One set of parents in China is facing a scary and uncertain future after giving birth to twin girls who share one body and two heads. The girls were born Thursday in the Southwestern part of China.
The parents, who are farmers, didn't want to have the babies at first, fearing they couldn't afford to keep them alive. The twins have been transferred to a hospital in the nearby metropolis of Chongqing. Doctors are already saying it would basically be impossible to separate them and the parents are left with a million uncertainties.
It's hard to imagine what they are even feeling right now. These twin girls are dealing with something that is so rare, there aren't all that many cases to compare it to.
Perhaps the most famous case of conjoined twins who were never separated is that of Chang and Eng Bunker, conjoined twins from Siam (now Thailand) who came to the US in 1829. More recently, we have Abigail and Brittany Hensel, conjoined twins who are now 21 whose parents chose not to separate them for a variety of reasons, but most obviously because it's likely only one could survive.
Only time will tell what the future holds for these new baby girls who weighed 9 pounds (4 kilograms) and measured 20 inches (51 centimeters). They have two spines and two esophaguses and share all their other organs.
As parents, it's hard to imagine what it must feel like to be faced with their decisions. In fact, it isn't even clear that they will have any decisions to make. The babies more than likely cannot be separated and will have to live conjoined (assuming they make it through the next few months). There is no doubt it will be a long road and they won't have many people to consult for advice.
But, for now, both babies are alive and they may be able to live a good life, even conjoined. I don't pretend to understand what it's like to be the Hensel twins, but they seem as happy and as well adjusted as two people who are a little different than others can be. And that is, after all, all we really want for our kids.
It's hard to know what challenges these two babies will face, but if they do make it, they can have a really beautiful life even if they can't be separated.
What would you do?
Image via handmaidenbymaria/Flickr