It took a miracle surgery and 428 days in the hospital, but baby Anna Richards is finally heading home.
Anna was born conjoined to her twin sister, Hope. While doctors do not yet have a release date, they are anticipating Hope will also be able to go home in the near future.
“The girls are doing very well,” Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, of Texas Children’s Hospital, said in a statement. “They’re making excellent progress.”
Anna and Hope were born conjoined at the chest and abdomen in December 2016. Their hearts also shared a large blood vessel, complicating their condition further.
More than a year later, in January 2018, nearly 75 surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists and nurses worked to separate them in a miracle surgery.
“These are the kind of procedures you plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Olutoye said. “We were blessed that this was the best case scenario. Everything went very well.”
Anna and Hope’s parents found out in a routine ultrasound that their daughters were going to be conjoined. Olutoye said he’s happy he was able to deliver good news after an emotional journey.
“The moment the family knew they had conjoined twins, this has been a question in their mind: ‘Are we ever going to get to this point? Is this day ever going to come?'” he said. “Not only did the day come, but the hour came, and the minute came. Being a part of that moment for them has been special.”
Olutoye said his biggest hope for the girls now is for them to grow up to have normal lives, with no one realizing they had ever been conjoined unless someone asks.
“My hope is that these girls will grow up to have healthy lives, live productive lives,” he said. “They’ll come running in one day and I’ll carry them up in my arms and say hello.”
To support the family’s mounting hospital bills, visit their GoFundMe page.