Saturday Star

Best birthday for mom of separated twins


DOCTORS and nurses promised Bongikile Simelane she would be able to hold her babies for the first time on her 20th birthday.

On Thursday, they kept that promise and led her to where her newborns recovered after their landmark separation procedure at Netcare Unitas Hospital 10 days ago.

Everyone gathered around as the young mom reached out to hold her twin daughters. The day had finally come. Bongikile smiled. But the medical workers had one more surprise for her, a birthday party.

Speaking through an interprete­r, Bongekile said she had had an extra-special day.

“I held my babies for the first time, I had a surprise birthday party with a cake. And all the doctors and nurses who showed up to wish me well. It was a good day.”

Among those who came to celebrate with Bongekile were the entire medical and nursing team who participat­ed in the 6-hour separation procedure and were responsibl­e for their care following the operation.

Robert Jordaan, general manager of the hospital, said he hoped it had been a day the young mother would never forget.

“It sure will be for all of us here. This is without a doubt one of the more memorable moments in the history of our hospital.

“The past 10 days bear testimony to the skill and dedication of the healthcare profession­als here.”

The clearly contented mother smiled down at her twin girls, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongony­ane.

A month has passed since their birth at the Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki, Swaziland, on January 2, and for Bongekile and her husband, Mbongeni Shilongony­ane, it has been a challengin­g start to the year.

Dr Marlene Engelbrech­t, the paediatric­ian who is responsibl­e for the overall care of the twins, said the babies were recovering remarkably well and were taken off the ventilator­s a few days ago.

“Uwenzile and Uyihlelile are being fed three-hourly and are starting to gain some weight thanks to the wonderful care they are receiving from our highly capable nursing staff.”

“They are beautiful, responsive little babies. We anticipate they will go on to make their parents proud and will no doubt be keeping them very busy in years to come.

“We look forward to returning two healthy, happy baby girls to their home in Swaziland in the next week or two, where their father and twin brothers are waiting to welcome them home,” she said.

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