James and Emily Stark have always been optimistic, hopeful, and contented parents, and from the moment Emily Stark conceived in 2000, she described her “gut feeling” that she and her husband would have twins. The heart of the eager young couple was completely open to more than one baby, but it was on their next visit, for the ultrasound, that news came that no parent can prepare for. Emily Stark recalls hearing that her daughters were conjoined “somewhere in the lower region” as the doctor described, and then, James took over because she just couldn't absorb it all.

James Stark recalls the “1000-page medical book” that the physician flipped through, only to reveal “two paragraphs on conjoined twins.”

The somber mood was justified by the statistics. Conjoined twins occur in every 50,000-60,000 births, and of those, 50-60 percent are stillborn. 35 percent of conjoined-twin births survive only one day, but something about this momentous birthday left this brand new family with bright spirits and belief in the future. Dad even cracked a memorable joke about the situation that no one could forget.

In March of 2001, daughters Lexi and Sydney Stark became the first successfully separated conjoined twins in Colorado, and they will soon face a separation by choice, as each girl heads to college in a different place. The family related their innate, close-knit journey on “Megyn Kelly TODAY” on August 13, and the future for the Stark family is still filled with adventure and bright horizons.

Always time for fun

Nothing lifts the mood like a good joke, and James Stark told one to his happy, healthy daughter Lexi. He playfully inquired: “Are you having a nightmare, Lexi, one where your sister is stuck to your butt?”

Levity aside, Emily met the challenge of feeding and playing with her girls, and grandma sewed practical onesies together to fit her lovely granddaughters. On October 9, 2001, James and Emily Stark said a goodbye to their daughters, bound for the operating room, not knowing if it would mean forever or for just a few hours.

The news, relayed by a devoted and intrepid nurse, kept getting better hour by hour as she briefed the waiting parents.

Doubt turned to delight

Emily Stark admitted to the host that for a time just prior to the surgery, during the preparation procedures, she was overcome by doubt, pondering whether she and James were “playing God with perfection” that they already had. James reiterated that one thing he hopes parents gain from their story is confidence to make the best decisions in their children's future and to be responsible for those choices. “We got the fairytale,” said Emily, “and we know the ending…so far.”

Lexi and Sydney Stark came out to tell their separate sides of that story, clasping hands.

Sydney called their parents “precious,” to which her dad concurred. No one would guess seeing them now that paralysis was a definite possibility when they were separated. Lexi related being “very blessed” following their ordeal. Both sisters have colostomies because they initially shared one bowel, and Sydney teased that telling close friends that they have “one butt cheek” can be quite a revelation.

When the sisters are napping or highly stressed, they revert back to their positions prior to their “sisterectomy” as a friend of James dubbed it, and snuggle in a favorite position. Lexi demonstrated just the way that Sydney prefers to rest her head in the curve of her twin sister’s neck, easing both siblings into a calm and peaceful state.

Each sister has her own story of sensing the other’s pain or knowing when a rough day has transpired.

Sydney is set to attend the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and Lexi is bound for the University of Calgary in Canada. Talking on the phone may settle some minor nerves around final exams, but the Stark sisters are going to need cuddle time for those college heartbreaks -- hopefully there won't be many of those ahead.

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