1-year-old conjoined twins separated in 18-hour surgery: 'Without faith things wouldn't have worked out'
One-year-old conjoined twins, Miracle and Testimony, were successfully separated last week in an 18-hour surgery in Tennessee.
The twins' parents, Samuel Olusegun Ayeni and Mary Abiodun Ayeni, traveled from Nigeria with their babies in June to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis in hopes of finding a way to separate the girls.
After five months of preparation at the hospital, the girls, who were connected at the lower half of their bodies, were ready for surgery.
"This is a rare condition," said surgical team leader Dr. Max Langham. "This particular variation of conjoining occurs maybe in one of every 5 million births."
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Langham also said it's very uncommon in this type of conjoining that both twins are healthy.
The twins shared a colon, their kidneys were hooked, and their pelvises were fused and open, causing their legs to splay out at 90 degree angles.
In January 2016, a Nigerian-based organization, Linking Hands Foundation (LHF), which focuses on children's health and education, was notified of the twin's situation and began soliciting for help.
It was then that they connected with Le Bonheur whose entire surgical team donated their time pro-bono for the girls.
"We only ask one question — is it right for the kids? And if it's right for the kids, then we do it," said hospital CEO Meri Armour.
The twins' parents said it was religion that got them through the whole ordeal.
"Without faith things wouldn't have worked out," said Sam Ayeni, the father of the girls. "When you give everything to God and believe, he will give you peace. I have the faith that He is helping us, and we are giving all of this to Him."
And doctors said they hope for the best in the girls' future.
"We hope they'll be able to [walk and play and run]" orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Warner said.
The Ayeni twins remain at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, where they continue to recover and receive rehabilitation therapy before returning to Nigeria.