Iɴsᴇᴘᴀʀᴀʙʟᴇ Twins Born Holding Hands Moments After Birth

Mᴏɴᴏ ᴍᴏɴᴏ twins are a one in 10,000 occurrence. Because they share the sᴀᴍᴇ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ and ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ sᴀᴄ, the ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ is considered extremely high ʀɪsᴋ. But despite the ᴏᴅᴅs, Jenna and Jillian Thistlewaite not only sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ, but captured the hearts of millions when they were born holding hands.

Their mother Sarah had spent 57 days on bed rest to minimize the ʀɪsᴋs and was relieved to give birth to two healthy girls. The girls were were born May 9 at Akron General Mᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ Cᴇɴᴛᴇʀ, in the state’s northwest. Sarah said: “I had a lot of ᴀɴxɪᴇᴛʏ at the beginning, especially, when I found out they were Mᴏɴᴏ ᴍᴏɴᴏ twins – just whether or not they were going to sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ. Really, I can’t believe how big it was. I look back and I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s us. That’s us on TV’.” Dᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs had detected the ᴍᴏɴᴏᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ at 19 weeks during the third ᴜʟᴛʀᴀsᴏᴜɴᴅ. That day, the parents, who already had a one-year-old son named Jaxon, also found out their were having twins. Most twins have their own ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ sᴀᴄk during the ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. But ᴍᴏɴᴏᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ twins, who are always identical, share the sᴀᴍᴇ one, which comes with additional ʀɪsᴋs. Their ᴜᴍʙɪʟɪᴄᴀʟ ᴄᴏʀᴅs can become ᴇɴᴛᴀɴɢʟᴇᴅ or ᴄᴏᴍᴘʀᴇssᴇᴅ, or one of the ᴄᴏʀᴅs can get ᴡʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴀʀᴏᴜɴᴅ the other twin’s ɴᴇᴄᴋ. Dᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs told them they could deliver the twins at 32 or 34 weeks of ɢᴇsᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ and the parents settled on 33 weeks. Jenna and Jillian were born on May 9, weighing almost five pounds each after what was already a ʀᴀʀᴇ birth. But what they did during the first seconds of their lives stunned the Dᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs even further.

Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ spokeswoman Amy Kilgore, who was there for the birth, said:” Once they made sure they were OK, they held them up so mom and dad could see. As soon as they were side by side, they held hands. It gave me ᴄʜɪʟʟs. When they held them up and I saw their hands together… It’s indescribable, really.” They were moved to Akron Children’s Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ after birth because they needed ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴀssɪsᴛᴀɴᴄᴇ. Jenna and Jillian were delivered by Caesarean section at Akron General Mᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ Cᴇɴᴛᴇʀ and were holding hands when presented to Sarah and Bill in the delivery room. Sarah said:” They’re already best friends. I can’t believe they were holding hands. That’s amazing. Now, they are still incredibly close.”

By the time they turned 1, Jenna and Jillian kept grabbing each other at every opportunity while sitting together or during meals. Two years on, they have developed distinct personalities. Jenna is the cautious one while Jillian is more of a daredevil. If one of them starts crying, the other will try to comfort her by rubbing her back, hugging her or finding a pacifier. But even though their bond remains strong, Jenna and Jillian have started to dabble in a bit of sibling rivalry. Thistlethwaite said:” If Jenna does something bad, I’ll ask her about it and she’ll say, ‘No, Jillian did it!’. But they look so much alike that sometimes I really can’t tell which one of them is in trouble.”

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