Looking into the "huge eyes" of her tiny twins, Alby and Kenzie, just hours after they arrived three-and-a-half weeks prematurely, Tania Zaetta was overcome with love for the son and daughter she thought she may never have.
"I'm now one of those women who say it's a life-changing moment, because it is, and seeing my babies in the special care nursery with cords and wires attached to them and tubes down their noses... I've never felt so helpless," she says of their arrival in September last year.
Tania's final months of pregnancy were fraught with problems and she spent three weeks in hospital with pre-eclampsia, barely able to walk or breathe easily, and had to give birth early to protect herself and the twins.
"For the first few days I was the only one able to pick them up, and then only once a day," the 49-year-old says.
"I could also put my hand in the incubators and stroke them. It's just this feeling of such intense love. Life changed forever for the better."
The TV star and her partner Chris Rogers tried unsuccessfully to conceive naturally before turning to an overseas clinic to try their luck with two donor eggs, in the hope that at least one would survive and flourish.
"Both eggs took on the first IVF treatment, and I fully realise how fortunate I am to have it happen on my first attempt," Tania says, adding that she feels for the thousands of Aussie mums who struggle with fertility issues.
"I've been very lucky in that I got exactly what I wanted, twins and a boy and a girl.
"I love being a mum and I love being a twin mum. I can't imagine anything different now... and I had never changed a nappy or held a newborn until they came along!"
WATCH: Tania Zaetta's pregnancy workout. Post continues...
Tania, who celebrated her 49th birthday just two months after the twins were born, says there was a silver lining in having to keep the twins in hospital for the first month of their lives: she had the midwives there to teach her how to be a mum.
"There is definitely a plus side to not bringing them home earlier," agrees Tania, who mastered the art of feeding two babies at once with a combination of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding with formula.
Now eight months old, she says the twins have already developed distinct personalities, with Alby as "laidback and chilled as Chris", while Kenzie is a "typical girl who is always "busy, busy, busy" playing with her toys.
"I think she's going to end up on The Voice one day because she sings all day long!" laughs Tania.
The former Who Dares Wins personality has been inundated with well wishes from friends, fans and complete strangers who say they were inspired to try IVF and explore donors after reading about her challenging pregnancy journey in Woman's Day last year.
"I've had dozens of women approach me in cafes, who tell me my story inspired them to not give up," says Tania.
So what would she like for a Mother's Day present? Some extra sleep and a pamper session, Tania jokes.
She adds, "I'd never expect a present because I have the two best presents you could ever want."
Tania put on 27 kilograms during her pregnancy, losing 12 kilos in fluid 24 hours after the twins were born due to her pre-eclampsia.
"A week after having the babies I was the lightest I'd ever been – under 60kg," she says.
- PuzzlesThe Australian Women's Weekly February Issue Online Entry
Prizes To LoveYesterday 12:00am