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NEW YORK – A set of anxious parents settled in for a long day of waiting Thursday morning as surgeons in New York work to separate their 13-month-old conjoined twin boys.

Anias and Jadon McDonald were born conjoined at the tops of their head last year. Their parents made the tough decision to have them undergo a risky surgery to separate them.

Nicole and Christian McDonald say their sons have distinct personalities. Jadon is rowdy while Anias, who had to fight harder to live in the early months of his life, is more contemplative.

Nicole’s photos usually show just one of her son’s at a time.

“My pictures will always depict my boys as separate because that’s what they are to me. Their faces are so beautiful. I would hate for people to get caught up in the bridge between them,” Nicole wrote on the family’s GoFundMe page.

Doctors have been preparing the boys for this day since the boys were born last year, CNN reports. They have already undergone three operations to start the long process. Doctors place four tissue expanders in their heads to make the separation process a little easier.

At 7:15 a.m. Thursday, Anias and Jadon were wheeled into the operating room at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City where the 20-hour surgery is taking place. Their parents and 3-year-old big brother Aza kissed them before saying goodbye, hoping they will see the twins again healthy and separated soon.

The family set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.