An Enugu-based couple, Segun and Mary Ayeni, have shown great hope despite birthing a set of conjoined twin girls.
Speaking with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, the parents of the girls, Miracle and Testimony, expressed optimism despite the condition of their twin daughters born on November 16, 2015, who are joined at the groin.
The father, Segun, 35, explained how, despite his initial reaction of trauma, his faith gave him the courage to pull through.
He said, “Naturally, you would be a little bit traumatised. That is natural. But in everything, when you know the word of God, it will strengthen you more, because it is part of life. There is nothing one can do about it. It has happened.
“When I first heard it was going to be twins, I was happy. But later they said they were joined in some way and I asked, ‘Conjoined how?’
“I thought it was the kind of thing whereby they would be separated immediately. But I later discovered that if they should try to operate immediately, we would lose the two (girls).”
Interestingly, the children are very healthy. According to their father, they are in perfect condition.
Ayeni said, “It was after the birth that we knew for certain that the babies were conjoined. When they (the doctors) were talking about it, I didn’t understand, not until the babies came out.
“They are not connected to anything (machine). They eat normally; they poo (defecate) and wee (urinate) normally because they have separate genitals and legs.
“They are not sharing any vital organs, according to the doctors. That is why they said their chances of surviving are very high. They are okay, except for the occasional fever, which is normal, and within one or two days, it is gone.”
Like Segun, his wife, Mary, attributed the birth to God and expressed an assurance that the twins were born for a purpose.
The couple, who celebrated their third wedding anniversary in December, had their first daughter, Marvellous, on November 19, 2013.
According to the mother of three, Marvellous has had a normal relationship with her siblings.
The day Mary took her firstborn along to the hospital; she said Marvellous played with them like any child would.
The mother said, “After the birth, I was told that they were conjoined, but it was two weeks later that I saw the children face-to-face. I delivered the babies by caesarean section. While I was in the hospital recuperating, the babies were transferred to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital.
“It was a week after that I went there to see them and I was happy because they are strong; it was just that they are conjoined. Will I question God? What will I do as their mother? God gave them to me,” she told our correspondent.
The twins, who are still in the Intensive Care Unit at UNTH, are visited by their mother every day.
Segun noted that though they went for five ultrasounds, they were unprepared for the peculiar birth. He added that the true nature of the children’s condition was kept from him.
He said, “They were just telling us, ‘It seems they are joined somewhere.’ They would not open up to you because they don’t know the kind of heart you have. You know that some people may not have the heart to withstand such a thing. It may be a strange thing to the person.
“Initially, they were even saying (they shared) one leg. An ultrasound (scan) can only give you (a view) of the full-fledged human form between six to seven months (to the delivery). We did it again in the sixth month.
Segun said tests were run on the twins regularly, adding that an average of N25,000 to N35,000 was spent for his children’s care weekly, while the fees could be much more, depending on the tests.
“The doctors are constantly checking to see if any of their vital organs are joined in any way. There’s another one we are about to do now — MRS (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy) scan. Today, we will still do a series of it. That one is (a total of) about N80,000.
“I don’t keep track of all those costs because they are my children; I don’t expect anyone to pay me back. I really cannot recall the test I spent highest for.
Mary told our correspondent that though the nurses in the hospital are kind to her twins, she has been stigmatised by some hospital staff and neighbours.
“Because of illiteracy or not being exposed, some think that whenever anything (strange) happens, it is somebody that is behind it.
“Some female workers that clean the hospital asked, ‘Why are you disturbing yourself?’ They told me to leave the kids and run away. But I can never leave them and run away because they are my blood.”
“The neighbours living in my compound are fine; they understand because they are learned. But on the streets, some people that heard I had conjoined twins stopped greeting me. Some wouldn’t even talk to me; some that used to come and collect things from me before now talk about me in jest. They laugh. But God will take all the glory.”
Mary further expressed apprehension about the urgency of the situation of the children.
According to her, she has been trying to reach out to a woman, who had conjoined twins in 2007.
“I am looking for how to get in touch with the woman so I can find out a lot of things. I don’t understand what the doctors are doing. I am worried that they may be experimenting with my kids,” she said.