After a year of living conjoined at the lower half, the twins are experiencing a whole new world after their successful surgical separation.
Born one year ago in Nigeria, Miracle and Testimony Ayeni were connected at the pelvis. The girls shared a colon, their kidneys were hooked together, and their four legs had nowhere to go but straight out at 90-degree angles.
It was truly a global effort to get these girls the medical care they desperately needed. Linking Hands, a faith-based organization dedicated to meeting the medical needs of the impoverished, worked to connect the Ayeni family to a highly skilled team of surgeons in the United States.
The girls’ parents, Mary and Samuel Ayeni, bravely left their jobs and life in Nigeria and trusted God that moving to America would give their daughters the best chance at a healthy life. They moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and met with a medical team at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
For months, a team of compassionate and highly skilled doctors and nurses worked to come up with a plan to separate the girls. Le Bonheur CEO Meri Armour said the entire medical team donated their time to help the twins.
“We only ask one question–is it right for the kids?” Armour stated. “And if it’s right for the kids, then we do it.”
After a quick first birthday celebration, the girls were wheeled off to surgery. Medical staff worked for 18 hours to perform the complex operations.
“I was so excited,” expressed the twins’ mother. “Those tears that you see back there, those are tears of joy, because if you see the way the twins are before, and you see them now, you would be grateful to God.”
The medical team said they found strength in the unwavering faith shown by the girls’ parents. “Mary and Samuel’s faith has impressed me every day of this whole journey,” Dr. Emilee Dobish said.
“And I think it’s impressed the entire team, like all of the surgeons,” Dobish continued. “We all drew strength from their faith to help carry us through this process.”
The Ayeni family is overwhelmed by the support and love from the medical community. “If God can give miracle, testimony will back it up,” Mary explained. “So these kids, they are Miracle and Testimony.”
Dr. Max Langham, the surgical team leader, was incredibly proud of his medical team. “The complexity here is obvious,” he shared, “but the teamwork here is spectacular.”
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