Shellie Tucker and her husband Greg were excited to learn they were pregnant with their second child. With a son, Owen, at home, the couple had hoped to add to their family. What they didn’t expect was that they would be having identical twins, and that a specialist would advise them to abort.
At 20 weeks gestation, a routine ultrasound revealed that Shellie was pregnant with conjoined twins. The baby girls were joined at the chest and abdomen, and shared a diaphragm and liver.
“He [the doctor] asked us to go see a specialist who at that point recommended we terminate,” Tucker said during a press conference. The doctor didn’t believe the girls would be able to survive and that it would be better to abort them.
“As he was telling me, I could literally feel the girls kicking in my belly and I knew that that wasn’t possible,” said Tucker.
The couple refused abortion and sought a second opinion.
“Both of us have a lot of faith,” she explained. “And I think in that situation you have to have it, and we just kinda relied on that and figured no matter the outcome, we were gonna make it through.”
They soon found themselves at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where doctors are well known for successfully separating 21 pairs of conjoined twins. Doctors there believed that the girls could survive and be successfully separated. The twins, Amelia and Allison, were born at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
“They came out screaming,” Tucker told Good Morning America. “And it was the most wonderful feeling.”
A team of doctors performed the seven-hour-long operation to separate the twins when they were just eight months old.
“An overwhelmingly dramatic moment when the tables spread and the babies go their separate ways,” explained Dr. Holly Hedrick, the lead surgeon. “And it’s a hard moment, too, because you know, before the operation, they were happy. They were thriving. They had no problems being with each other.”
The girls are now four years old and their father calls it the “most amazing feeling” to see them separated, especially that first time.
“I’m thankful every single day, and I can’t describe it,” said Tucker crying. “Seeing the girls and seeing them climb and get into things, as aggravated as I get, I can’t help but laugh because they’re an absolute miracle.”