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Mom holds surviving conjoined twin for 1st time

Posted at 12:24 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 14:24:24-04

The mother who lost one of her conjoined twins last month has finally got to hold her surviving baby.

Amber McCullough posted on her GoFundMe page that she held baby Hannah on Friday.

"It instantly brought tears to my eyes," McCullough said. "On her 16th day of life I finally held my little girl. It took three people to move her to me with all her tubes but I got to hold her! I'm still so elated."

McCullough, who is from Minnesota, traveled to Colorado to deliver her conjoined twins. Hannah and Olivia McCullough were delivered by Cesarean section on Aug. 26 at Children's Hospital Colorado. The girls were connected at the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

Olivia died. Hannah survived.

Over the weekend, doctors turned off Hannah's ventilator and were able to remove her breathing tube.

"Before removing the tube, they turned it off while I held her so they could monitor how she did on her own with just the oxygen pressure," McCullough explained. "So she could still breathe through the tube but she had to initiate and take each and every breath. She did that for two hours while I held her the whole time :-). She was also so aware and alert. She's also been angry about that tube. She kept trying to take it out herself."

"I cried with her as I finally got to hear her little amazing voice," McCullough said. "It is the most beautiful sound to hear your child."

While the breathing tube is out, Hannah is using a mask that gives her oxygen and ensures her lungs don't close, McCullough explained.

McCullough said they are also starting to give Hannah milk.

"I think the sooner her body is receiving all it needs from breast milk, the better," McCullough said.

McCullough said in addition to being involved in Hannah's care, she is planning Olivia's memorial.

"She is forever in my heart and I'm missing her greatly," McCullough wrote.