My name is Candice Schwegmann. I am 31-year-old, wife, entrepreneur, and mom to 2 amazing boys. I whole heartedly believe that you are the master of your own destiny and hold the key to your success.
I have recently had the privilege of meeting this phenomenal family and joining them on this journey.
Bianca has allowed me to share on their behalf some highlights of their last few weeks. So, sit, grab some coffee, definitely some tissues and happy reading: –
- Monday 17 July- was Vinny’s birthday and they were hoping that the boys would share his birthday. Their surrogate let them know that she was having contractions. After trying to translate her words into something that made sense in English, they came to the conclusion that she had Braxton hicks (pre-labor contractions). They tried to do some sightseeing in Kiev but couldn’t focus.
- Tuesday 18 July- they tried unsuccessfully to busy themselves while they waited for the news that would change their whole lives. Bianca wishes she could say that they were calm and peaceful but they couldn’t stop themselves from checking if their surrogate was ok and if she needed anything and mostly how long she thought it would be until delivery. She had said all was good and not to worry, that babies would definitely be here that week.
- Wednesday 19 July-more watching and waiting and making sure that they didn’t miss a message. They harassed their surrogate some more to find out how she was and whether they could do anything more to help. At 9.30pm that night they received a long awaited WhatsApp message from their coordinator to say that their surrogate was in labor and they needed to be on standby. To say They felt a mixture of emotions ranging from excitement to fear and nail biting nerves, is, to put it mildly. Yaryna their clinic co-ordinator who understood just how important it was for Bianca to be at the birth, kept vigil with them, ensuring that they did not miss the call from the nurses. However, no call came that night. Their nerves must have been shattered and even all the way back in sunny South Africa a certain person could have been seen pacing the floors.
- Thursday 20 July- still no news….at 9 am Vinny decided to take a chance and walk to the shop. Of course, shortly afterward they received a call and Vinny ran at record speed all the way home nearly breaking his ankle! Murphy’s Law…. the poor bloke… Their driver safely but speedily drove them to the hospital. Once they were at the hospital, Oksana their super translator rushed them around to ensure that they were dressed in the appropriate gear – face masks and all! They were then whisked into the pre-delivery room where their surrogate was writhing in pain. Bianca felt so sorry for the poor girl – a tiny person carrying these giant boys! Soon some nurses started shouting instructions in Ukrainian that basically related to Bianca as the intended mother was the only one allowed in the pre-delivery room and at the birth – Vinny’s relief to miss all the gooey stuff of childbirth should be mentioned here! One could just picture this scene – if it was me I would have been shouting back in my version of Ukrainian. Bianca tried to be of some support for their surrogate who “was in definite pain” but she felt so helpless and the language barrier made it even more difficult. She constantly had to use google translate, which by the way was actually no help at all- so they had to keep phoning Oksana to translate.
“It was a strange few hours for all of us but thankfully only a few hours before our beautiful boys arrived.”
All be it a few hours when in labor actually translates into a few days… According to Bianca, the birth was an incredible experience. Their surrogate was amazing, no screaming or crying just pushing their boys gently into the world. WOW, what a surreal experience this must have been! Bianca is so happy that she got to be there. It’s something that I am sure she will cherish for her entire life!
After the birth, they left their boys to get checked out by the doctors and nurses, making sure all the bits and bobs were in place… Vinny had a short glimpse of his little creations (check out this little video clip of Vinny’s first encounter here) according to Bianca, and then they left the hospital in total wonder, disbelief and giddy with happiness. Years of disappointments, every failed treatment, every heartache and today they had finally become parents of twin boys! What a moment…
They wanted to go out and celebrate but were just too tired, instead, they cracked open a bottle of sweet bubbly at home. They are saving a huge bottle of the real thing, a gift from good friends of theirs, for when they are back in Florida celebrating their homecoming. Celebrities I tell you…so instead they then fell off into a delightful mix of sleep and a dream…basically a feeling of “what the eff just happened?” I am tempted to tell Bianca and Vinny that they will spend the next couple of years choosing their PJs over going out.
- Friday 21 July- they found out that the boys had to spend a few days in the hospital. This is apparently a standard procedure for twins in Ukraine even though they were perfectly healthy. Vinny & Bianca setup camp in the hospital on the surrogate floor (A perk of their VIP package) and they brought their boys to them for bonding time. Check out their video blog here!
“The bonding experience was a strange kind of wonderful, frightening and exciting all at once!”
Maximus Vincent Smith Alexei Felix Smith
Born 20 July 14.05 weighing in at 3.430 kg Born 20 July 14.20 weighing in at 3.150 kg
(7.56 pounds) and 54 cm (6.94 pounds) and 50 cm
The first time they changed a nappy (diaper for the Americans) it took them about 10 minutes- Now I am happy to report that according to Bianca they can do it in 10 seconds. That night they both didn’t sleep more than an hour- they spent most of their time staring at their boys and making sure that were still breathing!
