Almost five years ago, Shellie Tucker listened in shock as her doctor announced that she was having twins.
The news was followed by a second, devastating piece of information: Her twin daughters were conjoined and possibly would not survive outside the womb. The Adams, New York mom and her husband, Greg, were devastated, the blog Little Things reports.
“Their recommendation was to terminate,” Shellie told ABC News.
The Tuckers refused to abort their unborn daughters, and today they are glad they did. Their girls, Amelia Lee and Allison June, were born via C-section in March 2012 and separated nine months later. Now, they are healthy young girls who bring a lot of love and some typical toddler mischief to the family.
“I’m thankful every single day,” Shellie said. “They’re an absolute miracle.”
After doctors recommended that they abort their unborn twins, Shellie and Greg Tucker decided to seek out a second opinion. Shellie said she could feel her daughters kicking inside her womb as the doctor was telling them the devastating news and recommending an abortion.
“… and I knew that that wasn’t something possible,” she said.
“We both agreed it wouldn’t be fair to not give them a chance,” her husband added.
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The family went to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where they received encouraging news. The doctors there told the Tuckers that their girls probably would survive and make it through a separation surgery, according to the report.
When the twins came out of the womb screaming, their mother said she knew she made the right choice. Allison and Amelia spent nine more months conjoined before doctors performed the separation surgery.
Dr. Holly L. Hedrick, a surgeon who helped perform the operation, described the procedure as “very complex.” The twins were conjoined at the lower chest and abdomen, and they shared a chest wall, diaphragm, liver and the membrane around the heart, according to the hospital.
The hospital reported that its doctors spent months planning the twins’ separation surgery. The twins lived the entire first nine months outside the womb at the hospital, where medical staff cared for them and prepared their bodies for the surgery, the Philadelphia hospital reported.
In November of 2012, Hedrick and about 40 others at the Philadelphia hospital spent seven hours performing the separation surgery on the twins, according to CBS.
“Both Allison and Amelia are doing well, and we expect them both to enjoy full, healthy and independent lives,” Hedrick said after the surgery.
The Tuckers said they are thankful for everyone who helped to give their daughters’ a chance at life.
“We are so grateful for the support and encouragement that the medical team, our families and our friends have given us during this long journey,” Shellie said.