Conjoined twins Callie and Carter Torres of Utah are learning to walk a little more than a year after doctors recommended that their mother abort them.
The Daily Mail reports the 9-month-old twins recently received a custom-made bouncer to help them learn to use the legs and feet that they share.
Callie and Carter are omphalo-ischiopagus twins, which means they are conjoined from the stomach down and share a pelvis and legs. The upper parts of their bodies also face each other.
The twins have their own vital organs, so there is a possibility that they could be separated someday. However, their parents Chelsea and Nick Torres, originally from Idaho but now living in Utah, said that possibility is a long way off.
“It’s still a few chapters ahead of us,” their father said after they were born in January. “At the very beginning, we were like, of course we’ll get them separated. But as we gained more general knowledge about the whole situation and the complications, we thought, if they have to stay conjoined, we’re okay with that.”
Last year, doctors recommended that Chelsea Torres abort the twins when they learned that the girls were conjoined. Torres said the girls were given just a slim chance of survival; and doctors told her she likely would miscarry. They urged her to have an abortion.
Torres refused, and it is a decision she does not regret.
“I’m so happy I didn’t terminate Callie and Carter, they are amazing,” Torres said. “I knew termination would not happen and I’m glad that little speck of thought I did have, I pushed away.”
Now, a state grant for people with disabilities is helping the girls learn to walk. The Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT) recently gave the family a bouncer designed especially for Callie and Carter, according to the report. The bouncer is supposed to help the girls begin to learn to stand on their feet and take steps.
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Here’s more from the report:
Kevin Christensen, an occupational therapist at UCAT designed the jumper for the family. He said: ‘It is to get them standing up. Kids their age are typically sitting up. They are not able to do that independently. They can get the strength they need.’
Even buying normal baby things like clothes and car seats is a challenge for the family. Chelsea said she sews clothing together to fit the twins.
“When we had the girls, we didn’t think they’d have anything they could use,” their father told Deseret News. “You can’t just walk into Walmart and buy something for your conjoined twins.”
Research from the University of Maryland indicates that between 40 percent and 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn, and the survival rate past infancy is between 5 percent and 25 percent.
Too often, parents are pressured to abort their unborn babies because of a disability or a short lifespan. In the case of Callie and Carter, the odds were against them; but because their parents chose life, they are alive and well today. Stories like the Torres family’s demonstrate why every unborn baby deserves a chance to live.