Sarah Thistlethwaite, an Ohio mother, gave birth to twins with a rare condition.
The twins, named Jenna and Jillian, shared an amniotic sac and placenta–a condition that’s known as monoamnioitic, or “mono mono.”
They came out holding hands, and photos of the girls went viral when they were born.
Doctors have said it’s the rarest form of pregnancy among twin births.
“Once they made sure they were OK, they held them up so mom and dad could see,” hospital spokeswoman Amy Kilgore told Fox 8. “As soon as they were side by side, they held hands. It gave me chills.”
There were fears of their survival when they were born, but few weeks later, they were healthy and strong. But they felt most comfortable holding hands. However, at the time, parents Sarah and Bill said they had trouble telling the two apart.
“Actually Jillian, the way you could tell her from her sister, she is a little bit smaller, about a pound difference between them and Jillian has a birthmark above her left eye and eyelid,” Bill Thistlethwaite told WJW-TV in Ohio.
Sarah was in the hospital for 56 days over concerns about cord entanglement or compression.
“I had a lot of anxiety at the beginning, especially, when I found out they were mono mono twins – just whether or not they were going to survive,” added Sarah.
“It’s the rarest form of twinning and it carries the most risk,” explains Dr. Mancuso, who who delivered the twins, according to People magazine. “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,” she added.
The last photos of the girls were taken when they were 2 years old.
“I can’t wait to watch them grow up and be best friends,” Thistlethwaite told People magazine, adding that they’re closer than ever.
“My heart just melted,” Thistlethwaite told the publication about when they were born. “Even my husband got tears in his eyes – I don t know that anybody in the room had a dry eye.”
She said Jillian and Jenna have started to develop a sibling rivalry.
“If Jenna does something bad, I’ll ask her about it and she’ll say, ‘No, Jillian did it!'” Thistlethwaite told Daily Mail.
“But they look so much alike that sometimes I really can’t tell which one of them is in trouble.”
“Sometimes if my husband goes to the store, he’ll take one twin and I’ll keep the other,” Thistlethwaite also told People magazine. “When that happens, they both get really upset and ask for each other. They’re definitely really close. They’re like two peas in a pod.”
They always bond over shared interests, she said.
“They like the same foods, they both love swimming and being outside, and they love to play with the same toys,” Thistlethwaite continued. “We try to buy two of everything to minimize competition, but still, they usually find one to fight over – even if they’re exactly the same.”