Shannon’s Harvard Vanguard primary care physician, Dr. Mahmooda Qureshi, suggested she meet with Dr. Christine Skiadas, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and a subspecialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, to guide her through the process of conceiving.
Shannon’s first attempt to conceive at home with donor semen was unsuccessful. Follow-up blood work and an ultrasound showed Shannon wasn’t ovulating. Dr. Skiadas prescribed birth control to regulate Shannon’s cycles, followed by oral hormones and medications, and then injectable hormones. Throughout this process, Shannon received Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) procedures to try to conceive. But still, Shannon was unable to get pregnant. Eventually, Shannon developed a cyst and had to stop taking hormonal medications.
The process was frustrating and intense. Naturally, fear and doubt started to overwhelm Shannon. But Dr. Skiadas’ attitude helped ease those concerns.
“I felt like she always had another trick up her sleeve,” says Shannon. “It was so helpful to have someone be so calm and confident. She never seemed concerned, and she was always very reassuring. She never said ‘You guys should consider adoption, this isn’t going to work.’ Instead, she said ‘I’ve seen it all before. Here’s the next thing we need to do.’”
By the time Shannon was healthy enough to resume taking hormones, Dr. Skiadas recommended trying In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)—something Shannon and her wife wanted to avoid unless it was absolutely necessary.
“Jess and I were very worried about IVF,” Shannon reflects. “Insurance wasn’t going to pay for much, but we managed to scrape together the money, so we went forward with IVF. Dr. Skiadas went above and beyond in submitting the documentation and paperwork to our insurance company. She was our champion and cheerleader.”
Under Dr. Skiadas’s care, Shannon went to Reproductive Science Center of New England for egg retrieval, then two days later, implantation. Five embryos made it through, and three were usable. Two were implanted just in case, as Shannon was over 35…and one took! After two years of trying, Shannon was finally pregnant!
Dr. Skiadas recommended Dr. Denise Morin as Shannon’s obstetrician. Because Dr. Morin was also part of Harvard Vanguard, she had all of Shannon’s medical history at her fingertips, which made things easy and streamlined. Shannon also added a certified nurse midwife to her medical team.
Unfortunately, once Shannon was pregnant, her troubles didn’t end. She began dilating at 24 weeks and had some bleeding at 28 weeks, so Dr. Morin placed her on bed rest for a month. Shannon saw a lot of the Harvard Vanguard staff throughout her third trimester. Although many people would find non-stress tests three times a week and seemingly endless ultrasounds a tiring experience, Shannon had a great attitude, bolstered by the terrific staff at the Quincy practice. “We saw each other so much, and it felt like I was visiting family!”
Finally, several years after trying to conceive and a full-term pregnancy, Shannon gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Jack. She and her wife finally had the bundle of joy they had always wished for!