Parents in Florida are delighted to let the world know today that their three-week-old twin boys Carter and Conner survived their separation surgery. Millions of people around the world have been praying for the boys since their birth last month.
Michelle Brantley and fiance Bryan Mirabal had their first son Gage in January and less than a year later they are now proud parents of conjoined twins. Carter and Conner Mirabal were born one month early. They face each other, connected at the abdomen, and do not share organs — which is good news in terms of being able to surgically separate them.
The couple were surprised in the spring to hear that not only were they expecting identical twins, but the boys were conjoined facing each other from the sternum to the lower abdomen. Doctors initially told them that the boys may not make it to the 32nd week and that they had a 25 percent chance of surviving given their condition.
On Friday, doctors began the first of two surgeries needed to separate the boys.
In a three and a half hour surgery Friday, doctors worked to split the boys’ small intestine. Both boys are doing well and are continuing to recover, News4Jax.com reported.
“It’s all worth it, it’s going to be worth it in the end,” Jasmine Mirabal, the boys’ aunt told the news station. “It’s worth it now, but it’s really going to be worth it when they’re home.”
The boys’ parents, Michelle Brantly and Bryan Mirabal, as well as their big brother Gage, 13 months, and extended family members have been keeping continual watch at the hospital.
“They’re our miracle babies,” Jasmine told News4Jax.com. “They really are. We weren’t promised their lives. God gave them to us. As crazy as this has all been, it’s not a burden to us, it’s a blessing. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We really wouldn’t,” she said.
The next surgery for the twins will likely be in six months, where doctors will first separate the livers, and then the boys themselves.
“We hope they’re separated successfully and we get them out of the hospital,” Jasmine told News4Jax.com.
Here is a statement from the hospital on what happened:
“Today, Friday, January 2, 2015, at around 8 am, conjoined twins Conner and Carter Mirabal were transported from the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to a Pediatric Surgical Suite (OR) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Following placement of an arterial line and administration of anesthesia by pediatric anesthesiologists, surgery began at 10:30 am.
Surgery was complete at 2 pm and the babies are recovering in the NICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. They were stable throughout the surgery, thanks to the team of pediatric anesthesiologists, and the outcome was outstanding.
What happened today:
1.Dr. Poulos and Dr. Robie removed the mesh cover they placed on Dec. 13 (hours after their birth) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital to keep their shared small intestine within their bodies.
2.Dr. Poulos and Dr. Robie investigated Conner and Carter’s abdominal anatomy and found that the babies’ bile ducts were also fused (which had not been possible to view before this surgery today)
3.Dr. Poulos and Dr. Robie partially separated the shared small intestine and removed the large, swollen section of the intestine that was causing obstruction.
4.The surgeons were able to close the abdominal wall successfully.
5.The connected portion of the livers was left intact to be separated in the future. This will be the final phase of surgery.”