MANILA - A tricycle driver's wife gave birth to a two-headed baby girl at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, Tuesday night.
Salvador Arganda, tricycle driver and resident of Mutinlupa City, said his wife, Chaterian, gave birth to "Baby Girl Arciaga" around 8:45 p.m. He said he last saw their baby around midnight at the hospital's neo-natal intensive care unit.
Arganda said they had suspicions that Chaterian was carrying two babies because both sides of their families have twin members.
He said their suspicion was erased after being told that there was only one baby inside Chaterian’s womb, based on her initial ultrasound.
On Saturday, Chaterian went back to the hospital for another ultrasound session and they were told that the baby would come out of her womb head first and that she would have to give birth by caesarean section.
Arganda said they were surprised when doctors told them that Chaterian gave birth to a baby with two heads.
The tricycle driver said he and his wife are praying for the baby to live.
"Sana mabuhay ang bata. Kakayanin naming mag-asawa iyon," he said when asked how will they take care of the child with his meager pay as a tricycle driver.
Dr. Ruben Flores, Fabella hospital's director, said the baby's case is called dicephaly monozygotic conjoined twins, which, he said, is a very rare occurrence.
Flores said they will use the hospital's resources to sustain the baby's life.
Dr. Melissa Juico of the hospital's newborn unit had said that the "twins" would not be able to live long enough with only one heart or if they are sharing vital organs.
Based on the 2-D (two-dimensional) echocardiogram, the baby has two hearts contained in one sac.
Doctors at the Fabella hospital said the left heart looked normal compared to the other, but both showed congenital abnormalities.
The baby has one liver, one stomach and a pair of kidneys, the hospital said based on the 2-D echo test.
Baby Girl Arciaga has been transferred to the Philippine Heart Center for better monitoring of the hearts while her mother remained at the Fabella hospital for full recovery from the operation.
The baby's grandmother, Celestina, told radio dzMM that their family would need financial assistance for the baby and her mother's medical expenses.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has pledged to help the baby's family and Bantay Bata 163, ABS-CBN Foundation's child welfare program, has started extending assistance to the baby's family.
Conjoined twins explained
Conjoined twins results when the egg cell in a mother's womb encounter developmental problems.
Twins result from the division into two of a single egg cell (identical twins), or the simultaneous fertilization of two egg cells (fraternal twins).
Problems arise however when the egg cell fails to fully divide into two, which results to conjoined twins.
Studies show that there is no direct cause for having conjoined twins.
Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Rogelio Mendiola said there is no proven connection yet to lack of vitamins or pre-natal checkups to the occurrence of conjoined twins.
Mendiola also said it is not caused by taking medication.
There are also different types of conjoined twins, depending on how and where the twins are joined to each other.
Chances of survival from an operation separating a set of conjoined twins are high if they have separate sets of organs.
Despite this, doctors still advise mothers to undergo a congenital anomaly screening on the sixth month of pregnancy to check the development of the baby.
This could pinpoint complications and help in assuring proper care for the mother and the baby.
For those who would want to help Baby Girl Arciaga dial 163 or phone number 415-2272 local 5674. With reports from Sol Aragones and Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News