The “ᴍᴏɴᴏ ᴍᴏɴᴏ” ᴛᴡɪɴs Shared An ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ Sᴀᴄᴋ – Holding Hands After ʙɪʀᴛʜ

One Ohio mom got a very special present for Mother’s Day, when her identical ᴛᴡɪɴ girls were born holding hands. Sarah Thistlewaite’s daughters, Jenna and Jillian, are a rare set of monoamniotic or “ᴍᴏɴᴏ ᴍᴏɴᴏ” identical ᴛᴡɪɴs, which means they shared an ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ sᴀᴄᴋ and were in constant contact during the ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. The condition also meant that Thistlewaite had to remain on bed rest for weeks at Aᴋʀᴏɴ Gᴇɴᴇʀᴀʟ Mᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ Cᴇɴᴛᴇʀ ɪɴ Aᴋʀᴏɴ, Oʜɪᴏ. The ᴛᴡɪɴs had to be constantly monitored for nearly two months, since ᴍᴏɴᴏ ᴍᴏɴᴏ ᴛᴡɪɴs can easily become entangled in each other’s ᴜᴍʙɪʟɪᴄᴀʟ ᴄᴏʀᴅs.

Thistlewaite said: “It’s really mentally challenging. It’s a ᴠᴇʀʏ ᴛᴏᴜɢʜ experience to go through.” She also has a 15-month-old son, had to ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ɪɴᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ for nearly two months so doctors could carefully monitor the babies. She added: “They hook you up to ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ʀᴀᴛᴇ ᴍᴏɴɪᴛᴏʀs to watch for ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴅᴇᴄᴇʟᴇʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴ or variables.That’s what they look for the whole time. I got ᴜʟᴛʀᴀsᴏᴜɴᴅs every other week.”

Thankfully for Thistlewaite and her husband Bill, their daughters were born healthy at 33 weeks. Dᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs ᴘʟᴀɴɴᴇᴅ ᴀ Cᴀᴇsᴀʀɪᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ because if the ᴛᴡɪɴs grew too large, they would be at ɢʀᴇᴀᴛᴇʀ ʀɪsᴋ ꜰᴏʀ ᴇɴᴛᴀɴɢʟᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ. As the girls were born, doctors held them up over a sheet so that Thistlewaite and her husband could see them. The newborns were holding hands. Thistlewaite said: “I didn’t think they would come out and instantly holding hands. It was ᴏᴠᴇʀᴡʜᴇʟᴍɪɴɢ. I can’t even put into words. There ᴡᴀsɴ’ᴛ ᴀ ᴅʀʏ ᴇʏᴇ in the whole OR.”

Jenna was born at 4 pounds, 2 ounces, with Jillian following less than a minute later at 3 pounds, 13 ounces. The ᴛᴡɪɴs spent nearly a month in the ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ’s ɴᴇᴏɴᴀᴛᴀʟ ɪɴᴛᴇɴsɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ unit gaining weight and getting stronger. At nearly 6 pounds now, they were cleared to be ʀᴇʟᴇᴀsᴇᴅ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ on Saturday and went home with their parents and their big brother, 15-month-old Jaxon. Their parents, Sarah and Bill Thistlethwaite, had been splitting their time at home with Jaxon and at the hospital 40 minutes away with the ᴛᴡɪɴs. Sarah Thistlethwaite said: “It’s just nice to have everyone under the same roof, It was really sᴛʀᴇssꜰᴜʟ – you want to pay attention to the little one at home and you just ɢᴀᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ to two little babies. It was a ᴘᴜʟʟ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀ ᴛᴇᴀʀ as to where to go.”

The ᴛᴡɪɴs’ rare ʙɪʀᴛʜ condition is called ᴍᴏɴᴏᴀᴍɴɪᴏɪᴛɪᴄ, or “ᴍᴏɴᴏ ᴍᴏɴᴏ.” Doctors say they occur in about one of every 10,000 ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄɪᴇs. Thistlethwaite, a 32-year-old eighth-grade teacher, said she’s already noticed a unique bond between the ᴛᴡɪɴs. She said: “When I try to feed them on the feeding pillow, they gradually migrate toward each other. And when I lay them on the floor, they scoot toward each other. It’s pretty cool to see them doing.”

She said her mother, grandparents and her husband’s grandparents all came to their house Saturday night to welcome the little ones. The family spent Sunday trying to relax and enjoy each other. She said: “We were so excited and kept thanking Gᴏᴅ we made it to that point. Having them here is amazing, but having them here so healthy when they were ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ, it’s absolutely ᴘʜᴇɴᴏᴍᴇɴᴀʟ.” Thistlethwaite said she’s grateful that her and her husband’s biggest worry now is telling the ᴛᴡɪɴs apart. She plans to solve that problem with pink nail polish for one and purple for the other.

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