Sixteen days after her birth, Hannah McCullough was finally able to nestle into the arms of her mother.
Amber McCullough of Hastings described the tender moment in an online post Tuesday, in which she also explained that she's planning a memorial service for Hannah's formerly conjoined twin, Olivia.
The twins were joined from the chest to the pelvis when they were delivered by cesarean section at a Denver hospital late last month.
Doctors told McCullough before the delivery that Olivia would not survive because of an underdeveloped heart and other medical complications. Hannah's condition was serious following the five-hour separation surgery, during which she lost her whole blood volume three times over, KUSA reported.
In Tuesday's post, McCullough writes about the joy of holding Hannah for the first time and the thrill of hearing her daughter's voice on the following day when the baby's breathing tube was removed:
"I appreciate and take such glory in hearing her voice in a way I can't describe after having to watch her cry silently with a tube in her mouth. Even if it keeps my up all night, it will always touch my heart with a very particular joy."
As Hannah's condition slowly improved, her mother posted the first photo of her last week.
McCullough, who also has a six-year-old son, is a single mother who took a leave of absence from her job in April. The GoFundMe page she started to help her meet expenses has surpassed the $30,000 goal.
Now McCullough is asking supporters to instead contribute to Children's Hospital of Colorado, writing that she is establishing a fund for its Maternal and Fetal Medicine Department in the name of Olivia McCullough.