|Due date: Amber McCullough's conjoined twins Hannah and Olivia will be delivered by cesarean section today|
Today should be one of the best days of Minnesota mother Amber McCullough's life - when her twin girls are delivered. However it will be tainted with sadness, because babies Hannah and Olivia are conjoined and doctors have told Ms McCullough that only one of them will survive. Despite receiving criticism for continuing with the pregnancy, the 31-year-old says she couldn't lose both of her baby girls by aborting.
Ms McCullough, who is 32-weeks pregnant and a single mother to six-year-old Tristan, is due to give birth at Colarado Fetal Care Center at Children's Hospital Colorado, but the day will be filled with mixed emotions. 'I'm anxious and excited for Hannah and dreading what it means for Olivia,' she told USA Today.
The twins, who will be delivered by cesarean section, are connected at the chest, abdomen and pelvis and Olivia is unlikely to survive because she only has a single-ventricle heart, is missing valves and has a congenital brain malformation.
The babies share a pelvis and have two normally formed legs, but Olivia has one malformed leg located towards the back of her hips. They share an abdomen, liver and intestinal tract, but have their own hearts and kidneys.
Once born, the twins will undergo an operation to separate them - expected to take between eight and 12 hours. 'If I had my way, I'd keep them together if they both could live,' Ms McCullough, a U.S. Army Reserves captain and Twin Cities attorney, said. 'But it's not possible. If they stay together, they'll both pass.'
|Twins Hannah and Olivia are connected at the chest, abdomen and pelvis and Olivia is unlikely to survive|
Ms McCullough, from Hastings, Minnesota, initially believed she was having just one baby, but discovered in her second trimester that she had conjoined twins. She set up a GoFundMe page to help cover her overheads while she is on medical leave, as well as medical and legal fees and travel. She wrote on the page: 'I have not and refuse to give up on my girls. I have been in a position where I have had much pressure to abort at times and I refuse.
'Instead, I choose to embrace their life while they are here and fight like crazy to do all I can for my daughters.' Ms McCullough is currently living at the Ronald McDonald House Aurora with her stepmother Lisa.
- Daily Mail