HIGHLAND COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A Hillsboro couple is finding strength in each other after doctors told them the twins they’re expecting net month probably won’t make it.
Michelle and Vincent Antinore are the proud parents of three children, all born without complication, Michelle says. That’s part of the reason they were shocked when they learned Michelle was pregnant with conjoined twins.
Part of the reason.
“According to science, they should not be alive,” Michelle told FOX19 NOW Friday. “Everyone’s been surprised that we’ve made it to this point.”
Michelle is a nurse, and Vincent is a detective for the Highland County Sheriff’s Office. They’re facing something most couples never will.
“Given the circumstances, the rarity, not having anybody to turn to who’s dealt with this before,” Michelle said, “it makes it almost unbearable at times.”
Michelle recalls going with Vincent to get an ultrasound in May. She says the tech got teary-eyed and told them to call their doctor.
“It was terrifying,” she said. “They sort of walked us about... I didn’t know what it could be, but I knew it was really bad.”
For four days the couple tried not to speculate about what the tech saw in the ultrasound. Then a specialist in Dayton told them they were expecting conjoined twins.
“There’s two heads, two sets of arms that connect under the armpits, two hearts, two stomachs, but there’s only one lower. half,” Michelle said.
“It’s unique,” explained Jeff Berry, MD, the couple’s primary care physician in Hillsboro. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Berry says traditionally just one in 500,000 pregnancies result in conjoined twins, but that most don’t make it as far along as Michelle’s.
The couple says their specialist in Dayton didn’t think the babies would make it.
“He didn’t expect (their) heartbeat to still be beating by that weekend,” Michelle said.
They say the doctor recommended they consider terminating the pregnancy.
“We never thought in our lives that we would face that kind of decision,” Vincent said.
The couple went to a clinic but say they quickly left. They say they felt God speak to them, telling them to see the high-risk pregnancy through.
“When we got in the car, it was the fist time we could take a breath,” Michelle said. “It was like God told us, this isn’t going to be an easy journey, but this is the journey.”
Doctors have told the couple there’s a good chance their babies will be stillborn.
“Although we know they could not survive, or their chance of survival after birth is not great, we are thankful to have this time for them to grow and feel them move,” Michelle said, “to watch them on the ultrasounds and to get the pictures. We are lucky to have this time to prepare the best we can for whatever happens afterwards.”
A friend created a GoFundMe for to help cover the couple’s medical expenses.