Separated twin girls making significant progress


RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Separation anxiety aside, the twin girls recovering from a rare surgery in Richmond have made significant progress in a short amount of time!

Up until two weeks ago, the 19-month-old girls were joined at the lower chest and abdomen.

Maria and Teresa are in the pediatric ICU progressing well according to their lead surgeon two weeks after their separation surgery. Today we got to meet them both in person.

Little Teresa blows kisses from her hospital room, where she's learning to do a lot on her own. Last Thursday, she took her first steps.

"She's a lot bigger than Maria and she's been walking with some assistance, crawling all over the place," said Rocio Watson with World Pediatric Project.

Across the hall, her sister, Maria, is already a technology magnet.

"Maria loves playing with the Ipad and loves the flash card and has learned a few words in English, 'thank you' and 'good-bye,'" said Watson.

On this day, little Maria is under the weather. She's quiet in front of our camera, but a mood change at the sight of mom.

"See this is it momma is key," said Watson.

Last December, World Pediatric Project connected the conjoined Dominican Republic girls with doctors at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

Two weeks ago, surgeons separated them during a 20 hour surgery. Recovery is both physical and mental.

"All their lives they've been used to sleeping next to someone. They've experienced a lot of separation anxiety. They're not able to process yet," said Watson.

The girls are kept apart for now but an occupational therapist created these life-size replica dolls down to their exact weight to help with their separation anxiety.

Their mom shuffles between the rooms.

"I try to manage time as best I can. I spend a little while with Teresa, a little while with Maria. I want to be with them both together in the same room," said Lisandra Sanatis.

While in the states, mom hopes to reconnect with the girls' godmother who lives in lower Manhattan. But she only knows her by her first name, Hermelinda.

"Momma would love her to meet the girls," said Watson.

Today the girls helped their mom celebrate her birthday at VCU Medical Center. No word yet on when the girls will be able to leave the hospital and return home to the Dominican Republic.

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