Formerly conjoined twins Kendra and Maliyah Herrin are now 15 years old
Erin and Jake Herrin were happily expecting the birth of the identical twins when doctors told them that the babies were conjoined.
The twins Kendra and Maliyah Herrin were born in 2002, and they shared a large intestine, bladder, liver, and had one single kidney, they were born fused at the mid-torso and shared two legs.
The Herrins faced an agonizing decision: whether they separated the girls or kept them conjoined, their lives were at risk, a journey they shared on their Blog.
When the girls were four, they were finally submitted to a complex surgical procedure that would separate them, and allow them to live as individuals
"I’d seen our daughters’ faces close up, at an MRI scan, and fallen in love with them. I was determined to do whatever it took to bring them into the world safely, even if it meant risking my own life”
Kendra and Maliyah were the first set of twins to be separated who shared only one kidney, and the surgery was deemed high risk.
A team of six surgeons operated on the girls for 26 hours, and for the first time in their lives, the twins were parted. Kendra retained their shared kidney, while Maliyah underwent dialysis until she was transplanted with a kidney donated by her mom.
At first, the girls would cling together, Erin explained but eventually got used to the separation. After the operation that separated them, the twins had many more procedures to gradually straighten their spines and were each fitted with a prosthetic leg.
In February 2018, the twins posted a video on Youtube describing their experience, before, during and after the surgery. They hope to reach out and encourage other teens going through challenges, telling them they can conquer adversity just as they did.
Kendra and Maliyah Herrin are now pretty 15-year-olds with active social lives, but their courage and determination shine through.
Statistics show that 40 to 60% of conjoined twins die in utero, and only 5 to 25% survive to adulthood, so Kendra and Maliyah were very fortunate in defying the odds. Curiously, 2 out of 3 conjoined twins are female, and a third is attached at the lower chest, sharing organs.
Kendra and Maliyah are extraordinary young women, not just because of their birth, but for their sheer tenacity and verve for life.
Read more about the Herrin twins on our Twitter account @amomama_usa.