Help Clare & Steven on their Surrogacy Journey x

‘My body attacks the one thing it was designed to protect’ these are the harrowing words of our beautiful friend Clare after herself and forever supportive partner, Steven    have learnt the hard way on the heart breaking journey of trying to become parents.

We have known Clare for more than half our lives and she is the most loving, caring, selfless person we have ever met. To the point she has thrown herself into fundraising events over the years after the most difficult of times in her and Steven’s lives & helped raised much needed funds for The Liverpool Women’s NICU, Walking with the Giants & Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Steven is the most funny (without knowing it), down to earth & nothing is ever too much for him kinda guy.

Clare & Steven, our gorgeous friends, it is now time to allow us to try and help you. We want to prove you both wrong and will do everything within our power to reach this ambitious target. We and your beautiful angel babies are beside you every step of the way.

Clare and Steven are such a strong couple (more than they will ever know) and couldn’t be more deserving of having a beautiful family of their own.

After 8 years of heart ache on their journey so far, they have been through more ups and downs than most of us will ever experience within our lifetime. It’s really hard to put into context everything they have been through but we have decided we will try as there is now only one option for them as a couple to have their own child and that is through surrogacy. Surrogacy can be a lengthy process when done within the correct manner, not to mention the cost and legal implications. With the correct support & guidance from Surrogacy UK, Clare and Steven have a real chance of becoming the parents they so longingly deserve and wish to be. We want to help this journey along for them and remove the barriers currently standing in their way. One of which being the financial cost. Surrogacy can cost £30k and beyond. Clare has been doing some fundraising herself to help the cause and now has enough funds to join Surrogacy UK agency (£1200) thanks to the amazing people who have took part in Clare’s Facebook games with the most generous of prizes. The harsh reality is, although this has helped Clare and Steven to raise a modest amount of money so far, this just isn’t enough and time is of essence here.

We understand our target is a challenging one but we will do anything possible to try and raise enough funds to undergo the surrogacy process. We don’t want any regrets here and have decided to just go for it to help this wonderful couple.

Basic cost breakdown for surrogacy:

Surrogacy UK Agency costs - £1200 (Already have funds and have started the process)

The second stage for Clare & Steven is they have been medically advised to fertilize & freeze Clare’s eggs sooner rather than later - £5k – (Clare & Steven have some funds again towards the cost of this and if they can raise a further £3.5k soon, this stage can be completed by Xmas!)

Later stages once surrogate has been found is the screening process - £3k

IVF - Costs - £5K

Surrogate expenses  - £15- £20k

We sincerely hope you can spare the time to read this story, give this page a share or even support the cause financially, if possible. No amount is too big or too small and any input from you gorgeous people will be hugely welcomed. We would also be delighted to hear from anyone with any valuable advice/information regarding surrogacy or to share any positive experiences.

We can’t explain our gratitude towards you helping us to try to help Clare & Steven explore their surrogacy journey. We will keep you all updated on every step of this chapter in their lives. 

Below is Clare’s story in her own words, explaining all the medical background, thoughts, feelings, the heartbreak of miscarriages, still births, the premature birth of their gorgeous Son, Jacob born at 25 weeks gestation, who sadly gained his angel wings 7 months later. (After being the bravest, strongest little warrior)…it is important to know we have had to cut lots of bits from this story,  for the purpose of this page and itreally is difficult to explain in short how tough their journey has been so far…

Here’s  more of their story..

We first fell pregnant in 2012. The day we found out I was pregnant my Nanna passed away that night. A few days later I miscarried it was a very early miscarriage and we put it down to being just one of those things with the upset of losing my Nan.

We fell pregnant again Christmas 2012, we were nervous but we got to 17 weeks and had a private scan. We were so exited we were having a boy. A few weeks later was our 20 week scan. I knew as soon as I seen the sonographer face something was wrong before she said the most heart breaking words ‘I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat’. We were sent to The Liverpool Women’s delivery suite where I was induced and we waited 3 days to meet our beautiful Angel Louis James Rooney. Our Midwife came to visit and said a lot of the time it’s ‘just one of those things’.

We waited 6 months for the results and our world came crashing down again. The reason we lost our beautiful Louis was due to a rare condition called Gestational Alloimmune Liver disease and it would happen again in future pregnancies and there’s nothing they can do to help. I was honestly heartbroken, my body attacks the one thing that it’s designed to protect.

After a few months of feeling like there was no hope I started to research the condition myself. I managed to find a leading DR (Dr Whittington based in America) who has sadly now retired but his research continues. I contacted him and he sent me lots of information including a treatment that they had a high success rate with. We had hope, once again. The only problem was it usually happened later in pregnancy and rarely happened at the stage we lost Louis.

