NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – From the moment she was told she was pregnant with twins, 29 year-old Caroline Mukiri sensed there was something wrong with her pregnancy.
At seven months of pregnancy it became apparent that all was not well.
Despite two doctors assuring her that her twins were healthy, Mukiri remained worried.
“I even went to another doctor who assured me that my babies were fine. But I was not satisfied.”
And on the day she gave birth to her two babies, her fears were confirmed.
Her babies were amalgamated on their lower backs.
They weighed 5.2 kilos when they were born at month eight.
Like a miracle Mukiri gave birth normally though the doctors had anticipated a caesarean.
From the moment she saw the fragile girls, her heart ached and her mind was lost in deep thoughts of regret and anguish.
“I cried and started asking God if he hated me. I wished something bad could have happened to me so that I couldn’t give birth to such children,” Mukiri recalled during an interview with Capital FM News.
She was immediately transferred from Kiirua Mission Hospital in Meru to Kenyatta National Hospital where she has been for the last two years and two months.
KNH is the place and the environment Blessing and Favour have known as their home since birth.
For the two years they have lived on this earth, they didn’t know a life without each other. They slept together, bathed together, ate together – nothing could be done without the other’s close presence.
Interestingly their development was also at par.
“They started teething the same time, they started walking at nine months, – and those are the things I observed, I didn’t teach them. It was only God. They grew up in the hospital and like any other kids, they didn’t have any other complications other than that they were conjoined,” she explained.
Though they were conjoined on their lower-backs, the two bubbly girls had their unique style of facing each other and even giving each other a kiss.
“I don’t know how they used to do it, but used one would tell the other, ‘toto (baby) kiss,’ and the other one would turn and give a kiss on the cheek. They love each other so much.”
During the two years and two months they have been at KNH, Mukiri recalled the low moments she would cry and her conjoined babies with their tiny soft hands and faces of innocence would calm her down and wipe her tears – not knowing that she was crying for them.
“Sometimes I would feel so low and cry, but they would wipe my tears and tell me to stop crying. They were source of my strength too,” she narrated.
It was a life of despair sometimes. The doctors and staff at KNH who have now become like family always assured her that her babies would be well.
It was this hope that Mukiri hanged on – the hope that has given not only her a reason to smile, but all Kenyans – including President Uhuru Kenyatta who sent his congratulatory message for the major breakthrough surgery.
“I am so happy, I thank God and the doctors,” Mukiri appreciated.
Blessing’s and Favour’s success story of the 23-hour surgery comprising of a team of 58 was double contentment that they were separated and that Kenya now has capacity to separate conjoined twins.
Since Tuesday – Blessing’s and Favour’s life changed.
Though they were recovering at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), they could feel that their life was different.
“When I entered the ward, I found Blessing looking for the sister. She was asking me, ‘where is toto?’ when she touched my hand she thought it’s toto, but she turned and saw it was not toto, I could see her searching for her sister,” Mukiri recalled.
The surgery required specialised equipment which KNH had to procure from abroad. Proudly, the team of 58 comprised of Kenyan specialists.
According to Prof Julius Kiambi one of the doctors who operated on the two girls, Kenya has highly skilled professionals but lacks adequate resources to treat some conditions – the reason why some equipment had to be imported.
“With resources, we can do anything under the sky. We should get trained and come back to the country,” he urged.
Blessing’s and Favour’s surgery cost approximately Sh160 million which the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will cover.
The two girls were expected to be moved from ICU to a normal ward in about a week’s time.