At the age of 14, doctors told Maddie Coleman she’d never be able to carry her own baby due to a disorder affecting her uterus and cervix.
“My mom was with me at the appointment and we were both crushed. We cried and held each other as we walked to the car. But she stopped me, looked me in the eyes and said, ‘When you get older and want a child, I’ll carry your baby,’ ” Coleman, 24, tells PEOPLE of her mother, Megan Barker.
A teenager at the time, Coleman thought her mom’s offer “was totally weird.” But last year, when a tumor was discovered on her ovary — the Californian decided to take her mom up on the promise she had made 10 years ago.
Before Coleman had the tumor removed in June 2016, doctors told her she should consider fertility treatment as the surgery could make her menopausal. So, she had her eggs frozen and approached her mom with the proposition after talking it over with husband, Tyler Coleman.
“We looked at surrogacy, but it’s so expensive,” the Orland, California, resident explains. “At first, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of mom carrying our baby. It was a bit weird, but I was mostly excited and so grateful but it took a minute for me to understand.”
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Barker immediately agreed to carry her daughter’s baby.
“I knew how important it was for Maddie to be a mom and I understood there were other options like adoption, but I wanted her to know a biological baby was a viable option,” Barker, 48, tells PEOPLE. “I’m just so fortunate I was able to provide the opportunity and that the IVF worked the first time. It’s the greatest gift.”
Coleman explains, “Mom was healthy and had always said she would do it, if I wanted. I say if you have an opportunity, jump on it. I initially didn’t want to have children until like five years from now, but I didn’t know where my mom’s health and viability would be then, so I felt like it was the right time.”
In March of 2016, Barker became pregnant through in vitro fertilization.
“We were ecstatic,” says Coleman. “I am forever grateful for this gift.”
Barker gave birth to the couple’s child, Gus Wyatt Coleman, on October 22, 2016.
The healthy baby boy was delivered naturally and weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz.
“Just getting to see Tyler and Maddie hold Gus is the greatest reward,” says Barker. “Knowing they can be the mommy and daddy they would not have otherwise been able to be is the best prize.
“This has been the best experience of my life.”