'I met someone on a dating app. A week later, we decided to try for a baby.'

When Sheila Vijeyarasa met Tyson Salijevic at 45, she was sure she'd found the one

They'd come across each other on Bumble and decided they wanted to meet and chat in person. He was one year older, handsome and successful. Like her, he'd never been married. They'd both been waiting for what was unfolding right before them; the spark, the stillness in their hearts, the ease of it all.

"It was love at first sight," Sheila tells Mamamia. "We had the same sense of humour, we were both attracted to each other, we were absolutely compatible."

Sheila and Tyson met when she was 45 and he was 46. Image: Instagram @sheila_v__.


Their first date was perfect, even with a major elephant in the room. 

"I didn't want to date men that weren't committed to having a family because I knew that was a priority for me at that stage," she explains. 

So Sheila asked him if he wanted kids just minutes into their meeting. 

"Tyson was so open in the conversation — more open and honest than any other man I'd ever been with before then," she says. "So I volunteered that I wouldn't be able to conceive naturally, because of my age, and he would have to be prepared to go on an IVF journey with me because I had frozen my eggs seven years prior at 38." 

He told her, "Absolutely." That was that.

Watch: 3D animation on how IVF works. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

After just one week, they started making plans to start their family. Within six weeks, Sheila and Tyson moved in together. And by month three of dating, they were sitting down for their first consultation with Dr Raewyn Teirney, a fertility specialist at IVF Australia. 

"It might sound silly because Tyson and I were already living together, but I knew during that meeting that we were committed," Sheila says. "When a man turns up on a Zoom call for an IVF appointment, you know they're in a relationship that they're committed for life to."


Sheila and Tyson began the IVF process almost immediately after meeting, but it wasn't successful for almost three years. Image: Instagram @sheilva_v__.

Sadly, Sheila and Tyson would go through seven rounds of IVF before she finally accepted she could not use her own biological eggs to become pregnant. 


"I don't think I have ever experienced a process so challenging or emotionally wrenching," she explains. "I've had a very successful corporate career. I've been able to control my career and my success to a certain level always. But with IVF and falling pregnant, it's just something you cannot control.

"Unexplained fertility is something you can not explain. Fighting my biological age was a mental challenge every moment of the day and it was so hard to feel positive; to fight when the odds were stacked against us."

Once Sheila accepted she wouldn't have her own biological children, she started the process of IVF again — this time, with a donor egg. 

Australian guidelines are tough for the donor egg process and it was mandatory for Sheila to undergo two counselling sessions but because she was so committed, she sought out her own support team too. 

"There was so much grief and heartache," Sheila admits. "I questioned my decision to delay becoming a mother. It was really painful."

She did heal and move on, eventually. The process ended up becoming her biggest life lesson yet. 

"When I healed through it, I embraced the donor egg journey. I could finally see how lucky I was to become a donor mother," she says. 

Her relationship with Tyson only became stronger too. They were even more certain in their decision to become parents and to raise a family together. They were individually more empathetic, kinder and softer. 

In December 2022, they made their love official and got married before devoting all of their time and energy to the IVF process once again. 


Sheila and Tyson on their wedding day in December 2022. Image: Instagram @sheila_v__.

"I've become more resilient and braver," she says. "Giving up the option to have a child that wasn't biologically connected to me brings up so much sadness but also, really so much gratitude."

After finding an egg donor in the United States, the pair went through two more IVF rounds. This time, Sheila fell pregnant on the second try. 

"Whatever doubts I had were gone when I got the call," Sheila explains. "I knew and felt this was my child instantly. It was the first thought I had."


It hasn't just been Sheila or Tyson on this journey though — they've had cameras following them around from the very beginning for the filming of Nine's Big Miracles. Two seasons on, they've garnered an invested army of supporters who have been keen to see how their story ends. 

"IVF is typically a very private journey but it has been wonderful sharing it with other women and parents-to-be," Sheila says. "There have never been any regrets to be on the show and it has been an honour to be in the first and now the second season of Big Miracles. You see everything. The tears, the guilt, the pain but also the joy. There is so much joy."


They wanted until they were six months pregnant to let the world know they were expecting — a decision they don't regret. 

"A lot of women have been invested in my journey and it's been so touching. The most exciting part is the bump, it's so much fun to show it off," she says.

As Sheila and Tyson go into a new chapter of parenthood, she tells others who have a similar journey that they don't have to be "positive".

"I've been asked so many times how I stayed positive for two and a half years and the truth is, I wasn't," she says. "But I did have a brave and resilient mindset so I urge women to dig deep into courage, into bravery and into resilience. Within that, you're going to find moments of positivity and you're going to realise that these difficult emotions are very much a part of the process. 

"IVF demands the most authentic, vulnerable version of you. You learn to be more honest, to put boundaries in place, to show up for yourself and to allow your life to be a little bit messy. Really, that's the only way to get through it."

The season 2 finale of Big Miracles airs on Monday, March 11, from 9pm. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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