Regrettably, we are all aware that the phrase “I’m sorry” often precedes distressing news. In more serious cases, those two words can become a source of anxiety, as the following sentence has the potential to alter the course of one’s life forever.
Jodi and her partner Matt found themselves in that very situation when they heard those words spoken in a hospital room. Expecting twins, their hearts filled with both nerves and anticipation, as this was their second time becoming parents.
Already blessed with a healthy son, they eagerly awaited the arrival of two new additions to their family. However, their joy swiftly transformed into anxiety as the day of birth approached.
A doctor ushered the couple into a small waiting room and delivered two words that shattered their world: “I’m sorry.” Matt and Jodi were stunned when they learned that their prematurely born twin girls, Abigail and Isobel, had been diagnosed with Down syndrome. While they already had a son named Finlay, they had been yearning for another child for quite some time.
Jodi had experienced a miscarriage shortly after Finlay’s birth, which led her to believe she was prepared for anything. However, the doctor’s words left her stunned, not because of the diagnosis itself, but due to the way it was delivered. Jodi recalls that the doctor made it sound like a “lifetime punishment.”
The twin girls were born prematurely and required a four-week stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. The situation appeared bleak. “That day, I didn’t feel like a mother. I felt lost and confused. Bleak visions of the future filled my mind. I thought we would be caregivers until our last breath,” Jodi explained. Statistically speaking, Abigail and Isobel are extremely rare.
The chances of giving birth to twins with Down syndrome are one in a million. Moreover, the girls were born with additional health challenges—Abigail is deaf in one ear, and Isobel has a congenital heart defect. Needless to say, it was not the news any parent hopes to receive from a doctor. Matt and Jodi were soon confronted with the harsh reality. Sadly, they received minimal support or information about Down syndrome.
No one explained to them that their family of five could lead a happy, fulfilling life just like any other. Consequently, both Matt and Jodi were overwhelmed by fear. They didn’t know if their girls would have the opportunity to attend school like other children or even speak. The family had to navigate this journey largely on their own, discovering things as they went along.
While some sympathized with the girls and felt sorry for them, Abigail and Isobel thrived on the immense love showered upon them by their closest family members. “When the doctor took us aside to deliver the diagnosis, he said he was sorry that Abigail and Isobel had Down syndrome.
To this day, I will never understand what he was sorry for,” Abigail expressed. “If I could ever meet him again, I would like to introduce him to Abigail and Isobel and ask, ‘Why did you apologize? We wouldn’t change Abigail and Isobel for the world now.'” Several years after their birth, the girls have defied the dangers of prejudice stemming from ignorance.