Latina twins face heartbreaking surgery
Conjoined twins Knatalye and Adeline share practically everything, including a liver, diaphragm, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart) and intestines. But that's all about to change!
In a matter of months, doctors at Texas Children's Hospital will surgically separate the 4-month-old gemelas who, due to their unique "connection", have been living eye-to-eye their entire lives so far. Though the operation is admittedly risky, doctors say the chances for a successful separation look good. As for the twins' parents, they remain hopeful, también. "You can't have faith without hope and Hope without Faith," the twins' mother Elysse Mata quips, referring to the girls' middle names, which are, you guessed it: Hope and Faith! Cute.
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As of right now, doctors are waiting for the pint-sized warriors to gain enough weight to be eligible for the surgery. So far, things are looking good. Adeline and Knatalye each weighed 3 pounds, 7 ounces at birth but have since gained weight. They now weigh 10 pounds, 4 ounces each, and are expected to keep growing—both together and apart.
Though the girls have matchy-matchy middle names and they share several organs, they're actually quite different from each other. In their short lives so far, the identical hermanas have developed very distinct personalities. "Knatalye is very feisty, she talks, she is so happy. She is always awake and she loves to play," Mata tells ABC News. "Adeline loves to play, but she is quiet and laid back, more like me."
Stories like this one never fail to tug at my heartstrings. You see, three of my younger siblings were born premature; one was born at five months gestation, the other at six months, and the last at seven. I know all too well what it feels like, as a sibling at least, to wonder whether your newest family member will survive another night in the NICU. I also know what it feels like to celebrate a baby's survival against all odds. I'm rooting for the Mata family as they continue on this journey together. I know that the odds aren't in their favor—the overall survival rate of conjoined twins is between 5% and 25%, with about 75% of surgical separations resulting in at least one twin surviving—but if I've learned anything from my siblings it's that hope and faith goes a long way. I know in my heart of hearts these two will beat the odds, together.
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