Young business exec who lost 60kg to have a baby after years of harrowing near-death health issues is dealt a devastating blow after losing her only pregnancy to Covid: ‘It’s hit after hit’
- Stefania Rose, 31, lost 60kg with surgery, strict diets and consistent exercise
- She lost the weight to start a family but has since discovered other fertility issues
- Stefania endured many health issues from childhood right through to now
A businesswoman who shed an astonishing 60 kilos so she could have a baby has spoken of her heartbreak at losing her first pregnancy after coming down with Covid-19 weeks after conceiving.
For Canberra woman Stefania Rose, the early miscarriage was the latest tragedy in a string of cruel blows and health challenges which have plagued her life.
Speaking to FEMAIL the 31-year-old revealed she spent time in a coma as a toddler, developed lipedema, a painful condition where fat forms on the arms and legs and had to be resuscitated after ‘dying due to a botched weight loss surgery’.
But despite her horrific past, Stefania remains determined to start a family with her husband Andy.
Their efforts started two years ago when she got bariatric stomach-band surgery and kept to a strict diet and exercise regime as she targeted 60kg of weight loss.
She then went through six months of IVF treatments before finally falling pregnant.
Then came her most heartbreaking blow as she lost the baby.
Stefania Rose (pictured), from Canberra, has told of her tumultuous life with multiple health issues, losing 60kg and trying to start a family through IVF
Before and after: Stefania got bariatric surgery and kept a strict diet and exercise regime to lose 60kg so she and her husband Andy could start a family
‘I’m slowly finding my feet and getting the old Stef back…It’s been hit after hit. There’s only so much one girl can take,’ she told FEMAIL while sounding surprisingly upbeat.
Stefania is giving her body a three month break from IVF treatments after a bad bout of Covid a month ago saw her lose the only pregnancy that has ever stuck.
‘I was a wreck for two weeks – it was all ripped away because of Covid but my body’s never been pregnant before and I was pregnant,’ she said.
Stefania’s unwavering ability to remain positive was borne from the hurdles she has overcome throughout her life.
Stefania’s unwavering ability to see the positive side in any situation could be attributed to the incredible hurdles Stefania has overcome throughout her life
Her health struggles started when she was just a baby and she started having febrile convulsions.
At the age of two Stefania had a seizure so severe it put her in a coma for three and a half weeks.
‘The doctors told my parents ‘if she was to wake up, she’d be a vegetable, we suggest turning her life support off’,’ she explained.
However, she defied the odds and miraculously woke up, leaving doctors in disbelief.
Stefania was put on a steroid medication to manage her illness and help her recover and that is when her excess weight issue began.
Stefania was put on medication when she was two-years-old to manage her illness and help her recover for the next three years following which is where her issues with her weight began
‘Doctors did warn my parents that it was going to make me more hungry and I’d eat more than other kids but by the time I was 18, it would have passed through my system,’ she said.
As she grew up, Stefania put on more and more weight until at aged 17 she had a gastric band put in.
By the end of the year she had already lost 20kg but the band was doing severe damage to her stomach and on Christmas Day she had to be rushed to the hospital in severe pain.
‘I died on my way to the hospital and woke up to them resuscitating me with those things on my chest,’ she recalled, referring to a defribilator which re-starts the heart.
‘They just pumped me with more morphine to get the pain but away but after lots of kicking and screaming they finally removed the band.’
After getting a gastric band put in at 17, Stefania lost 20kg but had to get the band removed due to severe pain and started gaining weight again
Stefania had bariatric surgery where she had 90 per cent of her stomach (pictured) removed and after two years of dieting and exercise she had lost a whopping 50kg
Stefania’s stomach was severely scarred, but the removal of the band meant she started to gain weight again and that was a barrier to her hopes of starting a family.
‘I visited a gynaecologist who basically told me it wasn’t happening because of my weight because she couldn’t access my ovaries. After that appointment I gave myself one more try to start a diet,’ she said.
