When a young woman in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan gave birth to her twin girls, she was shocked to discover they were conjoined.
The doctor who delivered the girls had never experienced a set of conjoined twins before and it was initially kept a secret from the mother during her pregnancy.
When they were born her mom feared they would not be accepted by the close-knit community, while doctors around them fought to find a way to get them the life-saving separation operation they needed.
Then, after a year of negotiations, they received extraordinary news — they along with their mother would be flown to Melbourne, Australia to be separated surgically thanks to funds raised by a special donor.
It's a big day for these cuties!
Nima and Dawa, the conjoined twins from Bhutan, are set to undergo separation surgery at the @RCHMelbourne in about an hour.
— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) November 8, 2018
Conjoined twins are very rare – it is thought one in every 200,000 births.
The sisters were joined at the torso, but to make surgery more challenging they also shared a liver.
Sun and moon
The family arrived in Australia in October and the twins were admitted into the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Sisters, Nima and Dawa, the names given to all twins born in Bhutan meaning sun and moon, had to endure a six-hour operation and are said to be recovering well.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne clinicians have successfully separated twins Nima and Dawa in a six-hour…
“They’re really cheeky, they’re not far from one another at any time at all and they’re still in the same bed,” nursing coordinator Kellie Smith said.
Even when hospital staff tried putting them in separate beds, the 16-month old girls got upset.
“We try to have them a little bit apart, but they manage bum shuffle back together and have their legs intertwined, always,” Kellie added.
So in the end, they had to be moved together again.
The Bhutanese family was brought to Australia thanks to Children First Foundation, an Australian-based charity.
Surgery costs were said to be covered by the state government in Australia, with other funds raised going toward the girls’ Australian rehabilitation and return home
The two teams of doctors who performed the surgery said the girls were healing well.
But most importantly they are happy. They love nothing more than snuggling up with one another and lovingly pulling on each other’s hair, staff say.
Find out more about this astonishing story in the clip below.
Please share so others can see these beautiful girls and as a tribute to the kindness and generosity of the organizations and people who helped make this happen.