A woman who lost three babies before they were born and one shortly after due to a rare condition has not lost hope of having a baby.
Clare Inskip and her partner Steven Rooney, 42, are determined to raise a child.
In the past eight years they have been pregnant four times, with only one baby – Jacob – being born alive, the Liverpool Echo reported.
Clare, 37, from Liverpool, first fell pregnant in 2012, only to suffer a miscarriage.
She said: “Back in 2012 my partner Steven and I got pregnant and it was one of those really early miscarriages, and we just put it down to one of those things.
“Then we fell pregnant again at the end of 2012 and we got to 19 weeks and we went for the scan and I just knew straight away something was wrong.
“The sonographer and said ‘I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat’.”
After waiting six months to get results back, the couple were given the news that their baby had Gestational Alloimmune Liver disease.
They were told that it could affect future pregnancies and there was no medication that could help.
“It doesn’t affect me, but when I’m pregnant, this is what I’m led to believe, my body produces an antibody which then attacks the baby’s antigen in the baby’s liver,” Clare said.
“So it sees something in the baby’s liver it thinks is a threat.
“When we were told all that we didn’t really know much about it and there was nothing we could do.”
She added: “I was honestly heartbroken, my body (was) attacking the one thing that it’s designed to protect.”
Clare did some research and found a doctor in America who had been doing work into the condition.
After speaking for a while the doctor sent over some information to the city’s Women’s Hospital, who referred her to a consultant in the foetal medicine unit.
They helped to get a pregnancy plan in place that could stop the antibodies affecting the baby.
After becoming pregnant again in 2014, Clare started treatment from 14 weeks of her pregnancy.
She said: “We lost in 2013 and we were pregnant again in 2014. I got to 14 weeks, had this treatment, and I had a really, really bad reaction to it.
“I was hospitalised overnight and I just knew something was wrong. I just knew something wasn’t right.
“I went to the Womens’ Hospital at 16 weeks and they couldn’t hear a heartbeat.”
At the end of 2015 Clare fell pregnant again, but this times things were different.
“This pregnancy was completely different to all the others,” she said.
“It was a lot more scary, this time I started bleeding from around 12 weeks.”
Clare and Steven’s baby, Jacob, was born at 25 weeks after the bleeding gradually got heavier.
Clare said Jacob “clung on so much” and was a “little fighter”, but he had some health difficulties because he was born prematurely.
After eight months Jacob died in May 2016.
Clare said: “He just couldn’t get off the ventilator, the pressures he had to have on the ventilator, I could just see he was struggling.
“And I always thought as long as he’s getting better and as long as it’s us suffering, I can deal with that.
“But when I knew he was struggling and he’d had enough, we had a conversation with some of the consultants in there and they thought the best thing was to turn the machine off because his lungs were damaged so much and his sedation was so high.
“He just had too many obstacles to overcome. We got all the family in to meet him and say their goodbyes.
“He passed away in May 2016, he was eight-months-old.
“He was obviously not a typical eight month old baby, because he was premature, so we didn’t get to see him smile or hear his first word, but he still had such a character.
“He was just really funny.
“He was just a really funny character and I just know he would have been so funny as a little toddler.”
Now Clare and Steven are looking to find a surrogate and are fundraising to reach their £25,000 target.
The money will be spent on Surrogacy UK Agency costs, freezing of sperm and eggs, scans and IVF.
Even though one cannot pay a surrogate, except for their reasonable expenses, in the UK, the couple thought journey would be too expensive.
But after encouragement from friends the couple started a gofundme page.
Clare has also urged other bereaved parents to speak about the grief they feel.
She said: “To deal with all my loss I’ve had so much support from close friends.
“My mum was fantastic, my sister and six friends were my absolute world.
“They’ve picked me up and were there for me to hold me up the whole way.
“Speaking about it and getting the support from the people around you (is what I’d say to parents).
“Bottling it up and keeping it all in is just the worst thing you can do. Anywhere you can get support from, get it.
“Just keep going and don’t give up hope.
“We’ve hit our walls and we’ve been through hell and back, and nothing will ever replace our babies, but to have a family in the end we know it’s just something that we’ve always wanted and we couldn’t give up on.”