How could I leave one?

I wouldn’t change my twins for the world

Chat - - Inside - By Louise John­son, 34, from Telford, Shrops

As the doc­tor spoke, I couldn’t be­lieve my ears.

‘Will you be tak­ing both twins home, Louise?’ he asked At first, I was con­fused. Then out­raged, as I re­alised what he meant.

‘Of course I’m tak­ing them home!’ I splut­tered. ‘They’re both my chil­dren. Why would I leave one be­hind?’

You see, Ja­cob and Thomas weren’t like most twins.

It was De­cem­ber 2011 and Ja­cob had just been born with Down’s syn­drome, while Thomas hadn’t.

The doc­tor said some par­ents choose to give up ba­bies born with Down’s syn­drome for adop­tion. Not me. Of course, deep down, I was scared.

I’d split from the twins’ dad while I was preg­nant. And I also had An­thony, 6, who had ADHD, Leah, 4, and Bradley, 3.

Life as a sin­gle mum-of-five would be hard even with­out Ja­cob’s di­ag­no­sis. It’d been a real shock. Scans hadn’t picked up that Ja­cob had Down’s syn­drome.

Born five weeks early, both boys had been rushed to the Neona­tal Unit as soon as they were born.

But I’d seen the dif­fer­ence in them as soon as I was taken to their in­cu­ba­tors.

Thomas didn’t have the same al­mond-shaped eyes as Ja­cob.

Then I saw the lines on the palms of Ja­cob’s hands – also a sign of Down’s syn­drome. I just knew. Since then, I’d heard noth­ing but pity for me and Ja­cob.

‘We’re so sorry, Louise,’ medics kept telling me.

‘There’s noth­ing to be sorry about,’ I’d snap. ‘I have two beau­ti­ful boys.’

Now I was be­ing asked if I’d be leav­ing one be­hind?

Never!

It was a dif­fi­cult time. But Ja­cob was still my lit­tle boy.

I wouldn’t just be giv­ing up on him.

I took Thomas home eight days later, then Ja­cob four days af­ter that.

The first year was dif­fi­cult. Ja­cob was in and out of hos­pi­tal with chest in­fec­tions. He wasn’t feed­ing well, either.

And it was clear Thomas had spe­cial needs, too. His re­ac­tions were slow.

Their broth­ers and sis­ter were bril­liant.

Leah would give them their bot­tles and help with bath­time. And Bradley would help get them ready for bed.

In De­cem­ber 2013, when the boys were turn­ing 2, I started dat­ing Craig, 33, an old school friend.

I was scared he wouldn’t ac­cept me and the kids.

I was wrong. Craig took on my chil­dren as his own.

In Septem­ber 2014, we had our own lit­tle boy, Ri­ley – and, last July, we got mar­ried.

My kids have a great bond with Craig, es­pe­cially the twins.

Now nearly 6, Thomas and Ja­cob are amaz­ing.

Ja­cob is def­i­nitely more mis­chievous and cheeky.

He wants at­ten­tion, so if you aren’t giv­ing it to him, he’ll shout or throw some­thing.

He’s play­ful and lov­ing. I wouldn’t have him any other

way. Thomas is more placid, he’s qui­eter and calmer. I’m proud of both my boys. But they’re never bet­ter than when they’re to­gether.

Thomas helped Ja­cob take his first steps.

He cud­dles him when he’s poorly, calms him down when he’s be­ing a hand­ful.

But he found it dif­fi­cult when they started dif­fer­ent schools.

Ja­cob goes to a spe­cial­needs school, and Thomas is in a main­stream one.

He’s strug­gling, though, and we’re think­ing of mov­ing him.

Yes, our lives can be hard. But ask any mum and she’ll tell you the same thing.

I wouldn’t change a thing. Ex­cept the way peo­ple look at kids with Down’s syn­drome. It breaks my heart.

Ja­cob brings so much joy, with his big per­son­al­ity and his in­no­cence.

I just wish par­ents with Down’s ba­bies weren’t made to feel like there’s some­thing wrong...

And fewer ba­bies with spe­cial needs were aborted and adopted. We’ve been told that the chances of hav­ing one twin with Down’s syn­drome and one with­out is one in a tril­lion.

In my mind, that made them even more pre­cious.

The boys adore each other and we love them.

That’s all that mat­ters.

Thomas helped Ja­cob take his first steps

My boys Both in­cred­i­bly pre­cious to me

Proud mum The other kids were great with the boys

Thomas (left) and Ja­cob (right)

They’re a great team!

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