Conjoined twins are a rarity in this world. Most times, conjoined twins will be separated at birth, usually resulting in the death of one twin.
When a young mom from Minnesota was faced with the choice of separating her twins or keeping them together with only a slim chance of them surviving, she took a gamble.
It turned out to be the best decision she would ever make, and her girls would go on to wow the world with their resilience, determination and refusal to see their condition as a disability.
Here is their incredible story.
Faced With A Choice
When Patty and Mike Hensel learned they were going to have twins, they were over the moon. However, when the Minnesota couple discovered their twins were conjoined, they realized they had a tough decision to make. When they were born, doctors offered the couple a stark choice – they could either try separating them on the operating table, which meant one of the twins was likely to die, or they could leave them conjoined. Unfortunately, the doctors said leaving them conjoined meant both children would in all likelihood die. The couple thought long and hard about what the doctors said, and eventually came to the decision that the twins would stay joined together.
Abby and Brittany are what is known as ‘dicephalus twins’. This means they share the same body, but have two separate heads and necks. This type of conjoined pairing rarely survives outside the womb. Apart from Abby and Brittany, there are just two pairs of dicephalus twins known to have survived infancy – one in Turkey and another in Italy. When the press found out the twins had survived against almost impossible odds, it wasn’t long before Abby and Brittany were famous throughout the world.