GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT)-- A couple's first pregnancy is always exciting, and completely terrifying at the same time.
For one Ouray couple, the pregnancy experience is a little different. They’re awaiting a rare set of ‘mono mono' twins in which the babies share the same placenta and amniotic sac.
Mono mono twins occur only once in every 10,000 pregnancies.
Parents Jessica Garcia and Keith Hawkins were surprised to hear they were having twins when they went for a checkup for their first pregnancy.
“He almost fainted,” Garcia said laughing. “We were just staring at the screen and we were like, 'there are two heads in there!'"
Their two baby girls, Tatiana and Trinity, will soon be introduced into the world.
"They’re in the same sac right now,” Garcia explained. “They're going to be exactly identical."
Typically with twins, an egg splits into two unique embryos. With 'mono mono' twins, the egg splits late. This means the babies each have their own umbilical cord, but share the same placenta and are in the same amniotic sac.
"The umbilical cord while she’s sleeping is right in front of her face,” Garcia said, while showing us an ultrasound photo. “They monitor her three times a day.”
This type of pregnancy requires extra care and monitoring because of the high risk it brings along with it.
“There is an increased risk of cord entanglement,” said Peter Genaris, an OB Hospitalist with St. Mary’s. “So the babies have a high chance of getting tangled in each other’s cords."
Doctors said this creates a 20 percent risk of mortality for the babies throughout the pregnancy.
“It’s out of my control so that's something that scared me a lot,” Garcia said.
While a mono mono pregnancy poses extra risks, parents Jessica and Keith are anxiously awaiting their two bundles of joy.
“I’m excited to have both of them walking around and just seeing them grow,” said Keith Hawkins, the father.
The couple said this is a blessing that will change their lives.
“It’s two,” Hawkins said. “So yeah, it’s extra, extra special.”
The babies were due on November 4th, but the due date was moved up to September 22nd. This was to ensure the risk for the babies during birth is minimized. Mothers with 'mono mono' twins are required to undergo a C-section to have the babies.
Garcia has been on bed rest at St. Mary’s since July, and Hawkins has been driving weekly from Ouray to visit her.