During her eleventh week of pregnancy, Heasther Deleney discovered that she was expecting conjoined twins connected at the skull.
The girls were born prematurely at 30 weeks gestation, with a total weight of 1.5 kg.
They remained in a neonatal intensive care unit until their first birthday, when they underwent a groundbreaking skull separation procedure at a children’s clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Although both girls have developmental delays, Abby and Erin are progressing well as they approach their seventh birthday, according to proud parents Heasther and Riley, who recently witnessed their daughters graduate from kindergarten.
“There are days when I think, ‘I can’t believe how lucky we are,'” said the thirty-three-year-old mother. “Yes, they have challenges and things they need to overcome, but they are so happy.”
“Seeing them receive their end-of-year certificates, it felt like a dream come true,” shared Heasther, who lives in Statesville, North Carolina.
“We still don’t know what they’re capable of, so the sky is the limit for them.”
In their home, there are photos of the babies from when they were conjoined, and one day the parents will “talk about it in an appropriate way.”
“We want the children to be proud of who they are and where they come from.”
They attend mainstream school while also participating in a special class to receive additional support tailored to their needs.
Erin started walking at the age of 5, and now Abby is beginning to walk as well.
“When Abby starts running, I’ll be in trouble – it’s already hard enough to chase after one of them.”
“Our goal in sharing our story has always been to reach other parents facing similar challenges, to give them hope.
We want to show that it is possible to separate them and lead a healthy and happy life.”
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