Mum of conjoined twins: ‘I won’t separate my girls – they’re thriving’

Strangers have called Chelsea Torres selfish – but she loves her daughters exactly how they are

conjoined twins

by Mel Fallowfield & Kate Graham |
Updated on

When Chelsea Torres found out she was expecting conjoined twins, she was devastated and terrified they would die as soon as they were born.

But against the odds, Carter and Callie were born healthy and allowed out of hospital just five days later. The girls are joined from the belly button down, they have four arms, but share a small intestine, reproductive organs, one kidney and one leg each.

Chelsea, 29, says, “They’re now five and thriving. They’re learning how to walk and love swimming. Carter is the one in charge, bossing around her sister, and Callie is laid back, though if she gets frustrated, she will let us know.”

Despite the fact the girls are happy, Chelsea is constantly asked why she hasn’t separated them and has even been branded selfish for keeping them together.

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The twins with their two siblings ©NAKONA FREDERICK PHOTOGRAPHY

But Chelsea, who lives in Blackfoot Idaho, USA, with her husband Nick, 28, a merchandiser, and their other two children, Jaysin, eight, and Mykah, two, says “The fear of them dying is too much, or one of them surviving and being without the other one. We have decided to leave it up to them to make that decision and of course we would support them whatever they decide.

“At the moment they’re doing brilliantly, they are such happy girls, they are best friends. Why would I risk losing that?”

Chelsea, who works as a pharmacy technician, found out she was expecting conjoined twins when she went for a scan at eight weeks.

She says, “The doctor said to me, ‘They’re stuck together’. It was a huge shock, I remember feeling as if the whole world had slowed down.”

Check out: pretty girls names and their meanings


129 pretty girl names and their beautiful meanings! - SLIDER

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pretty girl names

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Pretty girls names beginning with A

AbigailMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Abigail means to 'Give Joy'AcaciaMeaning : With Greek origin, Acacia means 'Guileless' and 'Honorable'AimeeMeaning: A beloved friend in French!AlexandriaMeaning : With Greek origin, Alexandria is a feminine version of Alexander, which means 'Defender of Men'AmberMeaning : With English origin, Amber is a jewelled name, from the yellowish resin used in jewellery makingAmeliaMeaning : With a blend of origins, Amelia means 'Industrious' and 'Striving' and is often associated with 'defender'AmélieMeaning : With French origin, Amelie means 'Hard working'AngelinaMeaning: With Greek origin, Angelina means 'Messenger' and 'Angel'AoifeMeaning : With Irish origin, Aoife is a tribute to 'the greatest woman warrior in the world'AprilMeaning: With English origin, April means 'Opening buds of spring', a traditionally seasonal nameArabellaMeaning: With Latin origin, Arabella means 'Yielding to prayer'AriaMeaning: With Hebrew origin, Aria means 'Air' but is derived from Ariel, which means 'Lion of God'AspenMeaning: With English origin, Aspen comes from a popular tree in the West that has heart shaped leaves that quiver in the lightest breezeAthenaMeaning: With Greek origin, Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfareAubreyMeaning: With a French and German origin, Aubrey means 'Fair Ruler of the Little People'AurelieMeaning: With French origin, Aurelie means 'Sun'AuroraMeaning: With a Latin meaning of 'Dawn', Aurora was the Roman goddess of the morningAutumnMeaning : A seasonal nameAvaMeaning : With German origin, Ava means 'Bird' and is the Hebrew form of EveAveryMeaning : Originally an English surname that was derived from a French version of Alfred, very means 'Counsel'AzaleaMeaning : With Greek origin, Azalea means 'Dry' and is representative of a flower

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Pretty girls names beginning with B

BelleMeaning : With French origin, Belle is short for Isabella and means 'Beautiful'BridgetteMeaning : With French origin, Bridgette means 'Strength' and is associated with the mythological Celtic goddess of fire and poetryBlossomMeaning : With English origin, Blossom means 'Fresh'

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Pretty girls names beginning with D

DahliaMeaning: 'Dweller in the valley'DaisyMeaning : Derived from the flower, Daisy comes from the Old English word dægeseage, meaning 'Day's eye'DakotaMeaning : Dakota is representative of the two US states and means 'Friend'DelilahMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Delilah means 'Delicate'DawnMeaning : With English origin, Dawn means 'Aurora' and represents the appearance of daybreak

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Pretty girls names beginning with E

EdenMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Eden means 'Delight'ElizaMeaning : With Greek origin, Eliza means 'Oath of God' or 'God is Satisfaction'EllaMeaning : Short for Eleanor and Ellen, Ella means 'Light' and 'Beautiful fairy woman'ElodieMeaning : With French origin, Elodie means 'Foreign riches'EloraMeaning : Inspired by the city in Ontario, Elora is a variant of Elenora and LauraEvaMeaning : With Latin origin, Eva means 'Life' and 'Living one'

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Pretty girls names beginning with F

FernMeaning : With English origin, Fern is representative of a green plant that loves shadeFionnualaMeaning : With Irish origin, Fionnuala comes from Irish mythology and means 'White shoulder'FloraMeaning : With Latin origin, Flora means 'Flower'FlorenceMeaning : With Latin origin, Florence comes from the French name Florentia and means 'Blossoming'

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Pretty girls names beginning with G

GardeniaMeaning : With English origin, Gardenia means 'The flower'GenevieveMeaning : With German origin, Genevieve means 'Famous bearer' and 'Of the race of women'GeorgiaMeaning: 'Farmer' and 'Worker of the earth'GiselleMeaning: With French origin, Giselle means 'Hostage' and 'Pledge' and is thought to have originated as a nickname for a child given as a pledge to a foreign courtGraceMeaning: With English origin, Grace means 'God's favour'

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Pretty girls names beginning with H

HazelMeaning : With English origin, Hazel comes from the nut-bearing shrubHeatherMeaning : With English origin, Heather is a flowering evergreen often found in ScotlandHelenMeaning : With Greek origin, Helen means 'Shining light'HollyMeaning : Taken from the Holly tree, whose sharp leaves come from the Old English word holegn, which means 'to prick'HyacinthMeaning : With Greek origin, Hyacinth is a flower that sprouted from the blood of Hyacinthus who was accidently killed by Apollo

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Pretty girls names beginning with I

IrelandMeaning : A destination name. Ireland evolved from the word Eriu, a Gaelic goddess who was the goddess of sovereigntyIsabellaMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Isabella means 'Devoted to God'IslaMeaning : With Scottish origin, Isla is the name of two Scottish rivers and also the name of an island just off the west coastIvoryMeaning : With English origin, Ivory means 'Pure'IvyMeaning : With English origin, Ivy means 'Faithfulness' and derives from the plant

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Pretty girls names beginning with J

JadeMeaning: With Spanish origin, Jade means 'Stone of the colic' as it was believed that the green stone could cure colic in babies if placed on their stomachsJanuaryMeaning : Aside from just being a month of the year, January means 'Month of the wolf' and 'God of the doorway'JasmineMeaning : With Persian origin, Jasmine comes from the English word for the climbing plant with fragrant flowersJaylaMeaning : With African-American origin, Jayla means 'One who is special'JosephineMeaning : With French origin, Josephine means 'May Jehovah'JulietteMeaning : With Italian origin, Juliette literally means 'An Italian'JuneMeaning : With Latin origin, June means 'Young' and is known as the bridal month in modern times

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Pretty girls names beginning with K

KatherineMeaning : With Latin origin, Katherine means 'Pure' and 'Clear'KensingtonMeaning : With English origin, Kensington means 'The town of Cynsige's people' and is also a district within West London's Royal Borough, known as Britain's richest streetKieraMeaning : With Irish origin, Kiera means 'Little dark one' and was originally bestowed upon those babies born with dark hair or a dark complexion

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Pretty girls names beginning with C

CarmelMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Carmel means 'Garden' and is a mountain mentioned in the Old TestamentCelineMeaning : With French origin. Celine means 'Sky' or 'Heaven'CharlotteMeaning : With French origin, Charlotte means 'Free man' or 'Petite'ClaraMeaning : With Latin origin, Clara means 'Clear, Bright and Famous'CloverMeaning: 'Lucky'ColetteMeaning : With French origin, Colette means 'Victorious'

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Pretty girls names beginning with L

LaylaMeaning: With Arabic origin, Layla means 'Night' and is the object of romantic poems that was written by the 7th century poet QaysLilaMeaning: 'Dark beauty'LilacMeaning: With English origin, Lilac means 'Flowering pale purple shrub'LillianMeaning : With Latin origin, Lillian means 'Pure' and is representative of the flowerLilyMeaning : With English origin, Lily means 'Pure' and is the symbol of innocence, purity and beautyLondonMeaning : Representative of the city, which is derived from LondiniumLottieMeaning : With French origin, Lottie means 'Tiny' and 'Feminine'LotusMeaning : With Egyptian origin, Lotus comes from the Lotus flowerLuluMeaning : With Latin origin, Lulu means 'Famous warrior'LunaMeaning : With Latin origin, Luna means 'Moon'

