Baby journey all worth it
BEK Stibbard loves being a mother - she loves the cuddles, seeing her children grow and looking on as her twin babies watch their big sister dance to Moana.
"It's the small things, the little things that are the best,” she said.
The mother of three - to four-year-old Greta and nine-month-old twins Theo and Lily - and her husband Nathan have finally begun planning for a fun-packed, family-focused future.
But seven years ago, Bek and Nathan, who married on March 29 this year, found themselves at the beginning of an emotionally relentless and exhausting pregnancy journey.
The couple, who live in Toowoomba but call Stanthorpe "home”, realised the dream of pregnancy was eluding them.
"We just weren't able to fall pregnant,” Bek said.
"We had testing done when we were living in Brisbane and doctors said the reason was unexplainable. They couldn't say why.”
Bek was 28 and endured endless medical and specialist appointments as part of the couple's decision to start IVF treatment. It was two years and four rounds of IVF before baby Greta was conceived.
"You put a lot of things on hold,” she said.
"You can't plan trips and you don't know what's going to happen next. You wonder what's wrong every time it doesn't work and you don't know what to do.
"We got engaged before we had Greta but we had to put marriage on the back burner financially while we were trying for babies.
"It was very stressful and frustrating.
"The not knowing why was a real struggle because you don't know which area to focus on.”
After Greta was born, the couple embarked on another three rounds of IVF before falling pregnant with twins Lily and Theo.
"A lot of people tell you to 'relax, it will happen' but it's very hard to hear those things when all you want is to have a baby,” Bek said.
"You can feel very isolated sometimes when you think no one else knows what you're going through.”
Bek, who is on maternity leave from her job with the Department of Human Services, says the failed IVF attempts she endured were "just devastating”.
"We had one where we got to seven weeks with twins who we lost ... and it's heartbreaking and you get very discouraged, but the end goal keeps you going,” she said.
"Wanting to be a mum and wanting to have a family was the driving force. I'm so lucky, so many women go through this journey and they don't have such a lucky outcome, so I know how blessed I am.”
For couples on a journey of IVF, she recommended relying on a good support network.
"And reach out to anyone you know who has gone through it,” she said.
"It's very emotional and you don't really tell a lot of people, especially at work, and you're trying to get on with your everyday life.
"But the more you talk, the more you realise how many people are also going through it.
"And I think it helps if people feel more open talking about IVF.
"It's definitely been well worth the journey for us. Now our family's complete.”