Mother of conjoined twins shares their miraculous survival story.
Mom•Logic: When and how did you find out you were having twins?
Mandy: When I was 12 weeks along, we went for an ultrasound and the technician first told us it was twins. She went over to check out the babies' measurements. At that point, she stopped talking, but we didn't notice. I was crying and so excited about twins because we had six miscarriages after our third child. For an hour, we celebrated and then the doctor pulled us into his office.
Mom•Logic: What was your reaction to conjoined twins?
Mandy: At first, I hadn't gotten to the shock factor. It's a normal response. You go through a process of being upset that your child's not healthy. We were sent home with very little information. All we knew was it didn't look like their heads were touching, and they could only find one heartbeat. It was a Friday, and we had four days before our appointment with a specialist.
Mom•Logic: Did the doctors think the babies would be born healthy?
Mandy: The doctor told us they had a 10% chance of survival if I carried them to term. At 26 weeks, we started preparing for them to pass away. Their heart rate was 113, and failure is considered at 110. I still felt good, and I always felt them moving. My doctor told me when I stopped feeling movement they would deliver the twins stillborn. My parents flew in and helped me make funeral arrangements. We picked out a funeral home, caskets, we had burial grounds, and bought them white gowns to be buried in. I saw the cardiologist a week before the delivery. He said the heart looked like it could function for a few hours, but their lungs would collapse at their first breath.
Mom•Logic: When were the twins born?
Mandy: At 38 weeks, Emma and Taylor, were born. It was Sept. 20th, 2006. I had a hard time during the delivery. I was filled with panic and anxiety because I had carried the twins, but was told they were going to pass away. Three days later, the hospital sent us all home. The girls didn't need feeding tubes or life support. The doctor still didn't think they were going to survive, so we were on hospice care. The hospice nurses coached us and prepared us. We didn't expect them to survive, so we never prepared. We didn't have a single diaper.
Mom•Logic: When did you realize they were going to survive?
Mandy: After they were born, I would think every day was my last with them. There were days they looked blue all over, and their hearts were struggling. Five months after they were born, I realized they were here for good. Their first birthday was amazing!
Mom•Logic: What is the next step? Do you plan on separating them?
Mandy: Right now, we don't want to jeopardize their health when there's no reason to endanger them at this time. We know it's going to be experimental, whatever decision we make. For now, we take every day as it comes.
Mandy, who recently learned she was pregnant with her sixth child, chronicles the twins' progress on her blog.