She’s been trying for a baby for five years, but on March 8, Alexis Stewart‘s dream of being a mom finally came true when she welcomed her daughter, Jude, via gestational surrogate.
“Getting Jude was lucky,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’m happy, but this has been rough.”
And how: since deciding she was ready for a baby in her late 30s, Stewart, 45, has seen several doctors and at one point was spending up to $27,000 each month for IVF procedures and an additional $6,000 for medications.
However, after meeting her current physician, Dr. John Zhang at Manhattan’s New Hope Fertility Center, Stewart was able to cut back on the drugs and reduce her monthly spending to about $5,000 for treatments.
“This is my other job that I don’t talk about,” says the host of the Sirius radio show Whatever with Alexis & Jennifer. “But if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford it and you have time, what’s the downside?”
Now that she’s a mom, the blunt and no-nonsense Stewart is content to spoil 3-month-old Jude — but in a decidedly ungirly way.
“I took ice skating lessons all winter so I can skate with her,” she says. “I want her to do everything.”
For more about Stewart’s struggle to welcome a baby and how Martha is reacting to being a grandma, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
— Lesley Messer