Bexleyheath twins born conjoined celebrate first birthday
PUBLISHED: 10:10 26 July 2013 | UPDATED: 10:30 26 July 2013
Bexleyheath twins who were born conjoined celebrated their first birthday today - and their mother has admitted she did not think they would 'get this far.'
Rosie and Ruby Formosa were born joined at the abdomen and needed an emergency operation to separate them at Great Ormond Street Hospital the day after they were born.
Their mother Angela was told their survival chances were low but she said they are now doing very well and are ‘happy and bubbly.’
The 32-year-old said: “It was quite a tough journey. It’s quite emotional thinking back, thinking what we must have been going through at the time. It was really tough.”
“Every time we went for a scan, we were worrying whether there was still going to be a heartbeat.
“They weren’t making any plans to give birth to them. All of a sudden it was like ‘OK - we need to make a plan because they’re still here, they’re going to arrive, so now we need to make plans and where we will deliver and where we will go’.”
She said she was planning to celebrate with the family on Saturday.
“They’re crawling around, trying to stand up on all the furniture and they’re playing with toys and taking toys off one another,” Mrs Formosa added.
“They’re very bubbly, very happy, they are very determined - but we knew that from the start really.
“They’ve never really been apart so I don’t know whether they’re inseparable or not but they’ll play independently and then they’ll look for one another.”
Mrs Formosa said she had a ‘textbook pregnancy’ with her first daughter Lily, now five, so finding out the twins were joined for a complete shock.
Doctors discovered that the twins were conjoined when she was around 16 weeks pregnant.
The girls were delivered by Caesarean section at 34 weeks at University College Hospital. Within a couple of hours of birth they were taken to Gosh for emergency surgery because of an intestinal blockage.
The renowned children’s hospital is one of the most experienced centres in the world for the treatment of conjoined twins - but even still they only see an average of one case each year.
Consultant paediatric surgeon Ed Kiely, who was part of the team who operated on the girls, said: “We see perhaps one set of twins a year on average. They’re not that rare but because of antenatal diagnosis they don’t always get born.
“Even if they get born, two-thirds of them are stillborn or die very quickly because of cardiac problems. For conjoined twins in general, survival chances are quite low.
“Conjoined twinning occurs in one in every 50,000 or 60,000 pregnancies in Europe. And about one in 200,000 (of all) deliveries is a conjoined twin with the chance of survival.”
He said the hospital is ‘happy’ with the progress the girls have made and is ‘delighted’ they are now celebrating their first birthday.
The twins will have to have regular check-ups throughout childhood about once or twice a year, he added.
Mrs Formosa said her taxi driver husband Daniel, 37, ‘loves’ being surrounded by girls at home.
She said: “He is coping well. He loves having all of his girls at home.
“He works evenings so he spends all day at home with me and the babies. He loves playing with them.
“Ruby especially loves her daddy - she’ll see him and will start kicking her legs and jumping up and down. Ruby is a daddy’s girl and Rosie is more of a mummy’s girl.”