After Kim and Joe Coseno learned that Kim couldn’t carry a baby, they needed to find another option. Luckily, Kim’s mom volunteered to be a surrogate mother. Although the surrogate pregnancy started smoothly, nobody could have anticipated what would transpire…
A Surrogate Surprise
Even though Kim’s mother, Jaci Dalenberg, was 56-years-old at the time of the surrogacy, which posed its own unique set of potential medical complications, Jaci’s age would become the least of Kim and Joe’s worries. They had no idea what kind of surprise they were in for.
A Remarkable Journey
Dalenberg knew what she was getting herself into by volunteering to carry Kim’s child, but she was, in no way, prepared for the wild set of circumstances that would come to be as the pregnancy progressed. Likewise, Kim and Joe had no clue what to expect after choosing Kim’s mother as their surrogate. The Cosenos were truly in for a remarkable journey. They were hopeful that all of the ups and downs would be worth it in the end, but sometimes, fate has other plans.
Searching For Answers
Kim and Joe were devastated to learn that Kim’s problematic medical history left the couple unable to go through with a traditional pregnancy. The Cosenos were happy together, and they had been planning to raise a family ever since their marriage. Although Kim already had two children, Brittini and Colin, from a previous marriage, the Cosenos dreamed of bringing even more love into their home. There had to be another way. That’s when the couple started looking into the idea of using a surrogate.
Working Against The Odds
Because Kim had undergone a partial hysterectomy just a few years prior, her chances of having a successful pregnancy, even with the use of a surrogate mother, were extremely low. Kim was just about ready to give up having another baby when she found Dr. James Goldfard at the Cleveland Clinic. “She did have one ovary remaining, so she did have eggs that were very viable and very possible to produce a pregnancy,” explained Dr. Goldfarb.
Glimmer Of Hope
With her hope now restored, Kim was faced with the seemingly-overwhelming task of finding a trustworthy volunteer who would carry her baby. Luckily, Kim’s very own mother, Jaci Dalenberg, offered to be a surrogate mother for her daughter. “We had been in such a dark period for so long, and we all of a sudden had a little glimmer of hope that there would be a chance we would have a baby,” said Kim. Little did she know, an extraordinary discovery would soon change everything.
Was Jaci The One?
Dalenberg might have been willing to carry Kim’s child, but that didn’t mean she would be physically capable of doing so. Because she was 56-years-old, doctors wanted to make sure that Dalenberg fully understood the risk she was taking by volunteering to be a surrogate mother. They also needed a deep understanding of her health status and medical history before going through with the surrogacy. After going through numerous scans and tests, Dalenberg was deemed suitable to undergo a surrogate pregnancy.
Jaci Passed The Test
Jaci was fully aware of the risks she was taking by volunteering to carry Kim’s baby as a surrogate mother. Luckily, doctors ensured the family that, as long as everything went according to plan, she was going to be fine. “At 56, the female body is not supposed to be pregnant,” explained Dr. Kiwi. “Fortunately, Jaci, who is the mother of four daughters, was very healthy and did not have any medical complications like diabetes or high blood pressure.”
A Mother’s Love
By offering to be Kim’s surrogate mother and carry her own grandchild for a full nine months, Jaci was making a tremendous sacrifice for her daughter. From Jaci’s perspective, however, she was simply giving her daughter an opportunity to be happy and fulfilled. “It’s just another thing I’m doing for my daughter, you know, a mother’s love,” explained Dalenberg in an interview on Today. “They really wanted and were really sincere about having children, and they’re both great people.”
Kim and Joe’s up-and-down journey to have a child of their own was still far away from the happy ending they wanted so badly. At the Cleveland Clinic, doctors did their best to implant Kim’s fertilized egg into Dalenberg’s uterus, but unfortunately, their first attempt at in vitro fertilization (IVF) didn’t take. Thankfully, the Cleveland Clinic offered to pay for another try via the “Partnership for Families” program. Kim and Joe were excited and grateful for the second chance.
The second IVF attempt proved successful. Dalenberg was now pregnant with Kim and Joe’s child. The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place and the Costenos couldn’t be happier that they were just nine months away from having a child of their own. Given Dalenberg’s age, doctors needed to keep a close eye on the pregnancy. Although she had passed all the initial screenings, Dalenberg was still susceptible to various complications. Doctors soon learned something which made the pregnancy even riskier.
