VALHALLA, New York (WABC) -- About 11 months ago, parents Maria and Daniel Sparano welcomed their twins Emma and Nina into the world.
On Monday, for the first time, the twins finally got a chance to meet since that day.
"This is just one small step in the long journey we have coming," Daniel Sparano said.
Nina, the younger twin by only two minutes, was born needing multiple surgeries and long-term hospital care.
"She was born with anomaly of upper airway called Pierre Robin Syndrome," said Nina's doctor, Dennis Davidson. "And that's a combination of both cleft palate and small jaw that pushes back the tongue and therefore makes it difficult to breath."
Surgeons have been slowly pushing her lower jaw forward with metal brackets, while tubes bring food to her stomach and air to her trachea.
Watching the girls grow, the parents have started to see a difference between the two.
Nina seems calmer and Emma is more energetic.
"She's a little warrior. She's like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly," said Maria Sparano of her younger daughter. "Slowly. Slowly. She will get there over time."
Nina needs another surgery next month to remove the metal in her jaw and correct her cleft palate.
She won't be home in time for their first birthday, but the hope is Nina will be home this summer and that she and Emma will be able to take their first steps together.