‘We wouldn’t have it any other way,’ say 19-year-old conjoined twins: mother refused abortion
SOUTH JERSEY, June 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Now 19 years old, conjoined identical twins Stefan and Tyler Delp of South Jersey, whose mother ignored doctor’s advice to have them aborted in the womb, say they wouldn’t have their lives any other way. Joined at the head, each says he is happy to have his best friend always by his side.
“Tyler is my best friend,” says Stefan. “The best thing about having a brother with who I’m conjoined is that I always have a best friend to talk to,” Tyler adds.
Stefan and Tyler, along with their parents Tim and Nancy Delp, recently went public for the first time, providing insight into the twins’ life in a video interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tim and Nancy said they faced a difficult decision after discovering at 14 weeks gestation that they were expecting craniopagus twins - twins joined at the head. Doctors told the couple, who were 26-years-old at the time, that their sons had about a 5 percent chance of survival and suggested abortion.
“I couldn’t kill a fly,” Nancy Hoffman-Delp said, “let alone think about aborting a child. If my babies were going to die, it was going to be in my arms.”
“As soon as they were born, I totally fell in love with them,” she added. “Gradually, I had to figure out the things that other people don’t even think about - how to feed them, how to hold them.”
The couple requested that there be no media attention following the birth of their sons, although many news agencies offered large sums to have exclusive rights to the story.
Stefan and Tyler were born with separate bodies and although they have separate limbs and organs, their circulatory system is combined and their brains are intertwined. Initially, their parents extensively researched the possibility of separation, but decided against such an operation as doctors approximated only a 1 in 10 chance of success due to the extensive complications.
When the twins were 3 years old, they were diagnosed with “splinter skills,” a form of autism that, although further complicating matters, has also been a tremendous blessing, say their parents.
“Today I can say that this experience has made us stronger,” said their dad, Tim, “but there was a learning curve. The stares, the rudeness of some people who would point and talk about us as though we were invisible, would send my blood pressure through the roof. But Nancy would use the stares as a teachable moment, telling the children, ‘Let them stare. Not everyone is going to like you. Mommy is not conjoined, and everyone doesn’t like me either.’ “
Tim and Nancy Delp say their sons have thrived both socially and academically, although the social aspect has been more difficult for them.
Stefan and Tyler have both played violin for 11 years and have perfect pitch. Asked why music is important to them, Tyler told the Inquirer, “It is my gift from God,” while Stefan responded, “When I sing my Jennette McCurdy songs, Mom says, ‘God’s got his hand on your shoulder,’ like Johnny Cash’s mom said to him.”
Their parents and school principal are confident that the twins will succeed in life. “They are limited by their physicality, but they are bright and capable,” said Joe Castellucci, the principal at their school. “With the support of their amazing parents, they can be productive citizens.”
“Theirs is the most intimate, loving relationship two people can have,” Nancy said. “No one ever has to be as giving to another person as they are. They can’t do enough for each other.”
“Inside, they are like everyone else,” their dad added. “They want love and acceptance. They want people to talk to them and not be afraid of them. I don’t really expect people to totally understand. I just want them to accept the difference ... see the beauty ... feel the love.”
“Stefan and Tyler have been nothing short of a blessing to Timmy and I and they are our magnum opus,” said Nancy.
Link to video.
Read the full story at the Philadelphia Inquirer.