A math teacher in Ohio was ecstatic when she learned that she’d be having twins. Already the mother of a one-year-old son with her husband, Sarah Thistlethwaite didn’t expect anything but smooth sailing for her second pregnancy.
But things didn’t go quite as smoothly as expected. Just shy of five months into her pregnancy, Sarah learned on an ob-gyn exam visit that she was expecting identical twin girls, but with a very rare twist: her girls were Monoamniotic-Monochorionic, aka “Mo-Mo,” a situation that affects only one out of every 10 000 births. The really scary news was that this condition, in which the fetuses have one joint placenta, chorion, and amnion, results in about a 50 percent mortality rate before the babies are even born.
Dr. Mancuso, the babies’ doctor, explained that “it’s the rarest form of twinning and it carries the most risk . . . they’re sharing the same amniotic sac, their umbilical cords can become tangled as they’re growing and moving, which can cut off blood supply to one or both twins.”
As Sarah was a slightly older mom, being 35, Mancuso admitted her into Akron Children’s Hospital, where she remained on bed rest for a solid two months. This allowed hospital personnel to keep a close watch on the babies’ heart rates, which was crucial for a successful pregnancy to come to term.
Sarah made it to 33 weeks – just a tad over eight months into her pregnancy – before it was determined that a C-section would be the best route for the safety and good health of all involved. To everyone’s complete delight, Jenna and Jillian Thislethwaite came into the world hand-in-hand.
Sarah, who had given up so much to bring her two baby girls to fruition, was beside herself with happiness.
“My heart just melted. Even my husband got tears in his eyes – I don’t know that anybody in the room had a dry eye,” the new mother said of her amazing hand-holding identical twins.
Sarah says the girls – who are now two – are connected in a most unusual way.
“If one twin is crying, the other will try to find a way to comfort her. . . they always take care of each other,” she told People.