A Minnesota woman, set to deliver conjoined twin daughters in Colorado on Wednesday, knows the day will be filled with both joy and sorrow.
In a videotaped interview with KUSA News (shown below), Amber McCullough explained that one of her daughters is not expected to survive as doctors attempt to separate the girls.
“I'm anxious and excited for Hannah and I’m dreading what it means for Olivia,” McCullough said.
Originally from Minnesota, McCullough is moving to the Denver area where she can be closer to doctors. She’s currently being treated at the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora.
That’s where her daughters — who are connected at the chest, stomach and hips — will be delivered via cesarean section.
McCullough has carried them for 32 weeks and she’s known for some time that they would have to be separated. To forego the separation would mean they would both die.
“If I had my way they I’d keep them together if they both could live,” she said.
But because she knows that’s not the case, she’s decided to try to save one of the babies, who she has named Hannah.
“I just can’t lose both if there is a chance of saving one,” she said.
It’s a complicated procedure that doctors expect to take anywhere from eight to 12 hours.
Because Olivia’s heart is not properly developed, she is not expected to survive. Hannah has a better chance of survival, but doctors are aware there will likely be complications.
“I will get to see my girls very briefly after the delivery,” McCullough said. “They will need to be intubated right away, but the doctors will hold them up real quick and I'll get a peek.”
It will be the end of a difficult pregnancy for McCullough.
She’s detailed a good bit of her journey on a GoFundMe page that was set up to help raise money for her travel, moving and medical expenses.
A single mother of a 6-year-old boy, McCullough has been on medical leave for much of her complicated pregnancy.
According to the GoFundMe page, she’s endured having the gas shut off to her home and been threatened with having the electricity shut off. All of her other bills are in default and she says she was forced to sever ties with the girls’ father because he pressured her to have an abortion and eventually grew abusive throughout the pregnancy.
But through it all, McCullough said, she’s confident she is making the right decision.
“The sacred things in life are always worth fighting for,” she told KUSA. “No matter what… born, unborn, disabled, able-bodied, you name it. It’s one thing you will never regret.”