'Miracle' conjoined twins survive first surgery

Beating the odds: Conner and Carter Mirabel's first surgery was a success.
Beating the odds: Conner and Carter Mirabel's first surgery was a success.  Photo: Facebook

Michelle Brantley was already four months along when she learned she was pregnant again, just eight months after the birth of her first son.

A day later Brantley and fiancé Bryan Mirabel received the sobering news that not only were they expecting identical twin boys, the twins were conjoined. They would most likely be born premature and had only a 25 per cent survival rate.

Born on December 12 at 34 weeks gestation, Connor and Carter Mirabel needed immediate surgery to repair some protruding organs. Luckily, they appeared to be functioning independently, and in the weeks after the birth gained weight and were able to be taken off breathing tubes.

Michelle Brantley while pregnant with the conjoined twins, alongside fiance Bryan Mirabel and son Gage.
Michelle Brantley while pregnant with the conjoined twins, alongside fiance Bryan Mirabel and son Gage. Photo: Facebook

Connor and Carter are omphalopagus twins, joined at the abdomen. Stastically omphalopagus twins have the highset survival rate, but need two surgeries to separate them.

Firstly, the boys were given separate small intestines in a four-hour operation performed on January 2 at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.

Said by family to be doing well, the twins now await major surgery in six months' time to separate their livers and ultimately, themselves.

While only 35 percent of conjoined twins survive 24 hours after birth, the long-term prognosis for Connor and Carter is promising.

Dr Daniel Robie, the chief of pediatric surgery at Wolfson, told First Coast News he believed the boys stood a strong chance of making it to full separation.

"When you look at these babies, they look completely normal. They're beautiful little boys. We look forward to separating them and helping them live healthy lives."

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Bryan's sister Jasmine Mirabel told local news agency news4jax that Connor and Carter were "miracle babies".

"We weren't promised their lives. God gave them to us. As crazy as this has all been, it's not a burden to us, it's a blessing. We wouldn't have it any other way. We really wouldn't."

Jasmine Mirabal added that it would all be worth it when they took the boys home.

"We hope they're separated successfully and we get them out of this hospital … we just want them in our arms, we want them home."

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