After a potentially life-threatening surgery on Oct. 13, in which surgeons nearly gave up halfway through, two Illinois baby boys conjoined by the head were successfully separated.
Neurosurgeon Dr. James Goodrich says he considered giving up part of the way into the surgery when he realized just how much brain tissue the 13-month-old babies -- Anias and Jadon McDonald -- shared, the Daily Mail reports.
His anxiety only increased watching Anias' heart rate and blood pressure plummet while performing the surgery.
But Goodrich managed to find an opening to separate the two.
"I didn't cry until the surgeons left the room," said the boys' mother, Nicole McDonald. "I was barely able to even utter the words 'thank you' because of the pit that still sits heavy in my stomach."
The twins' medical problems aren't over yet. Anias' future remains uncertain, with doctors warning he could face severe physical and developmental problems.
"The overall atmosphere was one of celebration mixed with uncertainty," Nicole explained of the scene at Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. "Anias really got rocked in this procedure. It really now is up to God in terms of how he recovers."
"I keep picturing Anias smiling behind his right middle finger in his mouth," she added. "Twenty four hours ago he was so rambunctious ... full of life. God please give me my baby back."
The parents they say don't care what disabilities their baby may face, as long as he lives.
"We know that is definitely a real possibility, but we're still going to love our boys," the twins' father Christian said before the surgery.
The conjoined babies are craniopagus twins, meaning they were joined at the head. Most conjoined twins of this type don't live past 13 months if they're left joined.
"They're so perfect," said Nicole of her babies before the surgery. "They're beautiful, and they are so funny and so happy."
Because the parents wanted their twins to live normal, long and healthy lives, they went ahead with the $2.5 million surgery. While they knew it was for the best, they were terrified.
"This is so hard. I'm not going to sugarcoat it," said Nicole.