The Dilemma of a Loving Father: Separate Conjoined Twins and Face the Loss of One, or Keep Them Together and Risk Losing Both
Being a parent means making tough choices, and this one father in Senegal was faced with an unimaginable decision. He had to choose between separating his conjoined twins through a potentially fatal surgery or keeping them together and facing the possibility of losing both. The weight of this choice is immense, and it highlights the immense responsibility and love that comes with parenthood.
The Unexpected Arrival of Conjoined Twins
Ibrahima Ndiaye’s life took an unexpected turn when his wife gave birth to conjoined twins, Marieme and Ndeye. The news of their birth came as a shock, as multiple scans had failed to detect the presence of two babies in the womb. Conjoined twins are a rare occurrence, with only 1 in 60,000 pregnancies resulting in them.
The doctor informed Ibrahima that the chances of the twins surviving childbirth were slim, and if they did, they were likely to pass away soon after delivery. Despite the odds, Marieme and Ndeye were born healthy and strong, bringing joy to Ibrahima’s life. However, the joy was short-lived as he was faced with the challenging decision of whether to undergo separation surgery, which posed a risk to one of the girls or to raise both, knowing they may not survive.
The Coming of Life-Altering Thing
The moment Ibrahima laid eyes on his newborn twins, Marieme and Ndeye, he understood that his life would never be the same. Born as conjoined twins in 2016, their survival was uncertain and their condition complicated.
Recognizing the need for specialized medical care beyond what was available in Senegal, Ibrahima, who worked as the managing director of a tourism company, began his search for hospitals experienced in separating conjoined twins.
The girls had separate hearts and lungs, but their shared organs such as the stomach, liver, bladder, and digestive system presented a major challenge for any surgical separation. With a heavy heart, Ibrahima embarked on a journey to determine the best course of action for his beloved daughters.
The Journey to Save kids
After multiple rejections from hospitals, the Ndiaye family finally received a glimmer of hope when the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London agreed to consult on their case. They made the journey to the UK with the support of Senegal’s first lady’s charity.
However, upon their arrival, the medical team delivered devastating news. Marieme’s heart was too fragile to undergo the separation surgery, leaving Ndeye as the only option to save.
The decision was a difficult one for Ibrahima, who struggled with the thought of losing one of his daughters. But, he knew it was the best chance they had at a healthier life for one of his girls.
A Difficult Choice with Unwavering Conviction
Faced with the dilemma of potentially losing one twin to save the other, Ibrahima made a bold decision. He refused to sacrifice one of his children for the sake of the other. “It was sacrificing one for the other, which in my moral, spiritual, and parental point of view wasn’t possible. I said no.” he explained.
Ibrahima found himself in a difficult situation when his wife chose to return to Senegal, leaving him as the sole caretaker of their conjoined twins, Marieme and Ndeye. He had lost his job by the time he made the decision to stay in London with the girls to ensure they received the necessary medical care for their survival.
While Ibrahima was left to care for the twins, his wife stayed in Senegal to care for their other child. Despite the distance, they remained in contact through occasional phone calls.
Making the Right Decisions
Despite the challenges, Ibrahima’s unwavering dedication to his children never wavered. Despite the doctors’ doubts that his twins would survive, he refused a separation surgery in 2019 after the hospital proposed one, trusting his instincts that the procedure carried too many risks. His intuition was confirmed when the doctors discovered the girls’ circulatory systems were more intricately connected than originally believed and neither would have survived the operation.
Despite their unique situation, Ibrahima did everything in his power to give his children, Marieme and Ndeye, a normal upbringing. Today, the six-year-olds are flourishing and the family of three now resides in a public housing apartment in Cardiff, where the twins attend public school and are accepted by their classmates.
Raised with Love
Ibrahima’s love and support have allowed his daughters, Marieme and Ndeye, to flourish despite their unique situation. Ndeye is seen as a social butterfly while Marieme is more reserved with some learning difficulties. However, the two girls have formed a strong bond and rarely argue, which is a testament to their strong sibling relationship.
Ibrahima is proud of his girls and constantly tells them how special and beautiful they are, reminding them that they are God’s miracles. This positive reinforcement has helped the girls feel confident and self-assured.
Elleni Ross, the head of social work at Great Ormond Street Hospital, has noted how well Ibrahima has raised the girls and how strong their bond is. The family of three now lives in a public housing apartment in Cardiff, and the children attend public school where they are accepted and loved by their classmates.
Parenting with Perseverance
The head of social work at Great Ormond Street, Elleni Ross, praised Ibrahima for his exceptional parenting skills. “He’s so patient with them, and their faces light up when he comes in the room. Ibrahima tells them they’re special, not disabled,” she said.
However, taking care of Marieme and Ndeye is not without its challenges. The twins, who weigh close to 80 lbs, cannot stand or walk on their own. This means it is physically, mentally, and financially demanding for Ibrahima, who also suffers from back pain, to care for them. To help with this, they have a standing frame that enables them to stand upright.
Putting His Children First
Ibrahima’s daily routine is limited due to the constant supervision his children require. He must always keep a watchful eye on Ndeye to prevent her from rolling over her sister while they sleep.
The road to the twins learning to walk is uncertain as the doctors are wary of teaching them due to the strain it may put on their weak legs and Marieme’s delicate heart.
Despite the difficulties, Ibrahima’s priority is ensuring his children have a happy and healthy life. Instead of worrying about their future, he takes things step by step, hour by hour.
At the end of the day, Ibrahima is grateful for his role as a father to his beloved twins. Instead of focusing on the challenges, he feels blessed to be a part of their journey.Regenerate response