A young Tennessee mother-to-be is pregnant with conjoined twins, one of which has already passed away.
The twins' parents are 19-year-old Micheala Sperow and 22-year-old Corey Hughes of Bristol, about 290 miles east of Nashville.
“Whenever she first got pregnant, when we went to her regular doctor they said there was something different and they couldn't tell us what,” said Hughes.
“The twin didn't get separated and everything,” he explained.
Conjoined twins are rare. Some medical Web sites show they happen anywhere from one in 50,000 to one in 200,000.
In this case, the twin boys are conjoined at the chest and there is only one beating heart.
Doctors, however, have feared the heart may be damaged from working to pump blood through both babies.
“His heart is flipped over in his chest, the twin's still there and everything, but the twin's gone,” said Hughes.
Vanderbilt Children's Hospital last performed a successful separation of conjoined twins in 2009, but will soon be doing the same for Sperow and Hughes' boys.
Sperow is 34 weeks pregnant and has been staying at The Hospital Hospitality House, which helps people who need assistance while being treated at one of Nashville's hospitals.
“We have dealt with a lot of high risk pregnancies, even high risk pregnancies with twins here, but this is the first time we've had conjoined twins,” said Nancy Denning-Martin, executive director of Hospital Hospitality House Nashville.
“They came here quickly; they came here unexpectedly. And they didn't have the time or the resources to bring a lot with them,” she said.
People have dropped off maternity and baby clothes for Sperow and Hughes to help meet that need.
Once doctors at Vanderbilt surgically separate the surviving twin, they will examine his heart to determine if it needs repairing.
“Just knowing that he's there, and feeling him at night, and just everything, you know… feeling him during the day, and feeling him roll around and feeling him kick; it's just really nice knowing he's actually doing good now,” Hughes said.
Sperow said that she is feeling well and has not has any other complications.