Co Antrim conjoined twins separated
CONJOINED twins born earlier this year have been successfully separated, with their family asking people to "continue to pray for their recovery".
Annabelle and Isabelle Bateson were born at the University College Hospital in London in March to parents Hannah and Dan, from Toomebridge.
The babies, who were joined from the chest to the pelvis, had separate hearts though they shared a liver, bladder and bowel.
The couple, who found out at their 12-week scan that there was something different about their pregnancy, said their daughters had been "very long waited for wee girls".
A Just Giving page set up online, which aimed to raise £5,000 to help the girls and their family "with the costs they’ll face along this journey", has already surpassed more than £21,400.
Speaking at the time, Hannah Bateson said following surgery, her daughters would each have one leg and one prosthetic leg and would have to have "ongoing surgeries the rest of their days".
On Saturday, the couple revealed on Facebook that their daughters were due to have surgery on Monday.
In the post they said: "The big day is nearly upon us. The reality of what is ahead of our wee family is definitely sinking in.
"Over the next couple of days Dan and I are going to hold our girls as close as possible, loads of cuddles. We won’t be able to hold them for so long afterwards and we plan on making the most of every moment between now and Monday.
"I can’t tell you how completely overwhelmed we are by the love and support we have received."
On Wednesday night, the family posted again to let people know that "Annie and Issie have been separated".
"It was a very long day, their surgery lasted until the early hours of Tuesday morning but our wee girlies did so well.
"There is a long recovery in front of them and we expect there to be some bumps along the way but they are strong wee ladies and are being well cared for.
"I just want to say thank you, the love we have been shown has been completely overwhelming and the prayers that have been said for them have carried us through. The team that carried out the girls surgery are just amazing and we are very grateful.
"Please continue to pray for their recovery, for healing and for them to be as comfortable as possible.
The post was signed Annie, Issie, Dan & Hannah.
The news was met with an outpouring of love and support for the family.
One comment read: "Wee pets. So glad they have got through the op. Praying for strength , healing and comfort for them both over the next few weeks and months, also not forgetting mummy , daddy and family as they help these wee miracles along the way."
Another added: "This is the best news. My thought have been with you all especially over the past few days. Two very precious brave little girls with the most amazing mum and dad".