An Australian mother of seven has given birth to a rare set of conjoined twins who have two faces, two brains, and share one body. Despite doctors’ advice to terminate the pregnancy, Renee Young and partner Simon Howie, proud parents of the “Aussie fighters,” Faith and Hope, welcomed the girls last Thursday after Young went into labor six weeks early via emergency C-section.
The girls were born with the rare condition diprosopus, where the embryo fails to completely split and twins share one body. The two girls are now in stable condition and breathing without any assistance.
“They are breathing perfectly on their own and feeding,” Howie told Women's Day. “They even had their first bath last night.” The twins’ doctor, Greg Kesby, discussed one of the biggest predicted survival risks would be whether the babies would be able to breathe on their own. Immediately following their birth, Faith and Hope were not heard breathing, although they had a clear singular heartbeat, but they have continued to make progress. Medical experts remain baffled that the “miracle twins” were able to defy all odds, especially in the first crucial weeks of their lives.
“We sort of looked at it as; it'd be the same as being a child with autism or Down syndrome. I sort of don't believe in terminating the baby if it's healthy and growing fine and everything is going to plan,” said Howie to A Current Affair, an Australian news program. Young and Howie continue to show a tremendous amount of support for their twins, and will fight for them despite complications that may arise.
Faith and Hope are conjoined in an unusual way with only 35 similar cases recorded in history, but unfortunately none of those babies survived. The last known case of diprosopus was in a rural village in Saini Sunpura, India, in 2008. Lali, a girl born with two faces, died two months after birth. Young and Howie are aware of the medical problems that are likely to come their way, but they remain happy their girls are alive and well. “I would say, if I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby — at least I have some time with it,” Young told A Current Affair.