There are always risks in having a baby and when your child is born you know how much of a miracle it is. Nobody knows this better than the parents of Isabelle and Abby Carlsen.
These two smart girls were born over a decade ago as twins – conjoined at the chest and abdomen, with a shared liver, small intestine and two hearts intertwined.
They were miracle babies in every sense of the word and the eyes of the world were on them when they were born at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
But their parents had a tough decision to make as surgeons prepared to carry out the delicate operation of separating their bodies.
The parents took the heavy burden of fear and worry and discussed their options. At the time of the twins’ separation, 60 percent of all such procedures ended in fatalities, according to the Star Tribune.
On May 12, 2006 a team of 17 surgeons performed the delicate operation which took 12 hours and had many terrifying moments, particularly when it came time to severing the liver they shared.
It was a long wait for their family but thankfully everything went according to plan and both girls survived, although they had to spend the first six months of their lives in hospital rooms.
Now a decade on you won’t believe the two girls were once conjoined; they’re thriving!
Today, Isabelle and Abby hardly believe the picture of them conjoined as babies is really them.
“Every night we look in the mirror in our room, and we’re like, how do people get us mixed up?” Abby said.
Today, they are fun girls, into gymnastics, friends with everyone and academically advanced, said their teacher at school.
Although both incredibly independent, occasionally they will be walking along together and grab each other’s hand.