Nicole Barattini thought her dreams of becoming a mother had reached the end of the road when she found out that she couldn’t have kids. But thanks to a selfless act committed by her best friend, she would soon receive the greatest surprise of all time.
After getting married in 2010, Kevin and Nicole Barattini settled their roots in Smithton, New York. The couple owned two dogs, and dreamed of adding a baby to complete their family. Nicole decided to go to the doctor to talk to them about conceiving, but her dreams were destroyed when the doctors gave Nicole some horrible news.
Nicole was 16 years old when she noticed small red dots forming on her skin. Soon the dots would cover her entire body. In the beginning, the dots seemed like no big deal, but then her symptoms became worse. She was experiencing fever, fatigue, and her eyes were jaundice. After blood was drawn at the doctors, Nicole received some bad news.
Nicole was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, called thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP), which creates blood clots all over her body. It could actually become fatal. Nicole was immediately put admitted to the hospital, where she received plasma transfusions for days. Nicole was also given a medication that would control the disease. Everything was normal after that until she wanted to have a baby.
Nicole was told by doctors that the medicine she took for the TTP could harm the baby and it would be best if she didn’t get pregnant. She was told that if she chose to go off of the medication, the results could be fatal. If TTP is left untreated, there is a 95% chance of dying. Even though they were discouraged, the couple agreed that it wasn’t worth the risk. So the couple turned to different alternatives.
At first, the couple thought about adopting a child, but after doing some research, they realized that the legal fees were just too expensive. After that, the couple thought about IVF and surrogacy, but they couldn’t be sure that the TTP wouldn’t affect that too. Once the doctors told her that she had healthy eggs, and that TTP wasn’t genetic, she decided to freeze her eggs for surrogacy. But the road ahead would be a bumpy one.
Considering surrogacy was illegal in New York, and they would have to search out-of-state for someone, the cost of hiring a surrogate mother could end up being $75,000! The couple told their friends and family about their situation and many of them offered to carry their child for free. After several tests were conducted, it would appear that no one was able to carry the child for them. That was until the Fives showed up.
The couple had known Shawn and Lianna Fives for about 20 years. The Fives had attained their goal of having a large family. By the time Shawn was 40, and Lianna was 37, the family had already had five children. After the Fives had given birth to their fifth baby, they invited Nicole and Kevin over for dinner. A dinner that would change their lives forever.
“You know I have five children, Shawn, and I want to have maybe one or two more,” said Lianna. Nicole and Kevin looked at each other, unsure of why they would want more children. Lianna continued speaking. “No, not for me, for you guys – I’d like to carry a child.” That’s when they realized what was going on: Lianna wanted to be their surrogate. Nicole and Kevin were immediately brought to tears.
Lianna had to go through some mental and medical testing, but she jumped through every hurdle. Soon enough, the embryos were implanted in Lianna. The Barattinis made a promise to be with Lianna throughout everything. Unfortunately, the implantation didn’t work, so the doctors encouraged them to do it again. After a second implantation, they families waited patiently for weeks. Eventually, they received the results.
Lianna was indeed pregnant! This was the closest that Nicole and Kevin had ever been to being parents. But there was even better news! There wasn’t just one embryo that was implanted, there was two – they were having twins! The couples couldn’t believe how lucky they were, and they were all so happy! They decided that it was time for a celebration.
The Barattinis and the Fives planned on having a party to announce the twins arrival. Friends and family of both couples were invited, and the party ended up having over 60 guests. Many of the people knew about the Barattinis wanting to have a family, so everyone was pretty surprised and happy about the news. Soon, it was time for the babies to arrive.
Lianna had a very healthy pregnancy. On February 10th, 2017, the twins were born! There was a boy and a girl, and they were given the names Dominic and Luciana. As soon as they saw their newborn babies for the first time, the couple broke down in tears. Thanks to the selfless act committed by their lifelong friends, an act they were committed to honor, they were able to have their dreams come true.
Lianna and Shawn became the twin’s godparents, which made their bond even stronger. “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. Courtney knew how amazing it was that someone wanted to do this for her, so she understood that she needed to pay it forward somehow.
Because they wanted to help out other couples that were in the same situation, Nicole and Kevin began advocating to make surrogacy legal in New York. Kevin posted to Facebook, “we have been working with local legislators and Reproductive Specialists of New York to make surrogacy recognized.” After their story was made public, the couple began receiving lots of attention from the media.
The Barattinis hope the publicity they got encourages other couples who want 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,” said Nicole. Currently, the Barattinis are enjoying parenting the twins while continuing their activism.