Giving birth to identical twins is a somewhat common phenomenon. What’s not so common, however, is when the twins are conjoined from their chests to their bellies. Ten years ago, that’s exactly what happened to twin baby girls, Isabelle and Abigail (Abby). The parents of the conjoined twins, Jesse and Amy Carlsen said that shortly after the little girls were born, they would instinctively reach for one another and embrace while they napped.
Making the decision to separate them was not only an extremely difficult choice to make but a life-threatening one as well as Isabelle’s heart was implanted into Abby’s chest. To make things even more complicated, some of their other organs were also wrapped around each other. The parents decided to go ahead with the procedure, one that would take place at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and that would require the expertise of 17 surgeons. The girls had spent six months at the hospital prior to becoming surgically separated. During that time, medical teams at the Mayo Clinic trained specifically for the procedure that would separate the girls. The twins were allowed to go home to North Dakota just two weeks following the 12-hour operation.
Amazingly enough, all of this took place 10 years ago. Today, the girls don’t even remember having been conjoined, but while they are no longer physically joined together, they are nearly inseparable. During an interview on CBS, Isabelle and Abby said they still had all of the instincts of conjoined twins and that they still reach for each other’s hands when they are out and about. They both admit it’s a little weird.
Some consider it a miracle that both girls survived their ordeal 10 years ago but what is even more miraculous is that they have thrived since becoming separated. Even though the girls must return to Minnesota every couple of years to ensure everything is okay, both girls are completely healthy. They also both participate in sports, have lots of friends, and are super smart, too. The twins’ mom, Amy, is extremely grateful for everything the Mayo Clinic did for them. Their dad agrees. “It’s just priceless,” he says.