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Successful separation

Macey and Mackenzie Garrison were born as conjoined twins seven years ago. Take a look at their journey to separation and the active lives they lead now.


Siblings attached

Seven years ago, Macey and Mackenzie Garrison were born as conjoined twins, attached at the pelvis and sharing a third leg and intestines. They were in the womb with a triplet sister, who was born normally.

In September 2003, the girls were successfully separated and now continue to live active lives, taking gym classes, horseback riding and more. Take a look at their journey.

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Parents' love

The birth parents of Macey, Mackenzie and their sister Madeline had drug problems, so the girls were placed in foster care. Jeff Garrison, pictured here, and his wife Darla adopted all three children and brought them home to Riverside, Calif.

The couple had been foster parents to 10 other children through the years, but the conjoined twins were a new challenge. They each weighed 2.2 pounds at birth and had a colostomy bag. Both had problems with speech and learning.

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Conjoined Twins Surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

Grueling surgery

On Sept. 10, 2003, Mackenzie and Macey went through a 24-hour surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in order to be separated. They were nine months old.

Bob Riha, Jr./chla / CHLA
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One-time conjoined twin, 9-month-old "Baby "A" (left) reaches for a play toy from her sister "Baby B"  during their recovery period 5 days after their historic 26-hour surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Both Baby "A" and "B" are doing fine in photo taken Sept.16, 2003.  (HO/Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).

The separation

Surgeons had to divide the girls' fused livers, give the large instestine to Mackenzie, and amputate the third leg. They also had to rebuild the girls' pelvises.

Bob Riha, Jr.
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All smiles

The sisters remained playful during their recovery: This photo was taken just five days after their surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

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The stats

In the U.S., one in 200,000 live births result in conjoined twins, and more than 70 percent are girls, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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Father Jeff Garrison told TODAY that Mackenzie was home in six weeks, while it took Macey a month longer to heal.

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Baby steps

Mackenzie and Macey were given prosthetic legs and worked with a phsyical therapist to learn to walk.

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A winning team

Mom Darla Garrison told TODAY that she's thankful for the doctors at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. "It was an enormous team ... I don't even know the number," she said. "The way they coordinated and just the way they took care of us ... we just really appreciate it."

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Seeing triple

All three girls have been learning to ride horses, and Madeline has been helping to teach her siblings.

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Family portrait

In addition to the triplets, the Garrisons have three biological sons -- Tyler, 18, Matt, 14, and Luke, 13. "Our sons ... they're really gracious in how they're patient. Really, they're the ones that have sacrificed," Darla Garrison told TODAY.

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Getting adventurous

Mom Darla Garrison told TODAY that the girls are "very independent. They have chores, they take care of animals at home -- they're pretty normal 7-year-old girls."

The family moved to a farm in Iowa and they have 10 horses, two dogs and four cats.

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Drive to get ahead

The girls recently started second grade and told TODAY that their favorite subjects are physical education and art.

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