BEING told to terminate a pregnancy is completely devastating for any mum.
Yet one mum was branded “inhumane” after ignoring doctors’ advice to abort her babies – choosing instead to trust her gut instinct.
Hannah Morris is relieved she did trust her own body – and is now proud mum to two-year-old twins George and Alfie King.
The 27-year-old was devastated when her waters broke at just 16 weeks, and was urged to terminate her pregnancy by doctors.
Hannah, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, was diagnosed with preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM) when her first amniotic sac burst at 16 weeks and the second around three weeks later.
She claims an E.coli infection that a midwife failed to treat may have caused her waters to break 24 weeks early.
Both children were left vulnerable to the infection in the womb and docs reportedly told her that their vital organs wouldn’t develop properly.
“The negativity from the NHS was absolutely abominable,” Hannah claims.
“At the beginning, if that midwife would have just given me three days of antibiotics then my waters would not have broken.
“Everything just comes back to that one midwife not treating me for the infection.
“I think she made a massive error in judgement, but the NHS in itself has such a negative outlook on PPROM and they also don’t know what the protocol is.
“A lot of the doctors had not got a clue what to do with me.”
She says that persuading her to have an abortion was a “get out clause… because it was easier to say get rid of the babies than to actually treat PPROM”.
When she and partner Mark King, 30, found out that they were expecting twins in January 2016, the pair were ecstatic.
A urine sample taken at Hannah’s 12-week scan revealed that the mum-to-be had an asymptomatic E. coli infection, but she claims that the midwife opted not to offer antibiotics as she did not feel poorly.
“She said, ‘if that’s the case and your infection count is quite low, we will just leave it and your body should fight the infection on its own’.
“As a midwife told me that, I was going to take her word for it and that was that, I didn’t think anything else of it until a few weeks later when my waters broke. That was really traumatic.”
After her waters broke, she was rushed to Bolton Royal Hospital where the couple was told that neither baby had any chance of survival.
“I had an internal examination and the doctor told me that my waters had broken, and he was really sorry but there was nothing they could do for us.
“I asked a million questions, can the other baby survive? Can it reseal?
“They said, ‘no, there was a 100 per cent chance that this baby won’t survive, you need to have to have some medicine to induce labour, it’s your only option’.
“I didn’t want to do that. My gut was telling me not to follow the advice.
“I knew nothing about PPROM. I didn’t know it was a thing before then. I just rejected all the medical advice.
“I said ‘if I am going to lose them, I lose them naturally and I’ll let nature take its course’.
“The doctor left me in this side room and not one single doctor or nurse or healthcare professional came in this room for 48 hours.
“They just left me and my partner to miscarry our children.”
What is PPROM?
PPROM is when the amniotic sac which protects the baby in the womb is ruptured before 37 weeks.
This happens in 2 per cent of all pregnancies.
Once the sac breaks, you’re at a much higher risk of infection and you run the risk of going into premature labour.
Typically, mums who have PPROM before 24 weeks don’t have successful pregnancies but not always – as in Hannah’s case.
Causes of PPROM include infection, smoking, and vaginal bleeding.
After two days in hospital waiting to miscarry, a scan revealed that both babies were actually healthy and the couple was sent home.
Hannah turned to voluntary organisation Little Heartbeats for support and put herself on bedrest to give her babies the best chance of survival.
She avoided having baths and drank up to eight litres of water a day to replenish her water supplies.
A week later, she had a follow-up appointment at the hospital where a doctor told her that if the babies got to 24 weeks, their limbs would be stuck together and their vital organs wouldn’t be functional.
“[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.
“We went home to think about it and I decided to do my own research and found Little Heartbeats and information on PPROM and found that there were charities out there who support women going through this.
“The NHS didn’t advise me to go on bed rest, it was from my own research that I decided that was the best option.
“It was really, really difficult to stay positive and stay mentally sane as well. It was extremely difficult and we did feel very isolated as a family as well.
Each week the pair would go for a scan where they’d be reassured that their babies were healthy.
Hannah said: “That’s what pushed us to carry on with the pregnancy every single week. We would see the boys on the screen and they would be fine.
“The sonographer would say his lungs are developed, so the kidneys are fine.
“The doctors reviewed it each week and say it looks like they are doing fine but that is going to change so you need to terminate the pregnancy.”
Against all medical advice, Hannah made it to 34 weeks and had a c-section.
George was born first weighing 5lb 4oz and Alfie followed at 4lb 1oz – both spending four days in NICU.
Despite Alfie being born with holes in his heart and George suffering a weakened immune system due to his premature birth, both toddlers are now healthy and thriving.
Hannah said: “Taking our boys home was amazing. Just to know that we were right and that we had made the right decision by our children.
“They had defeated all the odds and they were strong, healthy little boys. They are now so cheeky and you look at them and think, wow, you nearly weren’t here.
“What would my life have been like if I hadn’t had them? They are both amazing, they’re awesome.”
Hannah is sharing her story to raise awareness of PPROM so that other parents in her situation are better informed.
“They might not necessarily get a positive outcome – they might lose their child.
“But if they have support from other parents who know what they’ve been through it’s going to make the experience easier for them.
“To know as well that they do have other options. Your child can survive this. They may be poorly at the end of it, but they can get through to the other side.
‘Taking our boys home was amazing. Just to know that we were right and that we had made the right decision by our children’[/caption]
“I thought I knew everything about pregnancy before, but I didn’t know PPROM is a thing.
“But maybe the stories of PPROM need to be shared more often so that people know it’s something that does happen.”
Ciara Curran, founder of Little Heartbeats, said: “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.
“I established Little Heartbeats after losing my first born baby Sinead to PPROM in April 2010. My primary goal has always been to improve care for future parents.
“We think it is so important to raise awareness of PPROM as it is associated with 40 percent of preterm births.
“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.
“If women are supported to continue their pregnancy, with good medical management, there is a chance that they will be able to bring home a surviving baby.
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“We are however all too aware that not all babies can survive PPROM, and we are anxious to support women through their PPROM pregnancy regardless of outcome.”
A spokesperson for Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are really sorry to hear about this. We do not comment on individual cases.
“However, we would be happy to meet with Hannah to discuss directly with her.”
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