By Haziq Qadri @haziq_qadri
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / director: Qadri Inzamam
Producer: Haziq Qadri, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Twins Prince and Love were born joint at the stomach, and a shared liver, urinary bladder, intestines and fused pelvic bones.
But in December 2017, 15 months after they were born, the siblings from Ghatkopar, India, were separated by surgeons at Wadia Children’s Hospital in Mumbai.
Now, the hospital and family are celebrating a year since the twins have been separated as they continue to live healthily and happily.
Shakuntala Prabhu, acting medical director of Wadia Children’s Hospital was part of the time that first evaluated Love and Prince.
She told Barcroft TV: “Prince and Love were presented to us at around nine months of age.
"They were joined at the hips, and pelvis region and it was very rare occasion that we have had such conjoined twins presenting late and it was a challenging case for us.”
Parents Sheetal and Sagar Zalte, didn’t know they were expecting twins until Sheetal was eight months pregnant.
The twins weren’t diagnosed as being conjoined until Sheetal had given birth.
She said: "When I saw them for the first time, I just fell in love with them instantly. I just accepted them wholeheartedly.
“Before the surgery, when they were not separated, some people were scared of them. I wasn’t. I never saw they in a strange way."
Sadly, Sheetal knew the scrutiny her babies would get from strangers - and family.
She said: “I did not let anybody even see my kids for one long year. Nobody. I just kept them home all the time. Even if I took them out sometimes, I used to cover them up properly.”
The doctors separated Love and Prince on December 12, 2017. The operation took 12 hours in total, with a team of 15 doctors monitoring the twins.
Shakuntala said: “We planned surgery and almost it and a month later we operated on the children.
“They need a few corrective physiotherapeutic exercises, which would be followed up for a period of time and they are growing and developing perfectly well.”
Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO, of Wadia Hospital knew it a complicated case and wasn’t sure if Prince and Love could be separated.
She said: “One year since they are operated and it's good to see that both the children who could not move before the surgery. It was a difficult task for sure.”
Happy to see her children walk, Sheetal had never let herself imagine her sons being separated.
She said: “I had never thought that doctors could separate them. It was an emotional moment for us to see them after the surgery.
“Today my kids are like playing, hopping and dancing around. I never thought it would happen.”
Their father, Sagar, believes that Prince and Love are now like others who can play and walk of their own.
He said: “Our families didn’t come forward for the help. They didn’t even look at our children. After a year, our kids are doing well and are just like others.”
Sagar recalls the difficulties they faced when Prince and Love were conjoined.
He said: “One wanted to play while the other was asleep. They used to bite each other and as they grew old and the fights kept growing too.
“Feeding them milk and food, bathing them together and clothing them proved to be a difficult task always.”
Sagar and Sheetal are now planning to start a new life with Prince and Love.
They said: “We’ll start from the beginning. They have started playing, they walk, and they do run as well. We’ll now look for their better future.”
“It’s good to see our kids like others, who are just normal.”