The moment that a doctor let out a gasp upon delivering a set of twins was the moment their mom and everyone else in the room realized the amazing thing the twins were doing as they came out.
Sarah Thistlethwaite, a math teacher from Orrville, Ohio, said she and her husband were excited to learn they were expecting twins, as reported by People Magazine.
"We were in shock – we sat there and laughed and then cried and then we would laugh again," Sarah said.
However, 19 weeks into Sarah’s pregnancy, they discovered their identical twin girls were monoamniotic.
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Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins, also known as "Mo-Mo,” occur in one out of 10,000 births, according to Twin Pregnancy and Beyond. The fetuses share both their amnions, chorions and placenta. Mo-Mo twins have an in-utero mortality rate of about 50 percent.
"It's the rarest form of twinning and it carries the most risk," explained Dr. Mancuso, director of the fetal treatment center at Akron Children's Hospital. "Because 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.”
The couple, who also had a 1-year-old son, were concerned about their daughters and the complications the pregnancy may present. The 35-year-old mother was admitted to Akron’s Children Hospital for almost two months of bed rest, as medical staff constantly monitored the babies’ heart rates.
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On day 57 of her bed rest, 33 weeks into her pregnancy, Sarah underwent a Cesarean section to deliver the babies a few days before Mother’s Day in 2014.
While waiting for the possibility that the newborns may need to undergo additional procedures, both the family and the medical staff got a welcome, heartwarming surprise.
"Oh my gosh!" exclaimed Dr. Mancuso. "They're holding hands!"
"My heart just melted," Sarah said. "Even my husband got tears in his eyes – I don’t know that anybody in the room had a dry eye."
At the age of two, twins Jenna and Jillian Thistlethwaite are "like two peas in a pod," despite their changing personalities.
"If one twin is crying, the other will try to find a way to comfort her, like going to find a pacifier or rubbing the other's back or offering a hug," Sarah said. "They always take care of each other."
She believes her daughters are lucky to have each other, and that their bond will only strengthen as times goes on.
"Twins have this special bond and I can't wait to watch them grow up and be best friends," she said.