Rare mono mono twins Jenna and Jillian Thistlethwaite — who were holding hands when first presented to their parents by doctors before the Mother’s Day weekend — are becoming international starlets after their births Friday.
News reports about the twins who shared the same amniotic sac and placenta, picked up from Saturday’s article in the Akron Beacon Journal, have appeared worldwide.
Hospital officials at both Akron General Medical Center and Akron Children’s Hospital have been inundated with calls from media from as far away as Australia, Belgium, Chile and Vanity Fair in Italy.
Jenna and Jillian were born at Akron General after their mom, Sarah Thistlethwaite, spent 57 days on bed rest. Akron Children’s Hospital perinatologists Drs. Melissa Mancuso and Katherine Wolfe led the delivery team.
The Thistlethwaites’ story has also been featured on the Today Show, Live with Kelly and Michael and Good Morning America, among other broadcasts.
It also has been a rotating feature on many sites, such as Taiwan Yahoo news, AOL and Comcast.
A friend of Sarah Thistlethwaite emailed her a screen shot of the babies’ photo next to Kim Kardashian on one website.
“This is when you know Sarah’s made it big — she’s next to Kardashian!” Thistlethwaite, 32, recalled her friend emailing.
Thistlethwaite said she and her husband, Bill, can’t believe how the story of the girls — siblings to big brother, 15-month-old Jaxon — has gone viral.
“It’s unbelievable. I don’t even know what to say. It’s very unexpected. I feel like it’s somebody else’s life, and at some point I’m going to wake up,” Sarah Thistlethwaite said as she sat in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s, holding Jillian and visiting with Mancuso. Jenna was in a nearby isolette.
When the girls were born Friday afternoon, Jenna needed some oxygen initially. By Saturday, both girls were transported to Children’s, where they spent a little bit of time on a ventilator — a common occurrence for preemies, officials said — and were breathing on their own by Sunday evening. They are expected to spend the next two to four weeks at a hospital until they can go home.
Sarah will be discharged today and will travel from the family’s Orrville home to Akron to visit her babies.
Mancuso, a mother of fraternal twins herself, said she also has been hearing from friends and colleagues around the world.
When reminiscing Monday about how the twins were holding hands after birth, Mancuso said she delivered Jenna and cleaned her up, and then Wolfe pulled Jillian out of the womb. When they lifted the babies to show to mom and dad “it was Jillian that grabbed Jenna’s hand,” and Mancuso said, “Look, they’re holding hands!”
Thistlethwaite said the girls will have plenty of memories of their birth.
“Their scrapbook will be amazing.”