Well, here's an uplifting story for your Monday morning...
One Dallas, Texas family is breathing a sigh of relief this week after its twin baby boys, Owen and Emmett, were successfully separated in a grueling 9-hour surgery Saturday.
According to ABC News, before the operation the two boys were attached from their breastbone to their hip bone and even shared a liver and an intestinal tract. But according to Dr. Clair Schwendeman, a neonatologist tending to the twins at Medical City Children's Hospital, she is "cautiously optimistic" about their recovery. Though they are on some breathing support, they have stabilized.
As you might imagine, cases of conjoined twins are highly rare—occurring at a rate somewhere between one in 50,000 and one in 200,000 births. But their survival rate is what's even more slim. In truth, the fact that the Ezell boys are even alive today is a miracle in and of itself, since their chances of making it was somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, according to Schwendeman.
The boys' mom, Jenni, has been blogging about the family's journey so far, using writing as a kind of coping mechanism and catharsis.
"I hope I never have to experience a moment like that again," she wrote about the hours she and her husband Dave spent with the twins before surgery. "I didn't know if I would see my babies alive again, if I would see only one, or if I would see them after they had gone to be with their creator."
The Ezell's, who also have two older sons, patiently waited through the whopping 9-hour surgery along with other family members in a private room. By 4 p.m., doctors had delivered the good news: The surgery was a success.
Taking to her blog again, Jenni wrote: "At this point, the room exploded into clapping and cheers, hugging and celebration. My babies were two, and I rejoiced with streaming tears of joy and amazement!"
"It's a long road to recovery but the boys are well on their way," wrote Dave Ezell, who noted on a Facebook page for the twins that their bodies actually have to relearn certain functions like managing blood flow.
While the twins will need future surgeries (to fix things like IV lines and add abdominal muscle where they were separated), right now doctors are just focusing on letting them heal and rest-up—as well as working on trying to tell the two apart. During their surgery, nurses painted the babies' fingernails to tell Owen from Emmett, but as they grow, Schwendeman is noting some other distinguishing features... like the fact that Owen's a little more bald than Emmett. (Poor Owen!)
Image via ABC News