Four months after the successful surgery of the country’s first conjoined twins in Melbourne, Australia, Nima and Dawa Pelden returned home on Thursday.
The 19-months old girls have learned to walk normally and also picked up a few English words during their stay overseas.
The family along with the two staffs of the Children First Foundation (CFF) who escorted the girls and the mother from Australia will be reaching their home in Phuentsholing today evening.
The Girls’ mother, Bumchu Zangmo said it feels like a dream after a year and half of anxiety and stress to see the girls live a normal life back at home.
Bumchu Zangmo first learned about her daughters’ conjoined status only after a week of giving birth. “I wasn’t able to see my babies for a week since I wasn’t in condition to breastfeed nor move. I wasn’t forewarned that they are conjoined as well, so when I first saw my girls, I was completely left in disbelief.”
She said she was just told that the babies were too weak so they need to be referred to the National Referral Hospital in Thimphu. “There were lots of paperwork needed to be cleared which put me to doubt that something was wrong but I never expected my babies to be conjoined.”
“I could not figure any possibilities for my girls to lead a normal life, so all I could do was cry profusely even when the doctors told us that there is a possibility to separate the girls because I was a skeptic.”, she added.
She however said that she always hoped that the operation would be successful. “I just couldn’t think of going back home without my babies”.
Apart from the stress to provide proper care for the girls and worry about their future, Bumchu said she mostly feared the society would discriminate the girls for being different. “I still worry if they will be discriminated in school once they grow up and if the normal feature doesn’t develop.”
Bumchu said she felt relieved to a great extent upon their arrival in Melbourne, Australia, about 6 months ago. “Everyone there was kind and eased the situation with so much of love and care.”
Bumchu said she feels deeply grateful for every moment she spent surrounded by kind and compassionate beings, despite the language barrier. “We couldn’t thank enough to all the well-wishers.”
The girls’ father, Sonam Tshering said he is overwhelmed by the twist in the fate of the girls. “From what it seemed like a nightmare to a successful story to gaining love and support from all over, I feel one can’t be luckier.”
Nima and Dawa were successfully separated on 9 October at the Royal Children’s Hospital after an 18-hour surgery which took a team of six senior surgeons, six senior anesthesiologists who were among the 25 teams that conducted the surgery.
Nima and Dawa were born on 14 July 2017 in Phuentsholing General Hospital by cesarean section. Their combined birth weight was 4.8 kilograms. The twin only shared the liver and some bowel loops.
After the discharge from the hospital in November, the CFF kept the family at the retreat center where physiotherapy and all the facilities needed to catch up to a normal growth were be provided.