For conjoined twins, being born and living into adulthood is a rare and miraculous thing to celebrate. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the survival rate is between 5 and 25 percent. There are some sets of twins who live their entire lives joined together, while others undergo a separation surgery.
Parents who choose to have a separation surgery on their conjoined babies feel a mixture of anxiety, love, and hope. The decision is not made lightly. Shellie and Greg Tucker of Adams, NY, were faced with two such decisions after they found out at 20 weeks that Shellie was carrying conjoined twins.
Good Morning America recounted the family’s story and shared that one doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. The babies were not expected to survive outside of the womb. After traveling to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a second opinion, the Tuckers found the specialists there were optimistic.
Doctors planned their separation surgery for months, and after a complex process that took seven hours, the girls’ separation was reported by the head doctor as being complete. According to the hospital’s website, the twins shared several organs and muscles including skin, the diaphragm, and liver. It took a team of 40 medical professionals to handle their highly specialized care.
That was in November 2012 and ABC’s Good Morning America caught up with the family one year after the surgery. Now toddlers, Allison and Amelia are doing wonderfully! Bubbly and happy, they can be seen laughing and speaking baby jargon. In one adorable picture, they’re even snuggling their faces together. There’s no denying the twin bond is magical!
When Shellie talked about their journey, she had this to say:
“I’m thankful every single day. I can’t describe it – seeing the girls. . .and seeing them climb and get into things. As aggravated as I get I can’t help but laugh because they’re an absolute miracle.”
Twins are known for their extraordinary bond, and these former conjoined twins will always have shared a different type of closeness, even if for a moment. As the girls grow up as twins, Allison and Amelia will have a unique story to tell about their special circumstances. We’re so glad to see them healthy and thriving! What do you think of this inspirational story? Tell us in the comments!