-- The mother of twin girls born conjoined at the abdomen and chest it said it was "surreal" to see her daughters separated.
Speaking to reporters alongside doctors today, Aida Sandoval, and her husband, Arturo Sandoval, were brought to tears as they recounted their daughters' operation earlier this week.
Erika and Eva Sandoval, 2, of Antelope, California, were born joined at the lower chest and upper abdomen, referred to as omphalo-ischiopagus twins. While they were born with their heart and lungs separate, they shared some lower anatomical structures, including a liver, bladder and two kidneys.
"It has been a long journey to get here. It's really been a dream come true," Aida Sandoval told reporters. "We want to get them to this place where they can still have an individual life and still be together."
It took at least 50 doctors and other medical staff 18 hours to safely separate the girls at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California. They remain in recovery at the hospital after undergoing surgery on Tuesday.
Prior to the surgery, the hospital estimated there was a 70 percent chance that both girls would survive the arduous procedure.
To take on the difficult surgery, the medical team created a 3-D model of the girls' shared abdomen to help guide them through the surgery. They also had their MRI and CT scans available.
The girls' mother said today when she first saw them in the hospital it was surreal to see them separate for the first time in their lives.
"It still seems very surreal to see one on one side and one on the other side," Aida Sandoval said. "It brings us all joy."