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Siamese Twins Nearing First Birthday

April 13, 1985

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) _ Ruth and Verena Cady are ″beautiful little girls″ who turn 1 year old today, months longer than doctors thought the Siamese twins joined from collarbone to navel would survive, their parents say.

″I can’t overemphasize how wonderful people have been,″ said Marlene Cady, 30, the girls’ mother. ″This town is incredible. Our medical insurance covered most of the bills, but someone set up a fund at the bank for the rest. I don’t know who it was. It’s been so encouraging.″

The first few weeks of the twins’ lives were the hardest.

″It was a shock when they were born,″ said Peter Cady, 30. ″My first reaction was ‘When do they pull them apart?’ Then we realized there was nothing the medical people could do.″

Then came the realization that ″these are our children, our beautiful babies, and we have to live with it and flow with it,″ Cady said.

″We were told when they were three months old that doctors hadn’t expected them to make it past one month,″ Mrs. Cady said.

The twins share a heart, which is defective because it has only three chambers instead of the normal four. They also share a liver and some parts of the intestines, she said.

″They told us if they tried (to separate them) that one would die for sure and there was a 90 percent chance the other one would die, too,″ Mrs. Cady said. ″We didn’t even consider it.

″We decided there’s no point in dreaming about the future. We’d open ourselves up for possible disappointment. They’ve given us so much more than they would have if they were normal. One day at a time is the only way and we’ve tried very hard not to think about it any other way.″

Ruth and Verena, blonde and on the verge of talking, can’t crawl so they haven’t learned how to protect themselves when they fall, said Cindy Kraushaar, a physical therapist who works with the twins.

She is teaching them to walk in a sideways fashion and is trying to help them develop motor skills. The Cadys have altered a stroller and other baby fixtures to fit their twins.

The twins’ 3-year-old sister, Maria, ″loves to show them off to everybody,″ her mother said.

Although they share vital organs, the twins have distinct personalities.

″Ruth is a sweet little lady,″ Mrs. Cady said, ″while Verena is a gung- ho tomboy, much mor aggressive.″

They fuss at night and giggle and cry just like other babies, and not always in concert, Cady said.″One might be awake and the other one sound asleep. If they get a little bored it’s more fun to throw a good left hook and wake the other one up. It’s really like any two people - they’re of different minds.″

Mrs. Cady said she and her husband want their unusual girls to have a relatively normal life, as long as it might last.

To that end, they aren’t ″keeping them hidden in the house, away from people,″ she said.″We go to the park, to the grocery store, everywhere. It helps them develop a good attitude and helps the community do the same.

″People see situations as uncomfortable and freaky unless they’re familar with them.″

″They are not freaks,″ Cady added. ″They’re beautiful little girls.″

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