Since winning Seven’s My Kitchen Rules in 2013, we have worked extremely hard on many goals we have set for ourselves. We shared our story on MKR & we continue to share our story here with you.
In 2009, we married & the next stage of our lives was to start our empire, our family. We are very simple people. We worked hard & lived week by week.
In 2010 it came to our attention that I had blocked fallopian tubes & this is why we were not falling pregnant naturally. We are a great team & we tackle anything that comes our way together & positively. This news did not affect us; we were not sad or angry the fact we had to travel down the IVF pathways to achieve what we want. It was the cards we have been dealt so lets just get on with it. It was our next challenge.
We saved twelve months in order to afford a cycle of IVF with a company based in Brisbane, in early 2012 it was time.
We were healthy, young & in our prime so we were pretty confident that this would happen for us. After many trips to Brisbane to see the specialist, daily injections it was now time to harvest & make our dream a reality.
It was along road to recovery after the harvest, we had 8 fertilized eggs which we though was a great outcome, but the news of these later down the track was not good, they were only grown 3 days, not 5..not to blastocyst.
We implanted 1 embryo & then the long two-week wait.
We received a phone call from our doctor after bloods were taken; to inform us unfortunately we were not pregnant. We were shocked & very upset – what had we done wrong?
After the result that night, we spoke about what we are going to do next? As we had been so good with healthy eating, exercise & cutting back on alcohol, we decided that we would have a beer to relax, regroup & plan what’s next for us.
During this evening after dinner & a few beers, there was an ad on TV that said ‘Have you got what it takes to be the next My Kitchen Rules Champions?’
We both turned to each other & said ‘YEAH WE DO!’ this was a sign……we loved to entertain friends & thought we were pretty good cooks.
So for the next four months our original plans changed. I think this was the distraction we needed. Creating a family was put on hold. We were going through the application process to be apart of this show where we could potentially win $250,000. Winning this money would change our lives forever, set us up for the future & we would have the financials to do endless IVF cycles until we achieve our dreams.
It was a change in mind set & we started to focus everything on this. This was our next challenge – to actually get on the show.
After a grueling six month application process, we were finally informed we had been successful in becoming a team on Series 4 of My Kitchen Rules.
We quit our jobs, packed up our lives into 2 suitcases & set off for this adventure that neither of us knew where it was going to take us. I believe this is the excitement & change we needed.
There was a reason we did not fall pregnant six months ago!
Being apart of such a huge production & successful television show was an amazing experience.
The show took six months to film, there were highs & lows, we met people that we could never imagine coming across in our lifetime. There was blood, sweat & tears. Hard work, sleepless nights, we never stopped learning or teaching ourselves new things, we wanted to win so badly.
AND WE DID WIN!!! We won! We did have what it takes to be the next MKR champions – we won $250,000!! Our dreams can now become a reality.
Since winning, we have opened our own restaurant called EAT at Dan & Steph’s & an espresso bar called School House Espresso both in our home town of Hervey Bay, Queensland.
We continue to travel Australia doing cooking demonstrations for companies such as Bunnings, Bosche & Harris Scarfe – we attend many food festivals around QLD & Northern NSW with our pop up gourmet sausage restaurant.
We also have published two cookbooks with New Holland, EAT at Home and Meat & Sweet.
Just recently we achieved our largest goal & became a family, we introduced our daughter Emmy into the world.
If you are not familiar with our story, we went on My Kitchen Rules to win the prize money so we could have the financials to do endless cycles of IVF until we had our family & it’s overwhelming that she is now here.
When we new it was time to try IVF again, we were hesitant to go back to the same fertility doctor.
We did a lot of research & came across the City Fertility Centre Brisbane & specialist Dr Julie Lindstrom. We visited both, the Centre was more like a day spa & not clinical at all which was a lot more warming than our last experience. After visiting Dr Lindstrom a couple of times, she found the reason why we were never falling pregnant – I had blocked/diseased fallopian tubes – the previous doctor never found this nor did tests for this.
