Her Best Friend Became Her Surrogate And Then The Unexpected Happened
Nicole and Kevin Barattini dreamed of raising a beautiful, loving family ever since the day they married each other. Sadly, though, they were met with roadblocks at every turn and experienced years of disappointment. With such limited options, the couple was about to give up all hope until something miraculous happened. Their friends and community stepped in and helped them. But that wasn’t the only amazing thing to happen to Nicole and Kevin. Something they had never expected or dared hope for occurred. Read on to find out the incredible story of how the Barattinis finally got the family they always wanted through the most surprising of circumstances.
1. Married Life
Nicole and Kevin Barratini married in 2010 and after a few years, they decided that they wanted to extend their family. They had already added two dogs, but they really wanted children; children that would be loved and cared for completely.
Nicole, who was 29 years old at the time, had always dreamed of having a large family with multiple children to love and raise in a happy home. So, together, Nicole and Kevin embarked on their journey to have children.
2. Trying to get Pregnant
The couple started trying to get pregnant. But it was a long and difficult journey. Years went by as the couple kept trying to conceive but for some reason, they weren’t able to. They knew something was wrong, but they had no idea just how bad things were going to get.
The couple struggled with fertility issues and at one point they almost lost hope that they would ever be able to conceive children. That’s when they decided that they should consult a professional on the matter.
3. The Check-Up
Nicole and Kevin tried to get pregnant for a very long time, then they decided that they better consult a doctor to find out what was going on. But what they didn’t know was that something was indeed wrong, terribly wrong.
The couple went to the fertility doctor and both of them were tested for possible issues conceiving. They didn’t know if one or both of them were the reason they couldn’t conceive. Nothing could have prepared them for the news they were about to receive.
It turns out the reason that the couple couldn’t conceive a child was because of an illness Nicole had as a teenager. When she was 16, she battled a blood disease called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and it nearly claimed her life.
The disease began as small red dots on her skin that eventually covered her entire body. At first, the symptoms seemed like nothing serious, but in reality, the rare disease can easily kill if left untreated or treated in the wrong way.
In the days prior to plasma exchanges, the mortality rate for people with TTP was a shocking 95%. But Nicole was lucky. She was immediately hospitalized after she was diagnosed with TTP and she was given a plasma transfusion.
Nicole spent a number of days in the hospital and was given a medicine that she would have to take for the rest of her life. Up until she wanted to get pregnant, everything seemed fine. Her disease was finally under control.
6. A Poor Prognosis
Although Nicole had the disease under control for over a decade, it was now coming back to haunt her. According to the doctors, she wouldn’t and shouldn’t get pregnant in her condition. She was told that it just wasn’t worth the risk.
The medicine that Nicole was prescribed to battle her TTP would be harmful to the baby, doctors said. In fact, it would also be harmful to herself. Faced with the possibility of losing Nicole or the baby, the couple was beyond devastated.
7. Weighing The Possibilities
Nicole was headstrong and a bit stubborn. She considered the possibility of going ahead and trying to have the baby herself despite the serious risks. But not everyone was happy with that thought, especially not her husband.
Kevin stepped in. He quickly understood that the thought of her trying anyway came from a place of desperation and frustration. But Kevin wouldn’t dare let her try. He wouldn’t risk the life of his wife.
Even though Nicole and Kevin were greatly discouraged, they hadn’t given up all hopes of expanding their family. They knew that there were other options available for creating a beautiful family but didn’t know which would work best for them.
Out of all of the options, Nicole and Kevin thought that maybe adoption was the best option for them, but after looking into it they found out just how much it would cost to adopt a child. Unfortunately, it was more than the couple could afford.
9. A Surrogate?
The cost of adoption took that option off the table, including international adoption, which can be even more expensive. That left just one other option: using a surrogate. The couple started to look into using a surrogate and were immediately discouraged as well.
The cost of hiring a surrogate where they lived in New York State costs up to $150,000 because you have to find an out-of-state surrogate. The practice of paying a surrogate is illegal in New York. To them, it seemed like they were being met with a road-block at every turn. Still, they held out hope.
10. Not Giving Up Hope
Surrogacy looked like a dead end to Nicole and Kevin, unless, of course, if someone would do it for free. But Nicole didn’t have any sisters or relatives that would be able and willing to carry a baby for her.
