AURORA, Colo. -- Amber McCullough will give birth to conjoined twins at Children’s Hospital of Colorado on Wednesday knowing only one will survive.
“It's pretty bad when you're hoping to only grieve the loss of one child,” said the 31-year old mom from Hastings, Minn.
Her daughters, Hannah and Olivia, are attached at the chest, stomach and hip. Olivia has a malformed heart and couldn’t survive with or without surgery but doctors hope to save Hannah.
“If we kept them together for any real period of time at all, the result would be death for both,” said McCullough, who will be 32 weeks pregnant when she is induced.
An attorney and former captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, McCullough said she was originally told by doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that she should terminate the pregnancy for her own health and that neither of twin daughters would likely survive.
But McCullough, who already has a 6-year old son, sought multiple second opinions and eventually found a team at Children’s Hospital in Aurora willing to perform a separation surgery in the hope Hannah might live.
“How do I look my son in the eye and tell him that I love him unconditionally if I don't fight for my girls,” McCullough said.
McCullough has been on bed rest at the Ronald McDonald House in Aurora for the past few weeks and uses a wheelchair to get around.
She said her ex-boyfriend left her over her decision to go forward with the pregnancy and being on medical leave has left her financially devastated.
But she says the chance to save one of her girls, is worth the risk.
“The sacred things in life are always worth fighting for even if it's a losing battle, even if it's a battle lost, you will never regret fighting for the sacred things in life,” McCullough said.
Statistics suggest the odds of a successful separation are about 75 percent.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help McCullough with her financial needs.