Finding the right person to carry your child is probably the most important decision a parent could ever make. However, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker felt confident in choosing Shadina Blunt to be the carrier for their daughter, Blaze Tucker, who was born on November 22.
Kandi, Todd, and Shadina sat down to discuss their journey in a new video posted on The Real Housewives of Atlanta mogul's YouTube channel on December 10. Shadina, who has served as a surrogate to another family before, said that Kandi's OBGYN Dr. Jackie Walters first reached out to her to see if she or anyone she knew would be interested in being a surrogate for "a public figure."
"And I kind of just brushed her off. I was like, I gave her the information and went about my business. And then she called me a couple months later again like, 'Would you consider doing a mentorship with them?'" Shadina recalled. "I was like, 'Of course, I'll meet with them, speak to them, and we'll go from there.' And it really wasn't then that I decided I would do it again. And me and Dr. Jackie had a conversation and was like, 'Really would like to be able to use you.'"
Kandi said that Shadina was like an "angel" coming into her life. She and Todd had been wanting to use the embryos from the time Kandi underwent IVF to conceive son Ace, but they decided to explore surrogacy after struggling with fertility issues and fibroids in the past.
"As a parent, you know you're about to put our, basically your baby inside of somebody else's body, right? So you have to get comfortable with that thought. You've got to get comfortable with the person that you choose," Kandi shared. "It's so many questions and different things that go into it, but what made me comfortable was the fact that Shadina, you and Dr. Jackie had already had a relationship, you [had] already been through the experience together before and it went well. And so, for me, even though I didn't know you well myself in the beginning, the fact that she knew you well and she felt so good about you that she would introduce you to us, to me, that said a lot."
Kandi added, "It just seemed like it was meant to be."
The RHOA couple also liked that Dr. Jackie endorsed Shadina as a good candidate. "The trust we have for Dr. Jackie, the respect we have for Dr. Jackie, I just knew, I'm just saying for me, I just knew she won't put anybody in front of us who wouldn't be a right fit for us," Todd explained. "So that was enough for me."
Kandi said that she liked that Shadina came from a medical background, having previously worked as a nurse and having a master's degree in healthcare business management. "She was very well-informed on how this process was supposed to go, as well as how she's supposed to take care of herself. Just all those things," Kandi said. "Just when you find somebody that has that much knowledge on top of the fact that you have a doctor that's already worked with them that's already given them the stamp of, 'Yeah, they're perfect.' And then when we talked to her, she just made us feel comfortable."
Shadina said that she first became interested in becoming a surrogate while working at an OBGYN's office. "I used to see women come in and out on a regular basis that couldn't either get pregnant or couldn't sustain a pregnancy," she shared. "It would just be heartbreaking to me, and I was like, 'If I could ever just help one woman, that would just satisfy me.'"
After working at the OBGYN's office for 10 years, Shadina felt like it was a good time to explore the possibility of becoming a surrogate after she switched jobs and was working from home. Shadina was connected with a family and successfully completed her first surrogacy. She recently launched her own surrogacy agency, Surrogacy Miracles and Consulting, to help others through the process.
Once Kandi and Todd decided to begin the process with Shadina, they invited her and her children over to meet their kids (Kaela, 23, Riley, 17, and Ace, 3) and Mama Joyce. "Shadina and her children came over to our house, and we sat down together and just ate and talked," Kandi recalled. "It's not just about us and our kids being able to see, but her kids also need to know, like, 'OK, where this baby going?'"
Earlier in the conversation, Kandi and Todd noted that they were advised to not get too close to Shadina. "Since we were going through the process, they were like, 'No, don't be friendly. They're the carrier. Keep it business and don't get too attached as far as emotionally,'" Todd said.
Kandi later added, "After we started being cool, I was like, I mean, is that really a problem for me being cool with her?"
Now that Baby Blaze has arrived happy and healthy, Kandi said she wouldn't have done anything differently on her journey to welcoming her third child. "I have no regrets on the decision that we made. It actually turned out to be a great thing for us," she said. "We got a new friend, too."
Kandi couldn't help but get emotional about Shadina and Dr. Jackie while showing her love to the ladies on Instagram following Blaze's birth. "I’m still in awe of my baby girl @blazetucker! I just wanna say thank you sooooo much to @therealdrjackie [and] @shadinablunt for helping us bring our beautiful baby girl in the world. There are no words that can express our gratitude!" Kandi gushed on Instagram. "@shadinablunt is normally a super private person so helping us in this journey has been different for her. Please send love [and] light to her [and] @therealdrjackie! They mean a lot to our family."
Kandi opens up more about preparing for Blaze's arrival in the above video.
See what's coming up for Kandi and her fellow Atlanta Housewives in the December 15 episode of RHOA below, and be sure to catch up on the season through the NBC app.
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