there any "common sense" you had to re-learn on account of your infants?