The mum-of-four reveals that she was ʙᴏᴍʙᴀʀᴅᴇᴅ with ᴄᴏɴᴅᴏʟᴇɴᴄᴇs for her children’s condition before they were even born. Rachel Prescott, 39, and husband Cody, 32, were told their twins would probably need open ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ straight after birth due to ᴄᴏɴɢᴇɴɪᴛᴀʟ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ just a few months into her ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. And they were left feeling confused as to why ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs seemed more concerned that the tots potentially had Dᴏᴡɴ’s Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ. But the stay-at-home mum and trainee pilot Cody were ecstatic to meet their newborns, who were ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ with Dᴏᴡɴ’s Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ at birth in 2018, and were just relieved they sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ the birth.
Rachael describes her twins as her ᴍɪʀᴀᴄʟᴇs, as the odⒹⓈ of having identical twins with ⒹⓈ are one in a million. Rachael, from Monmouth, Oregon, US, said: ” At my first prenatal appointment at around eight weeks, six sᴘᴇᴄɪᴀʟɪsᴛs 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 Dᴏᴡɴ sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ, when they without a doubt, did have sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴅᴇғᴇᴄᴛs. Information on navigating their ᴄᴀʀᴅɪᴀᴄ situation was ᴅᴡᴀʀғᴇᴅ by the push for ɢᴇɴᴇᴛɪᴄ ᴛᴇsᴛɪɴɢ and possible means of ᴀʙᴏʀᴛɪᴏɴ. I wanted to explain how far I was from desiring to end my ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ, but at that moment I could only sit in silence.”
Rachael and Cody were offered further testing to find out if the girls had Dᴏᴡɴ’s Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ before they were born but refused, claiming they didn’t care what the results were, despite six different ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs suggesting they ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇ the ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. Charlotte and Annette’s condition was confirmed when they were ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ at birth and Rachael’s research found the girls were likely to sᴜғғᴇʀ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs throughout their lives. Charlotte underwent open ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ six months after she was born, but fortunately, Annette was born with ɴᴏ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴅᴇғᴇᴄᴛ at all. Rachael said: “We came to grips with ᴄᴏɴɢᴇɴɪᴛᴀʟ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ and when they were born, we celebrated the news of a confirmed ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsɪs of Dᴏᴡɴ’s Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ. ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs usually suggest that twins are born by ᴄ-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ because it can be risky but our prayers had been answered for a natural birth and two babies not needing to be ʀᴜsʜᴇᴅ away to an ᴏᴘᴇʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ table. We were so grateful and relieved. Those surrounding us however, approached the topic of Dᴏᴡɴ’s Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ with ᴛɪᴍɪᴅʟʏ.”
Rachael, also mum to Easton, six, and HuⒹⓈon, four, is now speaking out to encourage parents and medics to look past their children’s condition and embrace them for who they are. Rachael says although Annette and Charlotte are smaller than they should be and developing slightly slower, they are no different from any other one-year-old in many other 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 ɴᴇɢᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ sᴛɪɢᴍᴀ towarⒹⓈ Dᴏᴡɴ’s Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ. All children are likely to get ɪʟʟɴᴇssᴇs and ɪɴᴊᴜʀɪᴇs, not just children with Dᴏᴡɴ’s Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ.
The stories of ᴍᴏᴜʀɴɪɴɢand ɢʀɪᴇғ ғᴀʀ outnumber parental accounts of delight and joy. We hope in the future, to direct expectant parents away from false preconceptions, and towarⒹⓈ 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 ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ neeⒹⓈ. I would still undoubtedly, choose my children just as they are.”