Hi everyone! I’m Braden. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana now living in Los Angeles, California with my husband, 4 kids (under 2), and two Goldendoodles. And yes, life is a little crazy right now but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So how did I get here? Well, that’s a pretty long story but let me see if I can give you an abbreviated version… I went to Indiana University. Graduated. Then I worked for a private energy company and shortly after they went public, I decided it was time for me to move to the West Coast. I stumbled upon a private medical service/tech company that decided to give me a chance and worked my way up the ladder to COO (you will see the relevance soon).
I met Marcus in 2009 and we’ve been together ever since. We married in 2014 and started down the path to have children. By the way, it’s not super easy for two men to have children just in case you were wondering 😉
We went though thousands of potential egg donors…I tell my single friends it’s similar to match.com except you get their family and complete medical history. We picked 6 different young women only to have them not qualify or workout for one reason or another until we were matching with the most perfect woman to whom I am grateful for the rest of my life (there are 4 in this category actually…my mother, our donor, and both surrogates).
We completed our first fertility cycle in 2016 and ended up with a single, perfect embryo. We implanted him in December and our beautiful, sweet, rockstar son was born in August the following year. The day he was born was my last day working at my company. One look at his face and I knew that I had to take the advice of every single parent that had come before me, “They grow up so fast, don’t miss it.”
My mother faced her own fertility battles when I was young and so I didn’t have a sibling until I was 8 and a half years old. I love my brother but I always wished we were closer in age so we could have done brother things growing up. I wanted to give my son the experience of siblings and try and have them close to his own age. Also, I wasn’t getting any younger 🙂
Our donor was kind enough to do a second cycle for us but it was not in the cards to have any embryos that time. Though our doctor recommended against trying with her again, she went above and beyond and insisted upon helping us one last time and did everything he suggested and more. We finally had embryos to try for a sibling a year later.
Now, here is typical Braden. I should know better. If something has a chance of happening, it’s going to happen to me. I mean…I lived my life for the past 36 years. I should not have been surprised. They always tell you to put two embryos in if you have them. It’s only a 40% chance that both would take. I figured that we should implant one male and one female embryo and let God decide the sex of our next child. If we had a boy, maybe we would try one last time for a girl one day. If we had a girl, we would most likely be finished. If we had both, that would be so exciting! Those were the only three potential scenarios running through my head. Unless neither embryo took and we were back to square one.
We waited for the blood test to confirm we were pregnant. I later found out our surrogate peed on a NUMBER of sticks so she knew pretty early (lol) but I did not want to know until we were certain. That test only tells you that you are pregnant though…you still have to wait until about 6 weeks to see if one or both of the embryos took.
At 6 weeks, the doctor uses a wand (not the larger handheld device that goes on the stomach…that isn’t strong enough to see an embryo at this stage of development). So our doctor inserted his wand and up popped an image on the screen of a white circle with a bright, white dot inside. Now I have been down this road before…the circle is a amniotic sac and the bright, white dot is an embryo. One took. I held my breathe to get a heartbeat while I calmed my sadness over our lost embryo. Then the doctor waved his magic wand a little. I saw a second white circle with TWO bright, white dots. No way. There is absolutely no way. I kept my mouth shut, but I knew what that meant. But that was only a .4% chance. He quickly waved his wand again and we were looking at the first circle once more. My mind was racing as he said, “Let’s see if we can get a heartbeat.” We heard it and it was strong. The doctor then waved his wand once last time and before he or I could speak, our surrogate asked, “Did it split?!” “Yes.” He answered, “But let’s see if we get heartbeats.” We did…two of them. Both as strong as the first.
Now I have been through a LOT in my life. I thought I had run the gambit of emotions. When people ask me why I want to have kids, I usually tell them that I have experienced so much in life that some things have lost a little of the joy and a little of the magic. I wanted to be able to give experiences to someone else and see the world and those experiences through their eyes. Well…this was one last surprise and surge of emotion given to me by my kids before they were ever going to be born. I was bursting with excitement, anticipation, and love that far surpassed anything I thought I could feel. That’s what kids do to us though, right? And these three were just giving me my first taste of what was to come.
So that’s my story in a nutshell of how I came to be a father of four. I currently have a 20-month-old, beautiful boy, Kai. He is the light of my life and the best big brother ever. Then there are the triplets, Quinton (Quinn) and his identical sisters Rowan and Genevieve (Vivi). They all have their own stories so far and I will get to those in time. For now, the four of us had a long day and I’m going to get a little rest.
Thank you for sharing in our story. I always tell my husband that my number one goal is to bring magic to our kids’ lives. I hope I can share a little of that magic with you as well.