Leetonia doctor delivers rare twins


AKRON, Ohio (WKBN) — Dr. Melissa Mancuso delivers babies on a regular basis.

But when the Leetonia native saw newborn Jenna Thistlethwaite grab her twin sister Jillian’s hand after delivering the rare “mono-mono” babies May 9, even she was blown away.

“We do this every day, and that’s just something that we hadn’t seen before,” Mancuso said. “I just think it was really special for everybody that was in there to kind of witness that.”

The twins were monoamniotic, or “mono-mono,” a rare condition in which unborn babies share the same blood supply, water and amniotic sack during pregnancy. The condition affects about one in every 10,000 pregnancies.

The condition is also dangerous, as the babies’ umbilical cords can become tangled, bringing risk of choking.

Mancuso and her colleagues discovered the condition when the babies’ mother, Sarah Thistlethwaite, came in for an ultrasound in February.

After consulting with her husband Bill and the Akron Children’s Hospital team of doctors, she decided to stay at the hospital for constant monitoring, in case the babies became entangled.

“She has a little boy at home too, so to be separated from her family and her son and her husband, she really sacrificed a lot to come in to the hospital for those babies,” Mancuso said of Thistlethwaite.

Her hospital stay began March 9, and exactly two months later, she decided to have her c-section delivery.

Mancuso said the delivery went off without a hitch, and the doctors successfully brought the girls into the world 33 weeks after conception.

“I just think it was really special to be involved with,” Mancuso said. “It couldn’t have been more beautiful,”

Mancuso’s husband is also from Leetonia, and the couple married in Youngstown. She lives in Medina and works as Akron Children’s Hospital’s Director of Regional Fetal Treatment.

She said the fact that the babies arrived just in time for Mother’s Day was an added bonus.

“I think we were all shocked that they actually reached out and grabbed each other’s hands.”

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