1 Mom Opened Up About Giving Birth to Twins With Down Syndrome, and It's Powerful

Rachael Grier Prescott
Rachael Grier Prescott

After Rachael and Cody Prescott made the decision to cancel Cody's vasectomy and try for a third baby, they had no idea it was a moot point. According to an at-home pregnancy test, Rachael was already a few weeks along. And to make matters even more exciting, the family learned they were expecting twin girls. That meant the couple's sons — Easton, 5 and Hudson, 3 — were going to have baby sisters to look after. The couple attended several doctors appointments to ensure the girls were healthy and developing normally, but then they got some unexpected news: both of their daughters had congenital heart disease and possibly Down syndrome.

"To have a child with Down syndrome is like discovering your best self and winning the lottery at the same time."

"A lovely nurse practitioner came to my bedside and first told me our girls did, in fact, have Down syndrome," Rachael told POPSUGAR. "My response was, 'Really?! Yay!' I actually hadn't remembered my own response, but she later visited to tell me that I had said this and that it was a relief to her to see our happiness, because it had not been what she was expecting."

And while her spirits were high, Rachael's the first person to admit she was nervous about bringing two babies into the world at once. "When you talk to people who are twins or had twins, they all say, 'Twins rock!' I can now testify to that. Twins are so much fun!"

Most of her fears stemmed from issues that could arise in the delivery room: "My husband was elated to have twins from the beginning. I, however, started out terrified, mainly of delivering in the operating room and of potentially needing a Cesarean," Rachael said. "After talking to others who had multiples themselves, I soon calmed down. I can now attest to the greatness of having two."

Armed with a positive outlook and her family's support, Rachael gave birth to her two babies — Annette and Charlotte, or "Lottie" for short — at 35 weeks in February 2018.

Although giving birth to twins with Down syndrome wasn't something Cody and Rachael planned on, she doesn't think moms and dads should be instantly upset when they learn the news.

"I would love for all parents to know how lovely individuals with Down syndrome are BEFORE becoming expectant parents," she said. "If they knew how incredibly lucky they are to conceive a child with so much 'extra,' then perhaps we could discard the mourning that takes place so often at these diagnoses and more accurately replace it with celebration."

Her advice for parents who are expecting a child with Down syndrome? Reach out to other parents in the community for support. "I advise connecting with other parents, because collectively we agree that to have a child with Down syndrome is like discovering your best self and winning the lottery at the same time."

Rachael Grier Prescott

While Rachael made it through the delivery process, it wasn't without challenges.

"It differed from my first two labors in that the hospital we chose had to have a NICU and that my labor was induced," Rachael said. "We felt blessed to deliver naturally with no complications. The girls arrived two minutes apart. They were then whisked away to the NICU for oxygen. I mourned not having those first moments of skin-to-skin or being able to nurse right after. Shortly after, I hemorrhaged, keeping me from seeing them even longer."

Overall, Rachael and the girls had to spend 47 days recovering in the hospital. And the road for Lottie was even longer since she needed two additional heart surgeries.

"Handing your child over to the hands of a surgeon always sucks. It doesn't get easier with time or repetition," Rachael said. "It's scary and miserable, yet necessary."

Fortunately, at 9 months old, Lottie is out of the woods as far as surgeries go, and her mom is thankful. "She is now on the other side of those corrective procedures and will lead a longer life because of them."