My motherhood experience is a whirlwind of IVF, a miscarriage, surrogacy and a high-risk pregnancy. It culminates with having five kiddos – four of which were born within 13 months of each other!
How Our Family Came To Be
At 40, I had a demanding full-time career and a wonderful 10-year-old son. The yearning for a bigger family came into full effect, so I unsuccessfully tried to get pregnant naturally. With the clock ticking, I turned to IVF. After three unsuccessful rounds and a miscarriage, my husband and I explored surrogacy. I became pregnant just before the surrogacy process, but given my journey thus far, I decided that a surrogate was the right option just in case my pregnancy did not continue full term. As it turns out, fate decided to help us out with our determination to grow our family! I successfully carried our daughter, Harlow, to full-term. Four months later, the surrogate delivered not one, but two baby girls, Piper and Presley!
Yet Another Arrival!
Life wasn’t done with the surprises. Three months later, I found out that I was pregnant again! After the crazy journey to bring the girls into the world, I was beyond happy to find out that I got pregnant naturally. I had another curveball thrown my way, however, when I learnt that I had Placenta Accreta, a serious condition where the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. This meant that the pregnancy was extremely high risk.
I was hospitalised at 26 weeks, where we were desperately trying to keep the baby in utero so that development could continue. When the situation became life or death for both me and the baby, a team of 17 doctors delivered our son Dylan at 29 weeks. Because he was so premature, he spent eight weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and was later diagnosed with congenital scoliosis, a condition where the spine is curved. Despite his challenges, Dylan continues to defy the odds, is a true warrior, and a very happy little boy.
So herein is life now for my family of seven. It’s a wondrous adventure navigating motherhood alongside five kids – a 13-year-old, and four toddlers under two – living in the heart of Manhattan. I always tell mothers to never give up, because you never know what could happen. Look at me!
On Having A Big Family
Navigating five kids is not easy, but we make it work! It’s very important to keep a strict routine, follow a schedule, and try to maintain control. Sometimes the kids take over, and that never works for either side. Motherhood isn’t always easy, but the end result is incredible!
I work full-time, and the most important aspect of managing a big family is having a partner who is totally in the trenches with me. My husband helps with everything – groceries, laundry, bath, feeds, whatever! He’s amazing and I thank my lucky stars every day to have him in my life. It’s hard to maintain a relationship when you are responsible for five other humans, but we truly try to take things in stride and make time for each other. We may not be going out on the town, but when the kids are all finally down at night, we catch up, have dinner together and watch one of our shows. It’s not exactly exciting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
On Being A Working Mum
People often ask me if I will stop working because I have so many children. I say “no way”! I’m a proud working mum with five children.
Now, mornings are especially hard. I’m up at 6 am and so is Presley. I give her a blanket and she watches while I shower and get ready. Once the rest of the kids start getting up, things get crazier. It’s early mornings like this that make working during motherhood harder. That, as well as the guilt that I feel for leaving them.
Despite this, I know that working is the best choice for me and my family. I know that the kids will benefit in all kinds of ways from having a working mum, and I know that they’re in great hands when I leave. Despite this, it still is emotional for me to walk out the door while my kids are clinging to me. I make sure to reassure them that I will be coming back and give them lots of kisses and hugs. I then remind myself that working is a positive decision, and that, with five children, I sort of don’t have a choice!
On Tough Times During Motherhood
When I have tough days with the kids, I think back to the times when I had just brought Dylan back from the NICU at three months old. Back then, the twins were 10 months old and Harlow was 17 months. Those days were tough. I was a mother of four little babies, with a 10-year-old who still needed his mom. It was difficult to adjust and find our new normal.
Now we aren’t fully out of the weeds, but we have come so far. Hunter is heading to high school, the girls are able to communicate with us, and Dylan is getting around all by himself. We still have tough days, but looking back, I remember that it is all relative. A tough day now seems like an easy day back then. I cherish those memories but am grateful for how far we have come, how much we have learned, and how much more we will grow.
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To read more stories in our family series, check out our Matters of the Heart section here!