When Silvia Hernandez found out she was pregnant with her second baby, she and husband Raul Torres were thrilled. Then an ultrasound revealed that she was carrying identical triplets—and the couple were overjoyed. But their excitement would be short-lived: Three months into the pregnancy, Hernandez found out two of her babies were conjoined at the pelvis.
The chances of having identical triplets, two of whom are conjoined, are incredibly rare: one in 50 million, to be exact. And considering the grim reality facing many conjoined twins, the couple were understandably upset. "The truth is i cried, not because of how the babies would look because we knew we would do our best to give them the best and most productive life posible, [sic]" Hernandez wrote on Facebook. "I cried because the doctor said we had to understand and accept the fact that once they were born they could die."
But it seems like the future is looking up for these against-all-odds babies. On Saturday, the brave mama delivered her three daughters by c-section, a few days ahead of schedule. Born just shy of 34 weeks, the babes— Catalina, Ximena, and Scarlett—all weigh 4 pounds, 11 ounces. Miraculously, they're breathing without the help of a respirator and are reportedly in good condition.
Catalina is with Hernandez at Corpus Christi Medical Center, while Ximena and Scarlett, who share a colon, were transferred to Driscoll Children's Hospital. It will be 6 months to a year before they can be separated. Dr. Haroon Patel, a pediatric surgeon at the hospital, told the Associated Press that the kiddos need to get "bigger and stronger" before undergoing the complex operation; in the meantime, doctors will be mapping out exactly how to separate them.
We'll be keeping an eye on these amazing girls—and keeping our fingers crossed for a smooth, successful surgery down the line.
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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
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Image of Silvia Hernandez courtesy of Silvia Hernandez via Facebook