Mum’s bittersweet road to parenthood
MARIBEL Marquez has been through a rollercoaster of a ride but her wildest dreams came true when she moved to Far North Queensland.
Originally from Colombia, Ms Marquez met her future partner Christopher Dale in 2012 at a Brisbane bar where she worked and he played music.
In 2015 Ms Marquez was visiting family in Colombia when Mr Dale knocked on her door and proposed.
"I was in love and over the moon with big plans for our future," she said.
A few months later, after returning to Brisbane, a lump in her breast that had previously been deemed benign had turned cancerous and within days she was having surgery.
After seven long months of chemotherapy, Ms Marquez was overjoyed to be cancer-free but she says it came at a cost.
Following chemo, at the age of 36, she was diagnosed with early on-set menopause.
"Our plans for a family were now seriously at risk but it was my heart's desire," she said.
"We fought on through hormone treatments, appointment after appointment, finding tiny glimmers of hope to only be followed by the tragedies of miscarriage."
The couple felt defeated and their stash of frozen embryos was depleted.
So when a job opportunity in Cairns presented itself in January last year, they jumped at the chance to make a change in their lives.
"We secured a great little rental one street back from the beach at Palm Cove, packed up the dogs, and headed north."
Ms Marquez said they were content even though it wasn't the family life they had hoped for.
"But you know, there's something in the water up here in FNQ," she said.
In August last year, Ms Marquez was feeling sick and went to the doctor.
"I thought I had a tumour in my bladder," she said. "I was frozen in my chair when the doctor told me I was 16 weeks pregnant."
In January the couple's dreams of having a family became a reality when Mila Esperanza arrived six weeks premature in Cairns Private Hospital.
"It's a switch of my health but it's also, I don't know, God or energy or the universe, it's something extra that I can't explain," Ms Marquez said.
"We have been blessed (with) a miracle. Nothing short of it."
Originally published as 'Blessed with a miracle:' Mum's bittersweet road to parenthood