NEW YORK – For the first time since her twin sons were born joined at the head in 2002, the boys' mother had to decide Sunday which one she should stay with.
Carl Aguirre (search), who was separated from his brother Clarence last week in a 17-hour operation at Montefiore Medical Center (search) in the Bronx, was taken from his room for a routine CAT scan (search).
"This is the first time he's leaving his brother alone," said their mother, Arlene Aguirre, according to hospital spokesman Steve Osborne.
A nurse reported that Aguirre looked perplexed, "like she didn't know which boy to stay with," Osborne said. She decided to go with Carl for the test, leaving her mother with Clarence.
Since the operation, the 2-year-old Filipino boys have shared a room in the pediatric intensive care unit, sedated and recovering in side-by-side beds.
Dr. David Staffenberg, the boys' plastic surgeon, said they are recovering so well that the sedation, which keeps them from moving too much, could be lightened as early as Monday.
"They're really rambunctious kids, so this is just protective," Staffenberg said.
He said the twins still face several more operations -- their skulls, for instance, still need to be reconstructed -- but doctors and relatives are pleased with their progress. The process differed from previous separations in that doctors performed a number of surgeries over several months.
Arlene Aguirre has a private room in the intensive care unit if she needs to sleep, but she spends nearly all her time with her sons.
"She's still trying to get over, I think, the whole saga," Staffenberg said. "I can't imagine what it must be like for her to finally see them in two separate beds."
Aguirre told "Dateline NBC" she has big plans for her sons.
"What I'm really planning for them, if I really can afford, is for them to go to medical school," she said in an interview aired Sunday. "One is the neurosurgeon and one is the plastic surgeon."
She has more immediate hopes as well.
"I'm hoping I can see them running, walking," she said, "just like normal babies."