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.

newborn conjoined twins attached at the chest being supported at the head by hands
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.

conjoined twin girls in gray dress and headbands lie on baby blanket with toys by their heads
Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital
conjoined newborns being held in the air above hospital bed by two women on either side of them
Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital
mother sits and holds conjoined baby girls in hospital with husband and other two sons at her side
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.

conjoined twins lying in hospital bed on baby blanket with owls with their names on the bed
Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital
aerial view of conjoined twins lying in hospital bed with nurse placing hands on head and legs of one twin
Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital
mother holding conjoined twins in lap while man with mask reaches over her shoulder to touch twins next to two others
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.

six doctors pushing conjoined twins in hospital bed down a hallway with mother and others following in matching tshirts
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.

aerial view of conjoined twins in hospital bed with people touching them with blue latex gloves on
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.

twin post surgery in hospital bed surrounded by doctors looking at her
Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital
surgeons in blue scrubs and hairnets preform surgery on conjoined twins
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.”

baby after surgery wrapped in pink and blue striped blanket sleeping with patch on forehead and wires in nose and mouth
Paul Vincent Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital
mom and dad standing at side of hospital bed reach arms out to touch baby after surgery
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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