When doctors realized that this Florida mom was carrying twins conjoined at the chest, they told the parents that the infants would not live. Surprisingly, the twins survived separation, despite all odds, while doctors were shocked by their amazing recovery.
Jacquelyn and her partner, Mark, were told by doctors 20 weeks into her pregnancy that she was carrying twins conjoined at the heart, liver, sternum, and diaphragm, and that the twins wouldn’t survive because they both shared the same heart.
The couple then consulted Dr. Jennifer Co-Vu at UF Health Shands Hospital, and upon closer analysis, she determined that there was a chance for both of them to survive the separation. She added that studies had shown that it is very difficult to separate conjoined hearts and that the procedure could result in the deaths of one or both babies.
“It really took us a while to grasp that,” Jacquelyn said to The Gainesville Sun.
Mark added: “We had been told ‘no’ for so long.”
The girls, Scarlett and Savannah, were later born by cesarean section in April 2016.
Two months later, the twins underwent the separation procedure after the doctors had practiced the surgery on a 3D printout. The almost eight-hour operation was a success and, afterward, the twins were put on ventilation machines for six weeks.
During a UF Health news conference after the operation, Jacquelyn said: “the girls are doing great.”
“They are such strong fighters,” she said in her blog.
Seeing the twins successfully separated, Dr. Mark Bleiweis, director of UF Heart Congenital Heart Center, said, “Every day you go in there and see the babies in separate cribs. It’s phenomenal.”
“Their recovery has been astronomical. We’ve been meeting with the family since before they were born so we’ve developed a really good relationship,” Dr. Bleiweis told MailOnline.