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Twins Born Holding Hands, Have Rare Condition

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AKRON, Ohio — Newborn twins with a rare condition were reportedly doing well Sunday in a northeast Ohio hospital.

The identical twin girls share the same amniotic sac and placenta. Such births are called monoamniotic, or “mono mono.” They were born Friday at Akron General Medical Center, grasping each other’s hands when doctors lifted them up for their parents to see after delivery.

“This is the best Mother’s Day present ever,” said mother Sarah Thistlethwaite, reported the Akron Beacon Journal.

“They’re already best friends,” said Thistlethwaite, 32. “I can’t believe they were holding hands. That’s amazing.”

Hospital spokeswoman Amy Kilgore said Sunday they were moved temporarily to Akron Children’s Hospital because they needed breathing assistance. She said they were “doing wonderfully” Sunday morning.

The girls are named Jenna and Jillian. Jenna was born first at 4 pounds, 2 ounces and 17 inches, with Jillian following 48 seconds later at 3 pounds, 13 ounces and 17.5 inches.

Doctors say monoamniotic twins occur in about one of every 10,000 pregnancies. Dr. Melissa Mancuso helped deliver the twins, one of several amniotic pairs she has helped deliver in 11 years. She said the twins are at risk during pregnancy of entanglement of umbilical cords, which can cause death. Another woman at Akron General is expected to give birth later this week to monoamniotic twins.

The Thistlethwaite girls will likely remain hospitalized for two to four weeks.

Sarah and Bill Thistlethwaite of Orrville, Ohio, have a son, Jaxon, whose first birthday was Jan. 27. That’s the day they also found out she was carrying twins.

“All I could do was laugh,” said Bill, 35.

They rushed to prepare their home for the twins, and Sarah was soon on bed rest.

A middle school math teacher, she went into the hospital on March 14.

“It’s hard, it really is,” she said of extended bed rest. “It was very mentally challenging knowing I have to sit here all day.”

Besides television, books and “trashy gossip magazines,” she viewed YouTube to learn how to crochet baby hats.

The girls were born at 33 weeks and two days. Mancuso said there were only minor issues during the pregnancy.

Sometimes the girls would kick the monitors off.

“I don’t know what they’re doing to each other,” Sarah said jokingly of her “sweet girls.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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