14-month-old conjoined twin boys were able to look at each other for the first time after undergoing a life-saving 27-hour operation to separate them.
Surgeons separated Anias and Jadon McDonald on 13 October at Montefiore Hospital New York after they were born attached by the crown of their heads.
Jadon was said to be recovering well from the operation, however his brother Anias’ progress has been slower, suffering seizures and viruses.
“Although his recovery has been bombarded with infections and fevers and difficulty breathing and difficulty eating, I can say with absolute pride that today Jadon has almost fully recovered and is attempting to roll in his bed as we speak. He is nothing short of a miracle,” his mother Nicole McDonald wrote in a Facebook post on 10 November.
“My Anias. Beautiful baby. His journey is going to be much harder than Jadon's. I'm not sure why this child always has to climb the steep mountains, but he does.
“For the last four weeks, he has not moved much on his own, but has demonstrated the ability to move both arms and both legs when crying. I try desperately to hang onto all the positive progress he has made.”
Both brothers are due to go to rehab at the six-week post-op mark, the fastest recovery in history for separation of craniopagus twins.
Surgeon Dr Philip Goodrich, considered the leading expert in the world on twins conjoined at the head, said he believes Anias will gain force and pull through, and said his brother would be a “great force of energy” for him.
However, he warned against putting too much distance between the twins, who had spent their whole lives attached until October, telling CNN: “Separating the two is probably not a good idea at this point.”
The boys were born via caesarean last September near Chicago, Illinois.
“It’s the most amazing thing. I just can’t even believe it,” their mother, Nicole McDonald, told CNN.
“And look at his little hair. On top, it’s growing in!”
“How does it feel to be your own little boy?” the boys’ 37-year-old father, Christian McDonald, asked his son Jadon after the operation.
“You sure are handsome. Look at you. You look like a perfect little boy.”
The operation, which cost a reported $2.5million (£2.1m), will not be the boys' last.
They will have to have more surgeries in the future, but their parents are delighted by their progress.
Nicole wrote: "Our trial has been excruciating. I would not wish our circumstance upon anyone. But I would never wish it away either. Through the curse we have found many blessings."
- More about:
- Jadon McDonald
- Nicole McDonald
- Christian McDonald
- Montefiore Hospital New York
- Dr Philip Goodrich