DALLAS Nine-month old brothers Owen and Emmett Ezell Wednesday ventured outside the hospital and into the sunshine for the very first time in their lives.
It was a huge moment for these once-conjoined twins and their parents.
'We are so grateful to you guys, and I don't even think that covers it,' said David Ezell. 'So thank you... thank you all.'
The Ezells are celebrating the boys' release from the hospital, and honoring the medical team that has cared for them since they were born July 15.
Owen and Emmett were born joined from their breastbone to their hipbones. They shared several organs including a liver and intestines.
A month after a risky birth, the boys were separated in a dangerous and life-threatening 12-hour surgery at Medical City Children's Hospital on August 24. Doctors had cautioned the family that even if the boys did survive the separation, they had many major hurdles to overcome.
'The opportunity to separate a set of conjoined twins is a big deal,' said Dr. Tom Renard, the lead pediatric separation surgeon, 'And today, the fact that they're moving from this facility to a rehab facility and ultimately home is a big, big deal.'
In the past nine months, the boys have undergone many more operations... and more than few scares. One of the major hurdles was getting skin to regrow over the portion of their abdomens that had been separated. The boys' intestines also had difficulty functioning.
However, they are now reaching milestones including sitting up, smiling, and trying to coo.
Owen and Emmett are no longer being fed through an IV, but they continue to be fed through tubes in their abdomens. While at the rehabilitation facility, the boys' parents will learn to manage feeding and trachea breathing tubes.
The family is expected to be at the rehab facility for several weeks before going home.
'We are so thrilled and so excited and very nervous about learning everything that we need to learn to be able to take care of these babies the way they have been taken care of here,' Jenni Ezell said through tears, 'We're just so excited.'
The Ezells are also forever thankful to the team of hospital heroes who have given their boys the chance to grow up and thrive.