According to the CDC, about 10% of women in the US have infertility issues. Meaning, they have trouble getting pregnant, staying pregnant, or are effected by an illness that prevents healthy pregnancy. Being infertile can have devastating emotional effects because, for some couples, it means they won’t be able to naturally have their own children.
For one woman, this reality would change her life forever.
When Nicole Barattini found out she couldn’t conceive, she was utterly devastated. However, quickly after she received this disastrous news, her best friend would surprise her with the best gift anyone could give her.
First Comes Marriage, Then Comes…
Nicole and her husband Kevin got married in 2010 and decided to start their life back in Smithton, New York. The couple already had two sweet pups and they knew they wanted to become parents to a beautiful baby pretty quickly. She decided to go to the doctor to get everything checked out so they could begin the process.
She wasn’t ready for the horrible news they were about to give her.
Nicole has had previous medical issues since she was 16, but she never thought they would be this life-changing. She started to have suspicious red dots appear all over her body, which seemed like no big deal at the time. However, when her symptoms got worse, she knew something was wrong.
She started getting harsh fevers, severe fatigue, and her eyes became hazy and yellow. They did more tests to try and determine what the issue was, and a blood test would reveal the ominous truth.
Nicole was diagnosed with thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura, or TTP, an autoimmune disease that causes her blood to form clots. This is a potentially fatal illness, so she was immediately checked into the hospital and received plasma transfusions daily.
Controlling Her Disease
After her hospital stay, she was given medication to control the disease. She was able to return to life as she knew it until she started trying to conceive.
Technically, Nicole isn’t infertile in the most common way. Her reproductive organs aren’t the issue, her autoimmune disease is. The medication she is on would harm fetal development and if she went off of it, it would be fatal. Doctors advised her that it wouldn’t be smart to get pregnant due to her illness and that she should seek other ways of starting a family.
Devastated is an understatement.
Starting a Family Another Way
Nicole and Kevin knew they wanted a family and they weren’t going to give up on it. They thought about surrogacy and adoption, but both had obstacles of their own. Adoption turned out to be way too expensive, and they were unsure if TTP would affect the viability of her eggs.
It was time to head to the doctor once again.
This time, Nicole’s doctor visit was a positive one. They informed her that her eggs were healthy and that surrogacy was possible–her condition isn’t genetic. As soon as she got the news, she froze her eggs. However, this process wasn’t going to be an easy one by any means.
It turns out, paid surrogacy is illegal in the state of New York, something they weren’t expecting. They continued to search out of state for someone, but after they calculated the costs, they realized it would cost them $75,000. They couldn’t afford this cost, so they sought the advice of friends and family.
That’s when something amazing happened.
Support of Friends and Family
To their surprise, many friends and family members offered to carry a baby for them, free of charge. In disbelief, the couple began the process only to realize it would stop before anything really got going. Out of the multiple people that offered, it turned out that they weren’t compatible for the process. Devastation set in once again and they didn’t know what to do.
Until the Fives showed up.
Nicole’s best friend Lianna had been in her life for more than 20 years. Lianna and her husband Shawn both really enjoyed spending time with Nicole and Kevin, and they knew they could help. The couple already had five children of their own, and they were about to drop a bomb of their own.
An Amazing Offer
The couple invited Nicole and Kevin over for dinner one night, nothing out of the ordinary, or so they thought. When they got there, they were given the opportunity of a lifetime.“You know I have five children, Shawn, and I want to have maybe one or two more,” Lianna said.“No, not for me, for you guys – I’d like to carry a child,” she continued.
Let The Tears Begin
The couple was immediately brought to tears by the kind offer. Of course they accepted, it was something they had been waiting for, for what felt like a lifetime. This process was everything they hoped for, but it wasn’t going to be without hurdles.
Lianna passed every test with flying colors, however, the first time around, it didn’t work. The embryos didn’t attach, but doctors encouraged them to keep trying–so they did. Eventually, it worked!
It turns out, not only did it work, but they were now expecting twins! Nicole and Kevin were elated, they couldn’t believe how lucky they were and were counting down the moments until they could officially become parents.
Everyone agreed that it was time to have a party to celebrate the gifts that the Fives were giving them. Over 60 guests attended and everyone was filled with excitement when they heard the news. Before they knew it, the babies were ready to make their debut.
On February 10th, 2017, the twins made an entrance into this world, happy and healthy. They were blessed with one girl and one boy, named Luciana and Dominic. Their dreams had finally come true, and it was all thanks to their selfless and kind friends. The two families became closer than ever before.
Lianna and Shawn became the twins’ godparents, and the two couples remain as close as family.“I don’t have a sister but I’d consider her like that. We don’t hold back, we are open, honest, and I am constantly turning to her for guidance,” Nicole said about Lianna. Nicole and Kevin began advocating to make surrogacy legal in New York to help other couples struggling like them.