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Pretty girls names beginning with M

MarilynMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Marilyn means 'Wished-for child' and 'Rebellion'MarnieMeaning : With several origins, namely Hebrew and Latin, Marnie means 'Rejoice' and 'Of the sea'MathildeMeaning : Originating from two German words 'Maht' and 'Hild', meaning 'Strength' and 'Battle', making Mathilde have a meaning of 'Mighty in battle'MayMeaning : Representative of the month, May is also a name for the hawthorn flower

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Pretty girls names beginning with N

NoraMeaning : With Latin origin, Nora means 'Honour' and 'Reputation'NessaMeaning 'Ambitious' and 'Fierce'

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Pretty girls names beginning with O

OakleyMeaning : With English origin, Oakley means 'Clearing of oak tree', 'Meadow' and 'Clear field'OdetteMeaning : With German and French origin, Odette means 'Wealth'OliviaMeaning : With Latin origin. Olivia is derived from the word 'Olive' and was first used with this spelling by William Shakespear in his comedy 'Twelfth Night'OpalMeaning : Coming from the precious gemstone, Opal means 'Jewel'

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Pretty girls names beginning with P

ParisMeaning : With Greek origin, Paris originates from Greek mythology where Paris, the Prince of Troy had a love affair that caused the Trojan warPearlMeaning: 'Precious'PenelopeMeaning : With Greek origin, Penelope means 'Bobbin'PoppyMeaning : With English origin. Poppy is from the popular flowerPrimroseMeaning : With Latin origin, Primrose means 'First Rose'PromiseMeaning : With French origin, Promise comes from the Old French "promesse," which translates to 'Guarantee' and 'Assurance'

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Pretty girls names beginning with Q

QuinnMeaning : With Irish origin, Quinn means 'Wisdom', 'Reason' and 'Intelligence'

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Pretty girls names beginning with R

RayneMeaning : With multiple meanings across the languages, Rayne means 'Queen' in French and English and 'Mighty' in Scandinavian. It has been disputed that it has a Jewish origin also, meaning that Rayne means 'Song'Rome-MarieMeaning : As this name is split, it's meanings differ, but when brought together means 'Strength' and 'Power'RomilyMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Romily means 'God's beloved one' and is also representative of a French destinationRoseMeaning : With German origin, Rose is representative of the flowerRosemaryMeaning : With Latin origin, Rosemary means 'Dew of the sea'RubyMeaning : With Latin origin, Ruby is taken from the red gemstoneRuthMeaning : With Hebrew origin, Ruth means 'Companion' and 'Vision of beauty'

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Pretty girls names beginning with S

SaffronMeaning : With English origin, Saffron comes from both the spice and the flower it comes fromSaharaMeaning : Aside from being the desert in North Africa, Sahara means 'Dawn'SavannahMeaning : With English origin, Savannah means 'From the open plain'ScarlettMeaning : With English origin, Scarlett means 'Red' or represents those who wear the scarlet cloth.SicilyMeaning : With English origin, Sicily is representative of the city in ItalySophieMeaning : With Greek origin, Sophie means 'Wisdom'SummerMeaning : With English origin, Summer is representative of the season and the carefree attitude that it bringsSydneyMeaning : With English origin, Sydney means 'Wide Island'

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Pretty girls names beginning with T

TinsleyMeaning : With English origin, Tinsley represents a place in South Yorkshire

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Pretty girls names beginning with U

UchennaMeaning: 'God's will'UdeleMeaning: 'Prosperous one'UlaniMeaning: 'Light hearted'

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Uchenna Meaning: ‘God’s will’ Udele Meaning: ‘Prosperous one’ Ulani Meaning: ‘Light hearted’

ValentinaMeaning: With Latin origin, Valentina means 'Strong' and 'Healthy'VeniceMeaning: Representative of the Italian cityVictoriaMeaning : With Latin origin, Victoria means 'Victory' and 'Conquer'ViennaMeaning : With German origin. Vienna means 'White' and 'Fair'ViolaMeaning : The English meaning for Viola is 'Violet'VioletMeaning : From the Old French violette, a diminutive form of viole, which is derived from the Latin viola

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Pretty girls names beginning with W

WillaMeaning : A female form of WilliamWillowMeaning : With English origin, Willow means 'Slender' and 'Graceful'WinterMeaning : Representatie of the coldest season of the year, Winter also means 'Bringing of Renewal'.

