Lexi and Sydney Stark, who were born on March 9, 2001, conjoined at their spines, are medical miracles. Researchers at the University of Maryland estimate that 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn. And just 35 percent survive beyond their first day. But the sisters overcame difficult beginnings — including a risky separation surgery at seven months old — and are now 17 and preparing to enter their senior year of high school.
The siblings and their parents James and Emily opened up about their journey during a Monday, August 13, appearance on Megyn Kelly Today.
Though the couple were understandably concerned about what would become of their daughters, Emily recalled how her husband was cracking jokes in the delivery room. “The girls were squirming and James went over to Lexi and he said, ‘Oh, Lexi are you having a nightmare that your sister is stuck to your butt?” Emily told Kelly. “And all the nurses giggled. They were like, ‘OK. This family is going to be just fine.’”
The Colorado-based mom and dad questioned their decision to proceed with a risky separation surgery. The operation carried the risk of paralysis. But according to a 2001 CBS News story, shortly after the 11 hour procedure, the twins were moving their legs.
“The room just exploded, you could hear that ‘Woohoo! Two babies,” Emily shared on Monday. “We got the fairytale. We know the ending, so far.”
Though Lexi and Sydney are no longer physically connected, they can feel each others pain. “I’ll be upset and I’ll be wondering why. Then she’ll come home and say she had a bad day and I”ll be like, ‘Ah, there it is,’” Sydney explained.
When the two share a bed, their bodies have a way of ending up in the same position they were when they were conjoined at the spines. “Yeah we call it the ‘conjoined-twin position,’” Lexi quipped. Added Emily: “It’s usually when they’re stressed.”
According to Lexi, Sydney’s touch has a way of soothing her. “Just being by her, putting my head on her,” she revealed, “it’s so calming.”
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