Not long after learning she was pregnant with twins, Liliya Mirochnik learned her twin daughters were conjoined at the head.
"It was very tough. I just was shocked," said Mirochnik. "I couldn’t process. When I got home my husband said that everything will be good. We will get through it. This is our kids. We already love them."
Although they were joined by the skull, soft tissue and brain, doctors had hope.
"There are very few children born in any one year worldwide that have this anomaly," said UC Davis Children’s Hospital Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Edwards. "And of those, there’s only a much smaller subset that’s anatomy is fortuitous enough to be able to attempt a separation and hopefully come out with two healthy babies."
The twins spent four months at UC Davis Medical Center, while doctors prepared for the grueling surgery.
"We made 3D models, looking at some forms of altered reality, virtual reality, augmented reality, to help us understand it better," said Edwards.
After a marathon 24-hour surgery, the team of doctors successfully separated Abigail and Micaela.
"They both are really happy babies. Not fussy ones. Very happy, always laughing, smiling, positive, always," said Mirochnik.
After spending a few weeks at UC Davis intensive care unit to heal, Abigail and Micaela will reunite with their parents and three older brothers at home.
"It’s like one step at a time. It’s hard enough, but one step at a time," said father Anatoliy Bachinsky.
"It’s all in God’s hands. It’s not even in the doctor’s hands. That’s what I believe," said Mirochnik.