Finding someone to volunteer to be a surrogate seemed like it might just be the only way for the couple to have a child. But one issue still remained. Even if they did find a free surrogate, they needed to find out if there was a risk of passing Nicole’s TTP onto their child if they used one of her own eggs.
11. Finally Some Good News
Nicole and Kevin went back into the doctor’s office to find out whether Nicole’s eggs would cause a risk of infecting the baby with TTP. Finally, they received some good news for a change. According to the doctor, TTP wasn’t genetic.
With no risk of infecting their child, the couple decided that surrogacy would be the best option for them. The doctor also confirmed that Nicole’s eggs were healthy and fertilization shouldn’t be a problem. Nicole had one of her eggs frozen and the hunt for a surrogate began.
12. The Friends
Nicole and Kevin’s hunt for a surrogate wouldn’t be easy and they had a long and bumpy road ahead of them if they were going to realize their dream of having children. Luckily, they had lots of friends.
Several of their friends were willing to be surrogates for the loving couple. But there was a catch. Not everyone was suitable to be a surrogate. Each candidate must go through rigorous medical tests to make sure that they are fit to carry children and that there is no risk to either the mother or baby.
13. Bad News
Nicole and Kevin were forever thankful that they had such great friends that were willing to carry their children. But there was one huge issue. None of them were eligible to be surrogates. It was back to square one for Nicole and Kevin.
On top of the physical tests to make sure a surrogate is suitable for carrying the baby, they also must undergo a mental test. All the tests make surrogacy more expensive but provide a safety net, not just for the mother and child, but also for the non-birth parents.
14. The Dinner Party
It wasn’t until Nicole and Kevin were invited to dinner with their friends Shawn and Lianna Fives that things started to look up for them. The two couples were very close to each other, having known each other for around 20 years.
Lianna, who at the time was 37 years-old, knew that the Nicole had been trying to conceive a child and was having difficulty. Lianna had learned six years prior through a mutual friend that Nicole was unable to have children.
15. The Best Friend
At the time that Lianna first learned that Nicole wasn’t able to have children, she was in between having her second and third child. The Fives had a large family that eventually grew to five children altogether.
After five children, Lianna and Shawn fwere finished growing their own family, but what Nicole and Kevin didn’t know was that she wasn’t through having children. The dinner party would be one that they would never forget. It was a dinner party that would change their lives.
16. The Shock
During the dinner, Lianna casually said to Shawn that she wanted to have one or two more children. Everyone was shocked! She already had five children and was considering more. Her husband almost fainted at the thought of more.
But then Lianna added, “no, not for me, for you guys- I’d like to carry a child.” Nicole and Kevin were shocked that Lianna would even consider carrying more children. But that wasn’t the only shock the couple was in for.
17. The Reason
Lianna said that she had always been willing to carry Nicole’s child, ever since learning that she wasn’t able to have children. But she wanted to finish growing her own family before carrying a baby for Nicole.
Nicole and Kevin were taken aback at Lianna’s offer to carry a baby for them, or as she put it, “one or two.” The offer seemed too good to be true. But Nicole and Kevin had a few reservations before they could agree.
18. The Reservations
“I have never been pregnant, but have heard that there is a major bond that takes place over 9 months [of gestation],” Nicole said. “That after 9 months to hand off the babies — even if they are not biologically yours — is too difficult for some people.”
Nicole was very concerned about the option. She was best friends with Lianna, but carrying a child was something bigger than all of them together. If something happened, it could ruin their friendship and jeopardize her family.
19. Going ahead
Despite their reservations, Nicole and Kevin accepted Lianna’s offer. They were ecstatic about the prospect of having a baby because their dreams were finally going to come true. Nicole and Kevin both prepared themselves for what was next to come.
“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. Now it was time for Lianna to be implanted with Nicole’s fertilized eggs. But everything didn’t go as expected.
20. Problems Getting Pregnant
After undergoing the medical and mental evaluations, it turned out that Lianna was indeed an ideal candidate for surrogacy. According to her, the decision to help out Nicole was the easiest decision she ever had to make.
She was implanted with Nicole’s egg, but tragically the first try didn’t take. The two couples didn’t give up hope, however, and were determined to try as many times as possible. Then the good news came: Lianna was pregnant and even bigger news was in store.
