MINNEAPOLIS – From the moment Paisleigh and Paislyn Martinez entered the world together, on February 10, 2016, six weeks early, their twin bond was immediate.

The identical twin girls reached out and touched each other’s faces in the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit. They held each other’s pacifiers. Their hearts beat in near unison.

“It was a miracle, it really was,” said Paris Bryan, 21, their mother.

But for Bryan and her fiancé, Ernesto Martinez, of Cass Lake, Minnesota, the biggest surprise was yet to come.


Early in Bryan’s pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed her twin girls were conjoined, from chest to their abdomen, connected at the chest, heart and liver.

Conjoined twins occur approximately in one of 200,000 live births, up to one in a million births, according to University of Minnesota physicians, who diagnosed Paisleigh and Paislyn as thoraco-omphalopagus conjoined twins.

The twins lacked a breastbone, and their livers were fused in the middle. At first, doctors believed their hearts were separate, but touching one another, but breakthrough 3D technology, used at only a handful of places in the world, soon brought a new revelation.

A team of University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital doctors then spent months planning and performing a groundbreaking delivery and separation of the conjoined twins, using 3D printing and imaging technology to discover how the baby girls’ hearts were intricately…