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Conjoined Twins Are Nothing Short of Miracle, Discharged from Hospital

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Jill and Michael Richards can finally breathe a sigh of relief after all they and their daughters have been through. They’re not quite out of the woods yet, but they’re well on their way.

It all started with what was supposed to be a routine ultrasound. That’s when the expecting parents discovered the unexpected: they were having twins, and the twins were conjoined.

The immediate thought most people would have would be, how bad is it? The babies were fused at the chest, sharing a chest wall, diaphragm, liver, and a blood vessel running to their hearts.

Dr. Olutoye, a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital, began working with the family immediately. They temporarily relocated to Houston to be closer to their daughters as they went through the tricky process of attempting to separate them.

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The girls, Anna and Hope, were delivered by C-section on Dec. 29, 2016. Together, they weighed almost 10 pounds.

Then the planning began. “First question parents ask is what will be the outcome for my children,” said Olutoye, their doctor. “And are they going to be separable?”

Specialists worked with the family to determine the answer to that question, and all were excited when they realized that the answer was yes — but it would require the utmost care, precision, and preparation.

“This is not a one-man show, not even a five-man show. You need more than a football team to do this,” he said.

A full year of planning and a staff of 75 doctors and nurses later, the twins were separated on Jan. 13.

Olutoye and the others were thrilled. “There were cheers in the operating room and high fives. It was a really fun time.”

Seeing Anna and Hope separated for the first time was amazing for the parents who’d dreamed of this day for so long.

“We’ve thought about and prayed for this day for almost two years,” said Jill. “It’s an indescribable feeling to look at our girls in two separate beds.”

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“We couldn’t be more thankful to the entire team at Texas Children’s for making this dream come true.”

Anna was able to go home on March 2, but Hope had to stay in the hospital a little longer to make a complete recovery before joining the rest of her family.

But as of April 25, Hope was free to go home! Her family plans to move back to their home in north Texas once they’re ready.

Thanks to the work of some very skilled doctors and a lot of prayers, Hope and Anna have the opportunity to grow up just like any other children.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking