Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saving Lives

I received a message via Facebook from a lady who works at a clinic in DeKalb yesterday night. She thinks it's great that I'm spreading a good message about pro-life.  She is proud of me that I didn't let anyone pressure me into an abortion because she meets with girls everyday who are considering abortion. You know why? Because the world says it's ok.  I'm showing the world what a mother's love really is, not giving up on your children. She asked to use my story for patients that are thinking about getting abortions! Without hesitation I said, YES! Something good is coming from this life experience. Faith and Hope's story can save a babies life!! Or stop an abusive parent! Maybe even end abortion all together!! My babies would be so proud of themselves for helping another little baby. So please spread the word, I hope that if we raise enough money I can start an organization  for national awareness for conjoined twins and I can donate money to my hospital.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Journey

On April 1st I had my first ultrasound at Sherman Hospital for my first pregnancy.  I took Petey along with me for my first appointment. I had a younger nurse named Vicki. When she put the wand on my belly, she noticed something was different right away. I was laying there looking up at the screen thinking there is two heads... Petey knew right away there were two babies on the screen. The nurse told me I'm having twins! I was so excited and thrilled!! But I didn’t believe her at first. I kept asking her Are you sure? So we had a second opinion from another doctor in radiology. Petey was in total shock. I kept thinking two babies, I am the luckiest mom in the world!! When I was a child growing up I always said I wanted twin girls!! I can;t believe I'm being blessed with two beautiful baby girls. I really wanted a picture to show everyone the big surprise but the nurse told us we couldn’t have one.I kept telling Petey the babies looked like they were hugging each other it was so cute! I was only 13 weeks, so the babies were really tiny!

We told my parents on April 2nd because no one believed us the day before on April Fools Day that we were having twins! I was the happiest person! I couldn't wait to go back to the doctor to see my babies again. I did a lot of research that night about twins, and found out I was having identical twins because they are in the same sac.  That also meant that I'm at high risk pregnancy. The internet said there is a chance of conjoined twins when twins are shared in the same sac.

That night I had an urgent call to see my doctor first thing Monday morning. The doctor said she needed to go over the results from the ultrasound. On Monday morning around 9:00 I went to the appointment by myself not thinking anything was wrong. To my surprise I was in for an roller coaster ride. I found out I was having conjoined twins! The doctor stated, I'm sorry you are carrying conjoined twins that share the same malformed heart. The doctor said the babies wont make it to birth and termination is the best option. I couldn't believe some person could sit there and tell me to end my babies lives. Who am I? I'm not God. I should have no control over choosing to kill my baby. I got really sick to my stomach. I was sitting there alone in the room on the floor crying. When she told me the news I broke down, I wasn't thinking about abortion. I was thinking will they survive, not I want them to die! She told me to have another ultrasound done with Dr. Duval at Sherman because he is a really good doctor. I became very depressed and felt very alone.

I never returned back to her office.

After a couple days of staying home from work, I had to get out of my house. I felt so depressed and sad all the time.  I remember wanting to talk to people because I was so lonely and sad. Some people were really supportive and thought I was doing the right thing by carrying on with the pregnancy while others not so much. Couple of my so called friends told me to listen to the doctor and terminate the pregnancy even some family members. I couldn't believe it. I felt as if everyone was turning against me, like I was the bad guy for wanting to keep my children alive!

I went through a tough time because I would tell people about my situation and they would say things like "the kids would suffer"  They say that I'm selfish if I keep the babies because of how short their life span is." "Don't let my kids know your pregnant, they are way to young to handle death because they're just going to die anyways" "Were you drinking when you got pregnant?" All the things people said really hurt me a lot. "Your babies are going to look weird." They would even blame me. I remember thinking - I hope I didn’t cause this to happen to them. I remember feeling the lowest in my life. I wish there was something I could do to change or help my babies in any way possible. I want nothing but the best for my children.

It’s so rare to have conjoined twins. Only 30 conjoined twins are born in the world every year. Doctors keep telling me they aren't going to survive much longer. So every day I would wake up in the morning thinking is today their last day. Every appointment got worse, and we received more bad news. The lungs aren't fully developed (so they only have 2 good working lungs) they share only two legs, which one is clubbed. They share the same heart and liver. They only have two kidneys. The list kept getting worse as the test results would come back. I felt so alone and helpless. I wanted to go back in time and stop all this from happening! I was so angry that I couldn't help my girls. I wish I could give them my heart. I wished...on a lot of things.

One of my doctor's said that I would most likely have a miscarriage and he told me all the signs to look out for. He said that by the looks of the ultrasound the girls will not make it past 28 weeks. And if for some chance I make it to full term that they would not live long after delivery. He said the babies will come out from a complex c-section and let us hold them until they pass away. I was very upset and I cried my eyes out. That sounded so hopeless! No one wants to hear that their child will die right in your arms after they are born. That was one of the hardest things to hear. But now I have so much hope and faith that they will survive and will a long life together as one.

