The Story Behind These Newborn Conjoined Twins Who Are Beating the Odds

 Laura Strietmann/
When Heather and Jason Kroeger found out that they were expecting, it wasn't the first time they had been told this happy news. Since they were already the parents of five, this couple from North Carolina was experienced with pregnancy and parenthood -- but they quickly learned that nothing could have prepared them for the drastically different journey they were about to take. Despite the fact that the couple was originally told that Heather was pregnant with one baby, doctors later discovered that she was actually carrying conjoined twins.

  • Heather found out at the end of her first trimester that she was pregnant with conjoined twins and had an important decision to make.

    According to a GoFundMe page that local friends started in the family's honor, doctors suggested that Heather and Jason consider abortion on multiple occasions. "To us, it wasn't an option," Jason told Fox 19.

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  • The parents, whose five older kids range in age from 17 to 4, were determined to move forward carrying "these two little precious souls." 

    As Heather's pregnancy progressed, they learned that their local hospital wasn't equipped to handle her complicated delivery. When she was 35 weeks, Heather and her family left North Carolina and prepared to deliver her boys at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

  • Elijah and Isaac were born on September 5, and unfortunately, a separation surgery isn't an option.

    Although Jason said the boys still have "speed bumps to overcome," their family is grateful that Elijah and Isaac are doing better than originally expected. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins arrive stillborn, 35 percent survive only one day, and only between 5 and 25 percent survive long-term.

    As dicephalic parapagus twins, Elijah and Isaac have two separate heads and are conjoined at the chest. Although the family isn't publicly discussing the boys' exact anatomy, they shared that it would be impossible to separate the twins while preserving their quality of life.

  • Jason is already noticing differences between the boys as their personalities develop.

    The proud dad sees Isaac as more mellow and calm while Elijah loves looking around and always want to both see and touch everything. 

    "The boys are doing GREAT! So much better than ever expected. They are alert and make all the beautiful faces and sounds that newborns do -- hiccups, grins, eyes following voices and even cries when they don't appreciate the medical team caring for them," the page says. "They love being held and are just so calm."

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