Rosie and Ruby Formosa meet their teacher for the first time four years after doctors gave them only a small chance of survival.
Twins girls who were given a slim chance of survival after being born conjoined are preparing for their first day at school.
Rosie and Ruby Formosa, aged four, were joined at the abdomen and shared part of the intestine when they were born in 2012.
Parents Angela and Daniel Formosa, from Bexleyheath in Kent, could only wait and hope as their daughters underwent a five-hour operation at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Thankfully it was successful – and Mrs Formosa said the girls had now met their teacher and were “very excited” to be following big sister Lily, who is nine, to school.
She said: “Four years ago it wasn’t in my mind that this would ever happen.
“When I was pregnant I didn’t think I’d ever see their first day at school so it is really amazing and all thanks to GOSH really.”
Mrs Formosa said it was “heartbreaking” when she discovered the girls had the rare medical condition – it accounts for one in every 200,000 live births.
She went on: “At 16 weeks they sent me to King’s College Hospital and it was there that they discovered the connection between the girls.
“It was heartbreaking, really – I was already worried that they were monoamniotic (where twins share an amniotic sac), and conjoined was the worst-case scenario.
“I was really, really, really scared and really upset because at that point I was told that there was a high possibility that the girls wouldn’t survive the pregnancy.
“And if they did survive the pregnancy they might not survive the birth, then they might not survive surgery.
“They couldn’t tell what was connecting them.
“I didn’t prepare to bring them home. It wasn’t until they were in hospital and they’d had their operation that my husband started painting the bedroom and getting everything ready for them.”
Mrs Formosa, 35, said it felt like “a million years” ago since she was waiting for the girls to come out of their surgery.
“The time has just flown by, I can’t believe how fast it has gone.”
GOSH’s Professor Paolo De Coppi said: “Over the last 30 years we have treated 27 sets of conjoined twins.
“It’s always a joy to witness patients’ progress and to hear that they are reaching new milestones – this makes the job we do all the more rewarding.”
The Formosa family are supporting GOSH’s Back To School Campaign – which raises funds to support the hospital.
Anyone want to support the campaign can donate £3 by texting SCHOOL to 70020.