Pa. couple anxiously awaiting conjoined twins

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INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - Counting the days to a blessed event is easy. It’s common and fun for a lot of expectant parents.

Counting the days to a life-changing event, like the one that Michelle Van Horn is about to experience, is overwhelming - if it can be described at all.

Van Horn, of Indiana, Pa., and her boyfriend, Kody Stancombe, are expecting again. Already the parents of a 19-month-old son, Riley Van Horn, their target due date would be May 8.

But that’s being moved ahead four weeks to early April because she has twins on the way. Boys, the doctors say.

When they arrive, they will be named Andrew and Garret.

What their following days will be like is anyone’s guess.

About 25 days from now, Van Horn will deliver conjoined twins - attached to each other from chest to belly button.

The odds of such a birth are about 1 in 200,000.

The babies share an umbilical cord, they’ll have one liver, and although ultrasounds have shown two hearts, one is much weaker and the babies will depend on the strong one.

That rules out trying to separate them, doctors told her.

“It’s scary. It has been a lot for me to take in,” Van Horn said. “I just take it day by day.

“And I’ve been so mad at doctors lately. … I’m tired of hearing bad news.”

Van Horn, 25, said she and Stancombe planned the pregnancy and she suspected in September that she had conceived. She confirmed it with a home pregnancy test.

The maternity department at Indiana Regional Medical Center gave her an appointment for an ultrasound just before Thanksgiving, when she had reached about 10 weeks, but by then she had an idea her pregnancy was different.

“I was expecting to go in there, knowing I have twins on my side of the family and Kody has, too. … So being told I had twins wasn’t such a big shock to me,” Van Horn said. “But they said there was a complication, and they had to send me down to Johnstown. The technician that did the sonogram, the way she was looking at the pictures and talking to me, I knew there was something wrong.

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