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Aberdeen baby named after doctor who made birth possible

Gail Shennan was named after the doctor who made her birth possible.
Gail Shennan was named after the doctor who made her birth possible.

An Aberdeen mother has named her baby after the doctor who made the birth possible after she suffered five miscarriages.

The woman – who asked only to be identified at Martina – named her daughter Gail Shennan, after Professor Andrew Shennan, who brought her into the world through the use of a pioneering procedure.

Mr Shennan leads the specialist pre-term surveillance clinic at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and diagnosed Martina with an incompetent cervix.

The condition leads to miscarriage or premature birth because the neck of the womb begins to dilate and open too early in pregnancy.

Professor Andrew Shennan.

A procedure called Transabdominal Cerclage – also known as an abdominal stitch – was a success and baby Gail Shennan was born at 35 weeks during the first national lockdown.

Her mother said: “After my first child turned three we decided to try for a baby. I got pregnant relatively quickly but I had a miscarriage at eight weeks.

“I put it down to bad luck so I wasn’t too worried. But not long after that I had another two miscarriages at nine weeks and then at 11 weeks.

“I thought something must be wrong, so I went to see my doctor and had some tests – but the results were all normal.

“Fortunately, I was able to get pregnant again but when I got to the second trimester, I started to experience pain in my pelvis and amniotic fluid loss.

“I went into early labour at 19 weeks and lost the baby. I was devastated, terrified, and confused. I still didn’t know what was wrong and my internal examinations and tests were still showing that everything was fine.”

Her fifth pregnancy brought the same problems as before and the baby was delivered at 23 weeks but did not survive.

After Martina’s husband got in touch with Mr Shennan, he quickly identified a scar in the cervix and travelled to Aberdeen in July 2019 to perform the abdominal stitch at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.

The operation was also a training session for obstetric consultants in the city.

Martina added: “After the stitch I was able to try for a baby again and I became pregnant a few months after the procedure.

“Professor Shennan supported me throughout the pregnancy.

“He was regularly in touch with my obstetrician in Aberdeen and I could call him anytime I needed. Nothing was ever too much. He is a fantastic doctor.

“Having Gail Shennan has brought healing, closure and joy to our lives.

“I am eternally grateful to Professor Shennan. He has changed our lives forever.

“He made it possible to have our daughter, so it felt right that we should name her after him.”

Mr Shennan, a consultant obstetrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and professor of obstetrics at King’s College London, said: “I’m delighted and honoured to have Martina’s daughter named after me.

“I’m so glad we were able to support her to have a successful pregnancy.”

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