Monday, October 10, 2011

One Mother's Strength...Conjoined Twins

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 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Amanda Schulten wrote in her blog about carrying conjoined twins: “I cry tears of joy that God made them so perfect, at least in my eyes.”

Updated: October 8, 2011 2:05AM  This story is taken from HERE.

Twenty-one year-old Amanda Schulten, the northwest suburban woman who blogged about her experiences carrying — and delivering — conjoined twins, said Friday that the girls have died.
Faith and Hope, who were joined at the heart and shared other vital organs, lived just 23 days, passing away peacefully in their mother’s arms on Sept. 29, she said.
“I treasured ever single moment with them,” Schulten said. “I was there every minute, and was there when they passed away.”
The girls never left the University of Chicago Hospital, where they were born via cesarean section on Sept. 6.
Schulten, who lives in Marengo, said she and her fiance, Peter Fatigati, were “blind sided,” and had little warning prior to their death.
But they always knew it was a possibility, as conjoined twins sharing a heart have a grave prognosis.
The already bleak prognosis became more ominous three days after birth, when a scan revealed a shunted heart — when oxygen-poor blood flows from one side of the heart to the other, and into the circulatory system.
“After the scan, they told us they’d have a shorter life span,” Schulten said. “But we thought it could be at least a year.”
The girls had separate heads but had one body, sharing a heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.
Schulten’s story, which appeared in media reports twice last month, invited a few negative comments from some who said she should have had an abortion early on. But Schulten, deeply religious, said she wanted to give her daughters a chance to live no matter how long that might be.
But would knowing about how short her daughters’ lives would be ahead of time have changed her decision to continue with the pregnancy?
“Never,” she replied.
Her only regret is not being able to see them grow.
“I didn’t get to hear their voices, or see them walk,” she said. “That is the hardest thing.”
Private funeral services for the twins were held on Monday, where 23 pink and 23 purple balloons — symbolizing the number of days they lived — were released in their honor.
“It was beautiful,” Schulten said. “I’m sad to see them gone, and miss them, but I know where they are … in heaven, where everyone wants to eventually go. I know I’ll see them one day.”

I can't even imagine going through what she went through.  She is an amazing person, and I am also thankful that she did get to spend at least a little bit of time with her two precious miracles.  Stories about twins get to me, and I would have done the same thing, if in that situation.  Every minute of life is a blessing, and shouldn't be cut short because other people are afraid.  She knew going into it that her girls weren't going to live to become adults, and just wanted some time with them.  This family will be in my thoughts for a long time.  Strength like that is hard to forget.

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