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.
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The girls with their big brother, Jaxon, 3, on Halloween.Courtesy of Sarah Thistlethwaite
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 need each other’: Twins born holding hands still inseparable 2 years later
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Newborn fling their hands and legs around quite some. It is possible that in this exercise of flailing, a sneaky person from the audience captured these babies in the unintentional poses.
“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.”
What you choose to believe between the medical marvel narrative and the far- less-magical-yet-the-more-plausible ‘coincidence’ tale is entirely up to you.
“They’re definitely a handful on some days, but they’re really a good time,” said Thistlethwaite, a middle school math teacher.
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.
There are two things which make your question really unlikely.
RELATED: TODAY parents share ‘power of touch’ photos of hand-holding preemie babies
Well, it is the product of coincidence and situational photography.
“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.
And while they adore their big brother, they can stand to be separated from him, unlike from each other.
Twins who were photographed holding hands at birth are still incredibly closeJul.18.201601:41
RELATED: Identical twins each give birth to 2nd set of twins: ‘Life is about to get crazy’
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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.
Two-year-old sisters Jenna and Jillian Thistlethwaite hate to be apart. One will stand by the door crying for the other when separated.
The Thistlethwaite twins, now age 2, are as close as ever.Sarah Thistlethwaite
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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.”
Jenna and Jillian, despite being born seven weeks early, have continued to thrive every day since.
“That is just a miracle from God,” Sarah Thistlethwaite told TODAY.
Jenna and Jillian Thislethwaite, just seconds after they were born in 2014.Courtesy of Sarah Thistlethwaite
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.
Secondly, all but a very few twins, even identicals, are in separate amniotic spaces. They are separated by membranes. That would make holding hands, even while just hanging out in the uterus before labor, a really slippery relationship.
The girls love to climb, go swimming and assert their wills whenever possible, particularly when fighting over toys.
“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.”
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Isn’t that stretching it a bit too far? And I don’t mean the bagel.
“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.”
We’re saying that two babies — that’s two heads and two torsos — together passed effortlessly through that bagel holding hands and the bagel survived to tell the tale.
Thistlethwaite then heard her two obstetricians explain what was going on.
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.
Twins are not born holding hands. I’m willing to bet that it is practically impossible.
As for the hubbub surrounding these photographs/stories, well, that’s just people making mountains out of molehills.
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.
Jenna and Jillian still like to hold hands.Courtesy of Sarah Thistlethwaite
So, what’s with all the news claiming twins were born hand-holding/hugging/kissing like this —
Sweet video of premature babies holding hands hopes to encourage othersJan.21.201601:20
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.
Unlike a resounding hollow, vagina is only ten centimeters dilated when a mother starts pushing/bearing down. Here’s an image that will help put this into perspective —
“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.”
“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.
The girls were born May 9, 2014, and the photo that captured the nation’s heart happened by coincidence.
It doesn’t matter whether it is a vaginal birth or a cesarean, hand-holding still isn’t a possibility.
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That bagel in the end is 10 centimeters wide. Now imagine what we are trying to prove here.
Twins are never born simultaneously. One comes before another; the two born mostly a few minutes apart. This happens twice —
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.
The newborns in the pictures above are barely few seconds/minutes old. They don’t have the concept of ‘hugging, hand-holding, kissing.’
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.
Twins are born “one at a time,” and without extraordinarily long arms there is no way they could be holding hands at birth.
(Don’t confuse this with mother-baby/twin bonding — that’s very real and important)