When Jenna and Jillian Thistlethwaite emerged into the world, held high by the surgeon who performed the C-section on their mother, the two girls were holding hands.
Six months later, the rare twins are bigger and stronger, and still hanging on to each other in sibling solidarity.
The Akron, Ohio, girls' futures seem rosy now, but when doctors noticed the two were "mono mono" twins, meaning they shared a placenta and an amniotic sac, things weren't so certain. Mono mono twins are at especially high risk for failing to thrive, because they depend on one placenta to nourish two growing fetuses. In fact, the girls were born at 33 weeks this past May at Akron General Medical Center. Jenna was 4 pounds, 2 ounces, at birth. Jillian weighed in at 3 pounds, 13 ounces, according to the AP.
The girls' parents, Bill and Sarah, admit they have trouble telling the sibs apart. They look for a birthmark above Jenna's left eye. And she's still slightly smaller than her one-minute-older sis.
Sarah, a teacher, is returning to the classroom after six months home with all three of their kids. She says she has enjoyed her time as a mother, which the whole world glimpsed when her young daughters gained worldwide attention for demonstrating their twinsies bond the very minute they came into the world.