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Conjoined twins recovering after historic surgery

Posted at 2:14 PM, Oct 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 15:15:53-04

Their sweet faces captured hearts around the globe. Conjoined twins undergoing historic surgery - for a chance at living two separate lives.

How are the baby boys doing now? CNN's Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta checked in with the family.

Jadon and Anias are finally resting in separate beds. Born conjoined, connected at the head, the two underwent a 27-hour surgery beginning last week.

Messages of support and encouragement poured in from all over the world as people learned about the story of the two little boys.

It's just amazing how these people who are total strangers can love our babies, the way they do and you could really feel their love through their messages and just all the donations," father Christian McDonald says.

Mom Nicole can now cuddle up next to Anias in a single twin bed, and Jadon is opening his eyes.

Dr. Gupta: How are the boys doing this morning?
Christian McDonald: They're doing well. You know. Jadon has his eyes open and he's tracking with his eyes. He wasn't moving his left side for a while, but now he's moving his left arm.
Nicole McDonald: Jadon, I think he just smiled at me. Yeah, under all that tape. and he's looking at me right in the eye. It's just, he's trying to pull all the tubes out.
Dr. Gupta: Usually that's a good sign, if they're trying to pull the breathing tubes out, it's a sign.
Nicole: Yeah, ready for extubation!

Anias has always been the one to struggle more. After he was born, he had breathing issues, feeding issues, and seizures. Doctors expected his recovery to be slower.

"We knew Anias would struggle more, but I don't know how to say, he's progressing at a slower rate, but still moving forward and there's still so much hope for him and right now he's crying and moving his arm. So I know that he has a lot more recovery to do, but he'll ge there. He'll get there. He always surprises us all the time," Nicole says.

Both the boys will go back into the operating room Thursday to have their head dressings changed, but doctors overall are pleased with their progress.

Nicole and Christian are taking it just one day at a time.

The first day when Jadon wasn't moving his left side at all and Anias wasn't moving at all, I couldn't stop focusing on it. I couldn't stop thinking that this was permanent. But everyday it gets better and I think that's the best part, is that everyday there's something new and good to focus on and we just keep doing that," the mother says.