Kristiana and Kristian were born on January 4 at 28 weeks, and weighed just 2.2 pounds each, according to new mom Anthea Jackson-Rushford. She took to Facebook to post the video of the twins holding each others’ tiny hands while their father cuddles them against his chest. This type of skin-to-skin contact is known as kangaroo care, and it’s been shown to help boost preemies’ health and wellbeing.
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld
Sweet video of premature babies holding hands hopes to encourage othersJan.21.201601:20
Anthea Jackson-Rushford/Facebook A video of premature newborn twins born in Australia is going viral. Why? The babies were born holding hands!
And while they adore their big brother, they can stand to be separated from him, unlike from each other.
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Twins who were photographed holding hands at birth are still incredibly closeJul.18.201601:41
A few days later, they were at it again. “As you can clearly see, they can’t stop holding hands!” their proud mom wrote.
“Orrville is a small town, so I had a lot of community support and that support has only gotten bigger (since the girls’ birth),” she said. “People are proud to see them on TV or in the news. It doesn’t matter how many times they’re on. Everybody loves it.”
Then she quickly added: “But with that being said, they have no problem tattling on each other. They definitely will blame or get the other one in trouble.”
The Thistlethwaite twins, now age 2, are as close as ever.Sarah Thistlethwaite
The girls recently celebrated their second birthday at home with a family birthday party and are now enjoying the summer with story time at the library and visits to the swimming pool. Thistlethwaite said she continues to be grateful for all the care she gets from family doctors and the support she gets from relatives, friends and everyone in her community.
The girls were “monoamniotic twins,” meaning they shared an amniotic sac — instead of each having her own — during gestation. The rare condition carries great risks for complications, and while their mother spent 57 days on bed rest before she delivered the girls via C-section, the twins had few medical problems before and after their birth.
This is not surprising for the set of Orrville, Ohio, twins who captured national headlines two years ago for grabbing hands just seconds after they were born.
“They have absolutely no health problems. They are normal 2-year-olds,” their mother said. “They run around. They chase after their brother, who teaches them pretty much what not to do, and then they still do it anyway.”
Thistlethwaite then heard her two obstetricians explain what was going on.
The girls were born 48 seconds apart and then brought together immediately afterward, which is when one grabbed the other’s hand. At the time, Thistlethwaite couldn’t see either one, since her view was blocked by a surgical curtain.
Two-year-old sisters Jenna and Jillian Thistlethwaite hate to be apart. One will stand by the door crying for the other when separated.
All About Babies These Newborn Twins Can’t Stop Holding Hands!
Monoamniatic or “mono mono” twins are considered high risk because the fetuses can easily become entangled in each other’s umbilical cords, among other complications.
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Jenna and Jillian still like to hold hands.Courtesy of Sarah Thistlethwaite
This sweet video of preemie twins holding hands will make you melt.
To date, the video had racked up 10 million views and counting. And lest you think this was a one-time thing, the proud mama posted another shot of the dynamic duo holding hands a few days later. “Both my angels holding hands again as if they were born to!” she wrote. “Amazing sight!”
The girls love to climb, go swimming and assert their wills whenever possible, particularly when fighting over toys.
Jenna and Jillian, despite being born seven weeks early, have continued to thrive every day since.
“All I wanted to do was hear them cry. There was still a high percentage we could have a stillbirth so I remember thinking, ‘Let them cry. Let them cry. Why isn’t she crying?’” Thistlethwaite recalled.
The hospital planned to document the birth as part of a Mother’s Day story being chronicled at the time by the local paper and a television station.
“That is just a miracle from God,” Sarah Thistlethwaite told TODAY.
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“It just explains the whole pregnancy for me, them being together the whole time. They need each other, they’re there for each other and they’ve got such an attachment,” she said.
“They’re definitely a handful on some days, but they’re really a good time,” said Thistlethwaite, a middle school math teacher.
“Even once they were born, they wanted to be right beside each other because that’s what they’re used to. It’s that constant touch.”
“I heard Dr. Wolfe say, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re holding hands,’ and then Dr. Manacuso was like, ‘Hold them up so mom can see them’” she said. “I couldn’t believe they were holding hands. That was amazing. It was beautiful.”
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“All three are very, very close but the girls have just this unexplainable bond. Honestly, splitting them up, or doing anything with those two separately will make them cry. They don’t want to be away from each other,” their mother said.
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The girls were born May 9, 2014, and the photo that captured the nation’s heart happened by coincidence.
“He actually holds her hand!” says a voice off camera. “How is that possible?”
Jenna and Jillian Thislethwaite, just seconds after they were born in 2014.Courtesy of Sarah Thistlethwaite
Twins don’t run in the family for Thistlethwaite or her husband, and the couple were surprised by the news when they went in for a routine ultrasound about 19 weeks into the pregnancy.
‘They need each other’: Twins born holding hands still inseparable 2 years later
Thistlethwaite said she realized the photo of her girls holding hands had gone viral after her brother-in-law sent her a clip of it surrounded by Chinese writing.
RELATED: TODAY parents share ‘power of touch’ photos of hand-holding preemie babies
The girls with their big brother, Jaxon, 3, on Halloween.Courtesy of Sarah Thistlethwaite
The two blonde girls are almost indistinguishable from each other. Their parents usually can tell them apart — Jillian has a small blue vein that cuts across her nose — but the person who does that the best is 3-year-old big brother Jaxon, who occasionally has to correct his parents about which girl is which.