On February 26, 2002, the twins Kendra and Maliyah Herrin were born.Erin and Jake were overjoyed that their adored daughters had finally seen the light of day.
At the same time, they had to make a life-altering, terrible decision.Kendra Deene Herrin and Maliyah Mae Herrin were born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 26, 2002.
The sisters were born as a rare set of conjoined Ischiopagus/Omphalopagus twins, sharing a big intestine, bladder, liver, and one kidney.
Kendra and Maliyah were linked at the abdomen and pelvis, and they shared many important organs as well as one pair of legs.
Early on, Erin and Jake realized that separating them would be extremely dangerous.Doctors informed the parents that their daughters lacked the organs required to survive outside of Erin’s womb.
Doctors were concerned about their survival in the weeks leading up to their birth.Erin was recommended to terminate the twins while she was still pregnant.
‘Another doctor advised us to simply abort the twins since everything was too complex.’ ‘However, I’d seen our girls’ features up close at an MRI scan and fallen in love with them,’ Erin explained.
Kendra and Maliyah were bound to face life-threatening health problems as they grew up, whether it happened today or several years from now.
As the girls grew older, Erin and Jake were forced to make a difficult and life-changing decision: keep the girls together or attempt an extremely risky separation surgery.
A successful separation offered a better chance of survival until maturity, but the operation also carried the risk of losing one or both of their daughters.
The most serious medical concern that Kendra and Maliyah faced was their common kidney.
Statistics show that just 75% of surgical separations result in at least one twin surviving.
But Kendra and Maliyah Herrin have spent their entire lives battling the odds.
Following a battery of tests and screenings, physicians determined that Kendra would keep her kidney and Maliyah would require a transplant.
However, because kidney transplants are typically impossible in infants, Kendra and Maliyah would have to wait until they were four years old to undergo surgery if doctors chose that route.
Erin and Jake decided to go ahead with the surgery after much deliberation. After that, all they had to do was wait until their girls were
Six skilled surgeons collaborated on Kendra and Maliyah’s separation procedure on August 7, 2006. Thank God, both twins were able to survive their lengthy and arduous surgery.
After the girls were stabilized, Jake and Erin addressed the audience, who had been following the Herrins’ harrowing story with bated breath.
Everything is going as well as we could have hoped. ‘Prayers are working,’ Jake remarked. ‘They’ve given us strength that we didn’t know 4-year-olds could have,’ Erin added.
Kendra and Maliyah were the first conjoined twins to be separated in order for them to share a kidney.
Even though the surgery was a success, the twins still had a long road to recovery ahead of them. For example, both twins required bandages to be changed three times per week.
Maliyah also needed specialized care and three dialysis sessions every week.
Everyone soon realized, however, that the twins’ miraculous recovery story was out of the ordinary.Erin did not hesitate for a second when she was told Maliyah needed a new kidney.
Although Erin’s kidney was a match, it was impossible to predict whether Maliyah’s body would take it. Though it was!
At the age of 17, the Herrin sisters reside in Salt Lake City. They still thank their parents for making the difficult decision to proceed with the separation operation even though they only have one leg apiece.
While Kendra and Maliyah undoubtedly embraced their new identities as individuals, their sisterly relationship has remained strong to this day.
The girls were relieved to be independent at last, but occasionally Erin would see them playing and using crutches to get around the house, sometimes holding hands like they were still joined at the hip.