From being a mum to a model, Rosie Luik follows her dream
In life, often there are people who refuse to stay down, no matter what life throws at them.
Rosie Luik is one such example.
She has overcome a business failure and a litany of health problems to today be a proud wife, mother of four children, model, tv presenter and even at one point a surrogate mother to twins that made national and international headlines. Every time she posts a picture on her Instagram account, potentially almost 200,000 people see it, plus she's a published author.
That's a lot to pack in, and she's only 33.
Even though she grew up in Brisbane, she's a proud local and explained that it was her husband Adrian who fell in love with Ipswich and convinced her to move.
"My husband and I have been together since I was 18 and early into our relationship we started our own business which required a lot of driving around" Rosie said. "One day Adrian had a job at Springfield and he called me saying that he felt like he'd driven into an advertisement. He said, 'we have to move here'.
"So, he took me on a drive and we looked at land. At the time it was just dirt, trees and a school in Augustine Heights and I thought nobody is ever going to move out here, but within two weeks we had a block."
Adrian and Rosie always wanted four kids. That was always the plan, and three days after her 21st Birthday their first daughter was born.
"I've always wanted to be a mum, we both wanted four kids and we both wanted to start earlier rather than later. As I had always struggled with endometriosis, we were also advised it would be best to or potentially not be parents at all. I'm one of four, he's one of two, and I have great memories of growing up in a big family. Adrian and I used to go out on the work runs together when I was pregnant just to spend some 'quality time' together. I'd get really bad morning sickness so it required lots of pulling over to vomit. They were good times".
Just prior to their world changing in a big way the couple had two more children in 2008 and in 2009.
"The business had grown and was doing really well, then the GFC hit and we got hit hard." Rosie said. "We had lost everything that we had worked so hard and sacrificed so much for, our business and our home... but we still had each other, our kids and our health"
Rosie had a friend who had tried to conceive many times using IVF, but the attempts had failed, and Rosie raised the prospect of carrying a child as a surrogate mother, something that was illegal at the time in Queensland.
"Adrian and I had always discussed it, if someone needed help, surrogacy was something I'd always thought of doing. Our friends had been through multiple IVF treatments... as a friend you just want to help in any way you can and one day I just blurted out 'I'm going to carry your baby'."
"My friend said if I wanted to help in the meantime I could donate my eggs and I did that 3 times. She got 2 rounds of them and they didn't take. Then in June 2010 the Surrogacy laws changed, and in August I had my first round of implantation and the eggs took. When I found it was twins, I was just so happy my friend's dream was coming true and she was getting two babies instead of one!"
After 27 weeks, things started to change. Rosie was fatigued from the complicated pregnancy and the responsibilities of being a mum to her own family that she went into early labour. She says she feels it was because her body felt like it was just done. She spent two weeks in hospital and the twins were born after 31 weeks. Rosie became the first legal altruistic surrogate to twins in Queensland.
"After they were born I said, 'somethings wrong', and I was reassured I was okay and was sent home with antibiotics, but I just wasn't right. Eventually, I went to my gynaecologist, the same doctor who had put the eggs in. He immediately scheduled me for an operation and had a look. He found that some of the placenta was left over which was causing cysts and a severe infection.
"I was just glad that it was fixed and had been sorted. After some recovery and on a follow up visit he did say if I wanted another baby we needed to do it quick. At that point I wasn't too sick, so we thought we must have this baby, as we still wanted four children."
What happened after the birth of her sixth child left her sicker than she ever imagined.
"Three weeks after the birth I was back in hospital, and had multiple surgeries. They recommended an emergency hysterectomy, after three days I was sent home and still felt like something was wrong, I'd never felt so sick in my life. I turned to my husband and I said I think I'm going to die" Rosie said. "He rushed me to hospital and turns out I had Peritonitis which is an infection of the stomach organs and stomach. I was there for three months, had many more operations and at one stage my husband was told to consider that I may not be coming home. The doctors used the 'entire warchest' of antibiotics available. When you're in hospital so sick, you do question what's important and what the meaning of everything is".
Time passed, even though there are still the occasional complications, eventually Rosie got her strength back, enjoyed life with her four children and saw her husband fulfil his dream of becoming a firefighter. Armed with a new perspective on life, Rosie was determined to follow her dreams, which began with publishing a book.
"The first thing that happened was that a friend and I decided to write a book about where babies come from, including when IVF is involved. There was a gap in the market and we also did a book about the birds and bees, including ways a baby can be made, including surrogacy. My kids are fully aware that I was a surrogate. Then I started modelling, and I did my own book about puberty.
"I get lots of questions from young girls on social media, and my eldest daughter at the time was asking me every single question under the sun. I'm happy to answer her, but I thought there must be a bunch of girls out there asking the same questions. So, I did the book explaining what's happening with the body and so on.
"I seriously thought about modelling in about 2015. I was doing promotional work to help bring in some extra income to sort out some lingering medical bills and debts from everything that the previous few years had thrown at us. My husband was in the final stages of being accepted as a firie, so every dollar helped" Rosie said. "I just said yes to everything, lived in airports, took every job I could. It took me interstate and to Bali and Phuket, my first time ever overseas."
Rosie is getting lots of modelling work, and has appeared on several TV shows and featured in many publications, but it's her Instagram followers who keep her busy the most.
"Right now, I have 197,000 followers. I have no idea why," Rosie laughed. "My whole goal is to inspire others, to help people achieve their dreams and goals, and for people to be kind and supportive of each other, that's my message. No matter who or how old you are I don't want people to have to nearly lose their life before they realise they can achieve whatever they want in life.
"Knowing that almost 200K people are going to see my photo each time is a bit daunting but, I just want to be real.
"I want to be me."