I sent all the information to the hospital secretaries and was put under the care of the most fantastic consultant I have ever had the pleasure of knowing – Dr Agarwal. The treatment was intravenous immunoglobulin and Dr Agarwal put a pregnancy plan in place for us to start treatment earlier than usual in the pregnancy. We were to be under the care of Dr Martlew in the Royal and have immunoglobulin drip from 14 weeks of pregnancy. We fell pregnant again in June 2014. Treatment went ahead at 14 weeks. Within 24 hours I had a severe reaction and was hospitalised overnight. We went to FPU at 16 weeks as I just knew something was wrong. They listened for the heartbeat and couldn’t find it but told me not to worry as this can happen as baby could be ‘hiding’. We were put in a little side room while waiting for a scan – we were taken in for our scan and heard those words again. ‘I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat’. I was given tablets to start labour and told to come back in 48 hours for the other two tablets. I was terrified of going into labour at home but my Mum stayed with us and was by my side through it all as always. I went back to the hospital and not only was it emotionally hard but physical too. I collapsed twice lost a lot of blood/clots and then my tiny angel Vincent Rooney was born. I was then taken for a D&C to remove the placenta. We waited again for a post Mortem which again revealed gestational alloimmune liver disease.

We met with our Consultant who told us it was unheard of for it to happen at this stage of pregnancy but if we wanted to try again we would start treatment even earlier but would basically be ‘guinea pigs’ as they don’t know what will happen. I also had cervical changes and needed a loop excision to remove bad cells. We wanted nothing more than a family of our own so we waited for the go ahead after the cervical treatment and from our consultant. I fell pregnant again in 2015.

We started treatment earlier and I had reactions again and was hospitalised. The reactions eased as my body got more used to the treatment. The pregnancy was a lot different than my others- my pregnancies were always difficult but this time I started to bleed around 12 weeks of pregnancy. It got heavier & heavier. At 21 weeks my waters broke. We went to the hospital where they confirmed PPROM and we were told it was likely we would go into labour in the next 72 hours. (Had I not been bleeding I would have been sent home). They kept me in and the heartache and fear was numbing but our little fighter clung on to give himself a fighting chance – he was born at 25 weeks & 2 days weighing 1lb 10oz of pure soldier. These weeks waiting to see what would happen were unbearable. I needed multiple blood transfusions from the blood loss, my waters kept going, I’d have labour pains, they would not stop and my waters would regenerate. Our consultant said he’s not seen that before but it didn’t surprise with everything else being rare too.

Jacob Francis Rooney was born 9/10/2015. It was a difficult birth and after being told he wasn’t doing well and I’d need an emergency cesarian section before I knew it I was put under then waking up in a room where the first thing I said ‘Is he ok?’ I didn’t even know we were having a boy but they were my first words. Steven told me he was OK but I didn’t know of the challenge ahead. When Jacob was born he was in a really poorly way. He needed a blood transfusion and the DR told Steven that Jacob wasn’t going to make it. Steven was heartbroken but was also saying ‘How am I going to tell her?’ I was still under from the cesarian section. My cesarian section wasn’t straight forward I was bleeding inside and they couldn’t find where.  I can’t have O negative blood due to the fetal haemochromatosis. I had to have specific blood. They mopped up my blood until blood arrived. I was so poorly afterwards with a drain in and had CT scans to check my bladder as they had to move it to stop the bleeding.

Jacob was in NICU of Liverpool Women’s hospital. He had so many hurdles to overcome. He had so many infections, premature lungs, NEC – needing an operation for a colostomy. He had so many lines and cannulas, broviacs, eye operation and he fought them all. He needed steroids for his lungs but every time he had an infection he had to stop the steroids. He was on the ventilator longer than we hoped for and although helping him, at the same time damaged his lungs.

After around 11 weeks we finally got to see Jacob on a machine called CPAP which gives pressure as well as oxygen. It was one step forward, 2 steps back, 2 forward and 1 back right through NICU.

The Women’s moved Jacob to Alder Hey when he was approximately 6-7 months old as he was then around 7IB.They thought Alder hey HDU would be better for him. At Alder Hey he had many tests one being a lung biopsy and acamera. They said Jacob had trachea bronchomalacia and this is why he needed the pressure from CPAP to keep his lungs inflated as they didn’t have the strength to do it themselves. Jacob deteriorated in April 2016 and we returned to critical care. Jacob fought so hard but on 16th May 2016 Jacob decided he had fought long enough and let us know he wanted to be with his angel brothers. After meeting all his family we made the hardest and most difficult decision of our lives – we switched off Jacob’s machine and let him rest in peace.

I miss my boys, every minute of every day and nothing will ever replace them but we still want a family one day with all our hearts. Our consultant advised the option of surrogacy as I cannot carry a baby, safely full term.

Thank you so much for reading Xx


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Charmaine Blagden 
Liverpool, North West England, United Kingdom
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