JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The news of welcoming a baby girl was an exciting moment for 31-year-old LaToya Harney. Then at 28 weeks, the doctors notified her with life-changing news.
“They told me they see another head and that’s when it was confirmed that it was twin girls. That same day, they said I had to go see a specialist. They told me that they appeared to be conjoined,” said Harney.
The doctors told LaToya the embryo didn’t split completely and resulted in conjoined twins.
Connected at the heart, that’s how her babies, Novah Rein Montgomery and Nadie Rein Montgomery, formed in her womb. They each had their own limbs, head, shoulders but they shared the most important organ– the heart.
Hopeful in their survival, their mother grew more concerned as her due date approached.
“For me to be a woman of color and having conjoined twins. Everything was a complete shock for me. I had to really take a deep breath because when I did find out, I was about six months,” she said.
Conjoined twins occur in roughly one in every 200,000 identical twin pregnancies. The overall survival rate is 5 percent to 25 percent, according to statistics.
On July 9, 2020 the mother of three gave birth. Two hours later, Novah and Nadie passed away. She recounts it as the most gut-wrenching moment to experience.
“The biggest hurt was the day I was discharged from the hospital. I just prepared my things. It was just me going home. That hurt me a lot because I went to the hospital with two babies inside of me and I wasn’t able to bring neither one of them home. That, alone, was the hardest,” she expressed.
After her loss, she encountered a great deal of grief and an arduous journey of postpartum depression– a journey she said will take time to overcome.
“I suffered bad with postpartum depression. It was just days I couldn’t go on. It’s been long. It’s been hard. Grieving will never go away, so I’m still in that process.”
With the support from family and friends, LaToya has been able to feel a sense of peace knowing that her twin baby girls will not have to suffer.
She advises expecting and new mothers to have support during and after their pregnancy in times of difficulty.
“Make sure you have people there that’s going to support you. Make sure you talk about it. If it’s young women that hear this and want to talk to me, please do that. I’ll talk about it,” expressed Harney.
LaToya’s next mission is to spread awareness about her journey and be a shoulder to lean on for other women who may have encountered a similar experience or suffer from postpartum depression.
To donate to LaToya’s need for assistance, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org