Mom-to-be Hannah Morris was repeatedly recommended abortion after her waters broke at just 16 weeks, but she refused. Feeling that she was receiving inadequate care and “clueless” advice, Hannah remained steadfast; at full term, she gave birth to healthy twin boys.
Now, the mom of three, from the town of Washington in County Durham, England, is sharing her story in the hope of empowering other women to decide for themselves.
Hannah, 27, and her partner, Mark King, 30, were over the moon to discover they were expecting twins in January 2016. She contracted E.coli just 12 weeks into her pregnancy but was asymptomatic; she was not offered antibiotics.
Her nurse advised her that her body should “fight the infection on its own,” the mom told The Sun. “I didn’t think anything else of it until a few weeks later when my waters broke,” she continued. “That was really traumatic.”
She was then diagnosed with preterm premature rupture of the membranes, otherwise known as PPROM, when one of her amniotic sacs burst 24 weeks prematurely, and the other burst just three weeks later. She was rushed to Bolton Royal Hospital, and doctors delivered heartbreaking news that neither of Hannah’s babies would survive.
“I asked a million questions,” Hannah recalled. Both babies were at risk of infection and compromised organ development, and termination was the only healthy option, they said.
PPROM occurs in roughly 3 percent of all pregnancies, according to American Baby & Child Law Centers. Without the protection of the amniotic fluid, the unborn baby becomes significantly more vulnerable to infection and umbilical cord compression issues, among other serious health complications.
She admitted knowing nothing about PPROM at the time, but her gut instinct told her to reject her doctors’ advice and proceed with her pregnancy. “[I]f I am going to lose them, I lose them naturally and I’ll let nature take its course,” she said.
Hannah and Mark were given a private room, where no medical personnel visited for 48 hours. However, Hannah did not miscarry. A scan two days later revealed that both babies were healthy, and the couple was sent home.
Feeling let down by the NHS, Hannah contacted voluntary organization Little Heartbeats for advice. She self-confined herself to a bed and drank up to 8 liters (approx. 2 gallons) of water a day to keep her babies hydrated in the absence of sufficient amniotic fluid.
But Hannah’s doctors, assessing the couple’s week-24 scan, recommended termination once again. The babies’ limbs would fuse together if Hannah proceeded with the pregnancy, they said. Hannah refused their advice again.
Then, she reached 34 weeks and delivered both baby boys via cesarean. Baby Alfie weighed 4 pounds, 1 ounce (approx. 1.8 kg) and was born with holes in his heart; baby George weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces (approx. 2.4 kg) and had a weakened immune system. But both twins had survived, and they grew stronger with every passing day.
“Taking our boys home was amazing,” Hannah recalled, speaking to The Sun. “Just to know that we were right and that we had made the right decision by our children.”
After her pregnancy ordeal, Hannah condemned her doctors for their repeated dismissal. “[I]t was easier to say get rid of the babies than to actually treat PPROM,” she said. “A lot of the doctors had not got a clue what to do with me.”
“I understand the NHS is under massive strain,” Hannah told the Daily Mail, “if I had listened to these people I would have terminated my pregnancy and my sons wouldn’t be here today. It’s devastating … Everything just comes back to that one midwife not treating me for the infection.”
Today, Hannah is relieved that she trusted her gut instinct and protected her babies. Owing to her decision, she is now the proud mother of twin 2-year-olds George and Alfie and has a chance to educate other parents about PPROM.
“Your child can survive this,” she said. “They may be poorly at the end of it, but they can get through to the other side.”
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