‘That failed when I was on the way to the gym and I had a piece of chocolate – I turned the car around and started investigating the best bariatric doctor.’
Within weeks, Stefania was in surgery where she had 90 per cent of her stomach removed and after two years of dieting and exercise she had lost a whopping 50kg.
‘I couldn’t get any more off than that and I thought with the way I’m eating and working out why is my weight not shifting? I should be 40kg!’ she said
Stefania had been documenting her weight loss journey on her popular social media channels where many of her followers pointed out she may have something called lipoedema
‘I couldn’t get any more off than that and I thought with the way I’m eating and working out why is my weight not shifting? I should be 40kg!’ she said.
What is lipoedema?
Lipoedema is a condition that mostly affects women and is characterised by a symmetrical swelling in the legs, thighs and buttocks and sometimes the arms. It is rare in men.
Lipoedema can be extremely painful. The affected areas can be tender and there is a general tendency to bruise easily.
Although it has not been confirmed, it is thought that lipoedema may have a genetic basis, as in some cases there is a family history of the condition.
Sometimes lipoedema is mistaken for excessive lymphoedema, weight gain, obesity or cellulite or is assumed to be due to a lack of exercise.
Lipoedema can have a significant impact on quality of life.
Source: Better Health
Stefania had been documenting her weight loss journey on her popular social media channels where many of her followers pointed out she may have something called lipoedema.
‘I just thought it was another conspiracy theory, no doctor had ever mentioned it,’ she said.
However after consulting doctors about it, she was indeed diagnosed with the condition.
‘It’s basically fat tissue that’s built up that you cannot lose without getting plastic surgery. It’s on my legs, arms and stomach and won’t come off without liposuction.’
After her diagnosis, Stefania kept up her diet of vegetables and protein and exercise routine and managed to shed an extra 5kg.
‘I was happy with 55, that was the end of my journey. I knew there was nothing more that I could mentally and physically do to lose more, I had lost a whole person,’ she said.
‘I’m no longer looking for the car park at the front door to the shops and I can walk laps around my husband.’
Having lost so much weight, Stefania was able to start trying for a baby but after nine months she still wasn’t able to get pregnant and a doctor recommended IVF.
‘It was heartbreaking to hear being such young age and coming as far as I had come,’ she said.
‘Originally I was told I couldn’t get pregnant because of my weight but now I’ve lost the weight.’
Stefania and Andy went through six grueling and expensive months of IVF treatments, the stress of which caused her to drop another 5kg, before finally in December one of her eggs attached.
‘I was happy with 55, that was the end of my journey. I knew there was nothing more that I could mentally and physically do to lose more, I had lost a whole person,’ she said
Having lost so much weight, Stefania was able to starting trying for a baby but after nine months she still wasn’t able to get pregnant and a doctor recommended IVF (pictured with her husband Andy)
‘It was the first time my body has ever done this before – I was crying, I was hopeful, I was excited,’ she said.
‘Then I caught Covid. I was extremely sick, it was not normal Covid.’
The illness triggered an early miscarriage but she remains hopeful despite having to go back to square one with IVF.
‘I have no more eggs so I have to start from scratch which I am happy to do. My body had never implanted before so I’m trying to stay positive,’ she said.
She and Andy are saving up for their next round of IVF as they are not eligible for government assistance because of Stefania’s BMI.
She and Andy are saving up for their next round of IVF as they are not eligible for government assistance because of Stefania’s BMI
‘I’m short so I could go to Queensland and get government assistance but I’d have to weigh 45kg with my height – it’s just another hurdle,’ she said.
Stefania said she has been able to get through each obstacle because of the support from Andy.
‘Some people have babies, some people have money in the bank, and I’ve got a supportive husband,’ she said.
‘I’m still counting my lucky stars – every obstacle that comes our way we tackle it together, we’re best friends.’
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