CNN's Chloe Melas spoke to PEOPLE exclusively about conceiving both her first and second sons via in vitro fertilization
Chloe Melas is adding another baby boy to her brood!
In the clip, the second-time parents-to-be pull a cannon and kick a soccer ball that exploded into clouds of blue smoke, indicating a baby brother is on the way for their 17-month-old son Leo.
“Wow! I still can’t believe that I’ll be a mom of two boys 💙 But I also want to say this — when we were struggling to get pregnant the first time, seeing these types of posts made me very sad. Our road both times to expand our family has been challenging,” Melas, 32, captioned a follow-up set of photos from the reveal.
“If you’re one of the ones reading this who doesn’t think you’ll ever have a baby for whatever the reason — I promise you that if you want a child you can have one,” she continued in the Wednesday post. “Whether it be through adoption, surrogacy etc — it will happen. Just don’t give up 💙”
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The couple’s journey toward parenthood was indeed not a straightforward one. As Melas explains to PEOPLE in an exclusive interview, she and Mazza decided to start trying for a baby two years after their October 2014 wedding but soon learned that he had a low sperm count and she had a reduced ovarian reserve, which means a lower-than-average egg count compared to most women her age.
“There were problems on both sides, so we went to a really dark place together,” she says of the time before Leo was born. “I was super depressed, crying all the time. I was convinced that we would never have children, that I would never carry my own child or have my own biological child.”
Following a series of blood tests and numerous doctor’s appointments, the couple finally turned to medicated intrauterine insemination (IUI) to attempt to start their family, but had no luck after three rounds of the treatment. And to top it off, the journey was beginning to truly test the spouses’ relationship.
“I was at a fertility clinic and they were monitoring my cycle, and then they were telling us when to go have sex. That took the joy and fun out of sex,” Melas laments. “I was also peeing on the ovulation sticks, and I remember one time my husband came home late from work and we were supposed to have sex at a certain time, and we got into a huge argument. I had a box of the ovulation sticks, and I threw it up into the air — and literally, like 50 or 60 of those sticks went all over our apartment. It’s almost comical, like something out of a movie.”
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Eventually, the couple turned to in vitro fertilization to conceive Leo, transferring his day-three embryo instead of waiting until day five, since it was the only “normal”-looking embryo to survive to that stage. (They did the same for baby No. 2, after trying naturally for a few months and undergoing one more IUI treatment after Leo turned 1.)
Melas tells PEOPLE she was initially “devastated” to entertain the idea of IVF because of her fear of “What if?” surrounding the scenario where it wouldn’t help her expand her family. So she treated herself “like a fragile egg” in the two weeks following her first embryo transfer — and luckily, it led to a positive test that resulted in little Leo.
But that didn’t make it easy to enjoy the fruits of her labor after the “total nightmare” of going through hormone injections ahead of her egg retrieval, which made her feel like she was already pregnant and affected her moods in a significantly negative way.
“You would think that’s great, and it was great to hear, but I didn’t believe it,” Melas recalls of finally seeing a positive pregnancy test. “I don’t think that I believed that I was ever gonna be a mom until I gave birth and I met him and I held Leo in my arms. The joy of finding out you’re pregnant and everything that happens along the way to get there … the joy was gone.”
For a long time, the television personality avoided baby showers and had a difficult time seeing pregnancy announcements left and right, telling PEOPLE that despite her own joyous news, “I’ve been through hell and back to become a mother” — however, she “would do it again and again.”
But through discussions about fertility with fellow moms like Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman and more, Melas recalls “finally” feeling “kind of like, ‘Wow I’m not alone’ ” and hopes to use her own experience to help get the same message across to other women struggling with infertility.
“This story is for the woman who’s on her computer at 2 a.m. reading message boards and constantly feeling like they’re never gonna have their own child and constantly feeling sad when they get that baby-shower invite, and feeling like they only hear the happy stories from people,” says Melas, whose little one on the way is the result of yet another singular surviving day-three embryo in a second IVF egg retrieval.
“I just want everybody to know that it’s not always a happy journey to get the outcome that you want, but don’t give up, stay on the road, because the outcome is so worth it,” she adds.