Never discount a mother’s gut instinct.
And for Hannah Morris, 27, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, that instinct helped her save the lives of her twins despite breaking water 16 weeks into her pregnancy and against all medical advice to have them aborted.
What happened to Hannah is called Prelabor Rupture of the Membranes (PPROM) whereby the woman prematurely loses her amniotic fluid before the onset of labor. According to Hannah, a few weeks before this happened she had an E. coli infection but the midwife didn’t prescribe antibiotics because she didn’t show any symptoms.
Hannah deplored the reactions of the NHS staff who kept badgering her to have her twins aborted.
“The negativity from the NHS was absolutely abominable. A lot of the doctors had not got a clue what to do with me,” she said. “It was like it was their get out clause to say ‘have a termination’ because it was easier to say get rid of the babies than to actually treat PPROM.”
Normally, PPROM induces women to go into labor but around six percent of women do not. However, the longer the time period between membrane rupture and the onset of labor, the greater the chances of maternal and fetal infection.
Hannah said, “The compassion that they had in that situation was so cold and so negative that when I was trying to fight for my babies’ lives it felt like they didn’t care. I understand the NHS is under massive strain and they’re trying to make savings, but I was trying to save my babies.
“They completely failed me. If I had listened to these people I would have terminated my pregnancy and my sons wouldn’t be here today. It’s devastating.”
Doctors told her that there was nothing they could do for her and that there was “100% no chance” that the babies could survive or if they did, they would be severely disabled and advised an abortion. But Hannah had a gut instinct that told her not to do that.
She said that if she was going to lose the babies, it would have to be naturally. So they left her and her partner, 30-year-old Mark King, a healthcare professional, in their hospital room for 48 hours waiting for her to miscarry.
But after two days, a scan revealed that the babies were normal and healthy and they were sent home.
Hannah added: “A week after I was first in the hospital I had a follow-up appointment and we met with a doctor who put a care plan in place for us but told us if they got to 24 weeks, which is viability, their limbs would be stuck to their bodies.
“[They told us] their lungs won’t be developed and their kidneys won’t be developed.
“Choosing to carry on was immensely inhumane and was the worst thing I could do because my babies were 100 percent goners.
“[They said] I was only causing them more pain by carrying on with the pregnancy.
“We were considering at this point terminating the pregnancies because this was coming from top consultants.”
That’s when the couple decided to do their own research and enlisted the help of an organization called Little Heartbeats.
What Hannah did was to drink 8 liters of water a day to make sure her internal water was always resupplied. Because she would lose water every time she moved too much, she was essentially stuck to the bed the whole time.
It was a very challenging couple of weeks for Hannah and her family but their persistence paid off. She managed to make it to 34 weeks and had a C-section.
George was delivered first at 5 lbs 4 oz and Alfie at 4lbs 1 oz. Because they were born prematurely, they spent four days in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Although Alfie has holes in his heart and George suffers from a weakened immune system because of his premature birth, both of them are now healthy and thriving toddlers.
Said Ciara Curran, founder of Little Heartbeats: “Hannah and her little surviving PPROM babies are living proof these babies can survive with little to zero fluids.
“These babies clearly demonstrate why we need to raise awareness of PPROM, and that terminating the pregnancy is not the only option, as these are just a few of the many babies who have survived.
“We are seeking to ensure our families have access to the information required to make informed decisions about their PPROM pregnancy.
“All too often they are told there is no hope and that their only option is to terminate, but babies can and do survive this.”
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