From his bed next to the window, Jadon squeezes his father’s finger with all his might, even under heavy sedation. Anias rests in a bed near the door of the room, a testament to strength and resilience.
Just the sight of the boys in separate beds came as a surprise to their parents.
“It’s shockingly new,” said their mother, Nicole McDonald. The boys have shared a bed since birth. Born conjoined at the head, the 13-month-old twins – little “warriors,” their parents call them – spent the weekend recovering from the 27-hour surgery that separated them.
“I can’t wait to put them beside each other and then see each other,” said Christian, their father. “To be honest, I’m just so excited and anxious to see that moment. That’s going to be a great day.”
72 critical hours
The surgery – which began early Thursday and ended shortly before 1pm on Friday – took place at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. It was led by neurosurgeon Dr James Goodrich, considered the leading expert on what’s known as craniopagus (a pair of conjoined twins attached at the head) surgery.
The first 72 hours of recovery were most critical for long-term survival, doctors told the parents. Christian said the boys were stable and doing well after a weekend of challenges.
Jadon has yet to move his left side. Though that is troubling Christian remains optimistic. “That’s not something really worrying Dr Goodrich right now,” the father said. “He says that’s not out of the ordinary. Hopefully, in time, he will start moving that side,” the father added.
Both boys have opened their eyes, although they are heavily sedated and hooked up to an array of medical equipment. They’re too fragile for the parents to pick them up just yet.
“Jadon will squeeze your fingers and not let go, on his right side,”said Christian. “They’re really doing pretty good, considering the surgery they went through.”
The parents are now in a waiting game as to when Jadon and Anias become fully alert.
Goodrich and lead plastic surgeon Dr Oren Tepper said in a joint statement Monday afternoon, “So far, the recovery course has gone as expected.”
“We are hoping to be able to extubate (to remove a tube from a hollow organ or passageway, often from the airway) Jadon in the upcoming days, and Anias we expect to take longer as we work to control his blood pressure issues,” the doctors said.
They added that both boys would probably have to undergo more reconstruction surgery, “We expect that parts of the incisions on both boys’ heads will need some revision.”
The article was first published on CNN