Heather and Jason Kroeger were thrilled to welcome their sixth child into the world. After finding out they were pregnant, they went to the doctor, and an early ultrasound showed a healthy baby.
But Jason told WXIX that the follow-up ultrasound showed a baby with two heads. They were pregnant with conjoined twins.Screenshot/GoFundMe
Doctors recommended that Heather abort the baby. Jason explained that the boys cannot be separated, as they share vital organs.
But the parents decided to keep the babies and fight to get them the medical attention they needed to thrive. Jason told WXIX:
“There’s that initial shock, and a lot goes through your head. But pretty quickly, we came to the realization that these are our boys and we got to do what we can do for them.”
When Heather was 35 weeks pregnant, her doctors recommended that she attend Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which was better equipped to handle their case than the local hospital in their hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The family traveled across the country in order to seek the best care for their babies’ delivery.Screenshot/GoFundMe
Family friend Laura Strietmann told Dearly that abortion was never an option for the Catholic family, even if the odds of survival was much lower for their twins:
“The story the family wants told is all life is precious, every person has dignity and worth. They are Catholic and live their faith devoutly.”
According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, an estimated 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins are born stillborn. Another 35 percent of conjoined twins die a day after they are born.
But Elijah and Isaac defeated the odds. They were born on September 5 and are doing well. Strietmann said that she was there for the boys’ birth and that the parents couldn’t have been more thrilled to meet them:
“The boys are beautiful and loved! The medical team has been amazing and caring! The family thanks God for the gift of their children. All prayers and support is greatly appreciated. I’m blessed to know this adorable family.”
Strietmann set up a GoFundMe page to help the family, as they spent weeks away from their home. Jason returned to North Carolina to work and bring the other children to school, but Heather is still in Cincinnati to take care of the babies.
Heather previously worked as a care worker and will need to stay home to care for her growing family. It is unknown at this time what kind of care the children will need in order to live healthy lives.
Now that the family has grown from five children to seven, Strietmann says they are sure there will be bumps ahead, but for now, the family is grateful for the opportunity to spend time with their baby boys.
Watch the story, via WXIX, below.