Kevin and Nicole Barattini were like most young couples in love. They loved each-other to no end and they wanted to raise a family of their own. Their journey would take a turn that neither of them could have expected.
A Bright Future
Nicole Barattani got married in mid-2010 to Kevin Barattini. They had high hopes of becoming parents in their new hometown of Smithton, New York. After years of trying to fall pregnant, their frustration changed to desperation.
The multiple specialists whom they visited all confirmed the same devastating news – Nicole Barattini’s health was the deterrent to their parenthood. Their dream of having children of their own was slowly falling apart.
A Bumpy Road
It was when Nicole was just a teenager that she noticed numerous bumps popping up all over her body. The 16-year-old started to suffer from exhaustion and fever. Realizing the need for medical attention, she was rushed to a doctor for inspection.The blood test results showed that she had only 8,000 platelets of every micro-liter of blood as opposed to the normal 140,000 platelets.
The blood test results showed that she had only 8,000 platelets of every micro-liter of blood as opposed to the normal 140,000 platelets. This was alarming because it had gone unnoticed and she was still so young.
Aside from the discovery of the blood platelets, doctors diagnosed Nicole with thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura or TTP. TTP is a rare autoimmune disease, which causes fatal blood clots all over the body. It can damage the brain, kidneys, heart and even the nervous system.
A Life-Threatening Situation
This disease was not only causing discomfort for the youngster, it was life-threatening too. When a person is diagnosed with TTP and they are left untreated, 95% don’t live. Doctors needed to treat her urgently. She stayed hospitalized for a few days while the plasma in her body was replaced.
Eventually after searching for the right medication, her condition stabilized. The medication also promised that her condition would remain fine for a number of years and she resumed a normal life. Things started to look good again, at least for then.
Complications arose again when she and her husband, Kevin, started trying to get pregnant. The doctors warned her that if she continued with the TTP medication it would endanger the life of her baby. Yet, if she wanted to stop using treatment, she would be the one in danger.
Breaking The News
It was a terrible day for Nicole. The only person she could turn to and express the news, was the person she needed to tell most – her husband, Kevin. “I got home from work and Nicole had that look on her face like something was wrong and I’m never going to forget it, I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and she said, ‘The doctor doesn’t think we can have children.’ And, you know, nobody wants to hear that.”
Looking For Alternatives
It took a good while for Kevin and Nicole to come to terms with the news they had received. Nicole was very emotional and extremely frustrated with her body’s ailment. She tried to reason with her husband that she could risk a pregnancy. He wouldn’t have any of it and shut down the idea as it was far too risky.
Glimmer Of Hope
The couple discussed their options in depth and decided it would be best to consult with a specialist. They realized that their chances of conceiving a child naturally were non-existent.
Fertility experts provided some relief when they informed the pair that Nicole Barattini’s condition was not a genetic disorder which meant that she could still produce a healthy baby. The experts suggested that she freeze her eggs and pursue the option of surrogacy.
How Does It Work?
Surrogacy is the incredible method of one woman carrying the baby of another. The eggs belong to the woman who wants to have a baby but can’t. The sperm used to fertilize the eggs belongs to the partner of the woman who wants to have the baby. This method ensures that the genetics of the intended parents is carried through to the baby even though the whole process is happening in the belly of another woman.
A Costly Turn
Surrogacy was only a temporary option for Nicole and Kevin. They soon discovered that the average cost to hire a surrogate ranged from $75,000 and on. This wasn’t affordable to the young couple. Together they started to think if there was someone else who might be able to carry their child for them.
Who To Turn To?
It wasn’t unheard of that sisters or mothers carried the eggs of their female family members when they could not. Unfortunately for Nicole, her mother was too old to help her and she didn’t have a sister that could possibly take on this special job.
In The Name Of The Law
If money hadn’t been an issue for them, a law in their state would be. In the state of New York, the law prohibits the act of paying someone to be a surrogate. If they did find someone in their state who was willing to do it without compensation that would be fine, but until this point they had no such luck.
Friends From Everywhere
When they felt comfortable enough to share news of their mission, they received more support than they could have ever expected. Nicole Barattini said it was “crazy to see how many people stepped up to the plate.” Friends and family poured in to offer their support and some even offered to carry their embryo.
There Can Only Be One
To their dismay however, not one of their friends was deemed fit for this role. When an influx of volunteers came forward to help the young couple, they didn’t realize that it was so difficult to find a match.
