These proud parents of four beautiful children, have gone through very difficult and uncertain times in the last few years—when they had to make the most unusual and critical decisions for the lives of their beloved children. This is the story of their faith and courage!
Elysse Mata was informed that the twins she was carrying were dangerously joined at the chest region, sharing all the major vital organs; this had put her kids at risk, so the doctors suggested abortion. But with “Hope” and “Faith” in their hearts, she and her husband, Eric, decided to keep their babies.
The family based in Lubbock, Texas, had placed their unshakable faith in god, and trust in the expertise and experience of the surgeons at the Texas Children’s Hospital for the survival of their twin girls. The little twins went through a separating operation that had never been successful in the past, but this time… it worked.
Today, they are extremely thankful to have both their daughters with them, healthy and happy.
The Mata twins, Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith, conjoined at birth.
On April 11th, 2014, Elysse gave birth to the twin girls, who were connected by their chest wall, lungs, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon, and pelvis.
Doctors had advised the mother to end her pregnancy, but the Matas never considered that an option.
“I told him, ‘I don’t care what the case is, I’m going to go as long as I can, and if God decides that he needs them more, then so be it,” Elysse said according to the ABC news. Thankfully that’s not what happened. The girls were born 9 weeks early, but healthy. ” It was heaven on earth, just to be able to hold them so close to me,” Elysse said. “Everybody talks about when they see their baby, they don’t count their toes, they just see a baby… I just saw two miracle angels laying there, peacefully sleeping.”
For nearly an entire year, Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith lived at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, under the expert supervision of the medical team. The parents and their 5-year-old son, Azariah, packed up and moved into an RV so they could be closer to the hospital and the babies.
Big brother Azariah, admiring his twin sisters.
“Separating conjoined twins is a very complicated task and there are lots of risks involved, and death is absolutely one of those risks,” Dr. Cass said.
With conjoined twins birth cases, it has been observed that even if they can survive through the birth process and the first day, conjoined twins still only have a 5-25% overall survival rate. Since these little baby girls would be going for separation surgery, Dr. Darrell Cass, their lead surgeon, made sure his team was well-prepared for what was in store. For months the team practiced operating on 3D models and mannequins and deciding on the procedure.
The girls were growing strong—and they needed to be, as they had to be ready for the specialized surgery.
The surgery took a grueling 26-hours at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where a team of 12 surgeons, six anesthesiologists, and eight surgical nurses finished operating on the ten-month-olds.
Finally on the February 17th, 2015, for the first time in their lives, they were separated.
It was the first successful separation surgery of its kind, touted as a victory not just for the Mata family, but for the medical field.
“We are so grateful to all of the surgeons and everyone who cared for our daughters and gave them the incredible chance to live separate lives,” Elysse said. “We know how much planning and time went into this surgery and we are so blessed to be at a place like Texas Children’s where we have access to the surgeons and caretakers that have made this dream a reality. We also want to express our gratitude to all of the people that have prayed and provided support to our family over the last 10 months.”
Throughout this ordeal, besides the medical team’s unrelenting support, the family also had huge support, from family, friends, and online Facebook followers.
“In addition to the great care our girls received, the thoughts, prayers and outpouring of love from the community really helped get us through the last year and we are grateful for everyone’s continued support,” Elysse said according to the Daily Mail report.
The family still updates their Facebook page, Helping Faith & Hope Mata, to keep the followers informed of the family’s welfare.
Finally, the Mata twins had obtained their own separate identities.
They have grown to be very different from each other and hold their own ground.
“They’re just branching out and growing into individuals and separate personalities. They don’t like each other half the time,” Elysse told TODAY. “I’m just excited about the next years and what they’re going to do. Hopefully, they do big things in life.”
The twins’ older brother, Azariah, has been waiting anxiously to have two little sisters join him at play time, and he has been making elaborate plans now. “He’s turning the tree house in the backyard into a Batman cave and he hopes his sisters will play with him there soon.”
Hope recovered faster and was discharged in May 2015, but Faith required additional care and didn’t come home until July.
“All the normal stuff, that’s what I want to do. Cleaning diapers, picking up the house, all that stuff that nobody wants to do, that’s what I want to do right now because the last few months have been super crazy,” Eric said, according to KAMC ABC news, when he finally got to bring his family back home after 16 months.
After months of pain and anxiety, the family is finally back home.