Tracy Caliendo, mother of 12-year-old Hunter from a previous marriage, and her husband, Pete, went from a family of three to seven in just 13 months. After years of battling ɪɴꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ, including four failed cycles of I.V.F and a ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ, Tracy and her husband decided to use the services of a surrogate mother.
“I was desperate to have a child and would do anything to make sure it happened,” the mother said after visiting a medical clinic to be sure of the pregnancy. However, what she did not expect was that three more would come. They took one giant step of precaution: they hired a surrogate, who was implanted with two embryos. But on the day of signing the contract, she discovered that she was pregnant herself.
Caliendo carried her baby to term, and her surrogate gave birth to twins just five months later. “When it rains, it pours,” she says, joking about welcoming daughter Harlow in August 2017 and twins Piper and Presley in January 2018. “We couldn’t even believe it.”
With three babies – whom the New York mom describes as “essentially triplets” – Caliendo and Pasetsky, a 42-year-old equity trader, were “beyond thrilled and over the moon.” At last, the couple had the big family they always dreamed of having – and, much to their surprise, it was about to get even bigger.
Shortly after welcoming Piper and Presley, the parents of four found out they were expecting again. On Sept. 21, 2018, Caliendo gave birth to Dylan in the 29th week of pregnancy. Nevertheless, the parents managed to take care of the baby, and he grew up absolutely healthy. “This is a great adventure. I have five children, a teenager and four preschoolers, and we live in the heart of New York!” the woman concluded.
The arrival of Dylan, the youngest son, was welcomed by all of the family. “When we found out I was pregnant with Dylan, our youngest child and fifth child, we were overwhelmed with emotion. We always dreamed of a big family, but when we realized we were going to have four babies under 13 months old, we were definitely nervous.”
As for parents struggling to ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇɪᴠᴇ or undergo I.V.F, the proud mother of five believes it’s important to maintain hope. “Never give up and have faith – just look at me! Life is full of beautiful surprises!” she said.
Now, Tracy has a teenage son and four more kids under the age of five, all living in the middle of New York. ‘It’s a wonderful adventure,’ she says in the video. While raising their children, both parents are also now back to work. “When you have to feed five kids, you know you’re going to be working the rest of your life,” Caliendo says, adding that she and her husband run a tight ship and have a full-time babysitter in order to stay sane.
Wake-up time is 6 a.m., followed by playtime at 7, milk at 9, lunch at noon, naptime at 1 and dinner at 5.
“We literally live by a clock,” says Caliendo. “But no matter how difficult the day gets, we always remember what it took to get here. When you struggle, you do get a totally different perspective. When people say to me, ‘Oh my God, my kids are driving me crazy, I need a break,’ all I think to myself is, ‘You have these healthy children. You’re so lucky.’”