THE TWIN WHO DIDN’T WANT TO BE FOUND
REAL life Meet the April Fool’s Day twins who’ve been playing hide and seek since before they were born…
Wh e n 29- yearold Anri Conradie and her husband Herman (36) decided to start trying for a baby, everything went according to script. Anri soon noticed pregnancy symptoms, and was doing well under the care of her GP, Dr Stander, in Lephalale in Limpopo. For five months of a happy, healthy first pregnancy, everything was so far, so straightforward.
In December 2015, Anri had a fall and consulted her GP in Alberton, south of Johannesburg, while she was visiting family, just to set her mind at ease. They listened to the baby’s heartbeat on a foetal Doppler listening device (he didn’t have an ultrasound machine in his rooms) – and still, all seemed well.
TWO OF A KIND
Back home in Lephalale, Dr Stander performed a routine ultrasound, and hesitated – “I see a mirror image,” she said. An X-ray followed, and it was clear: the Conradie “baby” was actually twins! There was a second baby, a boy, hiding behind his sister.
“At this point, Dr Stander handed me over to a gynaecologist due to the potential complications of a twin pregnancy,” remembers Anri. “I agreed to deliver the babies by c-section at the Pretoria-east Hospital, under the care of gynaecologist Dr Kobus Verwoerd.”
WHERE IS HE?
Anri, a quality administrator at General Electric, was finishing up some work from her mom-in-law’s home in Johannesburg when she felt her waters break. She was 33 weeks pregnant and had been trying to keep her twins inside for as long as possible – but it was clear today was D-day. The date? 1 April 2016, funnily enough, and coincidentally also dad Herman’s birthday.
Anri was soon prepped for her c-section. An incision was made, a bit of pushing and
This is how Anri discovered she has a very rare sort of uterus, called a bicornuate uterus. While her uterus “ends” in one single cervix, at the top it is split into two very distinct horns. And to make her case rarer still, each “horn” is attached to an ovary and Fallopian tube of its own. When she ovulated, Anri’s body released two eggs into two entirely separate locations, where they waited to be fertilised by two separate sperm cells (up to four days apart, as this is how long sperm can survive in a woman’s body). “In a way, I had a double pregnancy rather than a twin pregnancy,” says Anri. “The babies did not share an amniotic sac, and they didn’t even share (the same part of) a uterus either.”
Genetically, of course, PW and Miané are non-identical twins. They are fraternal or dizygotic twins, meaning that two zygotes, made from one egg and one sperm each, grew at the same time in the same mother.
The one-in-five-million Conradie babies spent a month in neonatal ICU catching up on their growth, but are now safely back at home in Lephalale. They are thriving, blissfully unaware of the April Fool’s pranks they played on their parents and doctors before their birth! YB