Life

These Twins Were Conjoined at the Heart, But See What They Look Like a Year After Their Separation Surgery!

December 12, 2016 - By Tara J. Barker

Say hello to Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith. These two little girls were born conjoined and have faced many obstacles to get where they are today.
But now they’re thriving thanks to some truly impressive medical work and the faith of their parents, Eric and Elysse.
Check out their amazing story and what they look like now a year after they underwent a dangerous surgery to separate them from one another.




On April 11, 2014, Elysse gave birth to the twins, who were connected at the chest wall “lungs, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon and pelvis.”
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Obviously, separating them could have huge implications on their internal organs, and doctors were unsure if an operation was even a possibility.




The doctors encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy when they learned the twins were conjoined, but the parents never considered that an option.
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They said, “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.’”




For the next year, the twins lived at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

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The surgeons were waiting to perfect their strategy for the surgery.

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Dr. Cass, the head surgeon on the case, said, “Separating conjoined twins is a very complicated task and there are lots of risks involved, and death is absolutely one of those risks.”




The big day was February 17, 2015.

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It was a triumph not just for the family, but for all medical advancement.

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Elysse Mata said, “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. 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.”




The family had a huge support system from all over the world.

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The mom says, “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.”
The family has a Facebook page they still continue to update with progress photos!




It was an important, taxing, day for all involved. Says Jennifer Pitlick, a NICU nurse on the case:

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“Before the girls were wheeled off to their almost 24-hour surgery, we all gathered around their bed along with their family for a prayer. I remember looking around during the prayer and seeing the nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, patient care assistants, family members, chaplains and social workers all praying for our girls. I was overwhelmed with how many people were here because they simply loved the girls. Suddenly I felt at peace in that moment. As the girls were wheeled off to surgery, the team lined the hallway to see them off. It was a truly remarkable moment in Texas Children’s Hospital history. Many of us stayed around throughout the day and checked in with the family while the girls underwent surgery. We had all become an extended part of the Mata family and those girls were our girls. We wanted to be there for the updates. We wanted to hear they were doing well.”




It was successful and now the twins are two different, separate people.

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“They’re just branching out and growing into individuals and separate personalities. They don’t like each other half the time,” Elysse stated. “I’m just excited about the next years and what they’re going to do. Hopefully, they do big things in life.”




Their older brother, Azariah, has always looked out for them.

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But he’s especially excited to play with them since the surgery.
“He’s turning the tree house in the backyard into a Batman cave and he hopes his sisters will play with him there soon.”




The recovery took months, but the family finally got to go home.

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Eric was looking forward to resuming a regular life.
“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.”




This is little Knatalye Hope Mata.

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According to her mom, she’s the adventurous one.
Elysse describes her as “”my little wild one is EVERYWHERE! She’s walking, climbing, trying to run!… silly, smart, determined to do everything and very loving!”

And this is Adeline Faith Mata.
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She will live the rest of her life with a tracheotomy, but she’s still very spry!
According to her parents, she “was on the vent 24/7, now she is able to be off her vent while she is awake and only using 1-2 liters of oxygen which is amazing! She’s scooting around on her bottom and pulling herself up to a standing position, she walks with assistance but is still very stiff and you can tell her legs are weak! But she tries hard!”

Then, in September, the family grew a little more!

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The twins, just five months separated, became big sisters to Mia Love Matta. Their reaction, according to mom, is kinda mixed.
“Hope loves Mia but Faith, not a big fan! Lol!”




They’ve had to adjust to the medical issues, but life is great for the family.

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Dad Eric summed up the whole trying experience nicely:

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“Hope and faith, that’s I guess the mantra for the whole journey. I want everybody to know, don’t ever give up.”

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