The parents of Kendra and Maliyah Herrin were deeply troubled about the decision they had to make regarding their daughters. They had to decide whether to let the two sister be conjoined together or get them separated that risked their life!
The conjoined twins made headlines in 2002 when they were born sharing a large intestine, bladder, liver, and single kidney. Their parents, Erin and Jake, were faced with any parent’s worst nightmare, they had to decide if they were going to separate the girls or keep them conjoined.
Both of these options were going to put the girls’ lives at risk and it was not something that any doctors would take lightly either.
“One doctor told us he thought everything from the twins’ chest, down was mush, and they didn’t have the organs they needed to survive on their own outside of my womb,” Erin said. “Another doctor told us to simply abort the twins because it was all too complicated. But 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.”
Erin and Jake made the decision to separate their daughters when they were 4 years old. They felt that this option would give the girls the best chance to live a normal life. The surgery posed major health risks and it became a national story.
Despite the low survival rate, the girls exceeded all expectations and did very well. There was a team of six surgeons who operated on the twins, and the girls were successfully separated after a grueling 26 hours. Kendra was the one who retained their shared kidney and Maliyah was forced to undergo dialysis until she was able to get a kidney transplant from her mother.
It’s been years since the girls were separated, but they are doing better than ever! It was definitely a challenge when the girls had to transition and learn to adjust to life on their own, but they are doing fantastic now!
“The girls were happy to be independent at last, but sometimes I’d find them playing and walking around the house on crutches, sometimes holding on to one another like they were still conjoined,” Erin said.
Watch the video below to see these girls who are now able to live life to the fullest!