In our world, when magic is constrained by the constraints of reality, it is quite remarkable to come across a miracle every now and again. They sometimes appear when all seems lost, showing us that nothing in life is certain and that everything may change.
That was certainly the case with Abby and Erin Delaney, Siamese twin sisters born in 2016 and linked at the head.
Doctors gave them a five to twenty-five percent chance of life, but a combination of good fortune and cutting-edge medical technology resulted in a true miracle.
And it’s difficult not to grin when I see these adorable babies six years after that dangerous procedure…
Heather Delaney and her partner Riley were overjoyed when they learned they were expecting a child. The couple, who met when they were children, envisioned a happy future for their small family.
Heather soon discovered she was carrying twins! Therefore, with the help of her darling husband, they prepared for the arrival of twins and everything it entails.
However, Heather’s pregnancy was a challenging one, made all the more agonising by the discovery that her infants’ heads were conjoined.
The soon-to-be parents froze when they heard the news from the physicians.
“We were taken aback,” Heather told People. “That was terrible,” she went on. Yet we knew in that instant that we would go through the pregnancy regardless. I just didn’t think it was my place to judge whether or not they lived.”
It may come as a surprise, but cases of conjoined twins are not as uncommon as most people believe.
Conjoined twins occur in one out of every 200 pregnancies and one out of every 49,000-189,000 births. Certainly, those are large figures, but given how many kids are born around the world every day, they are more common than we realise.
When it comes to conjoined babies, the mortality rate is the true rarity. Unfortunately, only 18% of conjoined babies survive birth; the majority of these pregnancies result in miscarriage.
Heather and her husband, on the other hand, remained optimistic. And their confidence was rewarded on July 24th, 2016, when Abby and Erin were successfully delivered via C-section; they weighed 1 Ib.
The infants spent the first 485 days of their lives at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where the life-saving separation operation was performed. Since the 1950s, practically all conjoined twins have been separated, with various degrees of success.
Abby and Erin were craniopagus twins, which means their skulls were connected at the top, making separation difficult.
When Abby and Erin were going to be separated during a lengthy and intricate surgery, they faced a major hurdle.
In June 2017, the operation lasted more than 11 hours and required 30 medical personnel. When all was said and done, the determined team of doctors could announce victory.
Everything went well overall, although Abby’s sinuses will be missing some pieces, and there are other small difficulties to address. Yet the girls proven to be great fighters in the face of adversity, and their recovery since their separation has been astonishing.
In fact, the operation was such a success that the main surgeons had an article published in the respected New England Journal of Medicine. The team was also lauded for the unique approaches they employed to alter the girls’ skulls and tissue prior to surgery.
This innovative new technique resulted in a better and safer procedure. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, it allowed the researchers to separate the twins at a younger age, making it simpler for the sisters to recuperate.
The twins were living a normal life a year and a half after the dangerous operation, and their parents couldn’t be more proud of their girls.
The family was well aware that the girls will require additional surgery in the future. As they grew older, the twins underwent skull restoration and more plastic surgery. There have been a lot of hospital visits, appointments, and preparation during the previous year.
The girls underwent significant surgery in July 2021 to restructure and repair their heads. Abby has recovered beautifully since then, while Erin has had a more difficult recovery, according to their mother.
Heather has a blog where she keeps people up to speed on the girls’ progress, and you can also find The Delaney Twins on Facebook.
Their lives is a fascinating journey filled with ups and downs. In September of last year, Heather reported that both of her daughters had been diagnosed with autism, which was a devastating blow to the family.
“There is such a stigma attached to autistic people, and it worries me about the girls’ future.” They already have a lot going on, and being autistic adds to the difficulty. When I got that phone call, I burst into tears. I simply want the diagnosis to end. I understand that it makes no difference. I know the girls are still who they are, and we love them just as much as we did yesterday, if not more. “But, receiving yet another diagnosis is upsetting,” Heather wrote.
Heather stated in her most recent blog post that Abby is “coming closer to walking every day” and Erin is “walking upstairs, running about, and getting stronger every day.”
Seeing at these adorable girls, who will be six years old this year, utterly fills my heart. They are very unique and gorgeous; fortunately, the twins have the best mother and father on their side.
“We are extremely proud of the girls and where they are heading.” “We’ve never longed for things to be different because we love our girls just the way they are,” Heather adds.