A pair of conjoined twins were successfully separated January 23 during a historic 11-hour surgery at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
The surgery marks the first time in the hospital’s 105-year history a team of medical professionals successfully separated conjoined twins.
For parents Amanda Arciniega and James Finley it was an extremely emotional moment when they saw their daughters JamieLynn and AmieLynn lying on their backs in their own cribs post surgery.
“They’re going to grow up into the little girls they’re supposed to be. Independent and feisty, as they’ve already shown us they are,” Iglesias said.
When the couple, who also share three other children, went to their 10-week ultrasound they learned they were having twins.
“She said that’s the baby’s head,” Finley said of Arciniega’s doctor said when describing the ultrasound.
“I was like, ‘What is that?’ and she said, ‘That’s the other baby’s head.’ And I was like, ‘What?’”
Not only did the ultrasound show the couple was having twins, but it indicated that the twins had little to no separation between them. Despite the twins being conjoined Arciniega had an uncomplicated pregnancy.
It wasn’t until her third trimester when her doctor became slightly concerned with the twins’ growth rate and decided it was best to deliver them at 34 weeks.
JamieLynn and AmieLynn were delivered via C-section on October 3, 2022 at Texas Health Fort Worth.
Once they were a month old they were transferred to NICU at Cook Children’s Medical Center, and doctors began exploring all their options.
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“By separating early, they’re not going to be as used to the loss of having essentially part of you that is different, so hopefully, that transition will be better,” Jose Iglesias, medical director of pediatric surgery at Cook Children’s said. “There are not very many more benefits to waiting longer versus doing it now.”
After months of careful planning, the day finally arrived.
JamieLynn and AmieLynn were rolled into the operating room as one, and 11 hours later they left as their own separate person.
“It took us five hours from rolling into the room until the time we actually cut skin, and the reason is safety,” Valerie Gibbs, director of perioperative services, said in a video shared on the hospital’s Facebook page.
It took a team of more than two dozen medical professionals – each girl had their own dedicated team – to complete the surgery.
The girls were wheeled into the OR shortly before 7:30 a.m., and at 12:28 p.m. the separation officially began. Surgeons carefully opened the girls’ shared abdominal wall and sternum and separated their shared liver.
By 3 p.m. they shared the good news with JamieLynn and AmieLynn’s anxiously awaiting family and friends.
The twins were separate!
“You have two babies on two separate beds,” Dr. Gibbs shared with everyone.
It would be another several hours before the surgery was officially complete and their parents could see them.
While JamieLynn and AmieLynn are now officially separated, they are not out of the woods yet. The days following the surgery present possibilities for complications.
So while “breathing support and pain control” are among everyone’s top concerns at the moment, Arciniega and Finley are also overjoyed for their daughters’ new independent lives.
“It’s gonna feel great, they’re going to be a lot lighter,” Finley said.
Not only are conjoined twins extremely rare, but their chances of survival are also rare. These two little girls need prayers for their recovery and continuous good health.
Please share and wish them and their family well.