During Rachael Prescott’s pregnancy, she was advised by doctors six times to abort. The problem? She was carrying twins and they both were discovered to have Down Syndrome.
Rachael, 39, of Monmouth, Oregon, and her husband, Cody, were told that the twins she was carrying had congenital heart disease and would probably require surgery soon after birth. Doctors seemed more concerned, however, that they both showed signs of having Down Syndrome. The couple had two young sons at home, and there was no way they were going to be talked into aborting the twins. So Rachael and Cody soon became the proud parents of twins Charlotte and Annette. Rachael calls her twins her miracle babies. And, in a way, they are. The odds of having twins with their condition are a million to one.
Says Rachael: “At my first prenatal appointment at around eight weeks, six specialists took turns reviewing the scans and presenting the same results. We sat through similar spiels from each, mystified at their concerns over whether our girls may have Down syndrome, when they without a doubt, did have serious heart defects. Information on navigating their cardiac situation was dwarfed by the push for genetic testing and possible means of abortion. I wanted to explain how far I was from desiring to end my pregnancy, but at that moment I could only sit in silence.”
Rachael said that even right up to the moment of birth, doctors were expressing their concerns about those babies being born at all. The Down Syndrome in both of the newborns was confirmed just after birth. And despite the news of a heart defect, Rachael and Cody celebrated their birth. Charlotte had heart surgery only six months after birth. Annette, fortunately, was born without any heart defect.
Says Rachael about their birth: “We were so grateful and relieved. Those surrounding us however, approached the topic of Down syndrome timidly. It was assumed that we were grieving but we quickly assured them the lack of sadness or grief in our hearts concerning our beautiful, breathing, moving, hearts beating, baby girls, and their extra chromosomes. After the girls were born, we excitedly dove into all things Down syndrome.”
Rachael now encourages other parents and soon-to-be-parents to look past a child’s condition and to embrace who they are. And, she says, that even though Annette and Charlotte are a bit smaller than they should be now, they are no different than other children their age. The love for their new children goes well beyond any emotional strain their condition may cause. And Rachael and Cody wouldn’t change it for the world.
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