A very pregnant Sarah Thistlethwaite was waiting in the hospital in Akron, Ohio, for 57 days for her twin girls to arrive, unsure how healthy they would be when the time finally came.
Then, on Friday — two days before Mother's Day — the answer came.
Her twins were monoamniotic, meaning Jenna and Jillian shared an amniotic sac, the bag of fluid inside a soon-to-be-mom's womb where the fetus grows. It's a condition that occurs in one of every 10,000 pregnancies, and can lead to one twin's umbilical cord wrapping around the neck of the other. This means the babies must be monitored constantly in the months leading up to their birth.
But any fears Sarah and her husband Bill once had proved to be unfounded, as the twins were not only born fairly healthy, but held hands moments after birth. When Dr. Melissa Mancuso, one of Akron Children’s Hospital perinatologists, lifted the babies, Jillian "grabbed Jenna’s hand," according to Mancuso.
The twins were born slightly premature after their mother's 33 weeks of labor and 57 days of hospital bed rest, each weighing in at about five pounds, according to Akron General Medical Center's website. They were taken to an intensive care unit and will have to spend two to four weeks there, but are already breathing without ventilators.
The Thistlethwaites didn't know they were having twins until their son Jaxon's first birthday, on Jan. 27, the day of Sarah's third ultrasound. Silence filled the hospital room following the announcement, and then hysterical laughter. Bill had always wanted three kids.
But when they also discovered that the twins were monoamniotic, the conversation turned to one of practicalities. Sarah would have to be in the hospital for nearly two months to ensure her twins didn't encounter any health complications. She took an extended break from teaching middle school math and relied on her husband to take care of their 15-month-old son, Jaxon.
But Jenna and Jillian arrived just in time to celebrate Mother's Day.
“They’re already best friends,” Sarah told the Akron Beacon Journal. “I can’t believe they were holding hands. That’s amazing.”