MY GIRLS ARE PERFECT JUST AS THEY ARE
WOMAN'S OWN|November 30, 2021
Chelsea Torres, 28, refuses to let doctors separate her conjoined twin daughters
DONNA SMILEY, KATE GRAHAM

As the sonographer swept the probe over my pregnant tummy, she suddenly stopped. ‘Back in a minute,’ she said, before leaving the room. It was July 2016, and I was eight weeks pregnant with my second child. My husband Nick, then 23, and I had been so excited, but now it was clear that something was wrong.

‘Your babies are stuck together,’ the doctor said, after examining the ultrasound image.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked, confused. He explained that I was pregnant with twins but he thought they were conjoined.

Nick and I were stunned, and when a specialist came to see us and confirmed the sonographer’s suspicion, neither of us knew what to say. I’d never really heard of twins being conjoined before, and I had so many questions to ask. Could they be separated? Would they survive?

But, before I could speak, the specialist said something that devastated me.

‘We advise you to have an abortion,’ he said gently. ‘I don’t think the twins will make it past 11 weeks.’

Nick and I were distraught, but we understood that the odds were stacked against our babies.

Back at home, I tried to prepare myself mentally for the abortion. But as I cuddled our son Jaysin, three, I felt conflicted. How could we abort our children? Surely they deserved a chance? ‘I don’t think I can go through with it,’ I told Nick, who agreed.

We talked and decided to go ahead with the pregnancy –we wanted to give our babies a chance, no matter how slim the odds.

My pregnancy progressed without any problems and the twins were closely monitored. At 22 weeks, we learnt we were having girls and they were omphalo-ischiopagus twins, which meant they’d have just two legs and one pelvis between them, but they’d have two separate torsos.

A TENSE WAIT

We were also told omphalo-ischiopagus twins make up less than 5% of conjoined twins and have a 40-60% stillbirth rate.

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