A set of Long Island infant twins have two women to thank on their first Mother’s Day.
Their biological mother, Nicole Barattini, 29, of St. James, will be celebrating the day with her husband Kevin, 35, and the twins, Dominic and Luciana.
But the infants also have a special bond with Lianna Fives, 37, their surrogate mother who gave birth to them on Feb. 10.
Lianna Fives and her husband Shawn, 39, of Smithtown, are also the twins’ godparents. They were honored by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in Hauppauge on Friday for volunteering to help the Barattinis realize their dreams of having children. Nicole Barattini had been told a pregnancy could endanger her life.
Lianna Fives, already a mother a five, offered to bear the twins after she and Shawn learned through mutual friends that the Barattinis were struggling to find someone.
“Lianna is our hero; we could never have done it without her,” said Kevin Barattini at the event, noting Lianna declined any compensation. “To say thank you is not enough.”
The two husbands, both volunteer firemen, said they met about 20 years ago through training, social and other events. Their wives did not know each other particularly well.
“Now all of us are family,” Nicole Barattini said.
The Barattinis had been stunned by the Fives’ offer to help them become parents.
“We laughed, we cried — how do you react to that?” asked Kevin Barattini.
The process was eventful: A fire alarm sounded during one in vitro attempt, and funeral home-owner Shawn Fives had to drive Lianna in a hearse to the delivery.
“She was a champ through everything,” he said, adding the couple would do it again “in a heartbeat.”
Kevin Barattini said they will advocate for New York State to ease the current process that required them to adopt their own children. The couple had to hire lawyers and counselors as state laws do not recognize surrogacy.
“We just want to make it easier for other people,” he said. Bellone promised to help them achieve this end.
Lianna Fives said she will always have a special bond with the twins. For new mom Nicole Barattini, a teacher, nothing compares to coming home and seeing her babies smiling.
“I work with kids every day but to come home to them — it’s just surreal.”