Twins formerly conjoined at head go home for first time - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Twins formerly conjoined at head go home for first time

The boys went home after more than a year in hospitals. (Source: CNN) The boys went home after more than a year in hospitals. (Source: CNN)

VALHALLA, NY (CNN) -  For two weeks, Nicole and Christian McDonald along with friends from church have worked 12 to 15 hours a day renovating and prepping their home an hour from New York City.

All the work was for the homecoming of their twins Jadon and Anias, who were once conjoined at the head.

"Got a nice brand-new bathtub here to do their baths in," said the boys’ father Christian McDonald.

Two brothers, once conjoined at the head, are now home.

"In a different way, I almost feel like their dad for the first time," Christian McDonald said of their homecoming.

The twins were discharged for home after successfully going through physical and occupational therapy at Blythedale Children's Hospital.

"The first step in a wonderful life is about to happen, they've really been in this hospital and other hospitals for more than a year. I think the boys are smart enough to know what's good,” said Mara Ellice Abrams, a physical therapist at the hospital. “There will be adjustments for everybody. Schedules – everything. But it's going to work out. I'm not worried.”

One year ago, they were craniopagus twins; two boys, sharing what began as 1.5 centimeters in diameter of fused brain tissue, and grew to 5 by 7 centimeters.

In October, after months of procedures, the boys entered the operating room at Children's Hospital at Montefiore for one last time. The boys were 13 months old.

After a grueling 27-hour operation led by pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. James Goodrich and craniofacial plastic surgeon, Dr. Oren Tepper, the boys came out as two.

The months that followed were strenuous, filled with infections and seizures but also milestones. The boys and their parents worked towards the very day when the McDonald's could finally all come home together and be the family they always dreamed of being.

"They've been home for 16 hours and it has been a wonderful mix of just pure excitement. While we were preparing this beautiful house, didn't think about food, so we got home we had no water, we had no food, we had no nothing. I had no idea what to make anybody. Jadon's always eaten hospital food. He had yogurt and apple sauce and noodles,”

But after the excitement, the boys settled down in their new home, falling asleep.

“It was quiet in the house, and I was able to process everything and I went in all the bedrooms and I just looked at them all, I was like I can't believe it. I can't believe it. So, it was a whirlwind and it still is." Nicole McDonald said.

A whirlwind that has been almost two years in the making, mixed with remarkable medicine, positivity, and faith.

"You know, there's adversity in life, but, you can make it through things can still be good. So, I think we were pretty terrified. But now, we're in a good spot. We're happy with where we're at," Christian McDonald said.

The family will celebrate another milestone with boys – they will turn 2 years old on Sept. 9.

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