Mom Said Yes To Her Twins' Separation Surgery, 27 Hours Later Doctors Declare...
The level of risk was nearly enough to halt the entire ordeal.
"When this all began, back in that dark ultrasound room, I knew we were in for a battle."CNN/YouTube
Those are the chilling words of mother Nicole McDonald, who—along with her husband, Christian—just made the most difficult decision of her entire life.
The couple's twin sons, Jadon and Anias, were born conjoined at the head.Nicole McDonald/Facebook
Craniopagus twins are born in one of every 10 million live births. And needless to say, their first year wasn't easy. "They’ve been poked and prodded more than I could have ever imagined," Nicole wrote on their GoFundMe page. "And the worst part is that I can’t even hold them when they cry."
While separation surgery was presented as an option, the long list of risks wasn't easy to overlook.Nicole McDonald/Facebook
"The MRI results show that the boys share a small section of brain tissue (about 1.5 centimeters), the dura around the brain, and the middle section of their superior sagittal sinus (the large vein that runs along the top of the brain)," Nicole explained.
Because of those shared features, separation could cause long-term brain damage in both boys.Nicole McDonald/Facebook
The parents also couldn't ignore the fact that there was a chance their precious kiddos wouldn't survive surgery at all. But they had something else to consider...
"But I also knew that with God anything is possible," Nicole stressed.Nicole McDonald/Facebook
With this in mind, they gave a team of doctors the green light to proceed with the 27-hour surgery, hopeful that it would secure their boys each a life of independence and—most importantly—happiness.
We won't leave you in suspense—fortunately, the marathon surgery was a success!Nicole McDonald/Facebook
But Mom and Dad know they're not out of the woods just yet—not even close, really. “It’s a bit surreal to sit here and type this... I should feel so happy...TWO SEPARATE BABIES!!!...and yet I ache with the uncertainty of the future,” Nicole admitted on social media.
Fortunately, the family has already reached more than one milestone.Nicole McDonald/Facebook
Seeing her boys in two separate beds took Nicole's brain a moment to register, but it also made her realize something. "I always saw you as separate because seeing you like this is really nothing different to me!" she explained online, addressing her little ones as she often does in her writing.
Anias actually had to remain in surgery longer than his brother and is recuperating slower as well.Courtesy of Montefiore Medical Center
This meant that it was Jadon who Mom had the pleasure of holding first and all on her own—a moment Nicole had ached for since the moment the babies were born, just as any parent would.
"I wrapped my arms around him and rocked," she said. "One of the most profound moments of my life."Courtesy of Montefiore Medical Center
She held him close for two hours. Although Jadon had become too fussy for Dad to hold by the time he made it back up to the hospital, Christian couldn't have been more excited to see his wife's dream come true.
Prior to the surgery, she'd only been able to lie next to the twins.Nicole McDonald/Facebook
"To hear them cry and react to it in a motherly way is something I'm really excited for," Nicole told CNN. The brothers have since undergone a touch-up procedure to ensure their incisions remain clean.
Although they don't know it now, the boys have millions of people cheering them on!Twitter
They have their own hashtag (#JadonAndAnias) that has been trending in support as updates are released. And the family has greatly exceeded their fundraising goal on GoFundMe!
They'd hoped to raise $100K, and as of this writing, $287,442 has been donated!GoFundMe
“As absolutely humbled as I am for all of the encouraging messages I've received, it's hard for me to take any credit for the miracle that these boys are,” Nicole wrote. "Our biggest desire was to show how brilliant the team at Montefiore has been and to give the hospital the credit it deserves."
Join us in sending positive vibes to this family of five.
We hope that Jadon and Anias can join their parents and their older brother, Aza, at home, happy and healthy, very soon! For more of their story, check out this video from CNN.