"For over 13 months, I've dreamed of this moment," McDonald wrote in a Facebook post about holding Jadon for the first time, alone. She added, "I looked down at Jadon's angelic face and saw him in a way I'd never seen him before. He whimpered for almost the whole two hours I held him because he had just been extubated, had the area under his scalp washed out and had been weaned from the good pain meds. But instead of wrapping my body around him in his bed, I wrapped my arms around him and rocked. One of the most profound moments of my life."
Anias was slower to recuperate, having suffered breathing issues, seizures, as well as heart problems before the surgery, and seizures afterwards. But nine weeks post-surgery, both twins, who are now 15 month old, are making amazing progress, according to Today.com.
The site reports that Jadon and Anias have moved from the hospital to a rehab facility. Nicole said in a statement, "This is a bittersweet day for us. We are so proud of the strength our boys show us every day as they progress in their recovery, and we are looking forward to seeing them thrive in rehab."
One of the twins' physicians, Dr. Oren Tepper, also told Today.com, "Nine weeks is an exceptionally short time for what they underwent and it exceeds all of our hopes and expectations."
The McDonalds also shared a video of the twins saying "dada." It's adorable to see that even though they are separated, the boys are still holding hands, and are clearly very much attached to one another. You can also see that Anias' head is still bandaged, as doctors had to remove a section of his skull due to ongoing infections.
Both Jadon and Anias required skin grafts post-surgery, according to their mom's Facebook post from November, which read, "Anias is getting his skin grafts as we speak. Jadon and I are anxiously awaiting his return. God willing, this is the last time the boys will undergo surgery for a very long time. When Anias gets back they will whisk Jadon away for his turn. Praying for the skin to 'take', for no infections or need for revisions, and for minimal pain. Both boys seemed pretty happy yesterday, which has been a battle to achieve with all the infections. I hated that this had to happen today after they both seemed comfortable yesterday for the first time in a while. BUT it must be done. I suppose our time for painless, sickless days will come soon enough. Meanwhile we are totally loving this whole holding thing."
Despite the obstacles and unthinkable physical and emotional pain this family has endured, they have come so far in such a short period of time. I mean, to truly underscore how incredible these boys are, consider that conjoined twins are exceedingly rare, occurring in just one out of about 2.5 million live births.
Of course, their odyssey isn't over. Both boys will wear helmets to help shape their skulls. And much more rehab is needed. We hope to keep up with the boys as they continue their journey, and wish them luck, love, and joy each step of the way.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.