21. The Big Surprise
The two couples went with Lianna for her first sonogram. The excitement in the air was thick. They were all praying that the baby would be healthy and that the pregnancy would go smoothly for the surrogate mother, Lianna Fives. But they got more news than just that.
The sonogram showed not just one baby, but two! The two couples couldn’t have been happier. Nicole had always wanted a big family and twins were music to her ears. Not only were the babies healthy, there were going to be two of them!
22. A Group Effort
From the very beginning of the pregnancy, both couples were involved in every step of the way. According to Kevin, all four of them went to at least 95% of the doctors’ appointments together. It was clear that this was going to be a very special pregnancy.
The longtime friends wanted to be part of every step of the pregnancy, like they were experiencing it for themselves. But one lingering question remained: when it came time, would Lianna be able to part with the twins?
23. Lianna’s Feelings
Many people asked Lianna that exact question. Just how would she be able to part with the twins after carrying them for so many months. Her answer? Lianna said that it wouldn’t be a problem for her at all.
“Their buns, my oven,” Lianna said in her own words. The two couples even took pregnancy photos together. One of them included Nicole holding a sign stating “Our peas, their pod.” It looked like giving up the twins after birth wouldn’t be an issue.
24. Giving birth
Months and months flew by and finally, it came time to give birth to the twins. Lianna gave birth to Nicole and Kevin’s baby girl and a baby boy on February 10th, 2017. Both were in great health.
“I will always have a connection to the twins, but I had no problem with letting them go,” Lianna stated after giving birth. The couples were so close that she could see the twins anytime she wanted.
25. A Fun Pregnancy
“We had so much fun during the pregnancy, the delivery,” said Dr. Richard Klein, Lianna’s obstetrician. He had known Lianna ever since delivering her very first child, so as the twins being the sixth pregnancy for Lianna, he ought to know.
Dr. Klein added that the selfless act that Lianna did for Nicole was “the most you could ever do for a friend.” With all the pain and difficulties that can occur during a pregnancy, it was truly a selfless act for Lianna Fives to agree to such a thing.
26. About The Babies
The new parents named the babies Dominic and Luciana and appointed couple Lianna and her husband Shawn as Godparents to the twins. Coincidentally, Lianna and Nicole share the same birthday, March 1st. The two state that they are now closer than ever.
Once the pregnancy and birth were over, it was time for Nicole and Kevin Barattini to embark on another journey: parenthood. Nicole and Kevin could finally focus on fulfilling the dreams of being parents and raising two beautiful children.
27. Paying It Forward
Nicole and Kevin Barattini’s journey has encouraged them to help other couples who aren’t able to have children of their own. If their experience has taught them anything, it was that alternative options for childbirth can be near impossible unless a person has lots of money.
Nicole has been working with local legislators and Reproductive specialists in New York, advocating for legal surrogacy in the state. The fact that people must go out of state to find a surrogate increases the costs exponentially.
28. Pleads for Help
As part of her campaign to raise awareness of surrogacy and get it legalized in the state of New York, Nicole is also pleading with other women to do what Lianna did for her and volunteer to be a surrogate.
“After hearing our story, I hope that there are people out there that will help other couples because they changed our lives.” She and her husband Kevin are forever grateful to Lianna and Shawn for the sacrifice and charity that they did for them.
29. Another Hero
Not only is Lianna a hero to the Barratinis, but Nicole’s husband Kevin also has an amazing story. He leads a very successful career running a production company, being a DJ and he also working full-time for the local fire department as a lieutenant.
He decided to become a firefighter after an incident that happened while he was DJing at the Northport Fire Department. Tragedy stuck when a young boy stopped breathing and was about to die. What Kevin did next will leave you shocked and inspired.
30. A Hero’s Tale
Upon hearing that a child had stopped breathing at one of the events he was performing at, he jumped into action. He gave the child mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until he started breathing again. Wow! The incident even earned him a nickname.
Kevin is now referred to as DJ Medic for his heroic bravery. Word of his story quickly spread and now everyone calls him by the name. Apart from that, he is owner and CEO of a well-regarded DJ and event planning company. If you get a chance, go to one of his events!
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