We know no two families and pregnancy journeys are alike. Everyone has their struggles and their joys through any marriage, pregnancy and family story, which is why we were so excited to catch up with our good friend, Rudy, JAM TV producer, and his husband Andy. They were happy to share their marriage and pregnancy story so far to hopefully help shed some light on same-sex marriage, surrogacy, starting a family, and how important community is through it all, in hopes that it can help even just one other parent or parent-to-be!
Both Rudy and Andy radiate energy and positivity and feel lucky that in this day and age, things like same sex marriage and parents are applauded and celebrated. When they tied the knot, they invited 100 people and all but two people attended to happily celebrate the couple. Right from the beginning, they were accepted as a couple by their friends and family which made them feel overjoyed and loved. And soon after, they made their decision to start a family…
Did you always know you wanted to have kids?
Right from beginning, people asked the couple if they wanted to start a family, which they realize is sometimes a tough question for many couples. They also acknowledged it’s really no one’s business, but the routine question regularly asked to heterosexual newlyweds helped make them feel accepted and like they were truly part of the club! They were lucky because they both knew early on that they wanted to have kids so they could easily answer people’s questions on the topic.
After an initial few years of married life, getting to know each other and doing all of the “selfish couple stuff” they wanted to do, they both knew now was the time to take the next step to have a baby join their family. They know many couples who feel like they waited too long or a baby came too early so they feel truly lucky that they both agreed this is the “sweet spot” for them to start their family.
Was the road to starting a family easy for you?
Rudy and Andy’s start to beginning a family gave them a whole new respect for what women go through during both getting pregnant and pregnancy! They made the decision to use a surrogate & similar to many other families, the road to pregnancy was not easy. And during these struggles, they were suddenly exposed to what they felt was a “secret society” of women with fertility issues and miscarriages, and it was some of these women who helped them the most during this difficult time.
It took them several months to get matched with a potential surrogate, who was ultimately denied by their clinic for medical reasons. The same thing happened to the second surrogate match. After this point, they were matched them with someone who had been medically cleared. The couple were so happy to finally get to this stage in the process and an embryo transfer was performed shortly thereafter. Ten days later, they got the great news that they were pregnant. Their joy was short-lived when they miscarried at week six. Dealing with the miscarriage were some of the darkest days for the couple and was a time unlike any they had ever experienced before. They felt lost like they didn’t have anyone to lean on or talk to. They realized that many people assume that when you use a surrogate, getting pregnant works the first time, but, in reality, “it’s not magic, it’s science, and it doesn’t always work the first time!”
During this difficult time, they turned to the “secret society” and a couple of female friends they found on FB and an acquaintance they happened to run into at a fertility clinic to talk about what was going on in their lives and to feel less alone. They realized during this time that these difficulties are not talked about openly enough, and often times, finding solidarity with strangers or acquaintances in similar situations can really help you get through it. Another eye-opening finding was that through every bit of sadness they were going through during the miscarriages, they realized their surrogate was going through the same thing. They would get text messages apologizing which broke their hearts because they knew “it was no one’s fault, it’s science. They recognized that during these times of hardship, it was a weird opportunity for them to help change the way we talk about parenting…or more so, the things that are not talked about openly enough. They realized the more people who are willing to talk about things like infertility struggles, miscarriages and surrogacy, the less lonely it can help make people going through similar struggles & the more people realize that everyone’s pregnancy journey is different and is not always easy. The importance of community was really brought to light to them during this time!
When they received the GREAT news that they were successfully expecting, they knew they wanted to share their WHOLE story to help bring light to these situations and also celebrate the good news! And since it took 3 attempts to get to this place, they realized it’s a “great barometer to show how much they really want this!”
Congrats! You’re pregnant…did you want to find out the gender?
Yes! Rudy and Andy always knew they wanted to find out the gender of their baby. Their surrogate lives outside of the state where they live, Illinois, so they drove to meet her for the big 20-week ultrasound and were given the exciting news they’re expecting a GIRL in the fall! They wanted to have a gender reveal party for their family and friends who they’ve met through all stages of their lives as a way to celebrate this wonderful news and thank them for being there for them through it all. Rudy and Andy wore shirts that said “It’s a Girl” to share the news! They knew their immediate family would be happy for them, but it was overwhelming how many people reached out to support and congratulate them!