This one Wednesday morning I was feeling horrible and very depressed, so I decided to go to church. I prayed for least an hour, crying and praying to God. I swear he heard my prayer because afterwards I felt so at peace with the situation.  It was like he told me not to worry and leave everything up to him to handle. He was saying I will carry your cross Amanda.  After that day I told myself I am never giving up Hope and Faith! Every time I go to an ultrasound, I pray before I go that a miracle will happen and they will be two separate girls. I always say God please perform this miracle! I know you have the power to do anything!! If you do this everyone will believe that you are real and you will have so many people wanting to follow this faith.

I am so comforted in knowing that God is in control, it's in his hands. I am fully trusting in the Lord, he is our hope, he can make anything happen. Creating these beautiful conjoined twin girls Faith and Hope was not a surprise to him, he allowed this to happen and I am so thankful that the Lord has choosen me to be their mommy!

As I got farther into my pregnancy I hid my pregnancy from everyone, I didn't want to hear more hurtful things. But hiding them made it worse, it made it feel as if they aren't real. But they are real. And will be here on earth before we know it. I came to a conclusion that many people are evil and they will always say evil things and I can't stop them. I need to ignore the rude and focus on the good. Knowing I'm following my heart and knowing that I am doing the right thing by cherishing, loving, and adoring my beautiful children. Is it a sin to love your children? No! So I believe I'm doing what is right.

So finally here I am now sharing my story of my two beautiful babies that I love with all of my heart and soul! I have so much hope for them! I'm trying to also spread the word of Love! Meaning, love your children no matter what! I love mine I couldn't have imagined if I would have ended their life because some one told me that their life was going to be cut short. Look how far we've come. I love that my girls are proving everyone wrong and putting up a fight.

So, please hug your child a little longer tonight, tell them that you love them a little too much, and believe in miracles!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fundraising with Avon

Thank you everyone who helped with the Avon fundraiser!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Facts about Conjoined Twins

  1. Carrying conjoined twins is extremely rare.
  2. For some reason, female twins seem to have a better shot at survival than their male twins.
  3. Approximately 70 percent of all conjoined twins are girls
  4. Conjoined twins are genetically identical, and are, therefore, always the same sex. 
  5. They develop from the same fertilized egg, and they share the same amniotic cavity and placenta
  6. The term Siamese twins is no longer considered appropriate.
  7. Conjoined twins aren't limited to any racial or ethnic group
  8. There are nearly a dozen different types of conjoined twins. 
  9.  Most common is thoracopagus twins. These twins are connected at the upper portion of the torso.
  10. Thoracopagus twins share a heart, which, depending on how closely they are joined, makes it nearly impossible to separate them and save them both.
  11. Thoracopagus twins make up about 40 percent of all conjoined cases
  12. One of the rarest types of conjoined twins is Craniophagus twins, which are joined at the cranium or head.
  13. There are no documented cases of conjoined triplets or quadruplets

How conjoined twins happen is when, a woman only produces a single egg, which does not fully separate after fertilization. The developing embryo starts to split into identical twins during the first few weeks after conception, but stops before the process is complete. The partially separated egg develops into a conjoined fetus.

Source: University of Maryland Medicine

A speical thanks to...

Thanks to my very supportive and outstanding doctor, who never gave up hope with my children,
Dr. Duval at Sherman Hospital.

Thanks to Dr. Epstein, at Suburban Woman's Health Care for taking care of my babies and me. I have been in excellent care with you.

Thanks to Neris Diaz-Cabello, chaplain at Sherman Health, with her inspiring words to help me move forward in the pregnancy. She comforted me while at my stay at Sherman with a prayer shawl, also referred to as a Comfort shawl, is created to bring solace and strength to those in need.

Thanks Sherman Hospital nurses Leslie, Nancy, Louise, Kim, and Becky for giving me wisdom and strength when I needed it the most.

Thanks to Mandy Bailey, mother of conjoined twins Emma and Taylor, for helping me through this pregnancy. Thanks to you I no longer feel alone.

Thanks to Judy Biedl for the poem she framed and wrote for my little girls. 

Thanks to Jaime Trent for helping me with this fundraiser! You are the best and I love you so much!

Everyone who has stood by my side through this pregnancy.

Why I'm starting this blog

For those who don't know, I am carrying identical conjoined twin girls that are connected at the chest to the lower abdomen, and share one heart for the both of them. My daughters both have two different heads with two different brains. Meaning I have two different daughters connected together as one.  My doctor didn't think I would make it very far in the pregnancy and look I'm 7 months pregnant now. I never gave up hope and faith! I know God has a special plan for my little angels. I know I have been chosen to be their mommy for as long as I can.

Please feel free to follow my blog. I will try to keep you updated on everything going on with them. I'm starting this blog for many different reasons, to teach people about conjoined twins, to show the world that conjoined twins are beautiful, help us get through this tough time in our lives, and to connect with other families in similar situations.

If you know anyone in need of advice or is going through a similar scenario I would like to help as much as I possibly can. I would love to write to other mothers. Or if you would like to leave a thought or pray for my girls or myself please email me at:

Dear, Faith and Hope

Mommy loves you both so very much. We will get through this together, I promise. I can't wait until the day that I can finally meet you both and hold you in my arms. I love you so much.