These twins were born from two separate wombs

By Hilda Van Dyk
02 May 2016

“One child is already a miracle. Twins are an even greater miracle. These two are just wow.”

Just imagine it: your wife is pregnant with twins. You’ve seen both babies on the sonar. You even saw the little boy hiding behind his sister.

Now it’s the big day and your wife is in the theatre for a caesarian. The doctor takes out the first baby, a beautiful daughter. But then he can’t find the other child . . .

This is what happened to Herman (36) and Anri (29) Conradie when their twins were born.

“First the doctor took out Miané. Then he got a worried look on his face. He looked and looked but couldn’t find the other baby. I was stressing, I could see something was wrong. He asked the other doctor where the other one was because he couldn’t feel the baby.

It was only during the caesarean that doctors discovered Anri had two wombs. It was only during the caesarean that doctors discovered Anri had two wombs. PHOTO: Supplied

"Then the other doctor said there were two wombs and that the other baby was in the other womb. It was quite a relief when he took out PW,” the proud father tells us over the phone with Miané peacefully asleep on his chest.

Dr Karen Minnaar, a gynaecologist at Netcare Unitas hospital in Centurion, says it’s very rare for a woman to have two wombs.

Most women are born with one and it’s abnormal to develop two; in occurs in only a tiny percentage of women. It’s something that develops while the woman was still a foetus in her mother’s womb.

PW was half-hidden behind his sister in ultrasound images. PHOTO: Supplied PW was half-hidden behind his sister in ultrasound images. PHOTO: Supplied

That’s why it’s even rarer for twins to be born each from their own womb.

Dr Minnaar doesn’t know how many times this has happened in South Africa because such statistics aren’t recorded in the country, but she’s never seen it in her career.

Herman says after the twins’ birth he and Anri searched the internet for more information and discovered that “there’s a one in five million chance that both babies born in the way will live”.

“In her 40 years as a nurse in a maternity ward my grandmother had never seen such a thing,” Herman says.

Miané was born first at 18:50 in the Pretoria East hospital. PHOTO: Supplied Miané was born first at 18:50 in the Pretoria East hospital. PHOTO: Supplied

He says Anri was five months into her pregnancy before they discovered she was carrying another baby. They’d known about Miané all along but PW was half-hidden behind his sister.

“When we heard it was twins we were shocked and surprised because there aren’t any twins in my or my wife’s families,” Herman says.

The babies were due on Monday 25 April.

Proud papa Herman says his children are miracles. PHOTO: Supplied Proud papa Herman says his children are miracles. PHOTO: Supplied

On 1 April, Herman’s birthday, the water of the womb carrying PW broke. At that stage Anri was 33 weeks along. Miané was born that evening at 18:50 in the Pretoria East hospital. It was only during the caesarean that doctors discovered Anri had two wombs.

Miané weighed 1,88 kg at birth and PW, full names Patrick William, weighed 1,74 kg. They spent about three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit “because they were so small”, Herman says. They were released this past Sunday and yesterday their parents took them to their home in Lephalale, Limpopo.

“One child is already a miracle,” Herman says. “Twins are an even greater miracle. These two are just wow.”

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