While it’s a dream for some people most of us take certain things for granted like being able to walk or use our hands and turn our heads.
Abby and Brittany Hensel were born as conjoined twins and became world-famous after appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show at the age of six..
The Hensel twins have had to deal with prejudice and uncomfortable stares from people when in public. But that doesn’t prevent them from living their lives exactly how they want to.
Abby and Brittany now thirty, have found themselves in a very specific job.
Abby and Brittany Hensel – famous conjoined twins
Although it is easy to complain about small things in life it is equally important to take a step back sometimes to appreciate what we have.
For others who might only have one arm or one leg it’s not so easy.
Twins Abby and Brittany Hensel, American girls that were born as conjoined twins so they constantly have bigger obstacles.
They were born with one body and two heads which would make their lives were destined to be very different.
However, they have been determined to live a normal life like anyone else, though theirs has come with special challenges.
So what are they up to now? Here’s all you need to know!
Conjoined twins are a very rare they occur about once in every 50,000 births, with 40 percent of those resulting in stillborn births. Furthermore, 70 percent are said to be female.
Abby and Brittany Hensel – childhood photos
Conjoined twins are always identical twins if the egg has fails to divide fully into separate twins during its first weeks the twins are left conjoined.
The most common configuration for conjoined twins is a connection at the chest and abdomen.
In 1990, parents Patty and Mike Hensel experienced what it was like.
On March 7, 1990, Patty didn’t think there was anything unusual with her pregnancy. The ultrasound had been normal – later on, the doctor discovered that their heads must have been aligned during the sonogram.
Once doctors deliveredeveryone thought it was one baby. First came the legs, then the body, then the arms followed by two heads came out, though, Dr. Joy Westerdahl explained that everyone stood silent for 30 seconds.
“They had a pretty crude way of telling me,” father Mike Hensel recalled. “We’ve got one body and two heads.’”
Patty was still under sedation and only heard the word “Siamese”. She couldn’t understand it.
“I had cats?” she asked.
Share many organs – but separate urges
Abby and Brittany were transferred to another hospital to make sure that they were healthy – thankfully, they were doing great, relatively speaking.
The Hensel twins underwent surgery at four months old to remove the third arm between their heads. Other than that, they have been able to live as normal lives as possible.
Of course, since they have two heads, some things are pretty different.
Patty explained that, for example, Brittany is more inclined to catch colds and coughs. Since their circulation is linked, one of them can take medicine to fight an ear infection and her twin will also be simultaneously cured.
They only need one vaccination as they share many organs such as the liver, reproductive system, and bladder. However, their nervous systems are different so they experience separate feelings of hunger, as well as separate urges to urinate and sleep.
Life Magazine first did a piece on Abby and Brittany, their parents made sure to shield their beloved children from the media and didn’t disclose which town they were living in.
Different dream jobs growing up
It wasn’t long before everyone around them understood that they were just like any other kid.
Brittany and Abby learned how to walk, and later moved on to swim and ride a bike.
There have been many successful cases of conjoined twins separated in the past. Their parents considered the operation at one point until doctors informed them the chances of survival could be slim.
Their parents worried about what was going to happen to them once they reached adolescence. They agreed that should the twins want to go through with an operation to separate from one another, they’d explore the possibility.
But Abby and Brittany loved life as conjoined twins. Abby wanted to be a dentist, while Brittany wanted to become a pilot.
“It’s gonna be kind of hard in the cockpit when one’s flying and the other one’s working on someone’s teeth,” their father Mike joked. “They are already asking if they might someday find a husband.”
He continued: “They’re good-looking girls, they’re witty, they’ve got everything going for them, except… they’re together.”
Abby and Brittany Hensel – reality series
In 1996, Abby and Brittany Hensel became famous when they were six after appearing on an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2012, the twins had their own reality television show called Abby & Brittany, showcasing their lives to the world.
Cameras followed them around as they graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Many think it’s strange for one person to have two heads, but the girls are adamant toprove they are just like everyone else. They have their own personalities and interests, and most importantly, they have been able to help the world understand what their everyday life looks like.
On their sixteenth birthday Abbey and Brittany passed their driving test with both of them behind the wheel.
“Abby does the pedals and the gear shifter,” Brittany explained. “I take over the blinkers and the lights. But she likes driving faster than me.”
Just as any other regular teenagers, Abby and Brittany thought about the future, considered maybe getting married and having children. At the same time, they also valued their privacy.
“The whole world doesn’t need to know who we are seeing, what we are doing, and when we are going to do it,” Brittany said. “But believe me, we are totally different people.”
Abby and Brittany – everyday life
“Yeah, we are going to be mums one day, but we don’t want to talk about how it’s going to work yet,” Abby added.
In 2013 – one year after their TLC series ended – the twins spoke with BBC about their lives. At the time, the two had set their sights on being primary school teachers, in the field of mathematics.
Both girls have compromised on certain things such as what foods they are going to eat, what clothes to wear and how they manage their social lives.
Brittany is scared of heights, however Abby is not.
“We definitely have different styles,” Abby said about their taste of clothes. “Brittany’s a lot more like neutrals and pearls and stuff like that and I would rather have it be more fun and bright and colorful.”
These days, Abby and Brittany are living their dream of working as teachers of a 5th-grade class at Sunnyside Elementary school, Minnesota. Even though they have two licenses, they’ve had to come to a curious agreement regarding their salary.
“Obviously right away we understand that we are going to get one salary because we’re doing the job of one person,” Abby explained.
“As maybe experience comes in we’d like to negotiate a little bit, considering we have two degrees and because we are able to give two different perspectives or teach in two different ways.”
Abby and Brittany Today
“One can be teaching and one can be monitoring and answering questions,” Brittany added. “So in that sense, we can do more than one person.”
So was there ever a problem for the school that Abby and Brittany were conjoined?
“We had concerns about the student would respond because it’s such a unique and special situation. It was really important for us to give the students that exposure visually and we had an open Q&A for them,” said school supervisor Gerri.
Mr. Moberg principal of the school said: “I would not hesitate in a minute to put them in a classroom. and hire them.”
“There’s no question in my mind that they will change the world for the better and influence lives in a way, as an individual as myself, would never be able to do.”