Paralympic Swimmer Mallory Weggemann and Husband Jay Snyder Welcome First Baby: 'A Sweet Little Miracle'

After a long IVF journey, the Paralympic gold medalist and her husband announced their baby news exclusively with PEOPLE

Mallory Weggmann's baby announcement
Photo: Becky Ankrum Photography

Paralympic gold medalist Mallory Weggemann and her husband Jay Snyder have invited PEOPLE to follow their journey as they grow their family.

Mallory Weggemann's dream has come true: She's a mom!

Charlotte Ann Snyder was born to Weggemann and her husband Jay Snyder on March 16.

"Holding Little One in my arms after long carrying her in our hearts is something that is still hard to put into words," the Paralympic gold medalist tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Paralympic gold medalist Mallory Weggemann
Mallory, Jay and their dog Sam after celebrating their baby shower, hosted by Mallory's mom and sisters, earlier this month in St. Paul, Minn. Becky Ankrum Photography

"It was a long road to get to this point in our journey, but as we heard her announced into this world by our doctor and saw her for the first time we felt our hearts expand beyond what we ever thought imaginable," Weggemann and Snyder shared.

The couple, who live in Eagen, Minnesota, have had ups and downs on their road to parenthood. Weggemann and Snyder have been through a long IVF journey, navigating Snyder's male-factor infertility as well as the timing of Weggemann's training schedule for her Paralympic swimming career.

But they never gave up.

"I look at Charlotte ... and I see a sweet little miracle that fought so hard to join us in this world," says Weggemann.

Mallory Weggemann
Mallory Weggemann/Instagram

Over the last few years, Weggemann and Snyder have been candid with fans and followers about their challenges. "Jay was adamant that we have the conversation around male infertility," Weggemann previously told PEOPLE. "Society needed to see a couple who said, 'Actually, it's the non-disabled spouse that has the fertility struggles."

After several surgeries, more than 440 injections, two stim cycles and one unsuccessful transfer, Weggemann and Snyder, shared the exciting news with PEOPLE in August that their second egg transfer had worked.

Since then, Weggemann has been publicly documenting her pregnancy, refuting the idea that female athletes have to choose between their careers and motherhood and destigmatizing parents with disabilities. "So often we form our perceptions of what we think is possible based on what we see emulated in the world around us," she says.

She has openly discussed the importance of motherhood for athletes, as well as the possibilities of motherhood within the context of disability awareness .

"This moment is about something bigger than Baby and I. This moment, and hopefully the images that come from it, can show a path forward to other young women and girls who happen to be wheelchair users to see that motherhood is possible for them; to show other female athletes that there's a path forward to continue your career through that stage of your life if you choose, and to show society a way that can start chipping away at this unconscious bias that we put on individuals with disabilities and that we put on women as they lean into motherhood, of what their lives should be."

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