Health & Wellness

'Scared and excited': What it's like to be pregnant with conjoined twins

Chelsea Torres is 26 weeks pregnant with conjoined twin girls she has named Callie and Carter. Torres, her husband and their 3-year-old son recently moved from Blackfoot, Idaho, to Houston, Texas, to be near specialists who have experience delivering and separating conjoined twins. She plans to give birth at Texas Children's Hospital early next year.

Torres, 23, shared her pregnancy update with TODAY’s A. Pawlowski.

Courtesy Chelsea Torres
Chelsea Torres with her 3-year-old son Jaysin.

I’m a little anxious and scared and excited. It’s like being a first-time parent all over again.

Everything is going well. Right now, we’re just mainly focusing on getting the twins here and getting them to a stable condition. Then once we know more about what is going on, we’ll talk to our doctor about the separation.

The babies are conjoined by their abdomen and they share their lower extremities, so between the two of them, there are only two legs — they have one leg each. But there are four arms, so each baby has two arms.

RELATED: Couple expecting conjoined twin girls hope they can beat the odds

They have a connection at the liver and the diaphragm. Between the two of them, there are two kidneys — so they each have one kidney. They share a bladder and their intestines might be intertwined. They have two separate hearts and stomachs.

Doctors aren’t sure if there are two pelvises that are connected or if the twins share just one pelvis. We’ll know that when they’re here so they can do X-rays and see what it looks like. The hospital is creating a 3-D model of the pelvis area to see how they would separate them and what would be the best route.

Chelsea Torres
An early ultrasound of the conjoined twins.

The babies are healthy and growing, but they’re a little behind. Doctors said they’re doing well. I’m at a point in my pregnancy where viability is not an issue if they come out. They’re ready for them; they just want to keep them in until about 36 weeks. I’ll deliver sometime in January.

I’ve felt them move for a while now and the pregnancy seems to be going fine — it’s like any regular pregnancy. I don’t really have any issues.

RELATED: Surgery successfully separates conjoined twins

Courtesy Chelsea Torres
A recent image of one of the twins.

Doctors said there’s nothing alarming about their prognosis, nothing that would show anything that’s going to be bad. They do expect them to come out alive and be OK.

Our first priority is them being here, making sure that they’re stable to breathe on their own and see how everything goes from there.

As the due date approaches, I’m scared because I don’t know how I’m going to balance being a mom to two babies in the NICU and my son.

RELATED: Formerly conjoined twins thrive one year after epic surgery

Courtesy Chelsea Torres
Torres is expecting to give birth in January.

With each baby missing a leg, it creates a bigger challenge for all of us trying to figure out what they’re going to be able to do, but I know there are similar twins in Salt Lake City, Utah, who are 14 and they were separated. They have their challenges, but they go through life like normal 14-year-olds. So they gave me that little hope, I guess.

I think prosthetics might be a possibility, but until they come out, we won’t exactly know. Once they’re here, we can figure out what to do next. It’s a little scary trying to decide what we want to do.

The family has set up a fundraising page to help pay for medical expenses. TODAY will follow Torres' story when she delivers.

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