Their names are Miracle and Testimony Ayeni. The conjoined twins were finally separated one day before their first birthday at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis. It was a harrowing, 18-hour surgery for which the doctors and patients took five months to prepare.
The girls were born fused together at the hips, although they each had two legs. Photos posted to The Memphis Commercial Appeal website show their legs protruding at 90-degree angles from their bodies. Another photo shows an amazing x-ray scan that clearly identifies the condition known as ischiopagus, where two people are fused together at the lower half of the body. The condition is so rare, it's estimated to occur only in one of every five million births.
The twins shared a colon, their kidneys were hooked and their pelvises were fused and open, according to Inside Edition.
Shortly after the girls' birth, their situation was reported to Linking Hands Foundation, a Nigerian-based childrens' organization, which began soliciting for help. They were able to find a team of specialists at Le Bonheur in Memphis that was willing to take on the daunting case pro-bono, at no charge.
"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.
It was right for the kids. The surgery was a success, and now the little girls can look forward to relatively normal lives, including the ability to walk. After completing rehabilitation therapy, the family will return to Nigeria. In addition to their parents, the twins have a 3-year-old sister.
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