In Colorado, Amber McCullough gave birth to conjoined twin girls two weeks ago, but tragically one died in surgery last week. As LifeNews previously reported, the twins shared an abdomen, liver and intestinal tract but had separate hearts and kidneys. The girls, Hannah and Olivia, were born at 32-weeks at Children’s Hospital Colorado. However, prior to their birth, Amber was told she should have an abortion. Although Olivia did not survive the surgery, McCullough does not regret her decision to choose life.
On her GoFund Me page, she wrote, “I believe in the Word and I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer, the power in the Word, and the amazing talent of the medical professionals here is a recipe for life in Hannah’s case. I believe all those things have taken us this far which is a very long ways already with all things considered.”
The University of Maryland Medical Center says that conjoined twins occur once out of every 200,000 births, but McCullough’s case is particularly rare because she is an identical twin herself.
The Christian Post reports that Hannah survived the surgery but is in “critical but stable” condition in the neonatal intensive-care unit. Currently, medical teams are providing Hannah care for pulmonary hypertension, jaundice and premature lungs that hinder her breathing. Additionally, they have her on a special ventilator, a medical drip and she is taking in nutrition through a feeding tube.
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McCullough explained, “The last week has been enormously painful, terrifying, and all the while filled with love. Hannah continues to be critical but stable. She lost her whole blood volume three times over during the surgery. The doctors were able to replace it very quickly and I remain confident in their talent as medical professionals and the power of prayer.”
Doctors told McCullough that Olivia had an extremely low chance of survival because her heart had only one ventricle and she had a congenital brain malformation. She told a TV station that she wishes both of her daughters could survive but that surgery after birth was the best option for a preferable outcome. She said, “If I had my way, I’d keep them both together if they both could live. But it’s not possible. I wish it were. If they stay together, they’ll both pass.”
The director of the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center, Dr. Tracy Prosen, told USA Today the following about the case: “It’s a balancing act. What are the risks to mom in this pregnancy and what are the risks to baby or babies? This is a situation where Amber has known all along this is a risk to her own health, and we’ve been monitoring closely for that.”
McCullough said she cherished every moment with had with Olivia before she passed away. She concluded, “On Sunday morning I was discharged and the funeral home came and took her away for the last time. I don’t have the words nor do I think they exist to adequately describe the heartache. I will always love her, always protect her memory, and never forget what a beautiful [girl] I have in Heaven.”