One In A Million Odd OF Success When Doctor Performed Surgery On The Conjoined Twins.
Abigail and Micaela Bachinskiy were born in December of 2019 as craniopagus twins, conjoined at the head. They shared a skull, a brain and soft tissues. This only occurs with about one in a million births in the United States.
At the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, surgeons constructed 3D models of the girls’ head, and practiced performing the separation surgery. The odds of success were about as high as the birth occurrence itself. They began the procedure on Oct. 23 and it took 24 hours to complete. And, yes, it was a success.
The girls’ parents, Liliya Mirochnik and Anatoliy Bachinskiy, of Sacramento, California, said they had gotten used to their daughters being joined but are now enjoying them being their own individuals. It’s been quite an emotional journey for them.
As soon as the girls were born, doctors immediately began making plans to separate them. 10 months later, they did, with success.
Said Liliya: ‘The doctors were always saying one in a million. But I had a feeling because I saw God[‘s] hand through the pregnancy, so many miracles, like big miracles, you know? And I just knew that God’s taking care of this.’ ‘It was very special. I was crying when I held them, tears were filling my eyes. When you hold them, if you have some worries [internally]… they just run away. I wasn’t heavy inside, I was so relieved.’
Added Anatoliy: “It took me a minute to hold them because they were so unique. You got used to them being together, and now you’re seeing two different girls, two different bodies and… it’s just amazing.”
Liliya said that even after they were separated and put down close together they kept reaching for each other, like they were so used to being together as one. The couple also has three sons. When they learned during the pregnancy that there were twins and they were conjoined, they were shocked, probably as any other parent would be. But later on, Liliya said that she was conforted and given peace about it by God, and her husband encouraged and supported her.
Said Dr. Granger Wong, the chief of plastic surgery at the children’s hospital: “Conjoined twins in and of themselves are rare and to have them joined at the head is even more rare, and to even have the favorable anatomy to be divided because sometimes shared too many structures is even rarer.”
Many, he added, never make it to delivery.
Said Liliya: ‘We have felt so much support from staff. We have received so much help, so much advice. It has made us feel at home here.’
Dr. Michael Edwards, a neurosurgeon at the hospital, said: There was planning for every step of the way that we could think of. ‘Everything’s gotta happen on time, the right way, everybody ready and no question about what we’re asking them to do.’
One doctor added that the long operation was like a choreographed ballet. Every step made at exactly the right moment. The girls were officially separated at 3:28 a.m. on Oct. 24th. Edwards enjoyed visiting the girls after the operation.
Said the doctor: “I like to go up there every morning because the world around us is full of bad things and terror, and you go up there and see these two little girls, and it’s a good start to the day.”
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