When a couple from New York saw their baby’s ultrasound for the first time, they were beyond words. Not only were Shellie and and Greg Tucker expecting twins, they seemed to be connected to one another or conjoined.
The fact is that conjoined twins are extremely rare as they occur roughly in every 50,000 or so births. The couple was immediately referred to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where more than 30 pairs of conjoined twins have been successfully separated before.
Scroll down to watch the video of their incredible journey below!
Conjoined twins are extremely rare as they occur roughly in every 50,000 births
When they went to the hospital they were referred to, they met Holly Hedrick who was a pediatric general, thoracic and fetal surgeon who would lead the surgical team responsible for the separation of the girls after they were born.
They started doing extensive prenatal testing in order to determine in detail, how the twins were connected in preparation for the surgery after they were born.
The team determined that the girls were connected by thoraco-omphalopagus
Shellie and Greg went to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where multiple conjoined twins were successfully separated
Doctors confirmed that the girls were joined at the lower chest and abdomen. The twins shared their chest wall, diaphragm, pericardium and liver, but their hearts were completely separate from one another.
Shellie gave birth to Allison and Amelia on March 2011 through a C-section at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
The twins were delivered in the hospital’s Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, which is the world’s first birthing unit dedicated to mothers carrying babies with known birth defects. They were then hospitalized following their birth for the next few months in order to grow stronger as the hospital staff prepared for the surgery that would separate them.
When Amelia and Allison turned 8-months old, they underwent the procedure to separate them. The surgery took a total of seven hours and it was tightly orchestrated as it involved more than 40 physicians, nurses, and other medical staff from general surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, cardiac surgery, anesthesiology, radiology and neonatology.
The twins were delivered in the hospital’s Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit
Holly Hedrick MD who was a pediatric general, thoracic and fetal surgeon who would lead the surgical team responsible for the separation of the girls after they were born
Shellie says “At the end, the surgeons came out and told us they were separate. The weight of the world was off our shoulders. The first time seeing them as two separate girls was really the most amazing feeling.”
The surgery took a total of seven hours and it was tightly orchestrated as it involved more than 40 medical staff
The hospital had seen to their recovery meticulously and finally revealed the twins to the world on December 6 at a press conference to celebrate the next phase in their lives.
The twins are now happy and healthy preschoolers
Now the twins are healthy preschoolers. One time for show-and-tell at their preschool, the girls had decided to share pictures of when they were connected.
“It’s something we’ve talked about with them, something that makes them special in a good way,” says Shellie. “It was their idea to share. They decided together and asked us for pictures.”