At 20-weeks gestation, Shellie Tucker visited her doctor for routine ultrasound and learned that she was pregnant with conjoined twins. Her daughters were joined at the chest and abdomen and shared a diaphragm and liver. Shellie and her husband, Greg Tucker, were expecting a second child, and the news both surprised them and brought new worries.

Shellie and Greg Tucker went to see a specialist who advised them to terminate the pregnancy because the girls were not expected to survive.

“As he was telling me, I could literally feel the girls kicking in my belly and I knew that that wasn’t possible,” said Shellie Tucker.

Both refused to abort and decided to seek a second opinion instead.

“Both of us have a lot of faith,” Shellie Tucker explained. “And I think in that situation you have to have it, and we just kinda relied on that and figured no matter the outcome, we were gonna make it through.”

Amelia and Allison were born healthy at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia where doctors have separated 21 pairs of conjoined twins. Doctors believed that Amelia and Allison could be successfully separated.

At eight months old, Amelia and Allison underwent a seven-hour separation operation.

“An overwhelmingly dramatic moment when the tables spread and the babies go their separate ways,” explained Dr. Holly Hedrick, the lead surgeon. “And it’s a hard moment, too, because you know, before the operation, they were happy. They were thriving. They had no problems being with each other.”

Now Amelia and Allison are four years old and still thriving.

“I’m thankful every single day, and I can’t describe it,” said Shellie Tucker. “Seeing the girls and seeing them climb and get into things, as aggravated as I get, I can’t help but laugh because they’re an absolute miracle.”

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.