ATLANTA (CNN) — Conjoined twins born at an Atlanta hospital have died, their parents said, less than two days after they beat the odds simply by coming into the world.
Eli and Asa Hamby shared a torso, heart, arms and legs. They had separate spinal columns to support their heads.
Doctors at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital delivered the boys Thursday morning, then transferred them to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, parents Michael and Robin Hamby wrote on their Facebook page, where they posted frequent updates on their boys.
Late Friday, the parents posted a tearful video in which they announced their boys had died that evening.
“They fought long and hard,” Michael Hamby said. “They (were) doing real good last night, had no problems other than little breathing problems. … They was holding their own, and early this morning they started to have heart issues.”
He said one side of their heart was beating more quickly than the other and the heart rate reached 300 beats per minute, despite medicine to try to bring it down. Staff then sedated the boys and doctors allowed Robin, still recovering from her cesarean section, to leave her hospital bed to be with them.
“We sang to the boys and prayed over them, and our families got to love on them and tell them how much we love them,” Robin said in the video.
“They took them off the ventilators, and about 45 minutes (later), Eli and Asa went on to sleep, to be with the Lord,” Michael said.
Births of conjoined twins are rare, happening once every 200,000 live births, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. About 40-60% of conjoined twins arrive stillborn, and about 35% survive only one day.
The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is between 5% and 25%.
The Hambys are from near Phenix City, Alabama, and have a daughter, Selah, who is almost 2.
“It’s hard losing two kids at one time,” Michael said. “Even though I only got to be with them a little over 24 hours, it feels like a lifetime. I don’t wish this hurt on anybody.”
Robin called the boys “beautiful” and had said late Thursday they were even offering glimpses of their different personalities. Pictures on Facebook showed the parents beaming as they held their babies, swaddled tightly with hats on their heads.
“They looked so much like Michael. They were just the cutest little things. They were so, so sweet,” Robin said.
The parents said their Christian faith had grown stronger ever since the boys came into their lives.
“I know they’re in heaven and they’re waiting on me,” Michael said. “God is good.”
Said Robin, “God gave us extra time with them that some parents don’t get to have, because a lot of babies are stillborn that are conjoined twins, and we had almost two days.”