Two Heads are Better Than One- The Amazing Life Of Conjoined Twins

The Minnesota conjoined twins- Abigail and Brittany Hensel, have struggled long and hard throughout their lives. Now, the tides have changed in their favor.

After birth of the twins, the doctors said that they could not survive long. But proving their fate wrong, the twins have completed 23 years of their lives. The gorgeous young ladies who share one body will feature in the show called ‘Abby and Brittany’. The show will depict the lives of the Hensel twins.

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Abby and Brittany were born on March 7, 1990 in Minnesota, US.  Their parents consider them as the most special children in the world since these twins are one of the rarest set of dicephalus twins to survive infancy. According to the statistics, one set of twins in every 40,000 is born connected to the other sibling and only 1 percent of such twins survive beyond one year. The doctors warned the parents Patty who is a registered nurse and Mike, a carpenter and landscaper that their daughters would not survive long. But Abby and Brittany proved the doctors’ speculations wrong.

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The Hensel twins are a result of a fertilized egg that failed to separate inside the womb. They have two hearts, two spines joined at the pelvis, four lungs, two oesophagi, three kidneys, one ribcage, one liver, a partially shared nervous system and a shared circulatory system. From their waist down, all organs are shared including the reproductive system, intestines and bladder. Abigail, the right twin can’t feel anything on the left side of body while Brittany, the left twin can’t feel anything on her right side. Still the twins work in a coordinated fashion while typing e-mails, playing piano, or playing their favorite sports like bowling, volleyball, cycling, softball, swimming, etc. They were born with three arms, one arm was removed surgically at the time of birth. Despite of being operated several times, the twins have remained in good health.

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The twins attended a private church school. At the age of six, they appeared in Oprah Winfrey show and on the cover of Life magazine. After that, they started leading a normal, private life with their family until their 16th birthday. On their 16th birthday, the girls were shot for a documentary for TLC. They also passed their driving test on their 16th birthday. They drive easily with each twin controlling the steering wheel with one arm. However, their mother wondered who would get a driving ticket if they ever get caught up for speeding up.

Both Mike and Patty have encouraged the girls to develop their own individuality  They have kept the twins and their other two children away from media. Although the two girls have different liking’s and different urge to sleep and eat, they still coordinate among themselves to work as a single body.  Their dresses are made on special order with two different necklines, leggings with different color for each leg and different shoe for each foot to reflect their unique taste.  The parents never thought of getting their twins separated. They just could not bear the fact that one of them might die or get physically handicapped for the rest of her life. They always treated them as two different individuals and taught the same to them. Patty said “when children ask the girls if they have two heads, they say they don’t but that each has their own head. That’s what we have encouraged them to do, to develop their own individuality as much as possible.” They buy two separate cinema tickets, separate meals and two different birthday cakes for them. They make sure that they scold the right girl if they ever commit some mistake.

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The two girls rarely fight. They eat together in separate plates with one holding the fork and other one the knife to cut the food. And turn by turn they feed each other. One scratches the itch of other in case the former’s hand doesn’t reach the area. Brittany has suffered from pneumonia twice and Abigail, the stubborn one, always helped Brittany in tough times

The twins never wished to separate from each other except once when Brittany suffered for pneumonia for the first time in childhood. Abigail got bored of being in the bed all the time and said that she need separation to which Brittany started crying and Abigail promised her that they would never part. The two sisters love each other very much but people are now wondering what would happen if one fall in love to someone whom the other one hates. Three years ago, there was news about Brittany being engaged. Those were just rumors but they made people think about their future. Since they share one reproductive system, will they ever have children? Their father Mike believes that his daughters will get married someday.


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