On June 16, 2017, Tyler and Andy's lives changed forever. They became dads to twins, Emmerich and Caellum, via gestational surrogacy. Andy's cousin was the carrier. The new dads shared with us their memories of the birth, and what the first couple of months have been like as fathers to newborn twins. These guys certainly have their hands full!
Together 10 years, and married for the past 4, Tyler and Andy, live in Phoenix, Arizona. They've recently bought a new house and Andy is doing his residency at Phoenix Children's Hospital training to become a pediatrician. Tyler is currently a full-time stay-at-home dad to their 2-month-old twins, Emmerich and Caellum.
After initially researching surrogacy, Tyler and Andy gave up the idea of being biological fathers of their kids. The expenses, as for many families, put surrogacy out of reach. It wasn't till Andy's cousin selflessly offered to be their gestational carrier that the dads-to-be began their journey.
"She is my cousin, she is a midwife, she is a mother, she is inspirational!" said Andy.
Andy (left) and Tyler with Andy's cousin, their gestational carrier
Over the 3 years that it took to become dads, the couple encountered some hurdles. They needed to find a clinic that would work with both Tyler and Andy locally in Phoenix, and also with their gestational carrier in New Mexico where she lives. It was not certain that the implantation would be able to take place at all. But on June 16, just shy of 36 weeks, the twins were born.
It was very important for Tyler to be there for the birth. Their bags were packed weeks beforehand. Thankfully, there was enough warning for the guys to drive to New Mexico and be in the Operating Room when their sons were born.
"Both boys let out a cry right away and my heart just melted with joy and so much love for these two tiny humans," shared Tyler.
"I don't think it really hit me until we heard the first cry and I started sobbing," said Andy.
Tyler even managed to secretly capture the first cries on his phone so the dads will always be able to listen to the moment when their boys first entered the world. The two dads did skin-to-skin right away, and then fed their sons their first bottle of formula.
Tyler is a stay-at-home dad with Emmerich and Caellum, and after a "lifetime" in the hospitality industry, he's very happy to dedicate his days to his sons. He does all the nighttime feedings which can take up to an hour with the twins. Tyler shares that it is exhausting work but he tries to nap when they do during the day, and he loves it.
Andy is completing his pediatric residency so is working long hours but coming home to his babies is the highlight of his day, he says.
Visiting Andy at Phoenix Children's Hospital
The new family is fortunate enough to have both sets of grandparents close-by and they've been there from the very beginning, helping Tyler and Andy when they can.
The new dads have been sopping up all the advice that has come their way regarding twins, but ultimately they're trying to do what's best for them as a family. They didn't buy a ton of stuff to prepare for their new arrivals, just the essentials: two car seats, two sleeping bassinets, double stroller, clothes, wipes and, as you might expect, a lot of diapers.
The most challenging aspect has been the lack of sleep - something all new parents can relate to. But the love and support from their family and friends has been overwhelming. At times it is still accompanied with a barrage of unsolicited advice, but they're taking it in stride as they consider it to be the rite of passage for all new parents.
One thing that has surprised them both is how much support they've had from strangers.
"Arizona isn't the most liberal state," explained the dads. Still, "as we have been in public more, no one questions the fact that we are a cohesive family. People are so forward to express their support for us and our children."
Both Andy and Tyler acknowledge just how vital they have been to one another from day one.
"Even when I am home alone with the boys, I receive support from Andy via text messages as I update him with pictures of the boys," shared Tyler.
The first time the new family went out to dinner together, they say, has been one of their best moments so far.
"We ate, the babies slept, we felt like a family. It felt right."
Congratulations to these new dads!