Parents celebrate formerly conjoined twins after successful surgery

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These brave little babies, conjoined twin sisters, Anna Grace and Hope Elizabeth Richards, were successfully separated on Jan. 13 at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

“We’ve thought about and prayed for this day for almost two years,” the girls’ mom, Jill Richards, said on the day of the procedure.

Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital
Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital
Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

“It’s an indescribable feeling to look at our girls in two separate beds,” Richards added. “We couldn’t be more thankful to the entire team at Texas Children’s for making this dream come true.”

The photos and videos of the emotional day are extremely powerful.

Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital
Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital
Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

Anna Grace and Hope Elizabeth were born on Dec. 29, 2016. The sisters were delivered via C-section at 35 weeks, weighing only a combined 9 pounds, 12 ounces. They were conjoined at their chest and abdomen, which meant they had a large blood vessel connecting their hearts.

Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

In preparation for separation, the hospital said the twin girls had to undergo a previous surgery on Nov.6, 2017, to place tissue expanders inside them to allow their skin to grow and stretch.

Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

On Jan. 13, it took a team of nearly 75 surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists and nurses from eight specialties to perform the final seven-hour procedure to allow them to now live separately.

Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital
Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

“The success of this incredibly complex surgery was the result of our dedicated team members’ hard work throughout the last year,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, surgeon-in-chief and chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s. “Through simulations and countless planning meetings, we were able to prepare for situations that could arise during the separation. We are thrilled with the outcome and look forward to continuing to care for Anna and Hope as they recover.”

Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital
Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Texas Children’s Hospital. Submit your story here.

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