What the couple didn’t know is that there is a reason surrogates are so expensive. The medical exam that potential gestation carriers go through is very intensive and extensive. Women attempting to pass this test, among many other things, need to be fit and healthy. A carrier needs to be mentally sound with the task of carrying a baby for nine months that will not be hers. This also provided the reason why their friends, although good-willed, were turned away.
Dinner With Friends
It seemed like just a regular night out with friends in December 2015 for Nicole and Kevin. They met up with their closest friends of 20 years, Lianna and Shawn Fives at a local restaurant for dinner. Their friends sympathized with them and really wanted to help. They themselves had never had issues like this. In fact they had five children of their own.
That’s What Friends Are For
Lianna excitedly broke the news to their best friends that she wanted to be pregnant again, only this pregnancy would be for Nicole and Kevin’s baby. They couldn’t believe the news. This wasn’t just a third-party surrogate, this was one of their closest friends. Their dream to have a child of their own was one step closer to becoming a reality.
Overcoming The Shock
It was an unexpected twist to their dinner plans and it took Nicole and Kevin a few moments to actually understand what was going on. Kevin recalled, “Lianna goes, ‘You know I have five children, Shawn and I want to have maybe one or two more. And [Nicole and I] looked at each other with a puzzled look, like, ‘You have five kids, why would you want any more?’”
The Truth Comes Out
Lianna replied with a huge smile planted on her face, “No, not for me, for you guys – I’d like to carry your child.” When all doubt was cleared, Kevin said that not only he and Nicole, but all four of them started to cry. If this was to be successful, they had no doubt it would be something special.
Not A Pinch Of Doubt
When Liliana was asked about her brave and selfless choice to carry her friends’ baby, she simply replied, “I was blessed to have five kids and they are all amazing, and I couldn’t picture my life without them. And to see this couple so deserving, it broke my heart.” She couldn’t picture her friends not sharing the joy and love that she and Shawn did with their kids.
An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse
Even though Nicole and Kevin knew that it was a difficult task for their friends, they knew that they had to take them up on their offer. Their chances of having a baby were becoming slimmer and slimmer. This was their golden opportunity provided by a candidate whom they held dear in their hearts.
In This Together
Once all the preparations were underway, the two couples agreed that they would attend all check-ups and doctor visits together. This was supposed to be happy journey for all four of them and it was. Even their obstetrician, Dr. Klein, commented that their group visits were fun and joyful.
The Time Had Come
In July 2016, both couples arrived at the appointment that would tell them what they wanted to hear. Had the embryo successfully been planted? They prayed and hoped for the good news and eventually for the news of a healthy a boy.
The Waiting Game
It was an anxious time for Nicole and Kevin since it was their first time waiting for ultrasound results. For their friends it was a more relaxed experience. They had been through this more than most couples had. But all of them shared the same feeling of hope and excitement.
Yes And No
The doctor returned with positive news. Now it would be weeks to hear if Lianna fell pregnant or not. This seemed like their last resort and they crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. If this plan of theirs failed, they didn’t know who else they could turn to. They dreamed of having a baby that was biologically theirs.
Still Room For Optimism
It took a few weeks for the friends to receive Lianna’s pregnancy test results. They showed negative – she wasn’t pregnant. It was a defeating moment for all of them, but the doctor instilled hope in them once more. He told them that they would plant an embryo once more and try again. The doctor returned their optimism.
Double Or Nothing
Again the two couples found themselves in the doctor’s office waiting for results. When he emerged, they waited impatiently to hear the outcome. He happily announced that Lianna was indeed pregnant! Nicole Barattini and Kevin couldn’t control their emotions – they were overjoyed. But the doctor had to interrupt them and tell them that there was more news.
More Than One
The embryo that was growing was not only one, in actual fact it was two. From being in a position where they were doubtful about having any kids at all, they were overwhelmed with happiness at the knowledge that they were going to have two!
On February 10th, 2017, Kevin and Nicole Barattini became mommy and daddy to two children. The twins that Lianna Fives gave birth to were a boy and a girl. Dominic and Luciana came into the world surrounded by four friends who did what most people could not. Kevin said “It’s probably the most amazing thing because you think it’s the end of the road, now here we are with two beautiful children.”
In order to honor their friends, Nicole and Kevin named Lianna and Shawn as the godparents of their twins. Kevin shared, “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 and Kevin decided to take it upon themselves to make a positive impact in the field of surrogacy laws in their state. Together they have been working with local legislators in New York to re-examine the laws which restrict couples like themselves from having children through a third party.
Miracles Do Happen
In a time of deep desperation, the couple believed that there was nowhere to turn. Many different factors barred them from achieving their dream of having a child and starting a family, but their dream came true. Miracles usually happen when we least expect them to.