Dr Lindstrom performed a laparoscopy on me where we had to remove one tube & cleared the other. After recovery, six weeks later we began our IVF cycle with injections. This time around I felt different, I felt disease free, I felt good!
We harvested 15 eggs, 8 fertilized to blastocyst, we implanted 1 embryo. Waited the longest two weeks for a result……WE WERE PREGNANT! Our first cycle with City Fertility & we were pregnant! It was the best news ever.
But we had a scare at the six week scan, the heartbeat was only 60bpm which was not strong enough, Dr Lindstrom said the statistics are not great, the chances of survival was very low. It was definitely a sad time thinking that we may lose this baby, but we know everything happens for a reason.
We went back for our seven week scan to see that the heart beat has increased to 120bpm. We had a little fighter on our hands.
I don’t like saying it as so many women suffer really badly, but I had no morning sickness what so ever, I felt amazing throughout the entire pregnancy. I only craved yoghurt, milk & fruit.
As first time parents, we did not know what to expect, so we had a private midwife visit us at home over four sessions to explain birth, breastfeeding & what to expect when becoming parents with a new born baby.
This was honestly the best thing we had done. In the privacy of our own home, one on one attention & endless questions. Our midwife Lyn was amazing & prepared us well. We also asked Lyn to be our Doula for the birth. We created a great relationship with Lyn & she was there for support, guidance & to keep us both calm.
Our due date was April 15, 2015. That date came & went…..
I was induced 8 days on April 23. During the morning we were both very quiet, but we were so ready for this. We were going to become parents & finally have our baby. The thought of birth did not scare me – I saw this as my next challenge. Lets get on with it. I didn’t think too much into it, I mentally prepared myself to get into that ‘zone’ and do what needed to be done.
Laying on the bed, I asked to have the bed moved so that I could sit up, at this stage I was very ‘RIPE’ I was already 4cm dilated when I arrived.
At 830am the doctor broke my waters & started the syntocin drip. My amazing husband Dan sitting next to me, ready for this to happen, I remember seeing Lyn sit down with a crossword book, I asked her what time do you think our baby will be here? She said 230pm.
I said to her, I’ll beat that!
Within 20mins, contractions came hard & fast. The gas was my mate. I was soon in that ‘zone’, I was moaning, the midwifes said I was singing my birthing song well. I was moving from back to side to hands & knees. For some reason the noise that the gas tube made when I was sucking on it calmed me & I focused on it every time, it made these bubble sounds.
Dan was simply amazing, he wiped my back with wet towels & kept me hydrated with water & then that soon turned to green cordial which was a nice refreshing change. Ha ha ha.
At 11am I was 10cm & ready to push. It was happening, our baby was almost here. I remember getting into another head space, I didn’t need the gas any longer. I focused all my energy on pushing.
After an hour & half of pushing, our baby was still not here.
Our doctor was called & I knew we had to have some assistance. I had simply ran out of puff…
Within 5mins of our doctor arriving, he had to perform an episiotomy. We tried the suction cap but that soon came off, so the forceps had to be used.
2mins later & a couple of pushes our baby girl was here. 4.4kg or in old terms 9pound 4 ounces – no wonder I needed some help to get her here.
She was brought up to my chest where Dan & I were both crying with joy. Throughout everything we have gone through together, this right there was the best experience ever.
We did it, I did it – we have our family.
Still to this day I think back to giving birth & its all very clear – its amazing what our bodies go through to give birth. We are pretty awesome!
All we can say is never give up, everything happens for a reason. Prepare yourselves. We always say – fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Becoming angry, uptight or sad about the IVF journey is not the right headspace to be in.
Accept it, stay positive, stay healthy, stay active – do your research, ask the questions & listen to the professionals.
It will happen. When it’s meant to be.
Our path was already paved for us – we weren’t meat to fall pregnant in 2012 as we were to take the path on being apart of MKR, winning the prize money, setting ourselves up for the future & for our family……and now we are complete.
Don’t ever give up on your dreams!