Formerly conjoined twins were able to leave the hospital for the first time to a chorus of applause after they endured one of the riskiest separation surgeries ever.
After spending months in a hospital following a successful surgery, separated conjoined twins Ballenie and Bellanie Camacho left Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital to go home on Friday.
The girls were showered with applause from the Valhalla, New York, medical staff, as they were carried out of the hospital by their grinning parents.
The day marked a series of milestones for the sisters, as they underwent one of the riskiest separation surgeries ever in January and they celebrated their first birthday in February.
Parents Abel Camacho and Laurilin Celadilla were proudly beaming during the walkout, as they were previously told their daughters weren’t expected to live.
The girls’ father said to the New York Daily News: ‘Today we’re experiencing much happiness.
‘We’re very anxious to start this next chapter and we’re also very satisfied with the work that the hospital has done for us.’
Laurilin said to ABC 7: ‘I can’t believe seeing one in her bed, the other in another. Every day is like seeing them for the first time.’
Although the family is from the Dominican Republic, they won’t be returning to their native country just yet.
For the next few months the twins will be in physical and occupational therapy, and will stay at the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley in Valhalla.
Abel said that they hope to return home by September but unsure what they will return to because the family had abandoned their home and jobs to ensure the girls could get the treatment they needed.
In one of the riskiest separation surgeries ever, doctors successfully detached Ballenie and Bellanie, who were joined at the lower back, after a grueling 22-hour procedure that ended on January 18.
Doctors had to separate the girls’ gastrointestinal tracts, bladders, reproductive areas and lower portion of the spinal cord, with a 23 percent chance of death.
Conjoined twins occur in approximately one in 200,000 births, but twins joined at the hip — called pygopagus — are extremely rare.
After learning that doctor’s had separated the Ballenie and Bellanie, their mother said in a press conference: ‘We are eternally grateful to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
‘Thank you for accepting the challenge which has changed our lives.
‘Our family does not know how we can pay for what we’ve been given but we ask that God bless every one of you.’
Two weeks after the surgery, the family had another reason to celebrate – the twins turned one years old on February 4.
Staff decorated the girls’ room with pink and blue posters, bought them a birthday cake each, dressed them up in tutus and brandished birthday crowns.
Over the summer, Laurilin and Abel had brought the girls to Maria Fareri where the family began preparing for a procedure to separate the twins.