Now that you know the gender of the baby, what stage of pregnancy are you in now?
The fun stuff…and the panic stage! They are thinking “our place is too small, we need new cars!” Rudy and Andy also had just gone to create their baby registry a couple days before this interview, and they admitted it was “soooo overwhelming! The huge amount of products available is crazy!” They took one of their good friends along with them to show them everything and answer questions which they found extremely helpful! And though it all, they said no one treated them any different when registering, and they were pleased to see even the language on the registry forms was geared to all types of families, accepting all families don’t look the same! They did admit they were turned off by the brand names that had “moms” written on the boxes or in the product names and felt like these brands were missing out on a whole group of families. What was the hardest part about registering for them? “Trying to find a man-type diaper bag, they’re all too feminine!”
Psst, keep your eyes peeled because we are going to be sharing a round-up of some of Rudy and Andy’s favorite registry items soon!
What have been some of your biggest eye-opening moments through it all?
Through it all, the couple found the importance of having a community who will talk to each other and serve as a support group to fall on and provide advice and comfort. Men don’t talk about this kind of stuff as much as women so they feel so fortunate to have a group of great women friends in their lives who serve as ongoing resources, really listen and provide ongoing guidance and support.
Trying to explain surrogacy vs adopting to people was also harder than expected. People know about same sex babies from celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Andy Cohen, but they found they still don’t fully understand because they would be asked questions like “How old will the baby be when you bring it home?” and they found several people have the misconception that “only rich people” can have a surrogate.” Admittedly, it has taken some hard work and sacrifices, but they assure us they are not part of an “elite” group and are just regular, everyday guys who were able to make this dream come true and want to encourage others they can do it too if they want!
What’s been the best advice you’ve gotten so far?
Some of the best advice the couple has found so far is don’t get stressed over the future and the “dumb stuff!” They are trying to not waste their time on the stress but, instead, focus on things as they happen and enjoy this stage of life. The couple has found that it’s easy to be so focused on the birth in the fall, but they are trying to enjoy the journey & write stuff down so they can remember it all. Just like when they were getting married and were told to take their time walking down the aisle to truly take it all in and enjoy that moment because it will be something they will never forget, they are trying to take this same approach to pregnancy…don’t rush, enjoy the journey, take an extra 30 minutes sometimes because that’s when some of the best and most unforgettable moments happen!
Understandably so, the couple is also finding themselves stressed out about the actual birth too! They are stressing over how to get to the surrogate when the baby comes since she’s in a different state. They have about “17 contingency plans,” for all scenarios! They are both “really good strategists,” they admitted and are recognizing that everything they don’t know or are stressing over, they’re in it as a team to figure it out together. They told parents “please let us fail and learn new parent lessons ourselves along the way.”
What are you excited about now?
Rudy and Andy are excited about all of the “firsts” — the first night, the first time walking to store as a family, the first time seeing little dresses and imagining where their baby can wear those dresses! They compare this time to “a really cool exotic vacation!” They are driving their new baby home from the hospital with their moms and know they will never be able to recreate that journey so they want to take their time and remember it all!
They’re excited to be experiencing some of the things that other pregnant friends have talked about during their journeys like, “pregnancy brain” – they know now it’s so easy to have this when you have 8 million things on your mind so it’s easy to forget what you’re doing! Little things like this make them feel part of the parent tribe now.
The couple is also in full-blown nesting mode these days which was a surprise to them. They thought only moms felt this, not dads, so they think this is so cool. Their family members have already overloaded them with gifts for the new baby girl so they are having fun setting things up & getting ready! They admitted they see little babies now and just want to go pick them up and snuggle them in anticipation of their own arriving soon!
Ultimately, they appreciate how far we’ve come as a population. Neither expected to have a family let alone have everyone so accepting of them and wanting to be a part of their pregnancy journey! They are overwhelmed by the support and encouragement from family, friends and even acquaintances. They love when people ask them questions about their infertility struggles, surrogacy, pregnancy and parent-to-be life because they feel like they’re included in the “family club” & that’s a great place to be!
Don’t forget to keep checking our BCB site for more news on Rudy and Andy’s pregnancy journey. You can also join our email list and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be the first to know about updates on the couple. Also be sure to check out our ongoing events in your area here — playdates, workouts, Expectant Parent Dinners, Gearapaloozas, + more!