​Mom of Conjoined Twins Makes Hard Choice for Her Babies' Sakes (VIDEO)

conjoined twins stancombeA mom from Indiana, Pennsylvania is making news today for making the difficult, heartrending decision to keep her conjoined twins together. Andrew Donovan Lee and Garrett Lee Donovan Stancombe were born on April 10 as omphalopagus conjoined twins, meaning they're connected from the breastbone to the waist. They also share a heart and a liver. Their mother, Michelle Van Horne, explained to CNN it would hurt her and their father, Kody Stancombe, to "lose one and have the other. They were born together; they can stay together."

Weighing into the difficult decision is the fact that sharing a heart makes separation surgery especially risky, potentially putting both children's lives at risk. So it's completely understandable why Van Horne and Stancombe would have decided to go this route ...

And while it may be hard to understand, it's also clear that the couple is thanking their lucky stars. After all, they thought there was a great chance the boys could have been born stillborn. 

Van Horne told local news station WPXI:

They're breathing good. They're crying. They're doing everything a normal infant would do. That's why we see them as our miracle babies. 

So sweet ... and such a reflection of how mothers who have faced difficult and what some may consider unfathomable circumstances end up simply embracing their children for who they are. And championing their kids at times when society is going to be quick to judge.

In any case like this, or when a child is born with any sort of disability or characteristic that sets them apart from others, there are sure to be tongues wagging. In this situation, surely there is already clucking about whether the parents should have said yes to the surgery, if they still should, how they're going to raise the boys this way, what sort of challenges lie ahead, etc. But what society says and thinks about this isn't what matters in the end at all. All that really does is that parents accept and value their children's uniqueness, as it appears Van Horne and Stancombe are. That in itself is going to go far to keep them strong through the hard times.

How do you feel about these parents' decision? Have you ever had to champion your child's differences in the face of social norms?

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Hello07 Hello07

What kin of quality of life are these children going to have?



I see this as a selfish act. Too each there own; but this is defiantly not a situation if haw allowed to have happened.

ashjo85 ashjo85

Everyone makes decisions that are best for their families. There's no great outcome here, so they pick the option with the best chance of both babies survival (which isn't great to begin with), and they live life to the fullest in that decision. I wish this family the best.

TheSi... TheSilence

Basically they are being asked to either keep both children alive or to have one die. I do t think there is a good option and I don't think either option is selfish.

It's easy to judge when you have never had to make a decision like this.

nonmember avatar Victoria

I only worry about the longevity these children will have. One heart, one liver, two bodies. That's a lot of strain of the organs. I don't think the parents made a "bad" decision, I can't even fathom being in their position. Kids live with all kinds of physical deformities (for lack of a better term) like the "mermaid girl" and the twins that share a brain, so saying they should have killed one kid to spare the other from ridicule would be wrong. I wish the boys and their parents the best and hope the boys get a long happy life.

nonmember avatar Victoria

I only worry about the longevity these children will have. One heart, one liver, two bodies. That's a lot of strain of the organs. I don't think the parents made a "bad" decision, I can't even fathom being in their position. Kids live with all kinds of physical deformities (for lack of a better term) like the "mermaid girl" and the twins that share a brain, so saying they should have killed one kid to spare the other from ridicule would be wrong. I wish the boys and their parents the best and hope the boys get a long happy life

craft... craftycatVT

I wonder if it would be easier to separate them when they are older and stronger. Otherwise, it sounds like a horrible life.

nonmember avatar Celine

No judgment from me as I'm not in their situation and am not sure that I would be able to make that decision either, she could lose one at least or both with doing the surgery :-(

Cris Kemp

Amen lose one to gain the other so something like that. Cool choice and good view point. Enjoy every minute!!! Best wishes

Freela Freela

They have a dilemma with no 'good' options.  There are conjoined twins that live to adulthood without being separated, and though their lives certainly seem 'different,' they do not seem to be totally miserable.  Without being in their shoes, I have no idea what I would do, and I don't envy them the position they are in.  I wish them and the twins all the best.

Yvonne Wallace Wochner

If I had to make a decision I would choose the same thing that the mother chose for her boys that are joined together. I think that she made the right choice.

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