Our Journey with Conjoined Twins
Abby & Erin
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Many times throughout this journey of finding out I was going to be the mother of conjoined twins I have developed expectations of how I thought things would go. How CHOP would be, how my delivery would go, how the doctors would be, how surgeries would go, and so many others. I have thought about so many things when it comes to the girls. And usually my expectations are different than the reality of it all. And I feel like that happens with most things in life. We anticipate something going a certain way and then it actually happens, and it ends up completely different than you expected.
One thing that I had thought about and read about and prayed about was dealing with how other people view my children. Obviously I'm very open about the girls. In no way do I want to "exploit" them, but if some way we can reach out to another family dealing with a similar situation and give them hope or encouragement that would be our goal. So I am very willing to answer questions, openly talk about the girls, and even share pictures. To me our girls are absolutely perfect and created to be who they are. God had a plan when he decided that Abby and Erin were going to be craniopagus twins. I view the girls are separate individuals with different personalities, different likes/dislikes, and even different skills. There are even times when one of them is being fussy that I have to remind myself that I can't just pick her up like my instinct tells me to. And there have been times I have even reached for one of them and then stopped myself. That is how separate I view them already. To me they are just two little babies who need their mama.
So recently since being moved to a different floor we have been able to take the girls on walks, which we weren't allowed to do down in the NICU. On Friday and Saturday we were able to take them to one of the hospitals outdoor areas so that they could feel the warmth of the sun for the very first time. It was glorious. Watching their little faces squint as the sun shone on their little faces was a moment frozen in time. One that I want to remember forever. The wind would blow and they would gasp and then smile. It was one of my favorite moments with them so far. The feeling of being able to take the girls out with me is such a great one. Over the weekend we took them on little walks every day.
On Sunday we went to a place in the hospital where there is a big "sculpture". I say that with quotes because it is more of a "contraption" that has balls traveling through it on little roller coaster like structures that ring bells, and bounce off of things. It is really a neat thing to sit and watch. Needless to say I knew the girls would love it. What I didn't really think about was going into such a public area. Yes, we had been outside, but that was traveling through hallways and out to a patio that not many people visit in the end of February. Where this sculpture is, is definitely more of a public space. Now like I said I am very open about my girls. And I prepared myself for how people would react. But at one point I looked up from watching the pure joy on the girls faces to see people staring. Granted I have known people would stare from the beginning, but it has never really happened before since we were always "hidden". And since the girls are so normal to me I didn't think twice about it. I thought "this thing is really cool and the girls would enjoy it so lets bring them to it". I didn't think "oh man people are going to be walking down there and they are going to stop and stare at us". Not only did people stare but we also had a complete random stranger come right up to us and exclaim "wow, can I look" . I was so taken aback by this. The lack of manners. I didn't even know how to respond.
I've never been one to draw attention to myself. I would much rather stand in the background and help someone else stand in the spot light. So I have been learning slowly to come out of my shell and have a "thicker skin". Working with camera crews who are putting footage together for the girls story (that will be released after everything is said and done) has grown me in ways I could have never imagined. If you had told me even a year ago that I would be getting used to doing interviews on camera I would have said NO WAY. I've just never been that person. I've always been very cautious about how I am perceived and like I said would much rather stay out of the lime light. So to be in a public place and have people staring was so uncomfortable. I want the girls to be able to get out of their room and experience life. It is not fair that because they are different and it makes me uncomfortable that they should be able to go see the cool ball contraption. It is just another one of my expectation vs. reality battles. People will be people. I just need to try and be the best mom that I can be for these little girls. If I want to raise them to be confident and proud of who they are, I need to be just that. I need to be confident and proud that I am who I am and that I have these two wonderful little girls that I get to watch grow and experience life.
People will stare, but we won't let that stop us. We are going to enjoy every moment we have and be confident in doing so. And if someone oversteps their bounds, they better watch out because this mama will very quickly turn into a mama bear who will protect her cubs.
Pray for us as we navigate this new territory. We are also still getting used to a new team which has it's stressful moments. We are so grateful that God has brought us this far, and I know He will keep walking right beside us as we keep moving forward. Thank you all for lifting us up in prayer and encouraging us through this. If it weren't for all the support and love our family receives I don't know if we would have the confidence to take the girls out of their room. Your prayers and well wishes are felt very deeply. We love you all!!
My name is Heather Delaney. I married the love of my life Riley on 10/02/15 and we now have two beautiful girls Abby & Erin, who are conjoined twins, that were born 07/24/16. We are trusting that God is going to work all this out for his good!