After a 24-hour operation, 9-month-old twins conjoined at the head were successfully separated and today their parents are praising God for this miracle.
An impossible operation
Abigail and Micaela Bachinskiy’s separation operation looked impossible according to their doctor, “It’s a very, very rare anomaly,” said Dr. Michael Edwards, the lead pediatric neurosurgeon at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento.”
“There are very few children born in any one year worldwide that have this anomaly, and of those, there’s only a much smaller subset that the anatomy is fortuitous enough to be able to attempt a separation – and hopefully come out with two healthy babies.”
When Liliya Miroshnik was pregnant at 11 weeks, doctors discovered that she was going to have craniopagus twins, which meant their heads were fused together. This news overwhelmed Liliya, who already had 3 boys, but with the support of her husband, Anatoliy Bachinskiy, she was at ease.
“It was very tough. I just was shocked. I couldn’t process,” Liliya recalled. “When I got home my husband said that everything will be good. We will get through it. This is our kids. We already love them.” The couple looked to God for support to get them through their daughters’ rare condition.
Doctors at UC Davis Children’s Hospital made a lot of preparations for the arrival of Abigail and Micaela Bachinskiy’s twins with multiple simulations and looking into all possible complications during their birth.
Finally, the conjoined twins were born and they were at the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a few weeks before going home. But the doctors were already aware that sooner or later their heads would have to be separated. “As they get older, there are more risks of shared blood vessels and organs becoming larger or more entwined. The upcoming flu, COVID-19, and RSV season was also a concern,” explained Dr. Granger Wong, the lead plastic surgeon.
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When they were nine months old the team of doctors got ready to separate the twins conjoined at the head after spending all that time looking at various techniques to use during the surgery. It took place over a tense 24 hours and involved 30 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other surgery staff.
At 3:28 a.m. on Sunday morning, Abigail and Micaela were separated. “It was like a choreographed ballet,” said Dr. Wong, with Rajvinder Dhamrait, the director of pediatric anesthesiology, adding, “It was flawless, with all contingencies covered.” Parents Liliya Miroshnik and Anatoliy Bachinskiy were elated and knew the Lord had seen them through.
Doctors were able to safely separate the twins conjoined at the head and the medical team was thrilled about it, “This is a landmark surgery for us at UC Davis Children’s Hospital,” Dr. Michael Edwards said. “After 10 months of preparation, we were witnessing what we had all envisioned for the girls and we were overcome with emotion and joy,” said Children’s Surgery Center nursing lead Aida Benitez. “I will never see 3:28 on a clock again and not think of the moment that Abi and Mica became two separate babies.”
“Everything went well,” Liliya said. “It felt almost impossible to separate them, but God and the doctors and nurses at UC Davis made it possible. We are so thankful.” As the twins recuperate, Liliya and Anatoliy are taking things one day at a time and trusting the Lord for everything, “It’s all in God’s hands,” Liliya says. “It’s not even in the doctor’s hands. That’s what I believe.”