Christmas came a little early for the Bachinskiy family: formerly conjoined twins Abigail and Micaela were discharged from UC Davis Children’s Hospital yesterday (12/23) and will be spending their first Christmas together at home.
“I think it’s the best present of my life, to be home with them, my nice, beautiful, healthy girls,” said mom Liliya Miroshnik.
The 11-month-old craniopagus conjoined twins, born connected at the head, were separated in a 24-hour separation surgery that spanned October 24-25. They have spent nearly two months recovering at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
“They are healthy and happy and their futures are bright,” said pediatric neurosurgeon Michael Edwards, who has been caring for the girls since birth. He stopped by to wish them well and walk them out. “So many people in our hospital, at all levels, have been touched by these girls and their story,” he said.
It was a bittersweet sendoff for the hospital staff, many of whom have been involved in the girls’ care for nearly a year. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” said clinical nurse specialist Dawn Harbour, who spent much of the morning caring for and cuddling both girls, now nicknamed Abby and Mica.
“It’s just miraculous that they’re separated,” said Harbour, fighting back tears. “We’re just in awe and so thankful that we got to be part of a miracle here at UC Davis.”
Hospital staff members waved and clapped as the girls traveled via wagon through the hallways on their way out, and several accompanied them all the way outside to say goodbye.
It was another milestone in a year packed with them. Parents Liliya and Anatoliy have dubbed them “miracles”: the birth of their girls, taking them home for the first time via the UC Davis Children’s Hospital ambulance, a tissue expander surgery to create enough scalp skin for their separation, their successful separation surgery and seeing each other for the first time.
“We’ve been praying for this day and praise God, it’s here,” Liliya said.
And now, a Christmas wish of finally being home together as a family under the same roof with their three sons and twin daughters. A Christmas miracle made possible by the team from UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
“The UC Davis team is the best. We are really thankful for everyone here. They will always be part of our family because we will always see their work in the girls,” Liliya said.
Watch the five-part video series about Abigail and Micaela’s patient journey.