ANKENY, Iowa—

Shelby Magnani and her fiancé, James Croskey, had the shock of their lives when Shelby went to the hospital because of severe stomach pains.

“I had really sharp pain in my left side and went into the doctor, and they said, ‘We think you might be pregnant.’ They told me I was six months and told me to get down to the ER. They did an ultrasound and told me it was twins,” Shelby said.

The ultrasound revealed that she was actually 34 weeks along, and she was rushed in for an emergency C-section.

Only hours after arriving at the hospital, Shelby delivered daughters Ava and Anna. Ava weighed in at four pounds, while Anna weighed only three.

Doctors also discovered that the daughters were very rare monoamniotic twins, meaning that they both shared the same amniotic sac and placenta but had separate umbilical cords.

Though less than one percent of all twins are monoamniotic, the condition carries significant risks with it.

“The entanglement of the cords is what we worry about,” Dr. Jennifer Krupp told WHO13. “We bring the patients into the hospital at 24 to 26 weeks, so we can monitor the babies several times a day, because we know the risk of one or both of those babies dying is fairly significant.”

The twin girls luckily did not suffer severe health problems from their condition, but will have to spend several weeks in an NICU because of their early delivery. Meanwhile, Shelby and James are adjusting to the surprise reality of being new parents.

“I’m still trying to process. It’s crazy how high risk mono-mono twins can be, and how good they’re doing now, it’s really a blessing,” Shelby said. “They’re both just little miracles, it could have been so many things that went wrong that didn’t.”

Her fiancé, James, was equally shocked. “It’s pretty nuts. Still sinking in,” he said. “I love them. I love them more than anything.”

Shelby and James are both taking automotive technology classes at their local community college with the hope of having their own automotive repair shop after graduation.

Due to the sudden new expenses associated with raising Ava and Anna, there is a donation page set up on behalf of the couple to help make ends meet. More information can be found through the Ava and Anna Wellness Fund.

Jon frequently engages in interests spanning music, art, politics, and social awareness. Growing up in southern Oregon, he is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys exploring Oregon's stunning landscape.

His passion for discovery and community fuels his dedication to journalism.