More than a decade after the surgery that separated them, the once-conjoined twins from North Dakota are blossoming.
More than a decade ago, they were the miracle babies who gained national attention when doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, attempted a daring surgery to separate them. As reported by Bored Daddy.
Isabelle and Abby spent their first six months in Minnesota hospital rooms. They were conjoined from the chest to the stomach at birth. Isabelle's heart was more into Abby's chest and other organs were twisted together.
Despite the riskiness of the procedure, it was a big success, and now the twins can enjoy living individual lives, which they now live with much enthusiasm. This year they’ll be 12, just a step behind from becoming teenagers.
Medical teams at Mayo Clinic trained for months for the marathon separation surgery. On May 12, 2006, the operation lasted 12 hours and required 17 surgeons. Two weeks later, they went home to North Dakota, as two individuals.
Isabelle and Abby defied all the odds stacked against them. Not only did they survive the trepidatious surgery, but they developed into healthy and thriving young girls.
Although the parents try to make their lives as normal as possible, there are concerns and things that need work.
They like gymnastics and are interested in clothes. They are high academic achievers and are popular among their classmates.
After the surgery, neither set of twins had any core strength because of where they were conjoined, which required physical therapy.
When they first started gymnastics, their mother revealed that you could tell how much weaker they were compared to the other kids. But the physical training worked for the best. Their mom said it keeps them aligned.
Both girls, though similar, have developed different personalities. Isabelle, who prefers to be called Belle, likes to play piano, facepaint and go ice-skating.
On the other hand, Abigail enjoys drawing, she's donated her hair to Locks of Love, and everyone at school refers to her as Abby the Queen.
Conjoined twins occur only once in every 200,000 live births. About 40 to 60 percent of them are stillborn with another 35 percent that survives just for one day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, so these girls are both truly living miracles.