Pennsylvania conjoined twins, Andrew and Garrett Stancombe, the sons of Kody Stancombe and Michelle Van Horne, of the town of Indiana, had lived to be 76 days old when they ended up passing away early Tuesday morning at their home.
Medical science labeled them as being thoracopagus twins and they were given only about a 25 percent chance of living over one single day. The two babies were more usually known as conjoined twins. They were identical little boys but arrested in their bodies’ division from one fertilized egg to two distinct embryos in their first few weeks of growth.
Garrett and Andrew ended up coming into the world joined from the top of their chest to their belly button. The two were facing each other and being formed in that fashion meant the twins’ births were around the odds of one in 200,000. It also meant that being born that way doomed the babies to never being apart biologically. It would be basically impossible for doctors to separate the twins and both of them live through it.
Even though they were identical, their hearts had not been so. One twin had a weak, small heart that would not have been able to keep either one alive so they ended up sharing the other twin’s strong, normal sized heart, one liver and a joint bloodstream.
Andrew and Garrett’s births were planned very carefully. They were delivered by Cesarean section on April 10, surrounded by a large obstetric team which included neonatal intensive care specialists. The C-section was performed at 36 weeks of pregnancy instead of the normal 40 but the twins did not need an incubator or any type of postnatal care. They were sent home on the identical schedule that a healthy, full-term baby would have gone by. However unlike most newborns, these two suddenly had celebrity statuses. Nationwide dispersed newspapers and magazines and also news programs on national television began to show their story.
In their private lives, Andrew and Garrett were able to be part of a few special family celebrations. They were exactly 31 days old on Mother’s Day when Michelle celebrated it with them. Kody got to experience Father’s Day with the twins when they were 66 days old. Riley, their big brother, celebrated his second birthday on May 30 and he got to hold the twins and have his picture taken with them.
However the family made sure to treat each day with the twins as a very special day. That was how they were able to cope with the uncertainty they faced. Just about each day, as was shown on Michelle’s Facebook page, friends and family were shown in various photographs with the boys, everyone just loving, adoring and rejoicing in the way the boys were appearing to be beating the odds against them.
That was until this week, when the twins began having trouble breathing. Michelle stated that their problems started on Monday. Things went downhill very fast. They were kept comfortable until they passed away around 4 a.m. Tuesday. Michelle and Kody spent that day contacting relatives and close friends, then they released the tragic news on their Facebook site around midnight.
Michelle posted the twins had gone to heaven. She thanked everyone who had taken the time to follow what had went on with Andrew and Garrett and had shown their support. She added that the family highly appreciated all the prayers and donations that had been given. She also thanked the few friends and family members that had been on the journey with them and their children.
They swiftly made modest funeral arrangements and scheduled visitation for family and friends for just two hours that evening. They also wrote up their sons’ obituary but it was not something either of them had expected to be drafting quite so soon.
Michelle explained that they were happy that they had two such special little boys with them. She added that even though the twins may be gone now, she felt that they really were not gone. Conjoined twins Andrew and Garrett had lived to be 76 days old when they ended up passing away early Tuesday morning at their home.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Journal Star