Since birth, 2-year-old Erika and Eva Sandoval shared much of their lower body.
Their mother Aida said doctors told her early on in her pregnancy that the twins might not make it. She was told her own life could be at risk, too.
But after they all beat the odds, Aida made the decision to embark on separating Eva and Erika.
The family started their journey at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, in Palo Alto, California.
It took a team of 50 doctors, nurses, and operating staff 17 hours to complete the separation. The twins came through in good shape.
“They did very well,” lead surgeon Gary Hartman, MD, a clinical professor of surgery at the School of Medicine, said in a statement. “I’m very pleased with the outcome.”
Now each girl has a portion of their vital organs. Each has only one leg.
“It’s amazing how strong these girls are and it’s amazing what their team performed,” the twins’ mom said. “Seeing them now in the ICU, you look at them and think ‘You’re missing your other half,’ but we know that this is the right path for them: to be independent, have the chance to succeed and explore on their own everything the world has to offer.”
While the girls are recovering, a world of support surrounding them is bursting with heartfelt messages from family, friends and even complete strangers.
Their aunt posted to Facebook “They made it! #survivors”
But the two toddlers still have quite the journey ahead. At least for the next two weeks they’ll be monitored in intensive care. Their physicians anticipate that they will spend an additional two weeks in the hospital before going home. They are sharing a hospital room, but are staying in separate beds.
The family says they are so thankful for everyone’s support.