A mum who suffered a string of devastating miscarriages told of her joy at welcoming a healthy baby after treatment for an immune disorder. Sinead Lynch gave birth to baby Ardal 12 weeks ago after four years of trying for a baby.
The 33-year-old and partner Daniel Kenyon, 44, had no issues when their eldest child Jonas, six, was born. But the couple from Stockport faced constant heartache as all four following pregnancies ended in tragedy.
Sinead had to deliver two babies in the second trimester, including two which were on the cusp of being classified stillborn. and little Jonas was so worried about the final pregnancy that he asked 'Will the baby die?'
Two of Sinead's babies had died at 12 weeks. Baby Pearl died at 20 weeks in 2018, and in 2020, during lockdown, Sinead gave birth to baby Rian, who also passed away at 20 weeks.
In 2021, Sinead had to shield while taking immunotherapy drugs to get her through another pregnancy, but it ended at 11 weeks with a molar pregnancy. In 2019, another pregnancy ended at 12 weeks.
Post mortem examinations on both Pearl and Rian showed both were healthy, which further added to the heartache. Sinead said: "When I'd lost three babies in or close to the second trimester, I couldn't find anybody else who'd been through what we'd been through."
Sinead was told repeatedly by medics to keep trying. She said this ignored the mental trauma of baby loss as well as the physical impact of carrying a baby into the second trimester, while also looking after another child.
A diagnosis of the immune disorder Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis (CHI) - where the body attacks pregnancy cells - and medical intervention meant the couple had more hope. Some of the treatment included steroids and injecting blood thinners daily.
Professor Alexander Heazell, who is the lead consultant at the Rainbow Clinic, a collaboration between the charity Tommy's, the University of Manchester, and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust oversaw the pregnancy.
Sinead said: "I'd asked for the placenta from Rian to be tested for CHI after being told about it. I was told it was clear, but Professor Heazell diagnosed the condition.
"A lot of doctors don't believe in the immune link. One of them said 'you're young, keep trying again'.
"It doesn't matter if you're 21, going through pregnancy takes a physical and mental toll. I don't enjoy being pregnant, the first trimester with being really sick and tired, I've been through six times. With another child and a job, you can't keep doing that."
She said Ardal has been a dream baby. "I was worried he would be stressed out but he's a chilled out baby," she added.
The family has kept mementoes of them and are involved in charities supporting families who suffered baby loss. And Jonas is obsessed with his little brother. "If I say 'my two best boys' he points at the sky," said Sinead.
"He knows there were four, he's got friends who have lost siblings. When we told him I was pregnant at 24 weeks, one of the first things he said was, 'Is the baby going to die?'.
"We said 'we hope not, we don't think so'. I couldn't say no."
She added: "I'm happy because things have worked out. He hopefully feels more positive now."
The couple will not attempt to have any more children. Sinead said: "I couldn't do it, we've put our lives on hold for four years.
"We'd go away but never more than an hour away from the hospital during the pregnancy with Ardal. I'm from Ireland and hadn't been back until October in case something happened."