The girls made history in January when they were the first conjoined twins surgically separated at Cook Children’s Hospital by a neonatologist and a team of 25 medical professionals, including six surgeons. JamieLynn and AmieLynn, twins, were joined at the chest and shared a liver. On March 21, Jamie was released from the NICU at Cook Children’s Hospital, nearly two months after her separation.
The Finleys were overjoyed when Jamie was released from the hospital and could return home to her parents, Amanda and James, and three older siblings. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” said the girls’ doctor, Mary Frances Lynch, M.D., a neonatologist at Cook Children’s. Amie has had a more difficult time and is recovering from surgery that improved the incision in her chest and provided more room for her lungs, heart, and diaphragm. “There were some scary moments,” James said.
The twins will be separated until Amie returns, which is expected in about a month. Jamie has fully recovered from her separation surgery and is now bouncing and interacting with anyone. To aid in her eating and continued growth, she returns home with a gastrostomy tube (G-tube), but everything indicates that she is doing well and healthy. “We’re excited that she’ll be home,” James said, adding that they’re excited to spend more quality time with Jamie,
but that the situation is a double-edged sword because Amie must remain in the hospital. “We’re glad Jamie is returning, but they won’t be together for long.” On Tuesday morning, Jamie and Amie rode in their red wagon down the NICU hallways with their mother, Amanda, while they lay side by side. “Hi, sugar pudding,” James said as he smiled at the girls.
Jamie, the twins, is about to start rolling over, according to their mother.
Meanwhile, Amie responded to her father’s greeting with a “hello,” and the girls tried their best to communicate with their parents. Amanda joked that Jamie would miss all the care their neonatologist, NICU nurses, and medical staff provide her. Amanda can’t wait to get home and rock her two daughters in their new chairs. Aside from Amanda and James’ neighbors, the girls have a slew of new friends who are eager to meet them.
The girls’ new nursery will be filled with the love and care of their three older siblings, family, and friends. “Everyone is excited to see them,” James said. According to Dr. Jose Iglesias, the medical director of pediatric surgery at Cook Children’s Medical Center and a leading surgeon in the twins’ separation procedure, only a small percentage of conjoined twins survive birth, as reported by Good Morning America.
“On the entire planet, there are only about five or eight conjoined twins who reach and remain viable after birth, at least for the first few days,” he said. “So it is a very rare situation,” James said. “Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has performed over two dozen successful separation procedures on conjoined twins and reports that the incidence of conjoined twin births is roughly 1 in 50,000 to 60,000.” He admitted that seeing them through the procedure was terrifying.
“It was very scary and emotional, but you just have to keep going and get through it,” Finley said, claiming that it was a scary journey because they didn’t know what would happen. JamieLynn and AmieLynn were able to make it through the operation thanks to technology, extensive studies, research, the capable hands of the twin’s neonatologist, medical professionals, surgeons, and the powerful prayers of everyone who loves them.
“They’re going to grow up like the little girls they’re meant to be, independent and feisty like they’ve already shown us,” Iglesias said of the sisters’ future. Watch the twins’ moving video below: