PARENTS DEFIANT: Conjoined twins will not be separated
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/27/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Joined from the breastbone to the belly button, Andrew and Garette Stancombe are conjoined twins who share a heart and a liver. Their parents, from Indiana, Pennsylvania, declare them as "miracle babies" and say that they won't risk their children's health with separation surgery.
Calling her boys "miracle babies," the mother says that "They'll continue to fight until it's their time. We will love them and cherish them until that moment and continue even after," she told reporters.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Born earlier this month, the two boys are already exploring each other, touching each other's faces. As they share organs, surgeons say that an operation to separate them would be risky.
The boys' parents, Michelle Van Horn and Kody Stancombe have decided to keep their newborn conjoined twins together.
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Calling her boys "miracle babies," Van Horn says that "They'll continue to fight until it's their time. We will love them and cherish them until that moment and continue even after," she told reporters.
Both mother and father are only 25 years old. They discovered about the unusual pregnancy at the end of Van Horn's first trimester. Doctors warned that it would be tough.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, conjoined twins occur once every 200,000 live births. They have a survival rate of between five and 25 percent. Many are stillborn, and others die a few hours after delivery.
"It was difficult hearing. I was scared and nervous," Van Horn says.
The boys entered the world on April 10, healthy-breathing, eating and sleeping just like any other newborn. They didn't need much hospital care and were given the okay to go home four days after birth.
Van Horn and Stancombe already have a 23-month old boy named Ryan Stancombe. These babies are a different kind of challenge.
The parents need to snap two different outfits together. Van Horn says giving the kids a bath and changing their diapers is a two-person task.
The trouble is worth it, Van Horn says. "[The best part is] being able to hold them and hear them cry and know they're here with me. Just seeing their eyes open and listening to them is just amazing to me," Van Horn says.
Doctors say that there's no guarantee that babies who share a heart will survive. Van Horn says she's living on "pins and needles."
"They could be with us here now, and in the next second be gone. A month down the road they could be gone. They could turn into teenagers," Van Horne said. "We don't know and that's the difficulty."
Another set of conjoined twins were released from their Dallas, Texas, hospital to a local inpatient rehabilitation center last week. Nine-month-old Owen and Emmett Ezel were joined at the abdomen at birth and shared a liver and intestines. They were separated during a surgery last August.
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