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A Year After Their Separation, Conjoined Twins Celebrate Their New Lives

Delaney Twins - Facebook

For a young couple, the news that they’re expecting twins is one of the most exciting things they could hear. But hearing that their unborn children are conjoined can be equally terrifying.

Despite the medical miracles doctors can pull off these days, it can still be difficult knowing your children will face an intense surgery that puts their lives at risk, along with other health complications.

Conjoined twins
The twins shared skin, blood vessels, and even brain matter.Delaney Twins - Facebook

This was just the situation Heather and Riley Delaney found themselves in years ago, when doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) confirmed their unborn daughters were joined together at their heads.

The girls, Erin and Abbey, were born 10 weeks before their due date by an emergency c-section. They weighed just two pounds each at the time,and weren’t ready for the grueling surgery required to split them apart.

Conjoined twins
It took 14 hours and cutting edge surgery to separate the twins.Delaney Twins - Facebook

Along with skin, the twins were connected by blood vessels and brain tissue, meaning dividing them would be risky and extremely complex.

A team of specialists at CHOP spent the next 11 months preparing the girls, and when the day of their surgery finally came it took a full 14 hours to separate them. The procedure also made them record setters, as the youngest twins joined at the head to ever be successfully split.

Delaney Twins
The twins in recovery after surgery.CHOP

In the months that followed, both girls underwent even more surgeries to replace parts of their skulls, and physical therapy to strengthen their underdeveloped legs.

Conjoined twins
The twins are no longer joined at the head, just stuck at the hip.CHOP

But despite all of the extra care they needed, both at home and at CHOP, being able to cradle the girls on their own was worth it for the Delaneys.

Delaney twins
The twins are happy and healthy 2-year-olds today.Delaney Twins - Facebook

More than a year after the procedure, doctors say that Erin and Abbey are both doing well, and the Delaneys are continuing to share their story online so people around the world can support and encourage these tough little girls.

Twins joined at the head, called craniopagus conjoined twins, are some of the rarest in the world. About six sets of twins in 10 million are joined at the head.

[H/T: CHOP, ABC]

We're hoping the Delaney twins never have to go through such a scary experience ever again!

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