No Walk In The Park
In early 2008, Dalenberg, Kim, and Joe got the good news that the in vitro fertilization was a success. It wasn’t long before Dalenberg and the Cosenos were visiting Dr. Robert Kiwi, the family’s OB/GYN, on a regular basis to ensure that the surrogacy was going smoothly. Dr. Kiwi stated that Dalenberg “had four pregnancies previously, so she knew what she was getting into. But nevertheless, at this point in your life, going through a pregnancy isn’t just a walk in the park.”
As the Cosenos moved forward with Jaci’s pregnancy, various tests and screening continued to be performed. Early on in the pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed that Dalenberg received just a bit more than she had bargained for. It turns out that one of the two fertilized eggs implanted in Dalenberg split into identical twins, meaning that Dalenberg was pregnant with triplets! This detection changed everything for the family. Dalenberg’s pregnancy was already risky enough, but now the stakes were much higher.
Not An Ideal Situation
This wasn’t the first time Dalenberg had been pregnant and if it was up to her, she would have preferred to give birth to the triplets naturally. Unfortunately, her doctors notified her that this would be out of the equation. Jaci was going to need to deliver the triplets through a cesarean section. While she was initially upset with this news, she was willing to do anything to ensure that her grandchildren arrived safe and sound.
Keeping A Close Eye On Jaci
After discovering that she was pregnant with triplets, Dalenberg said she was “in shock for about four days.” However, “after that, it was fine, like ‘I can do this,’” she stated. In an interview, Joe Coseno stated that “Jaci’s health was the primary concern before we even started this.” Now, doctors would need to keep a close eye on Dalenberg. If the surrogacy was going to be a successful one, it was going to take the perfect combination of care, attention, and luck.
A Discerning Discovery
Despite concerns, everything was going smoothly with Dalenberg’s pregnancy until one day, when Dr. Kiwi identified something discerning. “One of the twins had stopped growing and really wasn’t doing as well as it should be in the uterus,” explained Dr. Kiwi. “The testing we had done showed that the baby might be compromised if we didn’t deliver fairly soon.” Kim and Joe began to fear for the worst. They put their trust in their beloved doctors and hoped for the best.
“The Best Feeling In The World”
On October 11, 2008, with her daughter and son-in-law in the delivery room, Dalenberg gave birth to three beautiful babies through a cesarian section. Kim and Joe named the babies Elizabeth (Ellie), Gabriella (Gigi), and Carmina. “Elizabeth was the first baby to come out,” said Kim. “She was screaming at the top of her lungs. It was awesome, the best feeling in the whole world.” After Elizabeth was born, twins Gabriella and Carmina came into this world.
The Greatest Gift
Kim was blown away that her mother would do something so selfless. “Just the fact that she would sacrifice so much of her time. … And just putting her life on hold for us,” said Kim. “And that she would even just approach us to do this, to make us happy, to complete our life and fulfill us, is the greatest gift that I ever have been given in my whole life. I’m beyond belief. I am touched, so deep in my heart.”
Because Ellie, Gigi, and Carmina were born more than two months before their original due date, each baby weighed less than three pounds. Despite their low birthweight, the girls seemed to be in good health. They would need to stay a few extra weeks in the hospital, but the Cosenos were thrilled to know that their girls were finally here. Just when Kim and Joe were ready to settle into their new lives as parents, the unimaginable happened.
By the time 2014 came around, the family had been living a happy life. Kim and Joe were amazing parents and the girls seemed to be thriving. Then, they received some devastating news. After not feeling well for a while, Ellie went to the hospital to have some tests done. It was soon revealed that she had five brain tumors. The Cosenos were in shock. It seemed as though they simply couldn’t catch a break. Unfortunately, the bad news would keep coming.
