By Dave Andrusko
When Shellie Tucker was five-months pregnant, she and her husband, Greg, were told that their unborn daughters were conjoined. An obstetrician told the couple that the girls were unlikely to be separated successfully and advised an abortion.
“As he was telling me, I could literally feel the girls kicking in my belly and I knew that that wasn’t something possible,” Shellie Tucker told ABC News. The couple got a second opinion, and the girls– Allison and Amelia—were born at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in March 2012.
ABC News’s Cathy Becker reported that the entire family—including their older son—lived in Children’s Hospital with the twins while surgeons prepared for the incredibly complicated surgery by practicing on two dolls sewn together.
Then in November, “the team of 40 doctors and nurses conducted an agonizing seven-hour surgery to separate Allison and Amelia, and start the family’s new life,” Becker wrote.
The girls were “publicly announced” to the world the following month.
“’Seeing them for the first time as two separate girls was really the most amazing feeling,’ said Greg Tucker.
Now—more than a year past the surgery—Becker reports that the girls are thriving as two very individual two-year-olds.
In online posts written last year, Shellie Tucker explained that the girls no longer need the help of feeding tubes to eat and that “ Allison is partial to chocolate, while Amelia likes her veggie straws.” And in July, she wrote that “Allison is the tom-boy of the two, while Amelia is known as the sweet, goofy one.”
Shellie also explained, “After taking time now to get to know them individually and together as a set, I see it more and more how amazing they truly are,” she says. “Amelia and Allison are two remarkable little girls.”