Tracii’s twins look out for each other. The fact that one has Down’s Syndrome and the other doesn’t makes no difference to the girls, Ruby and Derby. A celebratory story of the unbreakable bond between twins, we shared Tracii’s story with the Sun.
When Tracii, 31, discovered she was having twin girls, she didn’t realised there would be one big difference between them…
Finding out I was pregnant had been a big enough shock – we hadn’t been trying – but when a scan revealed it was twins I was speechless.
My husband, Neil, 30, and I couldn’t wait to meet our babies. At 13 weeks, I returned to the hospital for another scan but this time, the sonographer rushed out of the room to get a doctor.
‘There seems to be a lot of fluid around one of the twins,’ he said. ‘We’re going to refer you to a specialist hospital immediately.’
And a more detailed examination confirmed there was a problem.
‘We don’t think the smaller baby will develop any more,’ the consultant told us gently.
I’d barely got used to the idea of having two, now one of was being taken away from me…
At 20 weeks, I went back for another scan, terrified.
‘Your babies seem to be fine,’ the consultant announced. ‘The smaller one has caught up.’
‘But what about the extra fluid?’ I stammered, scared to believe him.
He explained that it could be any number of conditions, including Down’s Syndrome.
I didn’t care what was wrong with my child – at least I’d have the two.
At 37 weeks, by Caesarean, the girls were born.
Derby was perfect but it was immediately obvious Ruby had Down’s Syndrome. They were both gorgeous. Going home, my two little girls remained side by side.
As the weeks turned into months, they developed at their own pace. While Ruby preferred cuddles, Derby started crawling at nine months and was taking her first steps at 10 months. And as Derby started learning what foods she liked, Ruby still needed a feeding tube.
‘It’s like having two different aged children,’ Neil and I agreed.
I loved it – Derby was growing up so quickly I could almost blink and miss it. So it was nice to enjoy having the time to watch Ruby come on.
Every achievement was extra special.
We’d cheer as she swayed her arms in time to music and, when she rolled over and started to shuffle along, I couldn’t have been prouder.
And, like a true older sister, Derby was always there for Ruby. She helped her learn sign language and she often knew what Ruby wanted even when we didn’t.
As they’ve grown older, Ruby has become just as independent as Derby.
‘Look at them,’ I’d whisper to Neil proudly, as Ruby grinned at the other children in the play room.
Derby, sensing Ruby’s newly found confidence, held back, letting her sister go first.
Sometimes my heart aches as I see their differences are starkly contrasted. But I’m always cheered by the fact they have each other.
Now Ruby and Derby are nearly two and I couldn’t love them more. They adore playing together and are the best of friends.
No matter what the future holds for Ruby, she will always have her sister by her side.