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Separated conjoined twins celebrate first birthday

Ruby and Rosie Formosa who were conjoined at their abdomens at birth last year and separated the day after being born. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The mother of twins who were conjoined at birth has said she did not think they would "get this far", as the family prepares to celebrate the girls' first birthday.

Rosie and Ruby Formosa, who were born joined at the abdomen and shared part of the intestine, needed an emergency operation to separate them.The identical twins, who celebrate their first birthday today, underwent an operation at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gosh) the day after they were born.

It was quite a tough journey, really. It's quite emotional thinking back, thinking what we must have been going through at the time. It was really tough.Every time we went for a scan, we were worrying whether there was still going to be a heartbeat.

They weren't making any plans to give birth to them. All of a sudden it was like 'OK - we need to make a plan because they're still here, they're going to arrive, so now we need to make plans and where we will deliver and where we will go'.

– Angela Formosa
Ruby and Rosie Formosa who were conjoined at their abdomens at birth last year and separated the day after being born. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

When asked if she thought the twins would make it to their first birthday she said: "No", adding:

When I was pregnant I couldn't see us getting this far. I was taking each day as it came.I am over the moon. It's so lovely seeing them doing normal things and being happy when you didn't even expect to have them.

Angela and Daniel Formosa hold their daughters Ruby and Rosie Formosa. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Consultant paediatric surgeon Ed Kiely, who was part of the team who operated on the girls, said: "We see perhaps one set of twins a year on average. They're not that rare but because of antenatal diagnosis they don't always get born.

"Even if they get born, two-thirds of them are stillborn or die very quickly because of cardiac problems. For conjoined twins in general, survival chances are quite low.

"Conjoined twinning occurs in one in every 50,000 or 60,000 pregnancies in Europe. And about one in 200,000 (of all) deliveries is a conjoined twin with the chance of survival."

Twin girls (left to right) Rosie and Ruby Formosa, who were born joined at the abdomen and shared part of the intestine. Credit: Medical Illustration/PA Wire

He said the hospital is "happy" with the progress the girls have made and is "delighted" they are now celebrating their first birthday.

The twins will have to have regular check-ups throughout childhood about once or twice a year, he added.