Formerly conjoined twins prepare to go home

sabuco twins

(CBS/AP) Angelica and Angelina Sabuco, once conjoined twins, are now preparing to leave the hospital - in separate car seats.

PICTURES - Conjoined twins Angelina and Angelica Sabuco

It's been two weeks since the twins' successful separation surgery at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. And the hospital says they're ready to return to their San Jose home in a few days.

"They are recovering very, very well," said lead surgeon Dr. Gary Hartman. "Our goal is to return as many children as we can to happy, healthy lives."

The girls are off pain medications and their livers - once shared - are functioning normally, said Hartman. The doctor will continue to see the girls for weekly outpatient therapy. They will also see a plastic surgeon, Dr. Peter Lorenz, for follow-up procedures. Lorenz said the girls' chest walls have a bit of an abnormal shape but can be molded as they grow.

Angelina and Angelica will also continue physical and occupational therapy to build strength and develop their motor skills, the hospital said. When they were conjoined, the girls learned to walk moving sideways - now they must learn to move forward and backward.

"Balance is the biggest challenge," said Amy Weisman, physical therapist. "They are now taking steps with support."

The sisters made their post-surgery debut during a news conference at the hospital Monday, wearing bright red dresses with bows in their hair. Held by their mother, Ginady Sabuco, and aunt, the girls appeared at ease with the all the attention. Their mother smiled and laughed and urged her daughters to wave and say hello as they approached reporters.

"We're so excited now to go home and see them sitting in their own car seats," she said. "We cannot wait to see them playing, walking and running."

The girls' nearly 10-hour surgery, paid for by the family's health insurance, was the second such successful operation at the children's hospital in Palo Alto. The team consisted of more than 40 doctors, nurses and staff.

Within 72 hours of the surgery, both girls were breathing on her own. Within a week, they had moved from intensive care to a regular hospital room. Now, they are sleeping in separate beds and their appetites are growing.

When the girls woke up after surgery, Sabuco said, they looked around and called out "mama." And at that moment, "all the hardships went away."