Less than two months after being separated from her sister Hope in a seven-hour surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital, Anna Grace Richards got to go home.
Anna was discharged from Texas Children’s on March 2 after spending 428 days in the hospital. Hope is expected to be able to go home in the near future. The formerly conjoined identical twin girls were successfully separated at Texas Children’s Hospital on January 13. A multidisciplinary team of nearly 75 surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists and nurses from eight specialties performed the seven-hour procedure.
The girls were born on December 29, 2016, at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, weighing a combined 9 lbs. 12 oz. Delivered via Cesarean-section at 35 weeks and five days gestation, Anna and Hope were conjoined at their chest and abdomen, through the length of their torso and shared the chest wall, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm and liver. In addition, they had a large blood vessel connecting their hearts. They were welcomed by their parents, Jill and Michael, and older brothers Collin and Seth.
The Richards family, from North Texas, learned Jill was carrying conjoined twins during a routine ultrasound. The family was then referred to Texas Children’s Fetal Center, where they underwent extensive prenatal imaging, multidisciplinary consultation and development of plans to achieve a safe delivery and postnatal care. They temporarily relocated to Houston in order to deliver at Texas Children’s and be close to the girls during their hospital stay. For the past year, Anna and Hope have been cared for by a team of specialists in the level IV and level II neonatal intensive care units (NICU).
The Richards family will remain in Houston until Hope is able to go home.
Click here to read a more detailed story, to watch a video and view a photo gallery below about the separation of Anna and Hope.