Halfway through her pregnancy, Erin and her husband Jake were given shocking news: A routine ultrasound discovered that they were having twins...and they were conjoined.
After a difficult pregnancy, Kendra and Maliyah were born, joined at the pelvis and chest. They shared a large intestine, bladder, liver and single kidney. Each sister has two arms, but just one leg.
Erin and Jake considered several medical options, including an operation to separate the girls shortly after birth, which only one was likely to survive. Jake and Erin decided to keep their babies conjoined and let them both live. "We felt that whatever happens is meant to happen," Jake says.
Kendra and Maliyah adapted to their limitations, learning to crawl, stand and even walk! Erin says that life with conjoined twins made certain everyday things difficult. "Everything had to be specially made," she says. "Grandma Patsy made all their clothes for them. ... Another challenge was finding car seats that fit them and strollers."
As they grew older, Jake and Erin knew that the girls couldn't stay conjoined forever. If Kendra and Maliyah continued their lives conjoined, their shared kidney could eventually fail. Still, there was a chance the twins might not survive a separation surgery.