Mum Told To Abort Her ‘One In A Million’ Twins With Down's Syndrome Slams Doctors
Rachael Prescott, 29, says she was also bombarded with condolences for her children's condition before they were even born.
Rachel, from Salem, Oregon, USA, describes the twins as her miracles, as the odds of having identical twins with Down's Syndrome are one in a million.
Rachel and her husband Cody, 32, were told their twins would probably need open heart surgery straight after birth due to congenital heart disease just a few months into her pregnancy, but were confused as to why doctors seemed more concerned the twins potentially had Down's Syndrome.
But the stay-at-home mum and trainee pilot Cody were ecstatic to meet their newborns, Charlotte and Annette, now one.
"At my first prenatal appointment at around eight weeks, six specialists took turns reviewing the scans and presenting the same results," says Rachel.
"We sat through similar spiels from each, mystified at their concerns over whether our girls may have Down's 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."
Mum-of-four Rachael said that right up until the birth of the twins, even after saying how excited she was to add two extra members to their family, medics continued to express their concerns they may be born with Down's Syndrome.
Six different doctors suggested that Rachael and Cody should terminate the pregnancy, and offered them further testing to find out if the girls had Down's Syndrome, but the couple refused, saying they didn't care what the results were.
When Charlotte and Annette were born, they were diagnosed with Down's Syndrome, and research found the girls were likely to suffer medical complications throughout their lives.
Charlotte underwent open heart surgery at six months old, but fortunately, Annette was born with no heart defect at all.
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"We came to grips with congenital heart disease and when they were born, we celebrated the news of a confirmed diagnosis of Down's Syndrome," Rachael adds.
"Doctors usually suggest that twins are born by c-section because it can be risky but our prayers had been answered for a natural birth and two babies not needing to be rushed away to an operating table.
"We were so grateful and relieved. Those surrounding us however, approached the topic of Down's 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's Syndrome.
"But during long nights of pumping sessions, I read book after book on Down's Syndrome and I was increasingly saddened to find myself slammed into chapter upon negative chapter of advice regarding grieving, social and family tolls and every probable medical complication under the sun.
"I realised even within our rapidly progressing society, human rights for people with Down's Syndrome are primitive, at best and medical professionals connect social prejudices to Down's Syndrome so it presents as a negative occurrence to parents."
Rachael, also mum to Easton, six, and Hudson, four, is now speaking out to encourage parents and medics to look past their children's condition and embrace them for who they are, saying that Annette and Charlotte are no different from any other one-year-old in many ways.
She said: "Our girls teeter around, taking their own steps, giggling and exploring every inch of our living room.
"They love to play with their big brothers and love their fluffy dog, Max.
"They have begun the typical sister squabbles over toys and sippy cups, yet snuggle up together in their shared crib each night in complete love.
"Witnessing this bond, between all of my children as they learn and grow, is my favourite part of being their mum but in these first two years, we've become aware of the negative stigma towards Down's syndrome.
"All children are likely to get illnesses and injuries, not just children with Down's syndrome.
"The stories of mourning and grief far outnumber parental accounts of delight and joy.
"We hope in the future, to direct expectant parents away from false preconceptions, and towards what we have found to fill us with so much joy.
"The crazy love we have for our girls surpasses any emotional strain resulting from their medical needs.
"I would still undoubtedly, choose my children just as they are."
Featured Image Credit: Caters
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