MONMOUTH, Ore. — A mother in Oregon says that her twin daughters are blessings after ignoring advice to obtain genetic testing and a subsequent abortion as doctors feared both had Down syndrome.
Rachael Prescott’s girls are now over a year old, but she well remembers being offered testing for Down syndrome and receiving condolences about the diagnosis once her daughters were born.
“At my first prenatal appointment at around eight weeks, six specialists took turns reviewing the scans and presenting the same results,” she told The Daily Mail. “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,” Prescott lamented. “I wanted to explain how far I was from desiring to end my pregnancy, but at that moment I could only sit in silence.”
She and her husband, Cody, both declined the genetic testing, as it did not matter whether or not their twins had Down syndrome. They would love them regardless. However, doctors continued even late in the pregnancy to express concern that the babies might have the condition.
Throughout her pregnancy, Prescott drew pictures based on the Scriptures, such as Job 13:13, which states, “[L]et come to me what will.” She recently shared some of her artwork with her followers on Instagram.
When the girls, named Charlotte and Annette, were born — by a natural birth, as she had prayed — it was then confirmed that both indeed had Trisomy 21. However, only Charlotte required open heart surgery.
The operation came with a number of complications, from infections to a collapsed lung, but prayer pulled Charlotte through.
“We reached out for prayer, and the world responded: friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers blanketing our little girl with petitions to recover in health,” Prescott told The Daily Mail earlier this year. “Mountains were moved, her lung inflated, medications decreased, and after 35 days, we were elated to take our baby home.”
She said that her daughters are the light of her life, and while some expressed condolences at first that her babies have Down syndrome, she wants the world to know that the diagnosis is nothing to be afraid of and that the negative stigma is unnecessary.
“It was assumed that we were grieving, but we quickly assured them [of] the lack of sadness or grief in our hearts concerning our beautiful, breathing, moving, hearts beating, baby girls, and their extra chromosomes,” Prescott recalled.
“The only difficult part in parenting children with DS is that the rest of the world has yet to understand the beauty and joy they radiate,” she also noted. “‘Society needs to turn from eradicating people with DS. We need to make a shift to teaching DS children that they can have the same love and desire to live life to the fullest as anyone else.”
The Prescotts state that they want to share their story to help other parents who might be going through a similar situation.
“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,” Rachael said.
“Love has a name, and if I didn’t know Him, there is no telling if my family or I would have ever had the opportunity to fill our arms with these two bundles of complete joy,” she also wrote to social media on Thursday. “Choose wisely what will drive your decisions — because fear is a thief, and hatred is poison.”