When Jesseca "Judy" Dupart shared a photo on Instagram that showed her wife Da Brat placing her hands over her stomach in January 2022, fans were ecstatic.
"People automatically thought that we were having a baby," Da Brat, 49, tells Yahoo Life.
The photo, which was captioned, "We are extending the family," was a reference to an expansion of Dupart's hair care line, but reactions in the comments planted the seed for something much bigger.
"The outpouring and the love and the support was so great. We were like, 'Oh, shoot! Do we want to try to have a baby?' And if we do, we probably better start working on it soon. Because I'm almost 50," says Da Brat.
The pair opted for in vitro fertilization, or IVF, a medical procedure in which the egg is fertilized outside of the body and then transferred to the uterus.
The couple felt this would be the best option to create a "little us," to raise together in what Da Brat describes as a "fresh start." The couple also decided to use a white sperm donor, citing a lack of suitable Black donors.
"The world is starting to blend more. So I think you're gonna see a lot more children being made like that," Dupart, 41, explains. "If you are choosing an alternative way to be able to procreate, like IVF going in, it's already a 'disadvantage' that you don't have as many choices there. So I think our son is going to be fine."
In terms of the pregnancy itself, Da Brat says she assumed Dupart would be the one to carry since she has three children of her own and "was more experienced" in that area.
But it was Dupart's experience that made her want to give Da Brat the chance at pregnancy herself.
"I felt like having her experience pregnancy would be great because she's such a nurturing person. And I felt like all the little parts of it and all the intricacies she would wholeheartedly enjoy," says Dupart. They also decided to use Dupart's eggs after learning Da Brat's were not viable.
"Mine had all disappeared and she happened to have some nice, pretty, healthy, strong eggs in there," says Da Brat.
The couple saw their first doctor in March 2022 and had the egg retrieval in May 2022. They "had no idea it was going to be as tough as it was," Da Brat says.
"You go to doctors and you get checked out and they tell you the things that are wrong and things that are not wrong," the rapper explains. "I had fibroids and polyps in my uterus. So in order for me to be the oven, I had to clean my uterus out. So I had to have a couple of little minor surgeries and get the polyps taken out. The fibroids were not in the way of my uterus, so they're still there, but they're not affecting the pregnancy at all."
Dupart's egg retrieval process also came with its own set of challenges.
"In order for us to get her eggs, she had to go through all these hormone shots and medication. It's not an easy process," says Da Brat. "I had to give her shots in her stomach. I hated doing that, because I don't want to do anything to hurt my baby."
The couple retrieved a total of 19 "big ol' juicy" eggs. But they say things soon took a turn afterwards as Dupart began to experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
"Her stomach ended up getting really, really big. And she ended up being short of breath. And so one day she said, 'I can't breathe well, I need to go to the emergency room.'" Da Brat explains.
They went to the hospital, where doctors discovered blood clots in Dupart's lungs.
"We definitely didn't think they were gonna come back and say they're admitting her. So we were like, 'What?' And then she [also] ended up with an enlarged heart because, you know, the blood was trying to pump so then she had to be on blood thinners — it was a lot," says Da Brat.
Dupart recovered and the couple was able to move forward with the embryo transfer. While Da Brat was more than ready to do her part to welcome their bundle of joy, she was by no means a fan of the process.
"I hated it," says Da Brat. "I was so tense and stressed out that it was hard to get in, and it was hurting. And I was just ready to quit. But it ended up going in finally."
Unfortunately, the couple's struggles did not end there, as the first transfer resulted in a miscarriage.
"We were pregnant, and then a few days later, we were not pregnant. So we miscarried. So that was a whole other depressing moment in itself," says Da Brat.
The entire ordeal was "emotionally taxing," and Dupart assumed her wife would want to take a break before trying to conceive again.
"I thought we were going to need some time off. But a couple of days later, she was like, 'Let's go back. Let's try again.' And so we tried again, and we are successfully  weeks pregnant now," says Dupart.
The couple got pregnant in November 2022 and announced they were expecting in February. They are expecting a baby boy who, according to Dupart, already has a "full collection" of Jordan tennis shoes — courtesy of Da Brat.
While she does love a fresh pair of kicks, the rapper says she is most excited about the new experiences to come.
"I never thought I would get to experience [motherhood], so I'm just so excited about everything. We saw in an ultrasound; he was sucking his thumb and [Dupart] said, that's gonna make him latch on easy so I can't wait to see him latch onto my nipple and drink milk from my body. There's so many things that I know I'm gonna be like, 'Oh my god, that's just unbelievable,'" Da Brat says.
For Dupart, this baby represents a chance to be a more present parent.
"When I was younger and I had my children, I missed a lot of time with them. So I'm looking forward to intentionally making time with my child and their big moments and extracurricular activities," she says.
Dupart also hopes that she and Da Brat sharing their journey will serve as inspiration.
"We hope [our story] gives people not only education, but it lets them know that at any age, you can still find love and pursue your dreams. Whether that's motherhood or whatever. Because motherhood doesn't have to be IVF. Motherhood doesn't have to be IUI. Motherhood can look like adoption. Motherhood can look like a blended family. But whatever it is, you still can pursue it. It's never too late," she says.
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