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Formerly Conjoined Twins Make Separate Debut After Surgery [VIDEO]

Update Date: Dec 21, 2012 03:37 PM EST
The Tucker twins, Amelia (in purple) and Allison, post-operation.
(Photo : Courtesy of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

Formerly conjoined twins Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker made their debut Thursday at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) after they were born joined at the lower chest and abdomen nine months ago.

The twins, Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker were separated Nov. 7 at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The twins appeared alert and happy, but still had nasal tubes at a press conference Wednesday as they were held by their parents, Shellie and Greg Tucker.

Up until a few days ago, the 10-month-old twins had spent their entire lives at the hospital - Allison has been discharged, but Amelia will have to stay until after the New Year, according to CHOP.

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"Greg and I are thrilled that our daughters have been given this remarkable gift by the amazing team from (CHOP)," said Shellie Tucker, who is from Adams, N.Y., in a press release.

The Tuckers, who also have a son, Owen, found out Shellie was pregnant with conjoined twins around her 20th week of pregnancy, and were quickly referred to CHOP's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. After a round of tests, doctors determined the girls would be great candidates for separation surgery.

"Both Allison and Amelia are doing well, and we expect them both to enjoy full, healthy and independent lives," said Dr. Holly L. Hedrick, the pediatric general, thoracic and fetal surgeon who led the surgery.

Shellie Tucker was 20 weeks into her pregnancy when she learned she was going to have twins.

"[The doctor] said, 'You're having twins,' and my heart dropped. 'I think they're connected,' and my heart dropped again," Tucker told ABC News. "Their recommendation was to terminate," she said, according to ABC news.

 The parents decided to give the girls a chance at life, even after they knew that the girls would be joined together.

"We both agreed it wouldn't be fair to not give them a chance," Greg Tucker said.

Allison and Ameila were delivered by cesarean section on March 1.

"I instantly said they were gorgeous. They both held on to my fingers, came out screaming and we knew we made the right choice," Shellie Tucker said.

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