Meet the adorable one-in-a-million twins—one born with Down syndrome and the other without.
Proud parents Nicola and Todd Bailey didn’t find out that their daughter Harper had the genetic disorder until she was born 38 minutes before her twin sister, Quinn.
The parents claimed that doctors said “sorry” when they broke the news, but they didn’t think the condition was anything to apologize for.
They insisted that both their girls are “perfect” and they wouldn’t change either of them “for the world.”
Nurse Nicola, then 32, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, is on a mission to educate people about the genetic condition and reduce the stigma.
She said in July 2018: “Harper is Harper and Quinn is Quinn—they are not the same so I try not to compare them, however hard that may be.”
“I don’t see Harper as any different to my other children and would not change her for the world.
“You do see people staring at her and it’s hard at times as the perception of Down’s syndrome can be so negative.”
She further added: “We get comments like ‘oh is she a Down’s baby’ or ‘I know a Down’s girl’. She’s not a Down’s baby, she’s a baby with Down’s syndrome.
“They still break the news by saying ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m really not sorry.
“Harper is perfect I would not change her, her little smile lights up the room and she is who she’s supposed to be.”
Nicola and Todd, an account manager at Auto Trader, have an older son called Lucas and were excited when they found out they were expecting again.
Sonographers announced it was twins at their week-12 scan and were later told it was two girls; however, the scans didn’t pick up any abnormalities at that time.
“I did have a weird feeling as I got bigger a lot quicker than my previous pregnancy and was so sick,” Nicola said. “We just looked at the screen then at each other, completely speechless. My husband went white as a ghost.”
Nicola’s waters broke at 32 weeks, but medication stopped the contractions and the twins were eventually born a week later at Rotherham Hospital on Feb. 15, 2018.
Harper was born first, but Nicola didn’t even see her before she was rushed off for care, and Quinn was born 38 minutes later.
Nicola added: “Again, I saw a quick glimpse of Quinn across the room before she was taken away to join her sister.”
Harper Jade was born at 8:02 a.m. weighing 5 pounds 1 ounce (approx. 2.2 kg), and Quinn Mae was born at 8:40 a.m. weighing 4 pounds 2 ounces (approx. 1.9 kg). However, just half an hour later, doctors broke the news: they suspected Harper had Down syndrome, and tests then later confirmed the diagnosis.
Nicola said, “All I really remember is the doctor saying ‘I’m sorry.’”
“But as soon as I saw them both my heart just melted. They were both so beautiful.
“But I knew straight away when looking at Harper that she had Down’s syndrome.”
Harper and Quinn were given special care due to their prematurity. Doctors also discovered that Harper had a hole in her heart, which is common in children with Down syndrome.
She will likely have surgery when she is around 6 years old.
“I go to twin baby groups but it’s hard to see other moms with twins, as I know my girls’ bond will be so different to theirs,” said Nicola.
“Harper still needs lots of extra care. She only takes small amounts of feed so we have to make sure she feeds every two hours.
“But Quinn has hair envy—she has some blonde fuzz while Harper has a brilliant brown mop which we can now tie in a top knot.
“Harper found her smile early on and Quinn continues to be the diva of the pair.
Nicola continued: “But they both light up when they’re around each other and are looking at each other more and more.
“I love to dress them the same, and sometimes even coordinate myself.”
She further continued: “Despite the fact they’re not identical and Harper has Down’s syndrome, I can still see the tips of their little noses and lips are the same.
“The bond they share as twins is like nothing else and I can’t wait to continue to watch them both grow.
“Our family is unique and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Around 40,000 people in the United Kingdom have Down syndrome, and experts say the chance of having one twin with the condition is one in a million.
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