Erin and Abby Delaney were born conjoined at the top of their heads on July 24, 2016.
On June 6, just shy of the twins’ first birthday, surgeons at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted a successful 11-hour surgery to separate them.
Since then, Erin and Abby have been recovering and continuing treatment.
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They’ve learned how to sit independently from one another, roll and crawl, and they spent their first birthday at the hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reported. And they’re about to hit another milestone – they will be coming home.
Heather and Riley Delaney, the twins’ parents, will get to take their girls home to Mooresville as early as November, CBS Philly reported.
Erin has been discharged from the hospital, according to the hospital’s website. Abby remains there while she continues to recover.
Heather and Riley first learned the girls were conjoined in early 2016, about 11 weeks into Heather’s pregnancy, the Charlotte Observer reported. The twins’ condition was craniopagus, the least common type of conjoined twins.
After that, the twins’ parents traveled to the Philadelphia hospital every two weeks for prenatal appointments.
Erin and Abby were born 10 weeks prematurely. Delivered by cesarean section in the hospital’s Special Delivery Unit, each twin weighed 2 pounds and 1 ounce, according to the hospital.
The twins were separated at 10 months old.
Heather moved into the hospital’s special maternity unit when she was 27 weeks pregnant to be closely observed, Philly.com reported, and transferred to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House sometime after that. Riley moved into his in-laws’ garage to save money, according to the report, and has been traveling back and forth from North Carolina and Philadelphia to visit the twins.
“This is one of the earliest separations of craniopagus conjoined twins ever recorded,” Dr. Jesse Taylor, a reconstructive surgeon, told the hospital. “We know that children heal better and faster the younger they are; therefore our goal for Erin and Abby was separation as soon as possible with minimum number of surgeries.”
After their separation surgery, the twins were closely cared for by their surgeons, nutritionists, developmental pediatricians and other specialists to ensure a successful recovery, the hospital said.
The twins will return to Philadelphia over the next few years for more surgeries to replace the missing bone areas at the tops of their heads and to adjust their hairlines, the hospital said.
“The girls are inspiring,” Heather told the hospital. “As their parents, it is very neat for Riley and me to have a front row seat to this and watch them overcome these incredible obstacles. We cannot wait to see what their future holds!”
The Delaneys have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the twins’ medical bills. Although they have insurance, they’re unsure whether it will cover the out-of-state care, according to the GoFundMe page, which has raised about $25,000 of the $100,000 goal.