Little Women: LA's Terra Jolé and Joe Gnoffo: Our Daughter Is a 'Miracle'
"We were so blessed," Jolé tells PEOPLE about daughter Penelope Charlevoix
Terra Jolé and Joe Gnoffo are now happily home with their baby girl Penelope Charlevoix, but the road to parenthood has been a tortuous one for the couple.
“There were definitely some bumps in the road,” says Jolé, 34, who stars on Little Women: Terra’s Little Family with Gnoffo, 39. “I was scared beyond belief in the very beginning.”
The new mom and dad have different forms of dwarfism – Jolé has achondroplasia and Gnoffo has pseudoachondroplasia – which lessened the chance of fatality at birth, but there was still “a chance of having a double dominant child that would not survive,” says Jolé.
Receiving Penelope’s genetic testing results a couple weeks ago, the reality stars had “the biggest celebration ever” after being told she only has achondraplasia, which was “the best scenario,” explains Jolé.
“Given the fact that both the mother and father were known to carry an autosomal mutation, we knew that there was a one in four chance that the baby might inherit a mutation from each parent,” explains Dr. Bryan S. Jick, Jolé’s Ob/Gyn.
For little people, “the concern is that she’s carrying a large baby, proportionally,” says Jick. “I told them it might be similar to an average-sized woman carrying twins, so this means there is an increased risk for premature delivery due to the uterus and baby being so big, relatively speaking.”
Without Gnoffo’s dominant gene, Penelope is more likely to have fewer health complications as she grows up.
“I’ve had a bunch of surgeries,” says Gnoffo. “I’ve had hips and knees reconstructed. She would have more of a chance [of that] if it turned out she were also my type [of dwarfism].”
Now in the throes of new parenthood, Jolé and Gnoffo aren’t getting too much sleep, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We were so blessed to have a miracle, and everything coming out positive was the biggest sigh of relief we could’ve ever asked for,” says Jolé.
Adds Gnoffo, “She is a little angel!”
Terra’s Little Family airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Lifetime.
For more on the couple’s first weeks home with Penelope, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.