Making A Move
Ellie went in for surgery not long after her diagnosis. The operation was relatively successful, but Kim and Joe were notified that Ellie would need more surgeries and specialized medical attention as she grew older. To give Ellie the best possible chance, Kim and Joe knew that they needed to find the best doctors. So they made the difficult decision to move from their home in Ohio all the way to Florida, where they could reside near Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Saying Goodbye To Ohio
It wasn’t easy for Kim and Joe to uproot their family for a new life in Florida, but they knew that they were doing the right thing. The girls had to say goodbye to their house, their friends, and all of the comforts of their midwestern lifestyle. Anything would be worth it, though, for Ellie to be happy and healthy. By the time they moved near the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, the young family had received yet another dose of bad news.
The Bad News Kept Coming
After the Gigi and Carmena had the same tests performed, the family discovered that they too were suffering from brain tumors. The girls, who were just eight years old, were living with atypical arachnoid tumors in their brains. Just when Kim and Joe thought they had weathered the storm with Ellie, the endless cloud of bad news returned, this time finding them in the Sunshine State. To make matters worse, the family was in a terrible financial situation.
The medical care and operations that all three girls needed were extremely expensive, and the hospital bills were beginning to pile up. Now that all three girls were going through their own treatments, Kim and Joe needed to start thinking about ways that the family could earn some extra cash and make ends meet. Prioritizing the health and wellbeing of Ellie, Gigi, and Carmina, the time had come for the Cosenos to start making some big sacrifices.
Selling The Car
Kim and Joe realized that the best way for them to make some quick cash was to sell some of their valuable belongings. The first thing to go was Joe’s cherished car. While selling the vehicle helped their financial situation, it wasn’t going to get them very far. They knew they would have to sacrifice more. Anything would be worth it to see their daughters make a full recovery. Kim and Joe then decided to sell something that had a much deeper meaning.
Putting Their Girls First
After careful consideration, Joe and Kim chose to sell both of their wedding rings to have some money to pay off the triplets’ never-ending medical expenses. While no couple would ever want to give up something with such sentimental value, the decision was an easy one for the Cosenos. They were willing to do anything and everything just to know their girls were getting the best possible treatment. After all, you can’t put a price on family.
Through all of the surgeries, doctor appointments, and medical treatments, Ellie, Gigi, and Carmina remained optimistic and upbeat. “Most of the time they’re in pretty good spirits. They’re pretty relentless,” said their father. “We try to focus on doing everything to make sure that they’re happy and to live every part of their life as full as they can.” It’s truly an inspiration that these triplets find a way to live their lives to the fullest, especially given their circumstances.
Having already gone through so much, and not having any family or friends in their new hometown, the Cosenos were really struggling to deal with their difficult circumstances. The weight of everything was beginning to take its toll on Kim and Joe. Luckily, a local news station, CBS4 News, heard about the Cosenos and decided to run a segment sharing their story with the community. Kim and Joe had no idea what to expect, but they were hoping that something positive would come their way.
Their Prayers Were Answered
Kim and Joe’s prayers were answered when Joe Miranda and his wife saw their touching story. The Mirandas felt so moved by the news segment that they simply had to help out. Miranda chose to share some of his own fortunes by purchasing a car for the Cosenos so that they would have an easier time bringing the girls to and from their doctors’ appointments. Additionally, he gave the family an all-expenses-paid day-trip to Legoland so they could enjoy a day away from the hospital.
The Kindness Of Strangers
After their generous gifts, the Mirandas were interviewed by CBS4, the same news station that first introduced the local community to Kim, Joe, and the triplets. “My wife and I were both looking at the piece,” explained Joe Miranda “And we both look at each other and we both nodded like, ‘yes, we need to do something here. There was no thinking about it. It was a done deal and so I immediately called and left a message.”
Another way that Coseno sought support for her daughters came on social media. The mother set up a Facebook page called ‘Prayers for the Coseno Triplets.’ “We are asking for prayers for Ellie, Gigi, and Carmina as they begin their treatments for brain lesions at Miami Children’s Hospital,” Coseno wrote on the Facebook page. Needless to say, the support was overwhelming, with the page receiving over 450 likes and tons of supportive messages from members of the online community.
Bringing Christmas Cheer
In addition to donating a 2004 Kia SUV to the Cosenos, the Mirandas wanted to ensure that Gigi, Ellie, and Carmina had the Christmas they deserved. In an interview, Joe’s wife, Susan, said, “I want to make sure one thing’s for sure – those kids, this Christmas are going to have a great Christmas. I also want to see what Kim and Joe need to make things a little easier for them.” The Mirandas’ generosity meant the world to the Cosenos.
