Hopes And Dreams
Nicole and Kevin Barattini got married in 2010 and they decided that they would like to raise a family in Smithton, New York.
The pair had two lovely dogs that they considered as part of the family. However, they were yearning for more. They wanted a baby to complete their little family. Nicole has always dreamt of being a mother and she was eager to inform her doctors that they were ready to start their family. The doctors responded with earth-shattering news and Nicole couldn’t believe it.
The couple tried for years on end but for some reason, Nicole just wasn’t getting pregnant. Eventually, they realized that something was wrong. Nicole and Kevin swallowed their pride and contacted a professional.
Neither Kevin nor Nicole could have prepared for what happened next.
The doctor at the fertility clinic evaluated both Nicole and Kevin for possible difficulties as they weren’t sure who was responsible for the difficulties they had been facing.
The couple was not prepared for the news that was about to be delivered to them. Nicole’s condition, which she had endured since she was a teenager, was the cause of their predicament.
At the age of 16, Nicole started noticing weird changes on her body. Small red dots started appearing on her skin which eventually spread to her whole body.
Unaware of the seriousness of her symptoms, Nicole brushed it off and moved on with her life. However, her symptoms started to worsen rapidly. She had terrible fatigue a fever and jaundiced eyes. She knew she had to go to the doctor ASAP to find out what was wrong with her. Her diagnosis was horrifying.
Nicole was diagnosed with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). An autoimmune condition that generates dangerous blood clots all over the body. Nicole was immediately admitted to the hospital and received plasma transfusions for many days.
Nicole started drinking medication to help her manage her disease. Her life reverted to normal and she felt relieved. This all changed when she decided to have a baby.
Worth The Risk?
Nicole was told by her doctor that the medication she needed to take to manage her disease is harmful to babies. The doctor told Nicole that it was not advisable to try and conceive. Hopeful, Nicole suggested that be taken off her medication. The doctor looked at her stunned. She explained to Nicole that it would be a death sentence.
If left untreated, TTP has a 95% death rate. Nicole was forced to make a difficult choice. Would she take the chance?
Friends and family knew Nicole to be a strong-willed person. Kevin knew his wife better than anyone and thus he knew this decision was tearing Nicole apart. She deliberated long and hard about stopping her medicine. She desperately desired a kid… but was it worth risking her life?
Kevin was stunned when she told him the news. And he had every right to be.
Kevin stepped in and stated unequivocally that putting her life in danger was not worth it. He wouldn’t allow his wife to do it. Nothing was worth losing her over. Not even a baby… It would not be worth it to have the baby they dreamed of without Nicole.
The couple was starting to get desperate. They considered various alternative possibilities. Kevin had a sneaking suspicion that Nicole was prepared to go to extremes to make their dream come true.
The pair, however, had not given up hope. They understood there were a few other options that didn’t entail Nicole putting her life on the line. They started by looking into adoption.
Nicole and Kevin researched for days and stumbled upon another hurdle between them and their dream of having a family.
Looking For Answers
The legal fees involved with adoption were extreme and the couple could not afford it. They shortly abandoned the thought of adopting a child but they remained positive. They WILL get pregnant!
They considered surrogacy and IVF but even more, questions filled their minds. Could they afford it? They couldn’t afford adoption so how could they afford this? What about Nicole’s illness?
Yet Another Roadblock
Nicole’s eggs were healthy despite her sickness, and TTP was not a genetic condition, according to the physicians.
Things were starting to look up. Until they saw the cost of surrogacy. Their mouths dropped to the floor. Surrogacy costs around $75,000 and up. Surrogacy was also not a legal process in New York City so they would have had to find someone from a different state. The whole process was just too much for them to afford.
They told their friends and family about their predicament, and several of them offered to carry their child for free. Unfortunately, none of them passed the examinations and were considered unfit for the job.
Nicole was losing hope. She was so certain that she would be a mother one day. She can’t believe her dream was torn away from her. As her hope was fading things started to turn around when the Fives came along.
A Years-Long Friendship
The Barattinis had known Lianna and Shawn Fives for 20 years. The couple always wanted a big family and had achieved their goal – having had five children by the time Lianna was 37 and Shawn 40.
Six months after the birth of their fifth baby, the Fives invited Kevin and Nicole to dinner, where Lianna made an announcement that changed their lives.
The Offer That Changed Everything
“You know I have five children, Shawn, and I want to have maybe one or two more,” began Lianna. Kevin and Nicole looked at each other, puzzled, wondering why she would want any more children.
But she continued. “No, not for me, for you guys – I’d like to carry a child.” It then hit them: Lianna was offering to be their surrogate. The couple, overwhelmed, started crying.
After Nicole had some time to recover from her friends’ offer, she began to grow concerned. It seemed too good to be true… but was it? She worried that Lianna would grow attached to the beings she would carry inside her for nine months.
What if she couldn’t give them up? But she also knew that this was her last hope. After thinking it through carefully, she gracefully accepted the Fives’ offer.
Lianna still had to undergo medical and mental tests, but she passed with flying colors.
Finally, the embryos were implanted, and the Barattinis promised to be with Lianna every step of the way. Nicole’s hopes and dreams were riding on the test results. Would she finally be a mother?
Sadly, the embryos did not take – but doctors encouraged them to try again. Nicole agreed to try one last time.
Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be? Lianna was implanted for a second time, and the two couples waited nervously for weeks. Finally, the results came back.
Lianna was pregnant. Kevin and Nicole were closer to being parents than ever before. Surprisingly, there was more good news. Two of the implanted embryos had been taken, and she was now carrying twins.
The Barattinis could not believe their good fortune and shared their happiness with Lianna and
The two couples decided to celebrate. The Fives and the Barattinis planned a party to announce the impending arrival of Kevin and Nicole’s twin babies.
They invited friends and family of both couples, ending up with over 60 guests. Knowing that the Barattinis had been wanting to start a family for many years, everyone was pleasantly surprised. Soon, the big day arrived.
The Day They Had Been Waiting For
After a healthy pregnancy, Lianna gave birth to Nicole and Kevin’s babies on February 10th, 2017.
They had a boy and a girl, whom they named Dominic and Luciana. Now, Nicole was a mother to not one, but two babies of her very own!
Dreams Come True
The Barattinis burst out crying as soon as they saw their newborn children for the first time. Their lifelong dream had finally come true – and it was all thanks to the selflessness of their best friends.
It was an act they were determined to honor.
A Strong Bond
“I have never been pregnant, but have heard that there is a major bond that takes place over 9 months [of gestation],” Nicole said tearfully. “That after 9 months to hand off the babies — even if they are not biologically yours — is too difficult for some people.”
Shawn and Lianna were named Luciana and Dominic’s godparents, making their friendship even stronger.
Helping Others In Their Situation
“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,” said Nicole of Lianna.
She knew just how lucky she had been to have someone willing to do that for her — and she knew she had to pay it forward.
Living The Joys Of Parenthood
Wanting to help other couples in a similar situation, Kevin and Nicole started campaigning to make surrogacy legal in New York state. “We have been working with local legislators and Reproductive Specialists of New York to make surrogacy recognized,” wrote Kevin on his Facebook page.
Their story soon went public, and they started receiving lots of media attention.
The Barattinis hoped that the publicity surrounding their case could help give hope to other women who longed to have children. “There are people out there, like Lianna, that will do it out of kindness – and it’s easier to find them than it seems. It’s never the end of the road,” stated Nicole.
The couple continues their activism while enjoying the gift of parenthood.