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Mom treasured conjoined twins in their short lifespan

AmandSchulten wrote her blog about carrying conjoined twins : “I cry tears joy thGod made them so perfect least my

Amanda Schulten wrote in her blog about carrying conjoined twins : “I cry tears of joy that God made them so perfect, at least in my eyes.” | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Upcoming fundraiser

Where: Hair Cuttery, 345 Randall Road, South Elgin

When: 5-7 p.m. Nov. 6

What: Proceeds from services will help pay medical expenses for Faith and Hope

Updated: November 16, 2011 11:07AM

MARENGO — Twenty-one-year-old Amanda Schulten announced Friday that her conjoined twins have died.

Faith and Hope, who were joined at the heart and shared other vital organs, lived just 23 days, passing away peacefully in their mother’s arms on Sept. 29.

“I treasured every single moment with them,” Schulten said. “I was there every minute, and was there when they passed away.”

The twin girls never left the University of Chicago Hospital, where they were born via Cesarean section on Sept. 6.

Schulten, who lives in Marengo, said she and her fiancé Peter Fatigati were “blindsided” and had little warning prior to their death.

However, they also realized that conjoined twins sharing a heart have a grave prognosis.

The already bleak prognosis became more ominous three days after birth, when a scan revealed a shunted heart — when oxygen-poor blood flows from one side to the other, and into the circulatory system.

“After the scan, they told us they’d have a shorter life span,” Schulten said. “But we thought it could be at least a year.”

‘I know where they are’

The girls had separate heads but had one body, sharing a heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.

Schulten’s story appeared in The Courier-News and other Sun-Times Media publications twice last month, both before and after the twins were born.

The stories drew a few negative comments from some who said she should have had an abortion early on. But Schulten, deeply religious, said she wanted to give her daughters a chance to live no matter how long that might be.

When asked if she knowing about the short life-span ahead of time would have changed her decision to continue with the pregnancy, Schulten answered, “Never.”

Her only regret is not being able to see them grow, she said.

“I didn’t get to hear their voices, or see them walk,” she said. “That is the hardest thing.”

Private funeral services for the twins were held on Monday, where 23 pink and 23 purple balloons — symbolizing the days they both lived — were released in their honor.

“It was beautiful,” Schulten said. “I’m sad to see them gone, and miss them, but I know where they are…in heaven, where everyone wants to eventually go. I know I’ll see them one day.”

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