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Pretty girls names beginning with X, Y and Z

XanaMeaning: 'Golden haired'YarinaMeaning: 'Peaceful'YeiMeaning: 'Flourishing'ZahleeMeaning: 'Princess'ZahraMeaning: 'Flower'

conjoined twins closer magazine

Chelsea was told that she would probably miscarry her babies and that if she didn’t, then she could have a medical termination.

She says, “I had weekly appointments and felt that the doctors really wanted me to have the termination, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it and I wanted to give them a chance. Nick and my family supported my decision completely. Our oldest son was only three and too young to really understand what was going on. I just said I had two babies in my tummy.”

At 20 weeks she had an MRI scan which showed exactly how the twins were joined.

Chelsea says, “Doctors hadn’t been able to tell from ultrasounds, but when we found out, we were happy that they didn’t share any vital organs as that meant they were more likely to survive.”


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conjoined twins closer magazine
Chelsea and Nick say they have a happy family ©NAKONA FREDERICK PHOTOGRAPHY

When she was 36 weeks and six days pregnant, Chelsea had a C-section to deliver her twins.

She remembers, “I didn’t want to have them, I was convinced they’d die if they weren’t inside me, so I wanted them to stay where they were safe. It was so hard, as they performed the C-section I was preparing myself to say goodbye to my girls. “But then they were born, weighing 9lbs. Carter struggled to breathe so they tucked her next to me to encourage her and she was fine. As soon as I saw them, I fell in love. They were just perfect.”

The twins were taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for monitoring and tests. But after five days the couple were told they could leave and bring up their girls as normal.

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Chelsea makes specially adapted clothes for them ©NAKONA FREDERICK PHOTOGRAPHY

Chelsea says, “We’d imagined separating them early on and gave birth in a hospital that could have performed the surgery. But they advised us against it and said to wait. Nick and I were very vulnerable at the time, we didn’t know what we were doing. When they said to take them home and treat them as normal kids, we grabbed on to it and it’s what we’ve done ever since. I remember the doctor saying, ‘What’s the point in breaking two things that are perfectly healthy apart and making them two ‘broken’ pieces’. They said if we separated them they would be healthy but need colostomy bags and round-the-clock care.

“It’s amazing what you get used to and how you adjust. We needed a specially-made car seat. And I bought a sewing machine so I could make their clothes!”

The twins have regular check-ups, but apart from both of them being partially deaf in one ear, they’ve passed with flying colours. They can walk with the aid of a walker but haven’t yet learned how to get about independently.

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Chelsea says, “Carter tries to take a step sometimes, but Callie hasn’t got used to the weight distribution needed to walk independently yet, but they will get there.”

At the moment the girls attend a special needs school, where they have extra physiotherapy and speech and occupational therapy twice a week, as well as the weekly appointments they have from home. But in August, they will start attending a mainstream nursery.

Chelsea says she parents them the same way as her other two children, though she acknowledges that there are specific issues. She says, “It can be funny when, for example, Callie wants to go to get something to play with and Carter wants to stay sitting down and drink some apple juice. But I explain to them that they have to make it work and to get the toy and then drink the apple juice, and they rarely end up in a fight.”

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Chelsea and Nick share the childcare. When Nick gets back from work at 4pm, Chelsea goes to the pharmacy where she works and he takes over the bedtime routine for all four of their children.

Chelsea says, “Their brothers adore them, Jaysin really looks out for them.”

As for the future, Chelsea doesn’t know what it holds. She says, “We don’t know the prognosis for our girls, I don’t want to know. There are boy twins joined in a similar way to Callie and Carter who lived into their sixties, so I don’t see why they won’t too.

“The best time to separate conjoined twins is before they turn four – they heal better then and are unlikely to have memories of being together. But I was too frightened to do it as I couldn’t bear to lose one or both of my gorgeous girls. I will never separate my conjoined twins – I don’t feel like it’s my decision to make – it’s theirs to decide when they’re older.

“For now we’re a very happy family and we just have to keep faith that it will continue that way in the future.”

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