In a major milestone, formerly conjoined twins are finally starting the journey home with their parents, Jenni and Dave Ezell.
The twins, who were born nine months ago joined at the chest and sharing intestines and a liver, were separated when they were just a month old in a risky surgery that required a touch-and-go separation of a major blood vessel.
Although the Ezells had been told by many doctors that the surgery couldn’t be done, surgeons at the Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas were ready to take on the challenge.
“The group I’m involved in fortunately had the opportunity to separate 12 sets before so we have some institutional background,” said Dr. Tom Renard, the surgeon who led the team that separated the twins.
“So we weren’t going into it without any kind of background. It’s just been a wonderful opportunity and we feel very privileged and honored to be a part of the whole process.”
The boys have been in neonatal intensive care since the operation and are leaving the hospital today.
“I’m so excited I’m shaking,” said Jenni Ezell. “It’s been such a long journey and we have finally arrived. We’re finally ready to get them one step closer to home and we can’t wait.”
The Ezells have been all but living in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. And though the experience has been emotionally and physically draining, the Ezells say it’s been worth every minute.
“When this is over, we’re going to be a family and it’s going to be great,” said Dave Ezell. “At the time, I couldn’t envision it. I couldn’t see it. But now I can finally see it.”
The boys are still being fed through tubes in their stomachs, which means their next stop is at an inpatient rehab facility.
Once the infants go home, their care will present some challenges, but the Ezells say they’re up to it.
“We’re absolutely nervous about it,” Jenni said. “We have to learn how to basically be their 24-hour nursing care, as well as their parents. I think the parenting part is going to be the easy part. We are going to be trained on how to take care of trachs and how to change them out, how to manage their nutrition and their G-tubes. It’s going to be a journey.”
But it’s not like they’ll be starting from scratch.
“Fortunately, we’re not going into it blind, though,” Dave said. “We’ve already gotten a lot of training along those lines since they’ve been here at the hospital. It’s not like we’re jumping into this thing without any knowledge.”
The Ezells have been keeping everyone updated through a blog that announced each major hurdle and accomplishment, like when the boys started breathing on their own.