A woman who lost four sons is now trying to raise thousands of pounds so she can fund her hopes of having a family.
Clare Inskip, has bravely opened up about her four babies passing away in the hopes of helping other bereaved parents and to open up a conversation about grief.
Clare said: “I know we’ve got sons, but I want to watch one grow up and I want to see one have their little personality and smile.”
The couple’s fertility journey first began in 2012 when they found out they were expecting.
Clare said: “Back in 2012 my partner Stephen 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 devastating news their baby had a condition called Gestational Alloimmune Liver disease.
Clare said: “They said it could happen again in future pregnancies, and there was no medication they could give 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.
“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.”
After going away and doing research, Clare said she made contact with a doctor in America who had been doing work into the condition.
The pair started a dialogue and Clare sent over information from the doctor to the Women’s Hospital, who referred her to a consultant in the foetal medicine unit here, who helped to get a pregnancy plan in place, that would help to 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.”
Dealing with grief and loss
If you have been affected by any of the details mentioned in this story there are people who can help you.
Most people grieve when they lose something or someone important to them.
The way grief affects you depends on lots of things, including what kind of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health.
Grieving is a totally normal process but there are way to get help if you need support.
Your GP is a good place to start. They can give you advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor, or prescribe medication if needed.
Wanting to have another baby, Clare was told she would almost be like a “guniea pig” in terms of treatment, as what had happened to her was quite rare.
She said: “It was really stressful, but we just knew we wanted to be parents. We wanted a family of our own.
“This treatment had had such a successful outcome with however many women it was tried on. It was only one woman out of all those people who it didn’t work for. The success rate was really good, but they hadn’t started it early enough for me, was what we were thinking.
“We fell pregnant again at the end of 2015 and this pregnancy was completely different to all the others. 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 sadly he had some health difficulties because he was born prematurely.
After eight months of fighting, Jacob sadly passed away in May 2016.
Paying tribute to him, 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.
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“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.”
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Now Clare and Steven are looking to find a surrogate and are fundraising to reach their £25,000 target.
The money will go towards Surrogacy UK Agency costs, freezing of sperm and eggs, scans and IVF.
In the UK you cannot pay a surrogate except for their reasonable expenses.
At first the couple though the costly surrogacy journey would be too much, but after encouragement from friends the couple started a gofundme page.
They have so far had “overwhelming” support.
Speaking to other bereaved parents, Clare has also urged them to speak about their 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. “