Kim and Joe were astonished at the support they received from the Mirandas, both financially and emotionally. “We can get to the doctors now,” said Kim. “I can’t tell them how much this truly changes what we’re able to do for the girls. Which is what it’s about.” Joe then added, “We’re just truly thankful they came into our lives. We get to meet them and the things they’ve done for us. It’s truly amazing. And it’s changed our holiday and our life.”
Just The Beginning
Kim and Joe couldn’t believe that a total stranger could be so generous to a family they had never even met. Joe and Susan Miranda truly made a difference, and the Cosenos were so grateful for the incredible gifts he gave. Doctors still couldn’t say when Ellie, Gigi, and Carmina would make a full recovery, but this selfless act lifted the girls’ spirits. Miranda’s kindness was just the beginning. The Cosenos had no idea what was coming.
Finding Strength In Community
Within just a few days, the entire town had heard about the triplets, their medical treatments, and Kim and Joe’s financial burden. Even though they had never met the family, the whole community wanted to help out. While the Cosenos might have been new in town, they were considered to be family in the eyes of their neighbors. Everyone gave what they could, whether it was a large or small amount of money. All in all, the neighborhood pooled together about $10,000!
Piece Of Mind
Sharing their story with the world ended up being the greatest gift the Cosenos could have asked for. Kim and Joe were grateful because they now had some piece of mind knowing that they would be able to afford the best possible medical treatment for their daughters. “That money, honestly, would help pay for medical testing that we just can’t afford,” said Kim. “Genetic testing, that could maybe have answers to what’s going on and to stop this progression.”
A Helping Hand
The donations that began to pour in from the Coseno’s new Florida community were a huge help to their financial situation. But, more importantly, the support that the community showed for the Cosenos proved to Kim and Joe that they were no longer alone in the fight. “We came from knowing zero people here, we knew no one in South Florida, to now we have this huge community with numbers and names that we can call,” said Kim.
Giving The Girls A Fighting Change
After the Florida community raised so much money, Kim and Joe were in a state of shock and disbelief. Ellie, Gigi, and Carmina now had a fighting chance. In addition, the family now felt at home in a place where they once felt so lonely. They learned that they will always be able to count on their neighbors in tough times. While moving from Ohio wasn’t easy, the Cosenos realized that it was all worth it in the end.
Focused On Family
These days, the Cosenos are focusing solely on the triplets’ recoveries. Now that money is no longer an issue, Kim, Joe, Ellie, Gigi, and Carmina are happier than ever. Through all of their endeavors, the family has gained a greater appreciation for each other. Despite the girls’ health concerns, they are taking each day as it comes, living in the moment, and enjoying every second of family time. While the future may be unclear, the Cosenos are ready to face anything.
Mother & Daughter Stronger Than Ever
In many ways, this entire story didn’t just define the triplets’ lives and ensure that they would get all the help they’d need in life. It also helped bring Kim and her mother Jaci even closer. This is very much a cross-generational story, a story about how a family can get you through the toughest ordeals. As a result, the triplets are now able to do things that, at one point, seemed so unlikely in their minds…
Already Planning For Christmas!
When you have been through as much as the Coseno triplets have, you never want to take anything for granted. So it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that they wanted to plan their Christmas celebrations over a month before the big day arrived. Thanksgiving hadn’t even happened yet, and the girls were already dressing in wooly sweaters with stockings knitted on the front. But that was only scratching the surface of their festive preparations…
They Even Put Up The Tree!
They weren’t just dressing up and decking the halls with bells and holly. The Coseno triplets went all out with their Christmas preparations and even put up an epic Christmas tree! Their mother was so proud of their enthusiasm and lust for life that she couldn’t help but share these amazing images on social media. Not only has the entire experience impacted her daughters, it has also changed her perspective in a lot of ways.
It’s not just mother Kim who has been given a new lease on life after her triples went through so much. Grandmother Jaci loves nothing more than spending time with her large family and even the small get-togethers mean so much to her. Jaci regularly posts photos of herself with her granddaughters, and looking back on everything that transpired, she’s just grateful that her family can move on and live something of a normal life. What she did was absolutely remarkable.