AURORA, Colo. – A woman preparing to give birth to conjoined twins in Colorado has been told one of the babies won't survive.
Amber McCullough, of Hastings, Minn., was scheduled to have a C-section Wednesday to deliver twin girls at the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children's Hospital Colorado.
The twins, Hannah and Olivia, share an abdomen, liver and intestinal tract. The girls have separate hearts and kidneys.
McCullough told KUSA-TV (http://tinyurl.com/ov7k3za) Olivia is not expected to survive because of her heart. She only has a single ventricle and is missing valves.
"I will get to see my girls very briefly after the delivery," McCullough said. "They will need to be intubated right away, but the doctors will hold them up real quick and I'll get a peek."
Doctors said it could take up to 12 hours to separate the twins.
Conjoined twins happen once every 200,000 live births, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, which says between 40 to 60 percent arrive stillborn.
McCullough said she spent eight years in the U.S. Army, then went to law school and is now an attorney. She has a 6-year-old son named Tristan from a previous relationship that ended in divorce. She said her son is moving to Denver to be with her soon.
She became pregnant with her girls during another relationship, and it wasn't until her second trimester when she learned she was carrying conjoined twins. The relationship with the girl's dad ended shortly thereafter.
McCullough has lived at the Ronald McDonald House in Aurora since early August. Her stepmother is there, keeping her company and caring for her.
McCullough's friends organized a "prayer shower" for her before she moved. They also gave her keepsakes that honor both babies' lives.
McCullough told KUSA-TV she wants to give her daughters a chance at life.
"I just can't lose both," she said. "There's a chance of saving one."
Information from: KUSA-TV, http://www.9news.com