How could I leave one?
I wouldn’t change my twins for the world
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?
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
Thomas (left) and Jacob (right)
They’re a great team!