Every once in awhile a story reaches out and grabs your heart.
Perhaps you’ve seen or read about the girls born in China last Thursday. They are conjoined twins – they have two arms, two legs, two spines, two esophagus but share all other organs.
According to local news media, the mother, who works a farm with her husband, did not know she was having twins until two days before the caesarian birth.
Reading about their story prompted a search on the term “Siamese twin” – I found this web page and learned a lot! The term “Siamese twin” came from a specific set of brothers from Siam (modern-day Thailand) who toured with PT Barnum circus in the mid-1800s. They eventually settled down and lived in North Carolina.
Absolutely fascinating to me is the brothers married sisters and fathered twenty-one children between them! (One had 11 and one had 10). There are some logistics there that I don’t want to think too hard on!
The statistics are terribly sad for conjoined twins: The condition occurs once in every 50,000 to 100,000 births, according to a medical literature review published in 2005. In part because of anatomical problems, about 40 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn, and 35 percent die within the first 24 hours of life. The majority of conjoined twins are females.
These little girls in China are still alive after almost a week! I can’t imagine what is going on in the minds of the parents. Not to mention China has gained international attention for it’s prejudice against girls – a huge number of infant girls are killed at birth because families would prefer boys for their limited offspring numbers.
(As a side note, China is experiencing a significant cultural problem – all these boys are growing up and wanting to get married but there aren’t enough women for them to marry and continue their family honor. Women are being stolen from rural communities – women are being raped… all because the government tried to legislate a natural birth ratio.)
I’ve never had to face this type of an issue as a parent. I don’t even know how I would respond but it seems important to me to recognize this is happening to real people who live real lives. Too often I want to think, “Eh, it’s in another country, doesn’t affect me!”
But this story has touched me and I’m going to be praying for this family and these little girls. It challenges my thought process of how I would react if ever faced with a similar situation…
If you’d like to see the news story, here is the link.
How do you think you would respond to give birth to conjoined twins?