When Angela Formosa saw an early scan of her pregnancy, doctors said it appeared that the twins were very close together.
Ms. Formosa went to a different hospital just for another scan, just to be sure, where she learned that her twins were conjoined. She was warned that they may not survive the pregnancy; as an overwhelming majority - 60 percent - of conjoined twins do not survive.
After having what Ms. Formosa called a "textbook" pregnancy with her first daughter Lilly, now aged five years old, she was shocked. What's more, doctors could not tell just where they were connected.
Doctors decided to remove them when Ms. Formosa was 34 weeks. To the surprise of her and husband Daniel, the infants, Rosie and Ruby, were conjoined at the abdomen. The twin girls even shared a part of an intestine.
Overall, twins who are born conjoined have an 80 percent survival rate if the surgery is planned in advance and the twins are stable and well. But in the Formosas' case, their surgery was an emergency just a day after their birth, when the infants were rushed into surgery due to an emergency blockage.
The surgery, which took place at the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, took place over five hours and required a team of 15 doctors and nurses.
Fortunately for the Formosa family, the Great Ormond Street Hospital is the most experienced center in the world in caring for and separating conjoined twins. The hospital has cared for 32 sets of conjoined twins and separated 25 of them. Last year, surgeons separated Rital and Ritag Gaboura, a set of twins from Sudan who were joined by the head. In the face of that successful surgery, the surgeons said that the Formosa twins were a challenge, but not the worst that they had seen.
The twins, now 12 months old, will probably not have seen the last of a surgery room. Doctors say that they will probably require surgery in six months. But for now, the infants are described by their parents as bubbly, healthy, and growing well.