Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

'No regrets' over conjoined twins

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Aled Williams's wife Laura, is believed to be the UK's youngest mother of conjoined twins.

The father of conjoined twins who died within a month of their birth says he and his wife do not regret their decision to have them.

Aled Williams said doctors suggested his wife Laura, 18, should have an abortion after a 12-week scan showed the twins were joined at the chest.

But the couple, who live in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, went on to have Faith and Hope on 26 November.

Mr Williams, 28, from Anglesey, said: "It was the best decision we made."

He added: "Now we have memories and pictures and we can always remember these two beautiful girls, which they were."

Mrs Williams is believed to be the youngest mother of conjoined twins in Britain.

They didn't really tell us much else about it apart from abortion... I didn't know what to say, it was just like someone smacking you in the face
Aled Williams

When Faith and Hope were born they weighed 4.8kg (10.5lb). They were joined from the breastbone to the top of the navel and had a shared liver but separate hearts.

Hope died following an operation to separate the twins on 2 December and her sister Faith died on Christmas Day Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

Mr Williams said that following the discovery during a routine scan, doctors told the couple their babies would probably die at 14 weeks and suggested they consider terminating the pregnancy.

"The choices were to abort because of the fact that they wouldn't get past 14 weeks," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"They didn't really tell us much else about it apart from abortion. I didn't know what to say, it was just like someone smacking you in the face.

"We didn't know what to do or how to say things. Laura was really upset, really upset. It hit her hard."

He said the couple, who also have an 18-month-old daughter, researched conjoined twins on the internet before deciding to proceed with the pregnancy.

"We just decided then that we could give them a chance," he added.

'Beautiful girls'

He said doctors were not able to tell 100% from the scan how severely the twins were conjoined.

"It was a matter of when they were out they could see for themselves that it was a lot more than they had actually thought that they were joined."

Mr Williams said he would never forget the experience of the births at University College Hospital, London, which were carried out within 10 minutes by Caesarean section.

"I just looked at them and you see past the conjoined part. You just look and you just see two beautiful girls next to each other," he said.

From the birth onwards, however, the couple could only wait and hope for the best as their daughters endured surgery to separate them.

"I think it's brought us closer because I have to be so strong for Laura, and Laura was trying to be strong for me
Aled Williams

On top of that, they were swept up in a media frenzy, with the media and photographers following them, with Mrs Williams even being asked questions through a door as she went to the toilet.

"It was sort of up and down all the time," said Mr Williams.

"There was never a moment when there wasn't something going on. It was just more operations and it was just surreal."

But he said the pair were "heartbroken" when the babies died.

He said: "When Hope was in the operating theatre and we got rushed down to see them and they were trying to keep her alive, I just thought it was time for her to go because it wasn't fair on her.

"Her lungs weren't big enough to take the oxygen in so everybody had done what they could.

"With Faith, she had been through so much in four weeks, we just didn't expect her little body to go through that. The time we spent with her was the most precious to all of us."

He said he, his wife and their older daughter were now stronger as a family.

"I think it's brought us closer because I have to be so strong for Laura, and Laura was trying to be strong for me.

"We value each other a lot more now."



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SEE ALSO
Faith and Hope 'given a chance'
28 Dec 08 |  Shropshire
Conjoined twin dies in hospital
26 Dec 08 |  Shropshire
Baby Faith remains seriously ill
04 Dec 08 |  Shropshire
Conjoined twin dies after surgery
03 Dec 08 |  Shropshire
Operation on conjoined twin girls
02 Dec 08 |  Shropshire
Twins will get 'fighting chance'
24 Nov 08 |  Shropshire


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