Twin baby boys conjoined at the head were separated on Friday in a nearly day-long operation at a New York children’s hospital.
Thirteen-month-old twins Anias and Jadon McDonald were successfully separated at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, and were undergoing reconstructive surgery following the separation procedure early Friday morning, CNN reports.
“And then there were two,” the kids’ mother, Nicole McDonald, wrote in a Facebook post early Friday. She added in a follow-up post: “TWO SEPARATE BABIES!!!…and yet I ache with the uncertainty of the future. I didn’t cry until the surgeon’s left the room. I was barely able to even utter the words “thank you” because of the pit that still sits heavy in my stomach. We are standing on the brink of a vast unknown.”
Dr. James Goodrich, who has now done seven craniopagus separation surgeries, led the risky procedure and broke the good news to Nicole and the boys’ father, Christian, around 3 a.m., CNN reports.
“Well, we did it,” he said, according to CNN. The surgery has taken at least 22 hours.
“When they told me they were wheeling Jadon up first, it took me a second to comprehend,” Nicole wrote in a Facebook post Friday morning. “I actually asked why they rearranged the room because I hadn’t really internalized the idea that there would be 2 beds in here. Welcome back my sweet Jadon. Happy rebirth day. Anias is still in surgery believe it or not…maybe 2 more hours.”
The journey to the separation has been a long, emotional one for the family. The parents had to decide whether to go through with the operation, even though the surgery included major risks like death or brain damage to the children.
“There was times where I just … didn’t want to go there and think about the fact that, you know, one or both of my childs (sic) could maybe have a handicap or something like that,” Christian told CNN ahead of the surgery.
“I think now I’m at the point where I do that that is a possibility and, if that’s the case, It’s not gonna change anything. I mean, we’re still gonna love them. They’re our boys.”
The family moved from Illinois to New York to be closer to the kids’ surgeon, Goodrich. Now, although the children have been separated successfully, the family has a long road ahead.
“The next few months will be critical in terms of recovery and we will not know for sure how Anias and Jadon are recovering for many weeks,” Nicole wrote in a Facebook post.
“The plan is to keep them both intubated for about a week…to get through the swelling and pain of the first week…and then go from there. So we just took a huge leap of faith, but now we are back to taking baby steps.”