Ballenie and Bellanie Camacho are separated for the first time since they were born 11 months ago. The twins, who were conjoined at the base of their spine, were separated during a 21-hour surgery that began Jan. 17, the AP reports. The girls, who are from the Dominican Republic, will be in the hospital for several weeks of recovery, but doctors say the outlook is good and the surgery gave them "chances for better lives." More than 50 medical professionals were involved in the operation at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Valhalla, New York.
"It was always a dream," the twins' mother tells Today. "I would pray and dream that it would come together and now it has." She adds that, though she knew she was expecting twins, neither she nor the doctors realized the girls were conjoined until she gave birth. The family hopes to bring the girls home to the Dominican Republic within a few months. "The first thing we'll do is go to the beach," says their father.