A hospital isn't always the obvious location for a birthday party -- but for 1-year-old twins Tyler and Tyson Proctor, it's a great spot for a celebration.
The boys were born conjoined, attached at their chests and bellies. The babies shared a liver. Tyson also needed heart surgery.
But nowadays they're not afraid to go their own separate ways as they crawl around the floor, bringing laughter from their family. On Tuesday, Tyler and Tyson had a warm reunion with the medical team that surgically separated them at Children's National Health System in Washington.
The Proctors brought their whole family, including the boys' older siblings, their grandparents and their great-grandmother, back to the hospital for the party to celebrate Tyler and Tyson's first birthday.
Their party featured a Dr. Seuss-inspired cake with "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" mini-cakes for the twins, and a round of the "Happy Birthday" song -- sung by not just their family, but also the doctors and nurses who conducted the life-altering operation for the boys.
The twins were separated when they were just two months old.
Using a 3D printer, the medical team created a plastic model of the boys' entire midsection. The model came in handy as the team planned the complicated surgery on the tiny twins.
"This week, I think I've cried a couple of times, and I think I'll cry when my nurses come out," said their mother, Tokoya Proctor, of the family's journey.
Dr. Anthony Sandler of Children's National Health System, piped up, "I'd like to add one thing. You can't do this kind of surgery without this kind of family. 'Cause you really need parents like this to do everything that they do. They're part of the team; in fact they lead the team. And without them, the surgery just wouldn't be able to be done."
The twins' 78-year-old great-grandmother was also on hand for the celebration. She points out that this kind of life-saving science wasn't available in the past. So she has a pet name for the boys: "Miracle babies," she calls them.
"I didn't think they would make it," she said. "I was scared. And they made it, and it's awesome. It's really awesome."
Now, doctors say the outlook is good for both boys to thrive and lead healthy lives.
"He might not be as tough as everybody, but he might be my golfer, tennis player or something," said their father, Raymond Proctor, of one of the twins.