Texas Multi-Mama Teryn Todd on Making Babies, Reality TV
After the rise and fall of "John and Kate plus Eight" and the on-going popularity of "Nineteen Kids and Counting," it shouldn't come as any surprise that a new multiples-themed reality show is slated to kick-off tonight. This one, though, takes place right here in the Lone Star State.
Photo by Kelly Kitchens
It's called "Texas Multi Mamas," and it's exactly what it sounds like: A show that follows the lives of six Texas moms who've all had multiples. One of those moms is 35 year-old Dallasite Teryn Todd, the mother of a 9-year-old daughter named Taylor, as well as triplets Jake, Tyson, and Zach.
Todd fought the infertility war for several years before having Taylor, having been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Having gone through "tons" of tests and surgeries, Todd and her husband finally decided to go the Invitro Fertilization (IVF) route.
After the first cycle failed and after taking some time off, Todd was thrilled to finally get pregnant with Taylor. Five years later, since she still had two embryos left, she had a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) (along with acupuncture this time around). And, voila, both embryos took and one even split into twins. (Something that Todd's doctor told her had less than ½ of 1% chance of happening.)
We caught up with Todd last week. Check out our Q & A after the jump.
How did you feel about the prospect of having multiples?
I was truly terrified of having multiples. From the second I found out (6 weeks), I was in shock and cried a lot. I was so blessed to be pregnant. But already having one child, I knew this would be more than "difficult." I don't think I truly accepted that I was actually having triplets until well into my 2nd trimester.
Are there things you wish you had known before giving birth to multiples?
I wish I would have joined my local moms group sooner. I waited until the boys were 23 months old and I see all the wonderful knowledge that I missed out on by not joining during the pregnancy. I also wish I would have known how invaluable having a night nurse would have been. I was probably the only one on the show with "high order multiples" (meaning triplets or higher) that didn't have one. Zero sleep for months can wear a girl out.
I understand you're working on a book. What will it be about?
I kept a diary throughout my entire infertility journey. I seemed to absorb everything I learned about the subject and everyone would tell me "you should write a book." It wasn't until I started to sort of "mentor" others going through varying stages of infertility (or simply beginning to try to get pregnant) that I decided maybe I could help others get through the pain and struggles I experienced.
You must be incredibly busy. Why do a reality show?
Yes, I am super busy. And honestly, fitting in filming for the show was a huge struggle for me. I work 20 hours per week, have a child in school and triplets at home, and filmed at least 20-25+ hours per week for 8 weeks. Not to mention that I have a firefighter husband, so I was solo at least 1/3 of the time.
But I thought it would be a fun experience. Also, my kids (the boys in particular) stay about 10 steps ahead of me. They always keep me spinning in circles. So many times I've thought "Man, I wish someone was here to see this" or "Oh, I wish Ryan (my husband) would see what I deal with when he's not here." This was the perfect opportunity.
Did you have any concerns about signing on?
Of course. I am a pretty conservative person. So I'm pretty reserved with what I do. I'm in the PTA, room mom at the school, and have parents who I totally respect. I had to keep all that in mind when I was filming. It took me weeks to relax a little and sort of let my guard down (without selling myself out either). It was a learning experience for everyone, especially me.
So, how was it?
We wrapped filming in April and, overall, it was a really positive experience for me. There was a little more girl drama than I cared for, but that is to be expected I guess.
Are you nervous at all about how people will respond to the show?
Absolutely. While I stand by everything I did or said, editing was totally out of my hands. Depending on that, people might not be totally thrilled with things that are shown (either other cast members or just the general audience). We are all prepared for that... I think.
What was Taylor's reaction to the arrival of her brothers?
Taylor is currently 9 years old. She was almost 5 when they were born (actually her 5th bday was my due date). She wanted to be a big sister so badly. (However, she wanted a little sister, not brothers.) When they finally arrived she had an order of how she wanted to hold them.
She fed them, even changed a few wet diapers (her request). However, it was a very hard change for her. She went from being the worshipped/doted on only child for almost 5 years to sharing the spotlight and attention with 3 infants. Her struggle to get used to the idea was totally understandable. Let's face it, they turned her world upside down.
How did she take having all of the cameras around during filming?
All of my kids, Taylor included, loved filming. The film crew really liked hanging out with my kids. (Most of the crew were just big kids themselves.) [The crew] would be there early to set up and they would play with [the kids], to the point where we would be filming and I couldn't find one of the kids and it was because he would be with the sound guy. Or Taylor would be hanging out with our field producer.
They became very attached to the crew, fast. The boys also seemed to step up their behavior when the cameras were around. So it kind of [deflated] my wanting everyone to see how crazy they were. But they didn't disappoint completely.
If you had one piece of advice for couples dealing with infertility, what would it be?
Not everyone is going to understand this journey you are faced with. They say they do but unless they've gone through it, they don't. It's okay to be mad and hurt. Infertility is unfair, and it truly sucks. Feeling sad for yourself and accepting that this is a raw deal is completely okay in my book.
If you had one piece of advice for couples who are expecting multiples, what would it be?
During pregnancy - Don't get overwhelmed with long term issues that are out of your control. Why worry about college when the babies aren't even born yet? Get them home healthy and safely and then worry about tomorrow.
Post birth - Take things one issue at a time. When they are all crying and you feel like crying yourself, just take a deep breath and fix each problem one thing at a time (the most dire need first). Eventually, you will have it all under control. That is, until they start up again. I still keep this in mind through every stage that all of my kids go through. Both of these pieces of advice were given to me by very important people in my life. Once I heard them, they were life changing words to me.