HOUSTON -

A pair of conjoined twins who were born at Houston's Texas Children's Pavilion for Women will soon be separated.

The identical conjoined twin girls were born at the hospital on April 11. The girls, estimated to weigh 3 pounds, 7 ounces each, were born via Caesarean-section at 31 weeks gestation.

Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith share a liver, diaphragm, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart) and intestines. They were welcomed by their parents, Elysse and John Mata and their older brother Azariah.

The Lubbock family learned on Jan. 13 during a routine ultrasound that the mother was carrying twins and they were conjoined.

"They said, 'Yeah you're having twins.' I was like, 'Yay.' But they're conjoined. My heart sank," said mother Elysse Mata. "I cried, but I was happy at the same time. Not just one, but two babies.

Subsequently, the family was referred to Texas Children's Fetal Center, where they underwent extensive prenatal imaging, multidisciplinary consultation and development of plans to achieve a safe delivery and postnatal care.

Now estimated to weigh 10 pounds, 4 ounces each, the girls are being cared for by a team of specialists in the level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Texas Children's Hospital.

"The twins still require some respiratory support but they are doing well and we don't expect them to have any significant setbacks," said Dr. Stephen Welty, chief of neonatology at Texas Children's.

Plans for surgical separation are being discussed among a team of multidisciplinary specialists. Doctors say the process to begin separating the girls could start in one to two months.

"I can't wait. I can't wait to be able to hold two individual babies and kiss them, look at both at same time. I'm so excited," Mata said.

The Mata family and the care team's goal right now is for the babies to continue to grow and gain weight.