Sarah Thistlewaite was delighted to receive a unique Mother’s Day gift when her identical twin daughters, Jenna and Jillian, entered the world holding hands. These twins are classified as rare monoamniotic or “mono mono” identical twins, as they shared a single amniotic sac and remained in constant contact throughout the entire pregnancy.
Due to the condition, Sarah Thistlewaite had to remain on bed rest at Akron General Medical Center in Akron, Ohio. The twins required constant monitoring for almost two months due to the risk of entanglement in each other’s umbilical cords, a common concern for monoamniotic twins.
Thistlewaite expressed the mental challenges of her experience, stating that it was a tough journey to go through. In addition to having a 15-month-old son, she had to stay in the hospital for nearly two months so that doctors could carefully monitor the babies. Continuous monitoring was conducted, including the use of heart rate monitors to detect heart deceleration or variables. Thistlewaite had ultrasound examinations every other week as part of the monitoring process.
Fortunately, Thistlewaite and her husband Bill received the joyful news that their daughters were born healthy at 33 weeks. Due to the risk of entanglement, doctors had planned a Caesarean section if the twins grew too large. When the girls were born, they were held up over a sheet for Thistlewaite and her husband to see, and they were holding hands. Thistlewaite expressed her overwhelming emotions, stating that she didn’t expect them to come out already holding hands. The moment was so powerful that there wasn’t a dry eye in the operating room.
Jenna was born weighing 4 pounds and 2 ounces, with Jillian following less than a minute later at 3 pounds and 13 ounces. The twins required almost a month of care and weight gain in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit to grow stronger. Now weighing nearly 6 pounds, they were deemed healthy enough to be released from the hospital on Saturday.
They happily went home with their parents, Sarah and Bill Thistlewaite, along with their older brother, 15-month-old Jaxon. The Thistlewaite parents had been dividing their time between home and the hospital, which was a 40-minute drive away, caring for both Jaxon and the twins. Sarah Thistlewaite expressed her relief and joy, stating that it’s wonderful to have everyone under the same roof. She also mentioned the stress of balancing attention between their newborn twins and their little one at home, as it was a challenging decision on where to focus their time and energy.
The twins’ uncommon birth condition is known as monoamniotic, or “mono mono.” According to doctors, this condition occurs in approximately one out of every 10,000 pregnancies. Thistlewaite, a 32-year-old middle school teacher, has already observed a special bond between the twins. She has noticed that when she tries to feed them on the feeding pillow, they naturally gravitate toward each other. Similarly, when she lays them on the floor, they scoot closer to one another. Thistlewaite finds it fascinating to witness these interactions between them.
On Saturday night, Thistlewaite’s mother, grandparents, and her husband’s grandparents all gathered at their house to welcome the newborns. The following Sunday, the family focused on relaxing and cherishing their time together. Thistlewaite expressed their excitement and gratitude, continually thanking God for reaching this point. Having the twins at home is an incredible experience, especially considering their premature birth and their current healthy condition. Thistlewaite mentioned that their primary concern now is telling the twins apart, and she plans to solve this by painting one’s nails pink and the other’s nails purple.