But after suffering nine miscarriages and failed fertility treatments, they were given the devastating news Melissa would probably never be able to carry a child.
‘It was one of the worst days of my life,’ the 33-year-old wrote on her GoFundMe page. ‘Most women want to be able to carry their own child and I honestly felt like a complete failure as a woman. We were now facing the possibility of never having children. This road has been so difficult for us and sometimes I felt like I lost a piece of my soul with each miscarriage.’
Doctors suggested a surrogate might be the best option, but Melissa said she didn’t know if she ‘could emotionally handle another woman being able to carry my child.’ That was until her older sister Lisa Auten, 35, stepped in.
‘She tries to make a joke out of everything and she said, ‘I’ll let you borrow my uterus,’ Melissa told Omaha station KETV.
When two embryos were implanted inside Lisa, no-one expected both to take because one was poor quality. But during the first ultrasound at about seven weeks, a miracle happened.
‘I have never been so nervous in my life,’ Melissa wrote on GoFundMe. ‘Court and I have never seen any positive results on our ultrasounds so it was overwhelming. We received the best news ever on that day... we were expecting TWINS!’
‘I think we were all a little bit shocked,’ Melissa told InsideEdition.com. ‘My sister was telling them to count again.’
The pregnancy went well with very little complications.
‘I got to be at all the ultrasounds and got to feel the babies kick,’ Melissa added. ‘We did a gender reveal and we tried to make things fun and memorable.’
The baby girls were named Tierney and Ashlynn. Melissa, from Nebraska is still going through the process of getting listed as their official mum due to state law. Although the twins are biologically hers, Lisa was listed on the birth certificate and has to relinquish her parental rights to allow Melissa to ‘adopt’ her children. The adoption will take place when the girls reach six months old.
‘Every day I am in awe,’ Melissa said. ‘You hear women say you don’t really know love until you have children. They really do complete me. There are never any words that I can say to thank her for what she did. She gave up a year of her life so that we could have a family. I could never repay.’