Rare twins hold hands at birth

"There wasn't a dry eye in the OR": Twins Jillian and Jenna hold hands moments after their birth.
"There wasn't a dry eye in the OR": Twins Jillian and Jenna hold hands moments after their birth. Photo: Akron General Medical Center

This is the moment twin girls born with a rare condition in the US grasped each other's hands after their delivery.

Babies Jillian and Jenna were born on Friday in Ohio, in the US. They held each other's hands when doctors lifted them up for their parents to see.

Born at just over 33 weeks, the twins were breathing on their own two days later, and their mum said she and her husband were able to hold them on Mother's Day.

"They're already best friends," said mother Sarah Thistlethwaite, 32. "I can't believe they were holding hands. That's amazing.

"It's just hard to put into words how amazing it feels to know the girls are okay," Thistlethwaite said.

The identical twin girls shared the same amniotic sac and placenta. Such births are called monoamniotic, or "mono mono," and doctors say they occur in about one of every 10,000 pregnancies. It is the rarest kind of twinning.

Dr Melissa Mancuso helped deliver the twins, one of several amniotic pairs she has helped deliver in 11 years. She said that mono mono twins are most at risk during pregnancy, as the umbilical cords can become tangled and cause death.

Thistlethwaite had been on bed rest since March 14, during which time the babies were heavily monitored to ensure they remained healthy. She sad that sometimes "they were fighting with each other. I don’t know what they’re doing to each other ... One entices the other and the other’s heart rate goes up".

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Jenna weighed 1.87kg at birth, and is 48 seconds older than sister Jillian, who weighed 1.72kg. They are both doing well and will be home in a few weeks, doctors have said. 

Thistlethwaite told the Akron Beacon Journal that their arrival was "the best Mother's Day present ever".

Thistlethwaite and her husband, Bill, are also parents to Jaxon, whose first birthday was January 27 - the same day the couple learnt they would be having twins.

- AP with staff writers

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