That is the miracle of parenthood…
- Monday afternoon was “home day”- the boys were discharged and it was an emotional goodbye with their surrogate, they will see her again in about 6 weeks for parental order paperwork. She was taken home and they were taken to the clinic for DNA tests which is needed for the birth certificates and UK parental order. After all of that, they finally got home and set up camp in the lounge/dining room…
They are getting to be … a little wiser – a little more experienced – a lot more tired – and filled with ever-increasing love for their boys.
“It’s still difficult not to sob from happiness and gratitude (mixed in with a few tears of exhaustion) when I look at these precious miracles in my arms and our new reality as parents.”
They have finally achieved their dream and made a way for their miracle babies and they so look forward to a lifetime of happiness with these two! (Now I am sobbing…) I feel really privileged to have been able to share their moments with you and I hope I have relayed their message in the best possible way. Congratulations to this amazing family!!!
I hope you enjoyed the blog and do keep a look out for some future posts soon.
All my love
“That Friday to Monday was a complete haze!!!”
Thanks, from Bianca & Vinny: –
“Thank you so much to every single person that has supported us, stood by us, sent us messages, just been there in some way and helped us to carry on when times were tough and days and nights were too dark to deal with alone. We could not have done it without all of you and you will never know just how grateful we are for having you all in our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul. And thank you to everyone for sharing in our joy and celebration and for all your happy dances on our behalf. It is so wonderful to have a tribe of amazing people like yourselves in all the really bad times as well as the awesome times – makes everything even more special!! Thank you thank you thank you xxxxx
Oceans of love to you!
Here are some additional shout outs from Bianca:
p.s. Shout out to my hubby, Vinny who has been an absolute mode of a perfect dad! I always knew that he would be the best dad but he has even exceeded my expectations and it makes me beyond happy to see him interact and love our boys the way he does!
p.p.s. Shout out to all of you have taken so much of your time to give us tips, suggestions and/or be on the other end of the line (thank you Siobhan!) when I needed someone to sooth my own tears of helplessness and inexperience.
p.p.s.s. Shout out to Candice, my admin assistant who I will never be able to live without again! She has taken control over my work and social media life and done an even better job than me 😊. Thank you so much!! Aaaah that’s me, it’s an absolute pleasure- I am so grateful to have virtually met you and I hope to one day meet you in person.
Thank you to Biotexcom for providing the best surrogate for us, no waiting time from the moment They signed our contracts, to Yaryna for ensuring that we did not miss the birth and to our awesome translators Anna and Oksana for looking after us so well while we were in the hospital with our newborns…and beyond.
- It might not be chocolate balls on the floor – don’t pick up it up with bare hands
- Babies love AC/DC (but who doesn’t?!)
- Little boys pee a lot when the cool air hits their twinkies
- Day/night/mealtimes/showers/brushing teeth/conversations with friends/sleep…..all become a big jumbled mess of not enough
- Coffee, red bull and chocolate become your best friends
- Another best friend is the baby sounds app….right now the sssshhhh sound is doing wonders (thank you to Vita and Galyna – our phenomenal newborn photographers – you ladies are amazing!!)
- They also taught us the benefit of swaddling them into a little ball with hands and feet touching p they love it
- newborn clothes are actually made inside out – we thought it was shoddy workmanship at first until we realized that labels and seams can actually hurt their sensitive skin
- you can never have too many clothes – sometimes they have 3 outfit changes all within one nappy change – little boys!
- The best outfits are the ones with the built-in mittens – who would have thought that newborns have such sharp razor blade claws!?! And cutting their miniscule nails is challenging!
- They really do grow and change so fast!!!! (Is it crazy that I already feel sad that my little newborns are growing into little infants before my eyes at only 10 days old!?)
- Gripe water is another good friend of parents.
- What works today to soothe a screaming baby won’t necessarily work tomorrow
- You can “watch” a TV program 5 times and still only see 5 seconds of it
- An email can take a week to finish
- Baby poos are exciting – it means that your newborn will be in less pain from gas
- Their personalities are already so distinct from birth!! Our Max has so much character in his eyes and a million different facial expressions. Alex is a little stoner – loves his sleep!
- Life is now divided into nappy (diaper) changes, feeding, soothing, washing clothes, washing and preparing bottles/baby baths and every now and then a stolen few minutes of sleep
- Newborns hiccup and fart a lot ha ha
- Everything one reads in preparation for the arrival of newborns is completely forgotten!
- Google is filled with so much contradicting information!! And everyone has a different opinion.
- It’s insane how many nappies, wet wipes, tissues and formula two babies go through in just a few days!! (our babies strangely only like the pampers wet wipes – all the others make them cry but not pampers – no idea why)
- Nappies (at least our brands) have a yellow stripe down the middle that goes blue when wet and need changing!
- It really was love at first sight and no matter how much they scream and cry for hours, one little look makes your heart melt all over again!
- Every day is a baby learning day for both baby and parents!